Swans ring in centenary with scrappy win

Australian football

ALL TOGETHER: The Swans line up for the mine's silence prior to Friday night's Anzac clash.

ALL TOGETHER: The Swans line up for the mine's silence prior to Friday night's Anzac clash.

IT wasn't pretty but the Griffith Swans notched an important victory on Friday night, overcoming Leeton-Whitton by 23 points to set the tone for the club's centenary celebrations across the weekend.

A third-quarter scoring burst powered the home side to the 9.15 (69) to 6.10 (46) triumph at Exies Oval, their first under coach Brandon Mathews.

Inaccurate kicking again looked set to come back to haunt the Swans after dominating the first quarter for a return of just 2.7, only to be outscored by the Crows in the second term and take just a four-point lead into half-time.

But a positional re-jig from Mathews brought key forward James Toscan into the game, and he slotted all four of his majors in the second half as Griffith kicked away to an insurmountable 27-point advantage at the final change.

Mathews admitted he was having flashbacks to last year's "Fev game", when Griffith had most of the play but failed to convert and paid the ultimate price with Leeton-Whitton claiming a six-point after-the-siren victory.

This time, however, the Swans showed some much-needed fight.

"Early on we were our own worst enemy - missing shots, and we went back to our old ways of playing on and overusing the handball," he said.

"The first quarter was good and we should have opened it up a bit.

"We were doing a lot of things right in getting numbers to the ball and we can take something out of it in that way, but poor kicking is poor footy.

"They took advantage of us being poor more than them being better than us, I reckon.

"We played into their hands and started panicking but when we steadied it down and started being a bit smarter at the centre bounces, we were alright.

"There was more talk and direction in the second half and when we take control of the footy, they've got to play our game."

Griffith's best was backman James Taylor, who was awarded the 'Soldier's Trophy', a bronze statue of the modern Australian soldier donated by Lance Corporal Chris May on behalf of the army.

May addressed the Swans before the match to extol the virtues of the Anzacs, and Taylor displayed those characteristics better than anyone else on the day.

The 'Soldier's Trophy' will remain with the club as a perpetual award for the best Swans player in each Anzac round.

Taylor's fellow defenders Tim Mathieson and Richard Malone were influentual while Toscan and Glen Snaidero, who kicked three goals, also served well.

"When Tosco went deep he was fantastic and probably won us the game," Mathews said.

Midfield gun Michael Duncan played to his usually high standard but sat out most of the second half with a torn quadricep, which looks set to keep him out for the next few weeks.

The Crows mounted an unlikely comeback in the final term, kicking three of the first four goals to move to within striking distance before Snaidero iced the win from a set shot.

The Swans head across to take on the Wagga Tigers this Saturday with Mathews confident his side can compete with the top teams in the RFL - providing they weed out the scrappy parts of their game.

"It's hard to say until we've played them all but that style of footy, when we're at our best, we can match it with anyone," he said.


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