Nomads win their final game in the curtailed COVID season

The New England Nomads finished off their season with a win against the Inverell Saints and in doing so ensured third place for the year. Given that the only final was to be between the first and second placed teams, the Noeys did not get to participate in the finals. The team played well in what was Sol Hanks’ 50th game. It showed what the team was capable of if given more time to develop. Up forward, Andy Gray, John McKay and David “Rampaging” Richards kicked 3 goals apiece. But it was the backline that was particularly impressive with Clarrie Barker, Will Gardner (shame he has spent so much time playing rugby) and Phill Mitchell letting very little through. Tom Hunt, Morgan Dunn and Tom Moscou also contributed strongly to the final outcome.

The game was also marked by a tinge of sadness with the team aware that this would be the last game for Luke “Rambo” Raymond who has played in 4 premiership teams for the Nomads as well as the last game from Echunga’s finest Andy Gray and the Walchan tyro Morgan Dunn.

The final scores were 15.14.104 to 9.5.59

The Nomads arrived at Inverell to overcast conditions and the team was raring to go for their last hit out. The start of the game was delayed by a nasty injury in the women’s match between the Swans and Saints. The Nomads kicked to the Armidale end with a much stronger side than in previous weeks. A big inclusion was Tom Hunt back in the ruck and Robb rugby aficionados Joofa Mckay and Willy Gardner were also available. Unfortunately Ira Sulzberger and Conor Nest were missing from the final 22 as was Jesse Petrascu.

The team were switched on from the get-go fro Sol’s 50th game with the club. Sol started as a high school whippet in 2005 and played for 4 years then and came back for the 2014 season where he was member of the winning grand final team.

Early in the first quarter Ben Fleming—reminiscent of his distant relative Alex Jezzalenko’s effort in the 1970 grand final—flew high above the pack and took a screamer and then just as cooly went back and kicked the goal. A shame none of the family had arrived at that stage to see Flemmalenko’s effort. In the backline Will Gardner dominated – with clever intercept marking and teaming up with Phill Mitchell and Clarrie, they made it very difficult for the Saints forwards. The scores at the first break were 4.3.27 to 2.0.12.

The second quarter saw the midfield dominating but unfortunately the goal kicking was at times atrocious. Thank god for the back line in this quarter because the team could have been in trouble given the goal kicking. Tom Moscou chasing hard-ball-gets took a few hard knocks shirt-fronting some Vladimir Putin look alike and coming out best. In the last line of defence, Lindsay Brown was Kevin-Sheedy like in his tenacious attack on the ball, saving a number of goals in one-on-one situations.The scores at half time were 7.9.51 to 2.3.15.

In the third quarter the midfield really took over, Morgan Dunn took on Jesse Petrascu’s role as the inside blockbuster with Rambo and Modra running on the outside and blasting the ball forward time and time again. Half way through the quarter Joofa kicked an inspirational goal and celebrated with genuine enthusiasm, much to the delight of the Nomads’ crowd. In a highly ink-decorated clash, Benji Dutaillis and Charlie Pain perhaps took loving the club a little too far and crashed into each other, with both on the ground for a few worrying seconds – but both were in the end fine. On the wing Jungo Morgan was enjoying the space and collecting lots of ball. The scores at the final change were Nomads 11,12.78 to the Saints 6.4.40.

The fourth quarter started well with Clarrie kicking a fine running goal after taking the ball in the midfield. That goal, broke any thought the Saints had of coming back. The backs continued their fine form and the midfield led by Tom Hunt dominated.

Overall it was a very good effort in this game and for the year given only 3 months earlier it looked like we would not have a team. Well done to Tom Hunt, Harri Mundey and Kayla Hall for all the work they did to ensure we had a team on the park.

Players player Sol Hanks
Coach’s award: C. Barker
President’s award; W.Gardner
Meehan’s Plumbing Award: P. Mitchell
Captain’s award: J.McKasy

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