Fighting bulldogs ultimately eradicated

Story – Dave MacLellan, Photo – Amy Cosby
A flock of Nomads fly for the ball, while the Bulldogs watch and wait.
As expected the New England Nomads have triumphed over the Gunnedah and District Bulldogs in the weekend’s minor semi final at Bellevue Oval. If the home and away season was relevant, then the Nomads should have easily accounted for the Dogs, yet everything starts even in finals matches and the ultimate victor was in doubt for most of the game.

In the opening quarter and with a swirling wind aiding the Bulldogs, the Nomads found themselves under siege ending the quarter goalless. The recent desperation, teamwork and communication by the backs restricted the Bulldogs to only 2-4-16. The Nomads could only add 0-3-3 for the quarter, mostly on the counter attack.

In the second quarter and with the wind and crowd behind them, the Nomad forwards found some spark and piled on six goals to one. The midfielders also found their running games, especially Anthony Reid, who the Nomads were relieved to see slowly emerge from a strong hangover after quarter time. Also finding form in the first half and showing accuracy with his disposals was Dylan McGrath.

The second half continued the arm wrestle and while the Nomads held the lead at three quarter time, Gunnedah still challenged and hit the lead several times. While Weston Whitby is still far from full fitness, he managed to continue his goal scoring feats and piled on seven for the match.

In the final quarter the Nomads gained momentum as the seriousness of the situation dawned on them and they emerged from a seven point deficit to run away with the game by 12 points. The final score was the New England Nomads 12-11-83 defeating the Gunnedah Bulldogs 10-11-71.

Next week is another all or nothing finals game, this time meeting the Saints in Inverell. Last week the Tamworth Kangaroos easily accounted for the Saints and will now be preparing to host the 2008 TAFL Grand Final. While the large crowd at Bellevue would have appreciated seeing a one hundred point demolition of the Bulldogs, the tight, pressurized tussle that unfolded was most advantageous to the Nomads. This will be the same style of game that will be seen at Inverell, with the Nomads in-form midfielders of Ballagh, Malone, Nixon and Reid being vital this weekend.

While the general bye helped some nursing injuries, several still could not take the field in this do or die game, including several who will hopefully return this week against the Inverell Saints – William Webb and Pete Welton. This week will also see the tall timber of Josh Keogh and Nick Schultz returning from work commitments. The loser of this weeks game will have to make other plans next week, this game should be a strong test of skills, endurance and discipline.

There is space on the coach for plenty of supporters, if you would like to attend please email Ben Page on president@newenglandnomads.net

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