Mangoplah-Cookardinia United-Eastlakes coach Jeremy Rowe was full of praise for Griffith after the Goannas were forced to dig deep to start the season with a win on Saturday.
The Goannas opened their season with a 19-point win over the Swans, 9.12 (66) to 7.5 (47) at Exies Oval.
Griffith came hard at MCUE in the third quarter and momentarily hit the front, before the Goannas steadied and came away, against the breeze in the final term, for an opening-round win.
MCUE made the longest trip in the Riverina League without five of their best players and were given a scare by a young and determined Griffith outfit.
The performance from the Swans earned high praise from Rowe.
"I know it's politically correct to compliment your opponent but I'm very sincere and genuine when I say Griffith were a genuine credit to themselves today," Rowe said.
"The way that they hunted the footy and the way that they competed, just when it came to energy, was certainly on another level.
"In the third quarter when they were coming at us, and put on the most scoreboard pressure that they had all day, their ability to get first to the footy and win 50-50 contests was very, very impressive."
An honest Rowe admitted he was happy to secure the win but was disappointed in the overall performance from his team.
MORE SPORT NEWS
"At the end of the day when you get to pick up the paper on Monday morning and you've got four points in your column it is a really good feeling but when we talk about good feelings, we didn't really get too many of them out of the way that we performed today," he said.
"I really felt that there were some terrific opportunities for individuals to really put their hand up and stake some claims over some certain roles and I thought there was guys who had certainly done enough work on the track and through the trials that we were going to see them really step up today but we probably found that about half of our group found wanting a little bit.
"We at different stages with ball in hand were a little bit like a deer in the headlights, we seemed to rush and panic and a lot of our game is based on system and structure and understanding what's next when you've got ball in hand relative to where you are on the ground or what type of position you're in and we train it over and over and over again and today you wouldn't have felt we had a system or a structure.
"So it's a starting point and we get to have a bit of a downer when it comes to performance and we still get to have four points in the column, which is obviously great, but certainly there is a real sense of having a lot of work to do.
"We discussed after the game, just like we have after the trials, that we've really got to show some urgency in regards to finding something that resembles what looks like Mangoplah footy club and we haven't found that in the trials and we didn't find that today so there's some work to be done for sure."
Trent Cohalan was MCUE's best, closely followed by fellow midfielder Ryan Turnbull. Jono Male also stepped up with three important goals.
The win did come at a cost for the Goannas with both Isaac Damme and Mitch Sykes falling to 'minor' hamstring injuries.
James Toscan and Ryan best both kicked two goals for Griffith, with new captain Jack Rowston winning a lot of the footy through the midfield.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.