Swans told to keep cool heads for centenary clash

Australian football

THE Griffith Swans have been urged to keep their heads on the eve of one of the biggest non-finals games in club history.

Tonight, the Swans host arch-rivals Leeton-Whitton at Exies Oval in a match that will kick off the club's centenary celebrations this weekend.

But coach Brandon Mathews is wary of the occasion getting to his players, who are desperate to give a proper account of themselves after a disappointing two-point defeat to Turvey Park in the RFL season opener.

"You've almost got to take the emotion out of it because it's still just a game of footy," he said.

MAN ON: Daniel Peruzzi drives the Swans forward during the round one RFL loss to Turvey Park.

MAN ON: Daniel Peruzzi drives the Swans forward during the round one RFL loss to Turvey Park.

"Yes, it's the centenary and Anzac Day, but that doesn't mean the win's just going to happen.

"All the boys understand what it is and don't want to let anyone down or embarrass themselves - nobody does on the big stage, and this will be one of the biggest games that some of the boys will play in, aside from finals.

"I've played in a few Anzac Day games and you're lucky to be able to play in them because not many sides get to.

"But one of the worries for me is if they get too wrapped up in it and forget what they have to do on the footy field."

Mathews' message this week has been simple - calm down.

Griffith's biggest issue in the loss to Turvey Park was the side's tendency to rush decisions and put teammates under pressure with poor disposals and bad options.

"I think the team that settles down and plays their footy the earliest will have the upper hand," he said.

"You can use the emotion and meaning of it all to your advantage but you can't get too carried away with it, or before you know it, it's half-time and you're getting pumped.

"We've just got to win. We lost the first game and we can't be zip and two.

"That's what everyone's got to keep in the back of their minds. It's a long way back from there."

Mathews will lean heavily on his senior players such as skipper Guy Orton, best and fairest winner Mick Duncan, experienced utility Che Jenkins and key forward Trevor Richards to lead the way against the Crows, who were 32-point winners over Narrandera last weekend.

"The guys get themselves worked up for these sort of games with a fair few people there," he said.

"I know after the Fev game last year it was probably a bit more of a letdown than normal because we were so pumped up for it, so their role is important.

"It's probably their job a little bit to settle everyone down as well."

Ruck recruit Michael Griffiths is also a certain starter, having carried an ankle injury into the Bulldogs defeat.

"A lot of the swelling's gone down," Mathews said.

"He was restricted a little bit against Turvey but he seems to think it's getting back close to as good as it will get."

The Swans are also set to regain young gun Tom West, who was unavailable in round one.


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