Griffith almost lifted the roof off their dressing room at Narrandera Sportsground on Sunday afternoon with a stirring rendition of the team song after booking the club's first grand final appearance in 14 years.
It was an equally stirring performance on the paddock to earn it – a dramatic comeback to beat Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong 15.7 (97) to 12.8 (80) in the preliminary final, after being 23 points down in the second quarter and 17 points behind early in the third.
“We've been talking a lot about belief throughout the last few weeks – well, this team’s got fantastic character and resilience,” Swans coach Will Griggs said.
“It’s fantastic for the town, great for the club with reserves getting through as well – two very spirited wins.
“We just showed a lot of character to get over the line. You take a lot of belief into next week if you do that.”
The Swans’ celebrations were tempered by news star midfielder Jordan Iuduca had been reported for umpire abuse in the third quarter. He faces an anxious wait to learn on Monday the severity of the charge and potential penalty.
Iudica blew up when a free kick was given against him 15 minutes into the third quarter with the Swans down by 10 and pressing forward. His reaction saw it escalate to a 50m penalty and a yellow card.
Ironically, the incident lifted the Swans, who kicked three goals in five minutes shortly afterwards to hit the front for the first time since the end of the first quarter and head into three-quarter-time seven points in front.
It was far from a sure thing, with GGGM to enjoy the breeze in the last and the Lions looked set to launch when a Tom Anderson behind was followed by Riley’s Corbett’s fourth goal, tying the game up just four minutes in.
But Griffith, led superbly by Griggs, showed great composure, recovering with goals to Jacob Conlan and the coach. GGGM were back within a goal midway through the term but Iudica made sure the Swans capitalised on a Lions turnover coming out of defence. His goal and the last of the game to Toby Blissett sealed the deal.
It had been a freewheeling start with 11 goals before quarter-time as the Swans went from 15 points up to a goal down with GGGM's Jethro Peck kicking three beauties in a quarter. Peck then had his fourth early in the second term before a Riley Corbett bomb opened up the almost-four-goal-lead.
But the Swans had the luxury of swapping Lucas Conlan back and brother Jacob going forward (where he kicked two goals). And while they were hanging on in the second quarter, Kris Duncan found two important goals to ensure they went to the main break just 12 points down.
“If he was another foot taller he'd be a fantastic footballer. Gee he knows where the goal is and he was fantastic today,” Griggs said.
Staring down the barrel of a straight-sets finals exit after an unbeaten season, the Swans didn’t panic at half-time.
“We came in, kept a cool head, chipped away a little bit and knew we’d have the legs to run it out,” Griggs said. “We said all week that we believed their bigger bodies in the midfield would slow up in the second half and we made a lot of changes to keep our legs fresh and I thought that was a big difference in the end.”
Along with a sensational Griggs, Heath Northey had a superb game through the middle and up forward as did Ben King.
Duncan’s role was invaluable. Two goals when momentum was against them and a third to put his side in front late in the third quarter.
Mick Duncan went off early in the first quarter with a high quad concern but did return in the final quarter and is confident he’ll be right for the grand final.
And Griggs said they’re exactly that – confident – for next week's return to Narrandera to take on their semi-final conquerors, Collingullie-Glenfield Park.
“I think we turned the tables a fair bit from last week," Griggs said. “We had the wind last week going into the last quarter and I think it showed us that it doesn't matter which way the wind’s going, if you have belief and take the game on, anything can happen.”