Cold, wet, windy and the Saints too

On a miserable afternoon in Armidale the Nomads overcame their biggest challenge of the season so far, coming from behind against the Inverell Saints to maintain their unbeaten run with five point victory. A match described by veteran Nomads as either the best victory they have been involved in or a reminder why they retired was won by 9.7 (61) to 7.14 (56).

The Saints came with a strong side and their midfield was on fire right from the outset. The Nomads, on the other hand, were slow to start. There seemed to be a reluctance to hit the ball hard. The weather was bleak: bitterly cold, wet and south-westerly winds blowing across the ground – and perhaps that was part of the explanation, but the Saints seemed to adjust more quickly to the conditions than the locals. The Nomads were not running and linking as we have come to expect this year – indeed the Saints were doing more of that than the Nomads. Luckily the backline group, lead by Zac Economou, Rowdy Ballagh and Tom Granleese were holding firm. Matt Folpp was also providing plenty of movement up forward. At the end of the quarter the Saints were one point up, the scores 2.4.16 o 2.3.15.

The second quarter saw the weather ease off a little and there was even some sunshine at one point.The Nomads were kicking to the grandstand end. The Saints midfield was playing well and was difficult to nullify – they were also playing two loose across the backline. The Saints scored three for the quarter to the Nomads solitary goal and went into their half-time huddle fifteen points ahead. The Nomads seemed unable to pass the ball to each other in the wet conditions and their was a lot of stagnant play

It was time for the Nomads to dig deep but for most of the third quarter it did not seem like that was about to happen. The Saints were playing good football and the Nomads seemed not very interested. The lead blew out to 4 goals midway through the term. It looked like the Nomads unbeaten run was over. Then came the rain, the wind and lightning and with it came a remarkable fightback. Modra decided that the only way to get the ball forward and to break a line was to run with it and so he sprinted from the half back flank to the half forward and it resulted in a goal. So he did. His cousin Isaiah Graham (back from a sojourn in Western Australia) did the same thing with another remarkable run, using footspeed rather than his usual foot skills, and the Nomads lifted with another goal. Matt Folpp then kicked a great goal out of a scrimmage from 35 metres out – remarkable given how slippery the ball was. When Skuu managed to kick a remarkable dribble goal (do not tell Jason Dunstall) the Nomads boys were elated and as the siren rung the Nomads were only five points behind. At times during this period you could not see more than 10 yards ahead of yourself for the hail and rain (which was coming almost horizontally at the players).

At the three quarter time huddle, the umpires informed the team that if the lightning continued and became any more dangerous that the game would be ended and the winner would presumably be whosoever was in front at that point This seemed to put more fire in the collective bellies of the boys – who were already highly enthused – and the team ran back out with real intent. Almost immediately Weston (who was by this stage on one leg) scored a goal and the Nomads were one point ahead. Then Modra scored an incredible goal from the far-side boundary: after running around. three opponents he slotted the ball from an incredible angle. The game then descended into an incredible huddle-fest. Giant packs followed the ball as each side desperately tried to move the slippery ball forward. It was like trying to pick up a greased pig at the show and no one could hang on to it for more than a few seconds. It would be hacked forward along the ground out of a pack and then a new pack would form. Grant Elson – back in the Green for a celebrity appearance – showed great judgment in the backline stopping many of the Saints’ forward thrusts. Inverell scored a couple of points but could not claw back the lead and when the final siren sounded the Nomads were winners by five points.

Rampaging Dave Richards was easily best on ground – his elusive speed was too much for the Saints backmen. Matt Folpp did very well to kick 4 goals on a day when only 16 goals were kicked by both sides. His strong marking and movement in the forward line was a real asset. Weston Whitby was strong in the packs in the final term. Tom Granleese, Rowdy, Sol Hanks and Zac Economou held firm in the backline.

But perhaps it is wrong to pick out individuals since the whole team lifted. It was one of the best wins the Nomads have had in their long and proud history. It speaks well for the future when the team will be at full strength over the next few weeks.

Thanks also to those who helped out in trying conditions. Brendan Meehan worked tirelessly as runner and continually encouraged the boys to lift. The goal umpires, Gus Barker and Brian Simpson, who stood steady in the rain, are to be commended for their resilience. (In some ways it was easier for the players who could at least run around in the cold.) Thanks to the boundary umpires, Xavier Walsh and the injured Andre Garraud both of whom were incredibly soaked by the end of the game and did a great job of keeping up with the game. Also thanks to Mitch Evans who had hurt his back and could not play and took over the job of time-keeper and acquitted himself admirably in that role.

Finally a couple of highlights that would have warmed Matt “Torrie-time” Woodward’s chilled bones. The first was a long torpedo kickout from Gleeso that made it to the gate on the wing near Albie’s. It was his first real success at the Dark Art of The Torp in two and half years of trying and it couldn’t have come at a better time. The second highlight was the idiosyncratic torpedo boundary throwing style of Andre “the Pool Shark” Garraud. This is perhaps the first time in one hundred and fifty years of Australian football that the ball has been thrown in like this and it added a certain Gallic elegance to the proceedings in the wet. An innovator if ever there was one!

Next week is a general by and it should give the boys time to recover from this bruising encounter.

Go the Green!

Round 8 2014

Nomads def. Saints
 GBP GBP
Q12315 2416
HT3321 5636
Q37648 71153
FT9761 71456

Team:

  • C. Ballagh,
  • C. Barker,
  • V. Chakalisa,
  • T. Dickson,
  • Z. Economou,
  • G. Elson,
  • M. Folpp,
  • J. Frost,
  • C. Graham,
  • I. Graham,
  • T. Granleese,
  • S. Hanks,
  • S. Maseko,
  • D. Richards,
  • J. Shirley,
  • M. Shirley,
  • M. Spencer,
  • O. Temoso,
  • A. Walsh,
  • T. Walsh,
  • W. Whitby,
  • M. Woodward.

Goalscorers:

  • M. Folpp (4),
  • D. Richards (3),
  • S. Maseko,
  • W. Whitby.

Award winners:

  • D. Richards (Players' Player),
  • T. Walsh (Coach's),
  • V. Chakalisa (President's),
  • C. Ballagh (Captain's),
  • J. Frost (Gleeson's).

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