Swans add steel on eve of RFL opener

Australian football

GRIFFITH'S recruitment drive has wrapped up with the club unveiling three impressive recruits on the eve of the Riverina Football League's opening round.

Ryan Bulluss, Ben Byrne and Joel Hourigan have all officially signed with the Swans and are set to make their RFL debuts this Saturday against Turvey Park in Wagga.

Bulluss was spotted by president Jeff Harris and coach Brandon Mathews on a scouting trip to Darwin late last year and after months of protracted negotiations, finally arrived in town last week.

A hard-nosed utility with a raking kick capable of playing in the middle or wide on a flank, Bulluss will provide a much-needed physical presence around the ball and inject valuable experience into the senior squad along with fellow signings Byrne and Hourigan, who have both moved to Griffith for work reasons.

Byrne joins from Picola & District Football League club Picola United and is a similarly versatile, bigger-bodied on-baller while small forward Hourigan spent last year with Farrer League club Charles Sturt University.

"Throw Michael Griffiths in and we should be there or thereabouts," Harris told The Area News.

"With the guys that missed most of last year through injury, the addition of these guys should really give us the potential to be around the mark.

"They all bring a bit of experience which should also help the kids who got a decent opportunity last year, and we should be better off."

But as three come in, two key senior players have left Griffith.

Goalsneak James Kennedy has been successfully wooed by his hometown club Finley to return and help them out of the Murray Football League doldrums.

Hourigan is considered a straight swap for Kennedy, whose brief spell with the Swans was blighted by injury.

Kennedy showed great promise early, kicking seven goals in a pre-season trial win over Coleambally, but was restricted to just seven games for the year after cracking his fibula against Mangoplah-CUE.

"That's a bit of a loss for us," Harris said.

"I don't think we ever got to see the best of Jim but hopefully we will again in the future."

Another of last year's recruits, Dan Moysey, has also left the Swans after moving back to Victoria due to work commitments.

"We'd be happy to welcome them back in the future but for the moment, we'll get on with what we've got," Harris said.

The Swans are likely to call upon their three new recruits this weekend but whether marquee signing Griffiths will join them at Maher Oval is unclear.

The former Glenelg and East Fremantle ruckman is nursing an injured ankle and is considered touch and go for round one.

"He's progressing. It's just a waiting game to see if he gets up for this week but he's certainly headed in the right direction," Harris said.

HEADED HOME: James Kennedy will return to play with hometown club Finley this year.

HEADED HOME: James Kennedy will return to play with hometown club Finley this year.


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