Nomads clinch four in a row

By Ben Lonergan (Armidale Express, 23/09/2015)
The most successful team in the history of the Tamworth AFL reaffirmed their dominance on the competition on Saturday.

A fourth-quarter masterclass from skipper Dave Richards guided the New England Nomads to their fourth consecutive premiership.

Behind Richards and coach Zac Economou, the Nomads turned a half-time deficit into a thrilling 72-61 win at Bellevue Oval over the Tamworth Kangaroos.

“It’s been fantastic,” Economou said of the grand final celebrations.

“The feeling was more relief than anything straight after the game, just having that weight of expectation lifted.

“But after that it’s been great celebrating with some of the guys who have won their first senior grand finals.”

The 11-point margin was the closest any team has come to the Nomads since their loss in the opening round of the year, something which Economou said only added to the grand final adrenaline rush.

“It made it feel like we earned it a bit more,” he said.

“It was a bit of an unknown how the boys would respond in a close game because we haven’t been in many close games all year.

“But I couldn’t have been prouder of how they responded.”

The Nomads found themselves behind 24-9 at quarter time and 44-32 at half time courtesy of some wayward kicking.

“Goal kicking was the main difference in the first half,” Economou said.

“They took their chances in front of goal and we didn’t.

“I just told the boys to relax and not drop their heads.

“We knew we were playing good footy we just needed to be better in front of goal.”

The half time speech appeared to pay immediate dividends as the Nomads re-took the lead by three-quarter time, jumping out to a two-point 53-51 buffer.

But it wasn’t all smooth sailing in the third quarter, with the Nomads losing Paddy Tobias to a horrific broken leg.

Seeing Tobias carted off an ambulance only added to the Nomads’ fire to bring home a fourth straight flag.

“I was so disappointed for Paddy,” Economou said.

“He was one of our best all year.

“But I think it galvanised the team seeing Paddy lying there like that.”

The Kangaroos booted two early behinds in the final quarter to level the scores, but then Richards decided to take over.

Richards booted three fourth quarter goals to take his tally to five for the match.

“Dave blew it open for us,” Economou said.

“He had a bit more space and got some good delivery.”

Vice-captain Matt Foley was also outstanding for the Nomads as were fellow club leaders Tom Granleese, Tom Hunt and Jed Ellis-Cluff.

“The experience shone through there,” Economou said.

Economou’s two seasons in charge have brought two premierships, but he is now contemplating stepping down from coaching and returning just playing.

“I’ve really enjoyed it,” he said.

“I couldn’t ask for a better group of guys to coach.

“It’s been a great season and it was a great way to finish with a nice, tight grand final.

“But I think it might be time for me to pass the reins on and give someone else a chance.”

Not for reproduction except by permission of the Armidale Express

Grand Final Result

Nomads def. Roos
 GBP GBP
Q1139 4024
HT4832 7244
Q371153 8351
FT101272 9761

Team:

  • C. Barker,
  • H. Clarke,
  • H. Cook,
  • T. Dickson,
  • Z. Economou,
  • J. Ellis-Cluff,
  • M. Foley,
  • A. Garraud,
  • T. Granleese,
  • W. Hall,
  • T. Hunt,
  • T. Keys,
  • S. Macdonald,
  • P. Mitchell,
  • A. Mitchelson,
  • J. Petrascu,
  • L. Raymond,
  • D. Richards,
  • J. Shirley,
  • M. Spencer,
  • P. Tobias,
  • M. Woodward.

Goalscorers:

  • D. Richards (5),
  • Z. Economou (2),
  • H. Clarke,
  • J. Ellis-Cluff,
  • J. Shirley.

Award winners:

  • M. Foley (Players' Player),
  • D. Richards (Coach's),
  • J. Ellis-Cluff (President's),
  • T. Granleese (Captain's),
  • P. Mitchell (Meehan's Plumbing Services').

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