Swans’ nest a little thin

February 17, 2017

United front: Shepparton Swans coach Paul Griffiths (front) is hoping for more numbers to bolster the club's senior sides and join BJ Squire, Jared Service, Billy Cooper and Andrew Riordan for this year's GVFL season.

Adequate playing numbers is one of the Shepparton Swans’ biggest concerns during the off-season.

The Goulburn Valley Football League club has lost 25 senior and reserves players since last year, leaving the club in search of new members to fill its ranks.

With a host of veteran Swans leaving Princess Park from to travel overseas or interstate, new players are being welcomed.

Swans president Richard Bell said this year was the ideal time for those wanting to improve their football to play at the GVFL club.

‘‘We’re probably short maybe eight (players), but it’s a great opportunity I guess to open up to players in the Goulburn Valley that want to play GVFL. There’s a spot here,’’ he said.

‘‘We knew that there would be a few going, but there’s been some guys who are living and going to uni in Bendigo who have stayed over there, so we’ve probably lost a few more than we originally thought, but we’re still working hard to get numbers and it’ll be a good year to lay some foundations going forward.’’

Key forward Kaiden Antonowicz is one of the players who will no longer make the trip to the Goulburn Valley to play, having been living in Bendigo for the past two years while studying teaching.

Tom Preece and Paul Fry are among those spending time overseas, but Bell said plenty of experience remained at the club to develop potential players.

‘‘We’ve got a good core group of kids, plus we’re retained quite a few of our senior list — Andrew Riordan, Jessie Finnen, BJ Squire, (who are) GV representatives, so it’s an exciting time,’’ he said.

Former Port Melbourne assistant Paul Griffiths has plenty of plans in his first year coaching at the Swans, although will be adapting his VFL skill set for GV level.

Bell said Griffiths’ high level of coaching experience should not cause players to be nervous about joining the side.

‘‘The training is so structured. All the feedback is that it’s enjoyable and it all works to a plan,’’ he said.

‘‘The guys get the fitness and skills while working through those plans, so it’d be great to have a few more here.’’

The Swans train on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, but will swap to Tuesday and Thursday once cricket season ends.

Interested players can phone Shepparton Swans president Richard Bell on 0419372243.

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