Griffith coach Adrian Pavese disappointed with Swans' start to the Riverina League season

IN CONTROL: Griffith coach Adrian Pavese has not reached for the panic button just yet after what he describes as a disappointing start to the Riverina League season. Picture: Les Smith
IN CONTROL: Griffith coach Adrian Pavese has not reached for the panic button just yet after what he describes as a disappointing start to the Riverina League season. Picture: Les Smith

GRIFFITH coach Adrian Pavese has implored his playing group to be more instinctive as the Swans prepare for a big game at home on Saturday.

The Swans’ have suffered back-to-back defeats and will be looking to return to the winner’s list when they host second-placed Mangoplah-Cookardinia United-Eastlakes at Exies Oval.

Griffith sit delicately poised in fifth position on the Riverina League ladder with three wins and three losses from their opening six games.

Pavese admits the start to the year has been slightly disappointing.

“I think we expected to be a little bit better. We’re not playing as well as we should be but we’re still in games, except against Collingullie, who are a class above at the moment,” Pavese said.

“We lost by 18 against Leeton and seven points against Wagga Tigers so we’re not far away.

“We were hoping to be four (wins) and two (losses) so three (wins) and three (losses) is okay, I guess. It’s not ideal but it’s okay.

“We’re hoping for a lot of improvement.”

Pavese wants that improvement to come from the players using their instinct.

“The game plan’s sold, they know it backwards and are implementing it quite well,” he said.

“We’ve been talking about not losing your instinct though. First and foremost we’ve got to play footy.

“Structures will help you stay competitive in games but instinct will help you win them.”

The result of Saturday’s contest will have a large say on Griffith’s top three hopes. Pavese said for now, the Swans are focused on making finals.

“It’s important in terms of getting a break on the bottom half of the ladder,” he said about this week’s game.

“We’ve got ambitions of being top three but we’ve got to forget about that now, win enough games to qualify and hope to be in a position with four or five weeks to go where we can still have a crack at it.”

Griffith captain James Toscan and key defender Ash Verhagen, who were both late withdrawals against Wagga Tigers, will return for the MCUE clash. The Swans will also be boosted by the inclusions of Heath Northey and Jacob Conlan. Richard Malone (unavailable) will miss the game.

Meantime, Pavese unloaded on Wagga Tigers for their behaviour since their round six game at Exies Oval last Saturday week.

Tigers have since cited Griffith’s Guy Orton for an alleged head butt, while the Swans were also upset by some snide remarks in Tigers’ club notes in last week’s AFL Riverina Record.

“The way Tigers have acted has been an absolute disgrace,” Pavese said.

“We’re very disappointed with Wagga and the way they have handled themselves.”