Nomads back in training

By James Polson (Armidale Express, 10/09/2007)
The New England Nomads have resumed training ahead of the 2008 Tamworth Australian Football League season.

The Nomads have a new coach in long-time player Brendan Meehan and are looking forward to a big season.

Speaking to the Express after their first run on Tuesday, club president Ben Page said things were looking bright for the club.

“We had about 16 guys turn up which for the first session of the year without university is probably double what we expected,” he said.

“At times last year we did struggle with numbers, we certainly didn’t have the depth that we’ve had in previous years and we’re hoping to get around that issue this season.

“We’ve only lost a couple of players from last year that we’re aware of so we’re looking at retaining the nucleus of last year’s squad and we always pick up a few students.

“We also want to be proactive in trying to get a few more guys from town so hopefully we can pick up a few who are interested in trying something different.”

Page said that the reserves competition mooted at the TAFL annual general meeting won’t be going ahead.

“There won’t be a reserves comp, only two of the clubs supported it fully which were us and Tamworth and they really needed others to get behind it,” he said.

“It would have been a challenge for us to but we were more than happy for it to go ahead.

“We’ve secured the Wicklow Hotel again as our major sponsor for the third year in a row which we certainly appreciate, without them we wouldn’t have a club so their support is fantastic.”

Page said he was looking forward to the new coaching team leading the Nomads in the 2008 season.

“He’s (Meehan) been around the club for a couple of years, he’s played for us as well and he’s an ex-pat Victorian who played at a high level down there many moons ago,” he said.

“We’re hoping he’ll pick up where Adrian Walsh left off and bring some fresh ideas in.

“Both of them know the players and the club and we think they’ll be a good team.”

The Nomads, who went out in the second week of the finals last year with two losses, will be looking to improve on that result this year.

“It was pretty disappointing, we challenged Inverell (the eventual premiers) and I think they’d say the only team they were really worried about was us,” Page said.

“Unfortunately when the finals came around we just didn’t play to our ability.

“It’s just made us that much hungrier this year and we’re very confident that we can at least make the big game.”

Page said the team would be looking to a number of players to do big things this year.

“We had a number of guys that played representative football last year, like Anthony Reid and our captain Glen Northway who are probably two of our key players,” he said.

“Glen did very well in the league’s beat and fairest, he was runner-up.

“He also played in the rep side and won our best and fairest by a country mile, so we’ll certainly be looking to him.

“Anthony’s probably the best ruckman in the competition so he’s a fairly experienced campaigner.

“Some of the younger guys that are coming through like Hamish Robertson and Caleb Dobos we’ll be looking to come on and step up.

The Nomads will have their first hit-out of the season at the Tablelands Cup which will be held in Armidale on the weekend of March 15 ahead of the TAFL kickoff a fortnight later.

New England’s first match is away to Gunnedah, who finished sixth last season.

Training is at Bellevue Oval on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:30pm and all interested parties are invited to attend or to contact Ben Page on 0429-682-001.

“Anyone who’s interested is welcome to come down and have a run and kick and see what they think of it,” Page said.

“Whether they’ve played or not before isn’t an issue, we always have a heap of blokes who’ve never played the game.”

Not for reproduction except by permission of the Armidale Express

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