THE Griffith Swans have overcome archrival Leeton-Whitton to win their Riverina Football League preliminary final by 19 points yesterday.
Down by 15 points at the last break, Griffith steamrolled its way to victory by kicking six majors in the final term, with the win booking a place in the decider against Wagga Tigers this weekend at Narrandera.
Griffith co-coach Matt Noonan said his side took its time feeling its way in to the game, but exploded into life late as it left the Crows shell-shocked.
“They took a long time to settle in to the game, in the first half Leeton were all over us in certain aspects of the game,” Noonan said.
“The last 10 minutes of the third, things started to swing our way in terms of generally around the ground, but we didn’t really capitalise on that swing our way and the same goes for the first 10 minutes of the last quarter.
“It was getting to the point where if we didn’t have something go our way and kick a goal then it would have been a lot of work by the guys for no reward.”
However, their hard work paid off and the Swans rode their good luck and good play all the way to a date in the biggest game of their young lives.
“But then it started to click and it snowballed and we went on with the job,” Noonan said.
“Most of our guys were playing all right during the game, but when it all came together late for us, the ball started bouncing our way out of the pack and those 50-50 calls went our way.”
Griffith lost tall Joel Gordon to injury early, making Henry Delves’s contribution in the ruck that much more valuable as he won several strong clearances late in the game.
Gordon’s absence forced Noonan to reshuffle much of the side, but the Swans did not let their new roles overawe them as they stuck close enough to the Crows, waiting to pounce in the last term.
Nick Witherspoon continued his excellent form in front of goal in the last three weeks in kicking another three majors, with Drew Cassidy also snaring a trio of goals.
Dillon Evans, Thomas Shannon and Alex Blissett also scored multiples with Henry Delves, Toby Polkinghorne and Lachlan Evans also getting their names on the scorer’s sheet.
Blissett, Delves, Shannon, Patrick McMahon, Daniel Peruzzi and Thomas West worked hard all game for Griffith and were instrumental in the thrilling win.
Griffith Swans 15.10 (100)
Leeton-Whitton 12.9 (81)