Round 7: Oh dear

The journey back from Muswellbrook felt even longer than usual on Saturday following the Nomads’ defeat by the Muswellbrook Cats. It is no disgrace to lose to the Cats, especially on their home ground, but the Nomads failed to give a decent account of themselves.

It wasn’t until the second quarter that New England started to play, but by then the damage had been done with the Cats leading at quarter time by 8.9 (63) to 2.2 (14). The rest of the match was really about regaining some pride, showing a bit of heart and learning some lessons. Despite the Nomads improving as the game went on, the match finished as a resounding 19.18 (132) to 7.12 (54) victory for the Cats.

It would be wrong to pick one reason for the slow start. A failure to get the squad out of travel-mode and into playing-mode, below par fitness and a large number of changes to the side may all have contributed. Certainly, there were too few Nomads at the contests and not enough tracking of opponents when the Cats were in posession which would result from fitness and focus problems.

There were a few positives to be taken from the game. Anthony Alderuccio gave Muswellbrook plenty of problems with his bursts from the centre, Anthony Reid (Coach’s Award winner) gave a good showing in the ruck again and Glen Northway showed his abilities at centre half back. Despite taking a pounding on the score board the defence, lead by full back Mark Curran, kept battling despite often being outmanned.

Three new players and one returning player all made promising debuts. James Downie deservedly picked up the Player’s Player Award for the afternoon, having had numerous posessions and making a lot of good tackles. Munro Hardie and Johnathon Frost also debuted and are both good additions to the squad. Reece Whitby made his first appearance for the season, having played a few games last year, and picked up the Captain’s Award for his efforts.

Rich Malone, again playing at full forward, scored two goals for the match, as did Anthony Alderuccio. Single goals went to Dan Gardiner, Johnathon Frost and Andrew Harvey.

The Nomads now have six training sessions before their next match in which to contemplate what went wrong and come up with some solutions, otherwise they may start losing to the lesser teams in the competition too.

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