Nomads score a Home Grand Final!

The New England Nomads are into the 2104 TAFL grand final after a convincing win over the Inverell Saints in the second semi final. In a game in which the final quarter was cut short due to a serious and unfortunate injury to an Inverell player, the Nomads scored 16.11.107 to the Saints 5.9.39. It was a real team effort, although Rampaging Dave Richards was a standout with his six straight goals. The grand final will now be held in Armidale on September 13 at the much-loved Bellevue ground, starting 2.00 pm sharp.

The atmosphere in the Nomads’ change rooms at the start of the game was very subdued, undoubtedly in part as a consequence of nerves but also it reflected a genuinely serious intent on the part of the Green team. The Nomads went through their warm-up drills lead (for the first time) by everyone’s favourite Gallic centre half-forward, AndrĂ© “the Pool Shark” Garraud. Not everyone was entirely convinced by the routines, especially Frosty who seemed to baulk at the sumo squats – indeed it seemed to reduce him to fits of laughter. Whatever the merits of the drills themselves (and no one is doubting their worth AndrĂ©), the Nomads who were kicking away from the grandstand end, were ready to go right from the first bounce. The hardness at the ball was striking. Before the game Zac-the-Coach had impressed upon everyone the importance of running straight lines, in the way that Wellsy had the week before, and it was clear in the first few minutes that the message had sunk in. Tom Hunt was once again dominating in his natural position at Centre Half Back. Weston, who had dragged himself out of a flu-ridden bed, was creating problems for the Inverell backs, as was Modra who was enjoying the wide open spaces of the Bellevue. The back line was holding strong with Rowdy, Sol and Gleeso combining a number of times to deny the Inverell forwards goal kicking opportunities. The Saints were winning some of the midfield stoppages but that was all that was keeping them in the game. At the first change the scores were 6.3.39 to 3.3.21.

During the break mention was made of the need to man up at the bounce on a couple of the Saints’ talented young midfielders. Dr Flexo Freund took it upon himself to curb his own natural attacking game and play a defensive role and it had a big effect on the Saints’ ability to move the ball forward. In this second quarter, which saw the Nomads kicking to grandstand end, the Nomads spread and run came into play. The Nomads had winners right across the park. Izzy Graham was moving quickly and marking well across the wings and the half forward flank and setting up lots of opportunities for the triumvirate of Zac, Weston and Modra. The Gallic Giant was clearly enjoying his role as a key forward, roaming all over the forward line with strong contested play. Mat Foley was his usual destructive self. Mark E Spencer was also providing plenty of drive on the wing with his run and his precision kicking. In the latter he was not alone. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the quarter were the foot skills displayed by the Nomads. Right across the park the New Englanders were hitting targets.

At half time the Nomads were leading 12.8.80 to 4.4.28.

The third quarter saw some hard football played. The Saints came out determined but the Nomads were clearly just as determined, with the defence being particularly miserly. Modra was in his best elusive form, running quickly onto chaos balls kicked forward and Weston took a number of strong contested marks against spirited opposition. The team seemed much fresher than the Saints and were able to run the ball quickly from end to end. The defence was particularly impressive. In one memorable moment, Sol Hanks managed to overtake two Saints’ forwards who were running into a loose ball in front of an open goal, gather the ball from them and send it out onto the wing. What was particularly remarkable about this event was not only Sol’s winning the ball in adverse circumstance, but that he did so on his own, given that for most of the game the Nomads had numbers at every contest. At the final change the scores were 15.11.101 to 5.6.36.

It looked at the start of the final quarter that the Nomads might really break the shackles and rack up a score. However, in the first few minutes one of the Saints players was badly hurt in a contest and was stretchered off. An ambulance was called and the game was called off with nearly 15 minutes to go.

Overall, it was an impressive team effort on the part of the Nomads and it is to be hoped that the Nomads can continue this form in a fortnight. Best for the Nomads were Modra, Sol, Tommy Hunt, Spence, Andre the Galloping Gallometer and the ever reliable Clinton Ballagh (better known as Rowdy). A great evening was then had around the pool table with a dress rehearsal for the upcoming Nomads Pool Cup being held. Chux continued his form that sees him as a clear favourite. Tom Hunt was busily tasting everyone’s beers to ensure they were genuinely theirs, Woody was slyly teaming up with superior partners to maintain the myth of his own pool prowess, Freundy, Foley and Jed were providing increasingly useful pool commentary. While out in the smoking room Modra and Weston were lost in the eternal metaphysical question of what a person born in NSW has to be called, with Weston’s slogan ‘if you are born in NSW then your name is Livermore’ a vote-winner with the crowd.

The next few weeks will be busy. We look forward to grand final day. If you are in Armidale, get down to the Bellevue to support the boys in Green.

Round SF2 2014

Nomads def. Saints
 GBP GBP
Q16339 3321
HT12880 4428
Q31511101 5636
FT1611107 5939

Team:

  • C. Ballagh,
  • V. Chakalisa,
  • T. Dickson,
  • Z. Economou,
  • M. Foley,
  • J. Freund,
  • J. Frost,
  • A. Garraud,
  • C. Graham,
  • I. Graham,
  • T. Granleese,
  • W. Hall,
  • S. Hanks,
  • T. Hunt,
  • Z. Old,
  • L. Raymond,
  • D. Richards,
  • M. Spencer,
  • O. Temoso,
  • Z. Wells,
  • W. Whitby,
  • M. Woodward.

Goalscorers:

  • D. Richards (6),
  • W. Whitby (3),
  • Z. Economou (3),
  • I. Graham (2),
  • A. Garraud,
  • M. Spencer.

Award winners:

  • D. Richards (Players' Player),
  • A. Garraud (Coach's),
  • T. Hunt (President's),
  • J. Freund (Captain's),
  • M. Foley (Gleeson's),
  • M. Spencer (Spectators').

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