Cats cripple Nomads

By Michael Morrissey (Armidale Express, 10/07/2006)
The University holiday has taken its toll on New England as the Nomads were forced to send a thread-bare side down to face reigning Tamworth Australian Football League premiers, the Muswellbrook Cats.

The Cats took advantage of the thin New England side and beat the visitors 15.11.101 to 8.8.56.

The Nomads managed to scrape together 17 players for the match, leaving their interchange bench completely empty.

The Cats jumped ahead early on in the fixture but the Nomads clawed their way back in the third quarter to get within two goals of the home team.

But Muswellbrook kept up the sustained pressure and in the fourth quarter New England cracked and the Cats kicked five goals to one.

Goal kickers for the Nomads were Dylan McGrath and Weston Whitby, who both kicked three, while Warwick Richardson and Adrian Walsh managed one each.

Walsh, who doubles as the coach for Nomads, was disappointed to lose but was impressed with the amount of ‘heart’ his team played with.

“They showed a lot of heart yesterday (Saturday),” he said.

“We had a lot of guys out with the uni holidays and had 16 unavailable, but that’s the big problem with sport in Armidale.

“I don’t want to take away from Muswellbrook at all because they’re very good at home. Even when we have a full team they’re very hard to beat.

“I thought that we tried hard all day.

“Muswellbrook do have a good side even though they lost the week before.

“But they’re a bit like us in that they had horse sales on that week and they’re up and down like us in that they never know if they’re going to have the players or not.

“They got out in front early on but we came back in the third quarter, got within two goals of them and for a while I thought we were going to roll.

“But I think at the end the thing that stopped us was the lack of legs, we didn’t have any fresh legs and everyone just had to keep going.

“There was a stage that they were worried.

“We’ve got a few injuries plus some of them had been away at uni games all week.”

A big negative to come out of the game was the loss of Dylan Munyard with a shoulder injury and Gus McKenzie who damaged ligaments.

Munyard could be out for the rest of the season while McKenzie will most probably be sidelined for three weeks.

“It’s probably not what we needed right now in the middle of the holidays when all the students are away,” Walsh said.

Walsh was impressed with the performance of Mark Curran who managed to partially shut down Ryan McEvoy, Muswellbrook’s main go-to man.

“Mark actually played really well with the way they put it up to him Ryan could have kicked 15 if Mark hadn’t been on him,” he said.

“There was a lot of ball coming out to him and he’s got good hands.”

On top of Curran, Walsh pointed out solid performances from Tom Hunt, Weston Whitby, Brendan Meehan, Ben Horne and Glen Northway.

“Tom’s finding it harder in that they just follow him everywhere and they don’t give him much space,” he said.

“Brendan hasn’t really had a chance to play some of the time but he stood up yesterday and showed that he’s got a lot of experience.

“Weston’s very hard to stop once he gets going.

“Glen Northway had a great game in the back line.

“He’d been playing full forward but Ithink he may have found his place at centre-half back.”

The Nomads have a tough couple of weeks ahead as the struggle with player shortages continues.

Walsh commented that the team was aiming to stay in at least second position on the ladder.

“The worst thing about our draw is that we’ve got all the best sides in the period that the students are away,” he said.

“We’ve got to win a couple of these ones even though we’ve got a diminished side.

“If we aren’t careful we could fall out of the top four.”

Not for reproduction except by permission of the Armidale Express.

3 Responses to “Cats cripple Nomads”

  1. Ron Says:

    Quick factual note: Dylan Munyard and Gus McKenzie were not injured in this fixture. They were both injured during the Uni games. This was the first game that Gus has missed since debut.

  2. Gus Says:

    Hopefully Money is not out for the season, the big red fire engine will be a big loss

  3. Armidale sports editor Says:

    Sorry about the injury mix-up… hope to see both players back in action as soon as possible.

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