Nomads’ power play

By Matt Nicholls (Armidale Independent, 10/09/2014)
New England will be out to make it three premierships in a row on Saturday when it tackles Inverell in the Tamworth AFL grand final.


The Nomads and Saints have been the two powerhouse clubs in modern history, but it’s been the Armidale side with the upper hand.


In 2012, New England defeated the Saints by 26 points, while last year it was a flogging to the tune of 140 points.


On Saturday, it’s likely to be somewhere in between.


The Nomads have been the dominant side this year, losing just one game – and that was by less than a goal when they took a weakened side to Inverell.


New England coach Zac Economou, who this year took the reins, said he expected his side to win if it played its best footy.


”We think we’re the better side, but if we don’t play our best and Inverell do, then we can lose,” he said.


”But if we turn up and play good footy then I don’t think we’ll lose.”


The Nomads will have a full squad to pick from on Saturday and should be raring to go after a week’s break.


It’s likely they’ll play the same side that trounced Inverell by 68 points in the semi-finals.


”I don’t think there’ll be any changes,” Economou said.


”As with every grand final, there’ll be blokes unlucky to miss out, but that’s just part of it.”


Captain Weston Whitby relished the week’s break, as did the coach, and both should be set for big games.


Inverell had to beat the Tamworth Kangaroos on Sunday to earn the right to make amends for seasons past.


In fact, the Saints have lost the past three grand finals, having previously lost to the Roos in the 2011 decider.


Coach Nick Baird doesn’t want it to be four.


Expect a physical response from Inverell on Saturday.


The Saints are a big-bodied team which might fancy its chances of ruffling the feathers of New England’s smaller, younger team.


But it’s a tactic that has been tried before … and failed.


Economou said he was expectng the Saints to try everything to upset his side.


”It’s a grand final, you have to expect them to come out pretty hard,” he said.


”Most of our players have got finals experience, so we should be well prepared.”


Saturday’s grand final starts at 2pm on Saturday at Bellevue Oval.
Entry is free.

SNAPSHOT
Round 3: Nomads 14.12 (96) d Inverell 5.8 (38).
Round 8: Nomads 9.7 (61) d Inverell 7.14 (56).
Round 13: Inverell 13.8 (86) d Nomads 11.17 (83).
Semi-final: Nomads 16.11 (107) d Inverell 5.9 (39).

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