Nomads Dampen Cats Spirits

Last Saturday the Nomads made the long trip down the New England highway to take on the Muswellbrook Cats in what is the longest road trip of the season for the New England boys. The Cats always ‘grow another leg’ at home and given the Nomads were missing up twelve regular players it shaped to be an enormous challenge.

With only eighteen players available to make the trip the Nomads were relieved to find that the Cats also had problems with playing numbers themselves and as a result the match commenced with only seventeen players per side plus one interchange. In what was cold, wet and windy conditions the match still appeared to present plenty of problems for the Nomads to overcome. The quarter started at the usual frenetic pace one would expect with the Cats trying desperately to get off to a good start against the premiership front runners, however some first class defending by Caleb Dobos in the unaccustomed position of full back and ably assisted by skipper Clint ‘Rowdy’ Ballagh, Hugh Cook and Jon Frost repelled the early onslaught. It wasn’t long before the Nomads ascerted their dominance through the midfield with Jon Fruend leading the way and once the ball got into the Nomads forward line it was trouble signs for the Cats with Nomad guns Dave Richards and Weston Whitby getting the Nomads to a comfortable but hard earned sixteen point break.

The second quarter was very similar to the first in that the Cats tried valiantly to get into the game and asked plenty of questions of the Nomads right across the park, however the Nomads although still had a few too many weapons for the home side with the likes of Adrian Walsh working hard in the ruck, young winger Kaine Rowlings providing plenty of run out wide and the ever reliable Matt Woodward providing plenty of grunt in the middle the New England boys were able to build their lead to twenty seven points by half time.

The Nomads this season have quickly built a reputation of putting sides away in the ‘premiership’ quarter and Saturday was no exception. Coach Tom Granleese would have been delighted with his charges in the third as they relentlessly attacked the cats and drove attacking raid after raid. Led by on baller Fruend and Centre Half forward Whitby the Cats had no answer to Nomads with Richards providing his usual spark across half forward and a mystery man whom some say usually played in a key defensive role getting amongst the goals at full forward the Nomads built an imposing lead of sixty nine points heading into the final break.

Given the intensity of the first three quarters and the heavy conditions it was no surprise the Nomads were a little flat in the final term and Muswellbrook managed to provide some late resistence. The Nomads although weary still battled away as all good sides do and finished the match fifty three point victors. All the Nomads could hold their heads high after such a strong victory however special mention should be made of the performances of Ballagh, Frost and Cook in defence, Fruend and Walsh in the midfield and Richards, Whitby and the coach who may have snared himself a bag of five goals!

In what shaped to be a danger game for the under manned premiership front runners, coach Granleese would have been delighted with the endeavour and commitment shown by all of his fringe players and now faces the challenging task in coming weeks of finding places for some of those who sat out the match – a pleasing dilemma to have!

Grand Final Result

Saints def. by Nomads
 GBP GBP
Q12315 3220
HT6642 8654
Q310868 10969
FT11975 1511101

Team:

  • C. Ballagh,
  • V. Chakalisa,
  • R. Connor,
  • H. Cook,
  • A. Cruickshank,
  • S. Cusack,
  • C. Dobos,
  • Z. Economou,
  • G. Elson,
  • J. Freund,
  • J. Frost,
  • D. Graan,
  • T. Granleese,
  • B. Julien,
  • N. Lambie,
  • L. McLeod,
  • D. Richards,
  • S. Stubbs,
  • P. Tobias,
  • A. Walsh,
  • W. Whitby,
  • M. Woodward.

Goalscorers:

  • D. Richards (4),
  • W. Whitby (3),
  • S. Cusack (2),
  • A. Cruickshank,
  • C. Dobos,
  • D. Graan,
  • J. Freund,
  • R. Connor,
  • V. Chakalisa.

Award winners:

  • D. Graan (Graham Nuttall Trophy),
  • Z. Economou (Coach's),
  • D. Richards (President's),
  • W. Whitby (Captain's),
  • J. Freund (VC's),
  • R. Connor (Red Rooster).

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