Nomads tune up

By Ben Lonergan (Armidale Express, 21/03/2014)
The Cardiff Hawks have again taken out the SportUNE AFL Tablelands Cup after completely dominating the competition.

The defending champions went through the competition undefeated and convincingly beat the Coffs Harbour Swans 45-18 in the grand final to again take home the Tablelands Cup.

Armidale side, the New England Nomads were unlucky to miss out on a crack at the Hawks in the grand final.

They were tied with the Swans on points after the round robin matches, but the Swans advanced on percentages.

Nomads representative and knockout organiser Tom Granleese said the Hawks were a cut above the competiton.

“The brought a pretty big squad,” he said.

“They are a pretty slick outfit.”

The Hawks play in the Black Diamond Australian Football League in the Hunter, which is regarded as one of the top AFL competitions in NSW.

Granleese said while the Nomads took a depleted squad into the competition, although there were some positive signs to take away.

“It was a strange weekend for us actually,” he said.

“Most of our new uni students got a little bit homesick and were unavailable.”

After some years away, local boy Tom Hunt has returned to Armidale and was one of the best performers for the Nomads.

David Richards and Jed Ellis-Cluff were strong in the forward-line, while new captain Weston Whitby was a standout in the mid-field.

The two time defending Tamworth AFL champions will have a slightly new look about them in 2014 as they search to be the first side to win three consecutive premierships.

“We’ve lost a few, but we’ve gained just as many back,” Granleese said.

“There are some very handy inclusions, we’re going for the three-peat.

“It would be great to achieve that.”

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