The New England Nomads have created TAFL history by winning five flags in a row, defeating the Tamworth Kangaroos by 92 points. In front of a large crowd at the Bellevue Cathedral, Nomads’ captain David ‘Modra’ Richards kicked 10 goals to put the flag well beyond the reach of the Roos. The Nomads had winners all across the park but standouts for the day included the midfielders Harry Freund and Hamish Pearce, the wingers Luke ‘Rambo’ Raymond and Velani Chakalisa and backmen Matt Foley, Tom Hunt and Brett Grant. Final scores were 19.18.132 to 6.4.40.
It had rained heavily overnight but by mid-morning the sun was out and the wind was blowing strongly from the west and started to dry out the oval. There was a great deal of activity around the ground with tents and blow-up archways being erected before the Juniors Grand Final between Moree and Inverel began. The Juniors final, which added greatly to the atmosphere around the Bellevue, was won by Moree with the last kick of the day.
After the coin toss by the Vice Chancellor of UNE, Professor Annabelle Duncan, the Nomads kicked to the Uralla end. As Coach Ellis-Cluff had predicted prior to the game the Roos came out hard. It was hard finals football. In the midfield Hamish Pearce, Harry Freund and James Treweeke were winning lots of hard contested ball but the Roos backs were making it hard for the Nomads, punching when the ball was in the air and roving the packs. Up forward the boy from Barham-Koondrook, Jesse Petrascu was throwing himself into packs with nary a thought for his own safety (obviously taking his cue from the king of extreme head-over-the-ball sports, Rambo). Zac Economou was also doing a lot of hard grunt work around the half forward line The backs held firm during this period with Mitch Darton and the Wild Man from Armindale- Phill Mitchell – taking the lead. Brett Grant was doing his usual sterling job as a lockdown defender and the Frostman was at his best reading the play in only the way that he can. Harry Wakefield kicked the Nomads only goal for the quarter. At the first break the two sides were neck and neck with the Nomads up by a mere point. The scores were 1.2.8 to 1.1.7.
Things changed radically in the second quarter. While at the first break it looked like it was going to be a close game, by half time this was no longer the case. The primary cause was a remarkable 6 goal second burst from Modra who was unstoppable. He kicked them from all angles and from all direction. In one memorable snap he shot over his head running completely in the other direction from 25 metres out and kicked truly. For most of the year he had played in the midfield but for the grand final he returned to playing as a permanent forward and obviously relished the opportunity in front of a big crowd. Of course, the events of this quarter were not only due to Modra. The team lifted during the quarter generally and started to play the running football that has seen them undefeated all season. Rambo and Chaks were creating havoc on their respective wings and the human steamroller, Shane Snowden, was running through any Roos that dared get in his way as he helped propel the ball forward. Clarrie Barker also was working hard in the midfield and directing traffic with a maturity well beyond his 17 years. The other youngster in the team, Cameron Graham was also having an impact on the half forward flank running the ball forward. Bullet is arguably the quickest Nomad (we never did get to have that Nomads Olympics day to test these things out) and used his pace to great effect.
At half time the scoreboard had the Nomads on 8.12.60 and the Roos on 2.2.14. The only non-Richards to score a goal in the quarter was Clarrie Barker.
The third quarter saw the Nomads kicking into the wind and aiming to restrict any scoring opportunities that the Roos might create. Tom Hunt, who had been playing a shutdown role for most of the first half, cast of the shackles and began to take some very strong pack marks. The Jealous Cluff Guy (“he didn’t mean to make you cry”) made many intercepts through the midfield, redirecting play towards the waiting forwards. Matt Foley also played an important part throughout the game with his canny work in the backline and his precision kicking. Ruckman James Treweeke, playing a kick behind the play, controlled the air across the half backline while Mitch as ever was dependable at Half-back Gleeso. The Roos only managed two for the quarter with the wind thanks to the determinations of the back and midfield. At the final change the scores were 13.14.92 to 4.3.27.
In the final quarter the Nomads put the foot down kicking a further 6 goals. Tom Hunt and Phill Mitchell ran through the midfield while Big Jim Treweeke rested in the backline and demonstrated (if anyone was on in doubt) that the side has a wealth of ruck talent. (Phill didn’t manage to sneak a goal during this foray into the ruck). Modra added to his tally. Chris Roe took some strong marks around the half forward line and Wulu “Choco” Hall caused havoc wherever he went.
It was a wonderful victory. Modra put in a remarkable display. He has kicked 37 goals in 5 grand final performances for the Nomads – a remarkable feat – but this was undoubtedly the most remarkable of those displays. In the second quarter Modra broke the hearts of the Roos and it was basically game over from that moment on. There were many other strong performances. Tim Keys at centre half forward bullocked his way through packs and held a number of marks against multiple opponents. Zac Economou playing further up the ground than he has in recent weeks, was pivotal with his strong work on the ground and in the air and kicked two goals for good measure. Coach Ellis-Cluff lead by example all day. And in the backline, Phill Mitchell looking like a civil war general, kept an eye on structures.
Some final remarks
Some points worth noting.
Hamish Pearce who with Weston Whitby carried the side when he played with is in 2010 and 2011, finally got to savour a Nomads premiership.
Zac and Modra have won five flags with the Nomads and Rambo, Tom Granleese, Velani Chakalisa and Frosty four. There are also a number of players with three Nomads flags to their names, these being Matt Foley, Zac Wells, Tom Hunt and Jed Ellis-Cluff.
It is also worth noting with some considerable sadness that this is the end of an era in many ways with a number of players likely to leave the Nomads. Amongst those, Zac Economou, Matt Foley, Cameron Graham and Clarrie Barker are definites. Zac has played in all five premierships and has been both a powerhouse player and an excellent clubman. Matt Foley, who has played in three premierships and has done a great job as Assistant Coach is heading west to work as an agronomist out Moree way. Clarrie and The Bullet will be heading to the North Shore Bombers under 19′s to further their football careers. All will be sorely missed around the traps for their good humour and companionship, as well as their football prowess.
First of all to Jed for all the hard work he put into training and thinking through the team structures. Well done Coach Ellis-Cluff. Little Dawg!
Secondly, thanks to all the boys who played through the year but missed out on the finals – especially Liam Cudmore, Callum Malers and Tom Lashlie who only just missed out on selection for the grand final team – it would not be possible without all of you. All three ran messages and water during the grand final day – this was most appreciated. Also to Isaac Mestrom, who unfortunately lost a kidney during the year in an horrific accident. Thanks for all your help comrade. It is always great to have your cheerful assistance around the place.
To Zac Economou – people don’t realise how much he does about the place – he will be sorely missed, not just for his playing. We wish him really well down south.
Foles as Assistant Coach who stepped up to the plate and really worked on our structures.
Also to Brendan Meehan, Dave Bizarro Bioletti and Knuckles who undertake tasks no one else thinks of. Brendan Nolan for the continuing and unflagging support he gives even when far away. Tom Granleese, also not living in Armidale, has provided all sorts of assistance and has run the Facebook site with unfailing dedication.
To Hugh Cook for being MC Without Peer and for lending his PA—which has in the past been damaged by some Jilbi’s enthusiasms— for the announcements, thank you.
To Xavier Walsh (the Bottle-flip king), Ethan Bray, Mitchell Harriot and Morgan Dunn for being boundary umpires and Gus for his efforts as goal umpire.
And finally to Michelle Bray for those Thursday food extravaganzas. What would Thursday night training be without the reward of the BBQ afterwards?
Well done to all and apologies to anyone I have left out.
What a great year – thanks from the Old Dawg!
Grand Final Result
|Nomads def. Roos|
- C. Barker,
- V. Chakalisa,
- M. Darton,
- Z. Economou,
- J. Ellis-Cluff,
- M. Foley,
- H. Freund,
- J. Frost,
- C. Graham,
- B. Grant,
- W. Hall,
- T. Hunt,
- T. Keys,
- P. Mitchell,
- H. Pearce,
- J. Petrascu,
- L. Raymond,
- D. Richards,
- C. Roe,
- S. Snowden,
- J. Treweeke,
- H. Wakefield.
- D. Richards (10),
- J. Ellis-Cluff (2),
- Z. Economou (2),
- C. Barker,
- L. Raymond,
- V. Chakalisa,
- W. Hall.
- D. Richards (Graham Nuttall Medal),
- D. Richards (Players' Player),
- H. Wakefield (Coach's),
- H. Freund (President's),
- J. Frost (Captain's),
- L. Raymond (Meehan's Plumbing Services'),
- H. Pearce (Fole’s No.4 Finals).