Nomads ready

By James Polson (Armidale Express, 14/03/2008)
All AFL eyes will be on Bellevue Oval this weekend as five teams vie for the pre-season Tablelands Cup.

The New England Nomads, Tamworth Swans, Nambucca Lions, Inverell Saints and, for the first time, the Sawtell Saints, will do battle for the trophy ahead of the regular Tamworth Australian Football League season that kicks off on April 12.

The competition will be played in a round-robin format with two 15-minute halves per match, and the winner will be the side that accrues the most points from their four matches.

The Nomads will come against Tamworth in the morning’s first match at 9.30, followed by games against Nambucca at 10.50, Sawtell at 1.30 and last year’s premiers Inverell at 3.30.

The last game between Tamworth and Nambucca is scheduled for 4.10 and will be followed by presentations at the Wicklow Hotel.

New England will be looking to improve on a disappointing 2007, a season in which injuries and player numbers crippled the club at times, but club president Ben Page said a number of players would be unavailable for the weekend’s tournament.

“We definitely won’t be at full strength this weekend which is a shame,” he said.

“Our ruckman Anthony Reid will be out, he’s definitely one of our best players, Caleb Dobos will be out for the cricket finals and a few others have commitments.

“It’s always a good way to kick off the year so we’re looking forward to it.”

Page said the club was still hoping for more players to bolster the ranks ahead of the season opener.

“To be honest we’re still a bit light at this stage, we haven’t got the numbers we’d anticipated,” he said.

“In saying that, we’ve definitely got a full squad but when injuries and university holidays hit we’ll be a bit light on, we’re hoping to get a few more players but we’re looking alright at the moment.”

Page singled out last year’s TAFL premiers and the cup newcomers as teams to watch.

“I would expect Inverell and Sawtell to be the teams to beat,” he said.

“We’ve never come up against Sawtell before but they came up against Port Macquarie in their grand final last year so going on that form I would say they will give Inverell a run for their money.

“We’re delighted to have two North Coast teams with Sawtell. Next year we’ll have three because Port Macquarie have assured me they’ll make it.”

He said the appeal of the pre-season competition came out of playing sides they don’t often face.

“All the clubs are looking forward to a good weekend,” he said.

“All clubs enjoy playing teams from other comps, it’s something different and if there’s only six teams in a [regular season] competition things can get a bit mundane.”

Not for reproduction except by permission of the Armidale Express

Comments are closed.

  • League standings

  • Roos
  • Swans
  • Nomads
  • Saints
  • Bulldogs
  • Suns & Eagles
  • Full table
  • The Nomads thank: