Griffith coach Will Griggs wants his Swans to fulfil a pre-season promise in Saturday’s second semi-final against Collingullie-Glenfield Park.
His unbeaten team heads to Narrandera Sportsground with minds on a first grand final appearance since 2004 and hearts set upon stamping their authority.
“Obviously they’re very experienced and successful when it comes to finals. But we said at the start of the year, someone needs to step up and take the mantle off them, and we want it to be us,” Griggs said. “Now we get our opportunity.”
The unbeaten Swans enjoyed having the first week of finals off but are excited about taking their premiership campaign up a notch.
“Obviously the boys are pretty pumped about the position we’re in. We’ve had a fantastic week on the track and we’re ready for this week,” Griggs said.
“Going down and watching the other teams go about their business last week, we’re ready to go.”
He isn’t taking any bait about their unbeaten record ramping up the pressure on his players.
“Nah, you put pressure on yourself if you think too far ahead. But we’re confident in our group. We’ve got a good balance of youth and maturity. We haven’t played many finals but our young kids have got a bit of experience. And they take it as it comes anyway. They don’t really have much fear.”
Griffith welcome back experience in Sam Daniel and Mitch Duncan but they’re also excited about Tommy Valeri making just his second appearance this season.
“Tommy Valeri coming in for us – he’s been playing great football in the reserves,” Griggs said. “He got injured just before round one but he played a game for us a couple of weeks ago (against Mangoplah-Cookardinia United-Eastlakes)”.
“He’s a bit of an x-factor. He’ll play on a wing and probably rotating through a half-forward flank.”
But Griggs is under no illusions about the challenge the Demons present.
He only has to cast his mind back to their meeting at Exies Oval earlier in the year.
“I though the first time, at our home ground, was definitely the highest-quality game of the year for us,” Griggs said. “It was quick, it was hard and the skills were very good.”
The Swans prevailed again at Collingullie in the return encounter, winning by two points on a wet day. Griggs said with both sides missing players and the weather impacting the game, it was harder to take much out of the occasion.
But the memory of that first game remains in his mind, and he knows it’s a massive occasion for both clubs who will also meet in the second semi-final in reserve grade, having played off for the grand final at the same venue last year.