Swans break drought
Reports by CHRIS McKINLEY
GUN recruits can come from the strangest places.
A week ago Jason Thomas was enjoying an evening at the Coffs Hotel when he struck up a conversation with a Swans player in the most unlikely location - the pub urinal.
Indulging in a football conversation, Thomas assumed he was talking to a league or union player but when he realised he was having a chat with an AFL man he became part of the club and declared his intention to pull on a boots.
What a stroke of luck that proved.
On Saturday was Thomas was easily best on ground as he collected four goals to help the Swans record their first victory in five years over cross town rivals North Coffs by a comfortable 58 points.
"It was a nice change of luck to get him," Swans playing coach Jeff Reed said.
"Normally North Coffs have been able to get the good players lob with them but it just happened that it turns out a good player has fallen to us this time.
"He'll only get better too.
"This was only his first game and he's only trained with us a couple of times. He still doesn't know the names of all his teammates."
While the recruiting of Thomas may have been a stroke of luck, the result certainly wasn't.
The Swans were far too disciplined, skilful and organised for their fierce rivals and while Reed derived great satisfaction from the result, he was most pleased for those at the club who'd been on the receiving end of similar results from the Kangaroos over the past five years.
"I'm just happy for the five or six blokes from the club who've been here week in and week out during those years who now are getting the benefit of putting up with it for all those years,"' he said.
"Other blokes like Steve Shelley, Scott Davenport and John Williams have done a hell of a lot work in off the field and they're starting to reap the benefits on it."
North Coffs playing coach Darren Funston was fuming after the game and told his players in no uncertain terms that their performance was unacceptable and that if they wanted to continue playing senior football they needed to pull their heads in.
"We were just too undisciplined," he said.
"You can't give away eleven 50 metre penalties and expect to win but I can sympathise a bit with our guys for their attitude towards the umpires on Saturday even though it wasn't right.
"When the head umpire writes in his column that people cringe every time North Coffs win, it's a disappointing thing to read from a bloke who's supposed to be impartial 24/7.
"It's hard for our guys to read that and then have him umpiring us the next day.
"Take nothing away from the Swans though, with or without the 50 metre penalties they were too good for us and deserved the win.
At a glance
COFFS SWANS 4.4 6.7 11.11 17.13 (115) d NORTH COFFS 1.3 3.5 4.6 8.9 (57).
Swans - J. Thomas, J. Sincock, W. Hickey, M. Lane, D. Colman.
North Coffs - T. Merrick, D. Funston, B. Giri, G. Connolly, T. Campbell.
Swans - J. Thomas (4), W. Hickey (3), M. Lane (3), D. Colman (2), M. Burrows (2).
North Coffs - J. Rendell (2), B. Giri (2), B. Greenshields (2), Jamie Coad, Grant Booth.
Reports: B. Ogden (North Coffs) - Abusive language towards the umpire. Umpires: R. McPherson, D.Rolphe. Reserve grade: Coffs Swans 20.6 (126) d North Coffs 0.1 (1).
Under 18s: Coffs Swans 24.28 (172) d North Coffs 1.0 (6).