Full-strength Nomads aim high

By Matt Nicholls (Armidale Express, 23/04/2010)
New England Nomads coach Brendan Meehan expects to field a strong side tomorrow when the team travels to Narrabri for round three of the Tamworth AFL competition.

After enjoying a bye last weekend, Meehan said the Nomads should be close to full strength for what is a gruelling road trip against the TAFL newcomers.

“I don’t know anything about Narrabri and I haven’t even been to the ground before,” Meehan said.

“From what I’ve heard it’s a small ground so we’ll have to play with quick movement of the ball to avoid congestion.”

With most students returning to Armidale after a three-week holiday, Meehan said the Nomads should field a stronger side than the side which went down to the Tamworth Swans in round one.

“We had quite a few guys miss the first game and we went in with an inexperienced squad,” the coach said.

“I think we’ll have a few extra onballers come into the side, which will help enormously.”

The only big ‘out’ for New England is goal sneak Caleb Dobos, who fractured his ankle against the Swans.

It is expected Matt Bourke and Weston Whitby, who kicked five goals between them in round one, will share the duties up forward in Narrabri.

While the Nomads will start favourites tomorrow, Meehan said his side could not take the Eagles lightly.

“Narrabri will probably be a stronger side at home this season so I expect them to be really tough to beat.

“This is a game we need to win.

“After that we play Gunnedah at home and then travel to Muswellbrook.

“I’d love to be 3-1 after four rounds.”

Of those making their return to the Nomads side tomorrow, Adrian Walsh, Jonathan Frost and Hamish Pearce should prove the most damaging.

“They are three good all-round players,” Meehan said.

“At full strength our side is pretty good this year. Our depth needs to improve though.”

Narrabri, who defeated Muswellbrook in round one, go into the game on the back of a heavy loss to premiership contenders Inverell.

The Eagles ran into a ‘man mountain’ inspired Saints, where giant ruckman Jason Gobbert led Inverell to an 87-point victory.

The Saints kicked 17.14 (116) to Narrabri’s 4.5 (29)

“We came back to earth with a crash,” Eagles coach Phil Dennis said.

“They (Saints) are a good side. Hopefully we can learn from that, don’t take it to heart but take it on board and work out what we should be doing.”

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