From strength to strength

From the Armidale Independent, 10/05/2006
New England Nomads' Tom Hunt takes to the air with the Muswellbrook Cats' ruckThe New England Nomads and the Muswellbrook Cats fought out a high quality, very competitive draw on Saturday at Bellevue Oval, showing the great improvement of the teams playing in the Tamworth Australian Football League.

The Nomads held their own against last year’s premiers with the final score being Nomads 10.13 (73) to the Cats’ 11.7 (73).

The Cats got an 11-point lead in the first quarter and maintained a 10 point margin until the last quarter. The Nomads overhauled them in the final quarter to lead by five points, then conceded another goal before drawing level with a few minutes left to play.

Nomads coach Adrian Walsh said the match was the best football match he has seen played in the area. “Aussie rules up here is really going from strength to strength in regards to the standard of play,” Walsh said.

“Muswellbrook has set the standard and we’ve had to try to get up to them.”

The Nomads pushed themselves to compete with the reigning premiers and Walsh was very happy with how they shaped up.

“We are really starting to play as a team brand of football and thinking about the way they deliver it to one another,” he said.

According to Walsh, the Nomads controlled the ball about 65 per cent of the time but overcrowding in the forward line and some disappointing kicks prevented the team from cashing in on their possession.

The Cats’ forward line is very organised and Walsh was impressed with their system.

“They keep it wide and open and have one main target in the full forward Ryan McIlvoy who, the week before, kicked 10 goals,” Walsh said.

“The boys had to really think about what they were doing in the back line, because if he gets a mark he’ll kick a goal.

“The back line had to work it out so there wasn’t space for him to run in to.”

Tom Hunt played a brilliant game in ruck for the Nomads and dominated in the air. On the wing John Mahy used his speed to get the ball back to the forward line really quickly.

“Up until now he hasn’t realised if he takes them on he can beat them and I think on Saturday he realised it,” Walsh said. Gus McKenzie also shone for the Nomads in the centre.

Goal scorers for the Nomads were: Glen Northway (2), Tom Hunt (2), Anthony Fisher, Matt Maxwell, Anthony Reid, Jack Sartor, Rhys Whitby and Weston Whitby.

Not for reproduction except by permission of the Armidale Independent.

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