Nomads back at strength and ready

By James Polson (Armidale Express, 02/05/2008)
The New England Nomads have the vast majority of their personnel back and are looking to put in a strong showing when they take on the Bulldogs in Gunnedah tomorrow.

The Armidale side are hoping for their first win of the year after Muswellbrook forfeited on Saturday due to lack of numbers.

Coach Brendan Meehan said the impromptu week off helped a few players recover from minor ailments.

“It probably helped a couple of the fellas with niggling injuries to recover,” he said.

“I hope it hasn’t hurt us too much but it’s basically a new side out there, not quite the strength we had for the Tablelands Cup but it’s a lot closer than we’ve been.”

Gunnedah are always a tough ask at home and the match is shaping up as a real chance for the Armidale side to show what they can do when they have the full complement on the park.

The Bulldogs had a win over Muswellbrook in the opening round and since then have lost to the two Tamworth sides, the Kangaroos and the Swans, in subsequent weeks.

Meehan said the side was looking forward to the challenge.

“We’ve got a fair few back and there should be one or two more university students at training tonight [Thursday],” he said.

“The numbers are good, we had about 16 or 18 at training on Tuesday so we’re looking at putting a strong side on the park for a good game.”

Meehan said his troops would be wary of the home opposition.

“They’re always tough over there and the home ground always helps a bit,” he said.

“They’ve been going alright this year.”

The match is the start of a big week for the Nomads, with their 10th anniversary ball at the Wicklow on May 10 and Sydney Swans players Heath Grunday and Jared Moore in attendance for the match with Tamworth at Bellevue Oval.

In other local AFL news, Armidale Auskick also kicks off for 2008 tomorrow.

Play will commence at Bellevue at midday and continues until 1.15pm.

Further registrations will also be taken from 11.30am.

Co-ordinator Craig Collins said it was shaping up as a big year for the junior form of the game.

“’There are three big events at the front end of our season,” he said.

“The Swans visit forms part of the AFL’s Community Football Weekend – with most AFL players having the weekend off regular matches to get back to the grass-roots of the game.

“We’re hoping the Swans players will be on hand to present jumpers to our new players. Heath came up and had a kick with our kids last year as well.”

There will be an Auskick carnival in Armidale on Saturday, May 17, and the AFL has offered three teams the chance to play on the hallowed turf of the Sydney Cricket Ground on June 1.

The Swans take on Richmond that day, and 27 players between eight and 10, calculated at the end of this year, have the opportunity to attend.

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