Nomads and Cats on a level playing field

New England draws with premiers in first home game
by Michael Morrissey (Armidale Express, 08/05/2006)

The New England Nomads asserted themselves as one of the top teams in the Tamworth Australian Football League’s competition by drawing 73-all with last year’s premiers, the Muswellbrook Cats, at Bellevue Oval on Saturday.

The Nomads clawed their way back in the final quarter after trailing by two to three goals for the majority of the match.

The end score was 10-13-73 to the Nomads and 11-7-73 to the Cats.

The draw depended heavily on John Mahy who, coach Adrian Walsh said, ‘absolutely killed it.’

The Mahy machine dominated play at the back, constantly racing the ball up the wing and getting it to the Nomads forwards.

“I was calling him the fastest legs in all of the New England,” Walsh said.

“He’s just really quick. Once he gets the idea that no one’s going to catch him he decides to take them on and he did that.

“He got the ball to the forward line heaps. He played really well.

“He’s a classic wingman. They get the ball and you look like you’re in trouble and he changes a dangerous situation into attack.”

And although Mahy did have a stellar performance, Walsh reserved credit to the team’s performance as a whole.

“That was the best game of football I’ve played in since I’ve been up here,” Walsh boldly stated.

“The boys are just starting to get together as a side.

“I’m really happy with the way they’re playing.

“We’ve been trying to change the way we play football and its starting to work.”

Walsh was pleased to almost come up trumps against the Cats, although conceding that had their shots been on target they probably would have won.

“Really in the end we should have won,” he said. “Our kicking wasn’t as good.

“The only thing we didn’t do was keep our forward line as open as we should.

“If you actually look at scores they (Muswellbrook) kicked straight. They basically kicked every set shot.

“They play a really good sort of footy and we had to pull everything out to catch them.

“I think we shocked them in the way we played.

“They did expect another one. I spoke to their coach afterwards and they were a little bit taken back.”

Walsh also praised the performance of fullback Rich Malone and Dan Drum.

Malone had the difficult job of containing Ryan McEvoy who managed 10 goals against Gunnedah.

Drum shut down Adam White, a dual best and fairest winner.

Matt Maxwell also had a solid game in the centres.

New England’s next game will be against Inverell Saints.

Not for reproduction except by permission of the Armidale Express.

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