Qualifying final: Cats close to purrfect

It was a very windy day as the Nomads arrived at the former Muswellbrook landfill to compete in their first finals foray of 2007. The Nomads had a winning feeling after being tested, but not found wanting in their final home and away game against the Tamworth Kangaroos. They had also beaten the Muswellbrook Cats in their last battle.

However this game would be difficult; having a poor record at the landfill and arriving with only one reserve while still missing several star players including Anthony Alderuccio and Mark Handley, as well as experienced runner and tactician Dylan McGrath. The last time the Nomads played in Muswellbrook, they were lethargic after a sapping three hour drive and were obliterated as the Cats kicked eight goals in the first quarter.

The first quarter on Saturday was not as depressing as the Cats took a lead of 5.3 (33) to the Nomads 1.2 (8). The scoreboard was not the main worry as the only bench position was to be filled by Jamie ‘Carrol’ Vesey, who suffered a degrading groin tear. For the rest of the game, there would be no bench.

The second quarter continued as the first had, with the Cats outrunning the Nomads and using the whole field to advantage. More complications for the Nomads tacticians as heroic centre man and brewery supremo, Matthew Maxwell was tackled heavily and late by several Cats players. He was helped to the bench by a Nomads player, suffering from suspected ligament tears. The groinless Jamie Vesey valiantly returned to the field where he managed to kick two goals.

The game changed in the third quarter as the Nomads continued trying to play the ball, while the Cats often resorted to yelling at the umpires. They also disagreed with the Nomads coach, Adrian Walsh’s philosophical sledging and backhanded approach. Former Nomad Ben Horne lifted in the third quarter but the difference was not felt on the scoreboard. Although with the wind at their backs and a deficit of six goals going into the final quarter, an unlikely Nomads recovery was not ruled out.

But it was not to be.

The Nomads were restricted by the wind to playing on one flank, whereas the Cats had supreme numbers at every contest and utilised the space efficiently. Surge attacks by large numbers of Cats players easily outnumbered a tired Nomads defence, led by the man who deserved TAFL B&F – Glen ‘The Voice’ Northway. The final score was Muswellbrook 16.24 (120) to the Nomads paltry 7.7 (49). The Nomads Best player was deemed to be James ‘Shorty’ Downie who demonstrated amazing athletic aerobatics in taking several amazing marks. The Cats were lead by Vice-Captain and TAFL Golden Boot winner Stuart McAdam, who easily outclassed his direct opponent and Nomads full back to kick six goals.

Top goalscorers for the Nomads were Rich Malone and Jamie Vesey with two goals apiece, while there were singles for Mitch Penberthy, Matt Maxwell and James Downie.

James Downie (Player’s Player), Rich Malone (Coach’s award winner), Anthony Reid, Mark Curran, Clint Ballagh, Aaron Dobos (President’s award winner) and Adrian Walsh (Captain’s award winner). Aaron Dobos was singled out for praise by the Nomads’ coaches for his excellent, committed performance.

Next week the Cats will drive for four and a half hours to take on the undefeated and well rested Inverell Saints, while the Nomads are at home seeking to keep their season alive at the expense of the Tamworth Kangaroos.

With thanks to Dave MacLellan for contributing most of this match report

One Response to “Qualifying final: Cats close to purrfect”

  1. scott Says:

    if only the so-called “Writers” at the Armidale Express could emulate the passion, the gripping sense of storytelling and the poetic linguism of this warming piece of writing…. the world would be a better place.

    inspirational dave maclellan, you have my 3 votes for the pullitzer this year.

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