Swans mark centenary with special guernsey

Australian football

THE Griffith Swans' red and white guernsey is already steeped in rich history - but this season, that history will be literally part of the fabric.

In a first for the RFL club, the names of more than 1100 first-grade players will be printed on the front of the Swans' guernsey to mark the club's centenary this season.

The painstaking task was led by club historian Trevor Harrison, who has a treasure trove of information on the Swans' formative years and runs the website www.griffithswansarchive.com.

He sifted through the archives and came up with a list of names that turns Griffith's regular uniform into a living celebration of the contribution of local players in the city for 100 years.

AFL and NRL clubs often print the names of members on the front of one-off jerseys, but rarely do clubs in the bush go to such lengths to honour their history and traditions.

"If you need to know anything about the Swans, he's the man," club president Jeff Harris laughed.

"It was a committee-level decision. We were looking to add something, we've put the work in and we're pretty happy with what we've come up with.

"They're going to wear that for the season and we'll take some orders for those, for anyone who wants to snaffle one of those up on the Anzac Day weekend."

But the jersey is just one small part of the Swans' plans to make the club's 100th year unforgettable.

The committee has pulled out all the stops, planning a huge Anzac Day weekend with the unveiling of the club's Team of the Century the centrepiece.

"There's a bunch from various generations sorting that out guys that have been involved with the footy club for a long time," Harris said.

"They've been putting their heads together, coming up with the criteria and going through a whole heap of historical info.

"There'll be some fairly handy names in there a few that have graced AFL club lists, back in the days when the guys in the VFL got a bit of money coming out to the country."

The Team of the Century dinner will be held at the main Exies Club on Saturday, April 26 the day after Griffith's first home game of the season.

The Swans will host arch-rivals Leeton-Whitton under lights at Exies Oval on Anzac Day and a big crowd is expected to roll up.

It will be the first of three night games in Griffith this year.

"We've always played around with those twilight games but this year we were pretty keen to do some full-blown night games, particularly early in the season when the weather is nicer," Harris said.

"It should be a fair old catalyst to get plenty of people down there, checking out a few new players and setting up our season.

"It's a chance to have a bit of dinner down there and make a night of it.

"We'll be looking to do a bit of two-up in the club after the game and that should flow into junior footy on Saturday and the dinner that night."

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