Nomads aiming high

By Josh Paterson (Armidale Express, 15/02/2010)
Armidale’s Australian football side, the New England Nomads, are gearing up for a big season in the Tamworth AFL (TAFL) competition after narrowly missing out on the finals in 2009.

It promises to be an exciting season for both the Nomads and the TAFL, with the return of the Narrabri Eagles to the competition after a couple of years in the wilderness.

“Narrabri are back in the competition this year which is great for AFL in the region – the last few years they were unable to get a team on the park – but to my understanding they have 35 players already this year who are all ready to go so it’s good to see them back,” TAFL vice president Gerry Griffiths told The Express.

The inclusion of Narrabri means extra travel for the Nomads, which may affect their away record, but Nomads head coach Brendan Meehan was confident his side could overcome any tiredness through good organisation.

“We’ve actually got two trips to Narrabri, one at the start of the season and one towards the end of the season, plus the trip to Muswellbrook, so there are a few bug trips this year that we’ll have to deal with,” he said.

“We try to organise the trips so we arrive at least an hour and a half before the start of the game.

“That way we have time to walk around and have half an hour or so to warm-up, which is important when you travel long distances.”

With training beginning only a few weeks ago, Meehan has been impressed with the turnout so far and is confident of putting together a more than competitive side this year.

“We have had 15 to 17 blokes to training each night, with a few new faces and a few old ones so it’s looking promising,” he said.

“We’ll probably have a better idea of the makeup of the team over the next fortnight when university is back in top gear.”

The Nomads were a force to be reckoned with last year until they were decimated by injuries.

Meehan believed reigning premiers Tamworth Swans would again be the team to beat this year.

“The Swans will be hard to beat this year and I think Inverell will also be strong – they only went down by a couple of goals to the Swans in last year’s grand final so I think they will have a big year this season.”

The Nomads are still keen to recruit new players and wanted secondary school students to know they are welcome at training.

“If there are any high school kids that are keen to play or are thinking about having a go at AFL they are more than welcome to come to training and have a go,” Meehan said.

The Nomads will also host their annual Tablelands Cup next month, which will see a number of teams play off in a round-robin contest on the weekend of March 20 and 21.

“It’s just a great way to give the boys some match practice before the season starts,” Meehan said.

The Nomads train at the University of New England’s Bellevue Oval on Tuesday and Thursdays from 5.30pm.

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