Nomads knock the wind out of Bulldogs

New England storm home against Roos
by Michael Morrisey (Armidale Express, 19/06/2006)
There was no stopping the Nomads against Gunnedah on Saturday as the New England boys reasserted why they’re top of the Tamworth Australian Football League ladder with a 119.10.124 – 6.5.41 win.

The Nomads remain undefeated for the season and used the weekend’s match against the Bulldogs to experiment.

The changes paid dividends and the Nomads raced away in the first quarter – scoring six goals to none.

That set the tone for the rest of the game.

Regular ruckman Tom Hunt was moved into full forward and excelled in the position while fullback Richie Malone had a dig in the middle of the park.

Mark Curran embraced the opportunity to fill in for Malone in the backline.

New England coach Adrian Walsh was pleased with how the changes worked and felt the game was a solid warm up heading into Saturday’s top of the table battle against the Tamworth Swans.

“The team played well,” Walsh said.

“We kicked much straighter which was pleasing. We’ve had a lot of practice at training and it seems to have paid off.

“What I was keen on was for them to play good team football.

“We knew that they (Gunnedah) weren’t that strong but we needed team football to stand us well when we come to play the Swans next week.

“We tried to improve our running game and the boys looked for each other with hands and kept the ball moving.

“We were a bit crowded in the forward line but that wasn’t helped by them – they flooded their backline.

“The backline and midfield was really good.”

Jack Sartor, John Mahy and Hunt all gave solid performances and Walsh noted Hunt took possibly the mark of the year.

“Dyl (McGrath) kicked it to him and he climbed up on the back of the fullback which, given how big he is, is fairly high up.”

“My only complaint is he took in two grabs, he should have taken it in one,” Walsh joked.

“Dyl McGrath on the wing did really well. He gave us a lot of movement and he was a linkman.

“Solomon Hanks is becoming a great goal scorer. He’s basically a goal sneak but he’s got good hands and he’s got good judgement.

“Mark Curran played well. He’s someone who’s worked hard at his football.”

Other standout players included Matt Maxwell in the middle, Dan Drum, Angus McKenzie and Dylan Munyard – who made a successful return from injury.

Walsh noted that Gunnedah didn’t give up during the match.

“To Gunnedah’s credit they didn’t give up,” he said.

“We were 14 goals to none at one point. They could have easily dropped the bundle but they didn’t.”

The big test now will be whether or not the Nomads can beat the Swanss at Bellevue Oval on Saturday.

The Swans are nipping at the heels of the New England on the ladder.

“They didn’t expect much of us last time we played. We shocked them,” Walsh said.

“It’s not going to be easy. The Swans have been training hard and have been watching us.”

Not for reproduction except by permission of the Armidale Express.

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