Understrength Nomads no match for Saints

By James Polson (Armidale Express, 21/04/2008)
The New England Nomads had a disappointing trip to Inverell’s Varley Oval for their round two clash with last year’s Tamworth Australian Football League premiers on Saturday.

The Saints were far too good for the understrength Armidale side, coming away with a 75-point win.

The final score was 18-19-127 to 8-4-52.

The last meeting between the two sides came in the pre-season Tablelands Cup competition, during which the Nomads inflicted Inverell’s first defeat since 2006 on their way to taking the cup for the first time.

The Nomads were on the back foot from the start after Inverell took a 45-point advantage into quarter time.

The Saints booted eight goals in the first period to take an 8-4-52 to 1-1-7 lead into the break.

New England came out fighting in the second quarter kicking five goals to one but were unable to bridge the gap, and failed to land another major for the rest of the game.

Fraser Hughes was the best for the Saints, kicking five goals, while Michael Corley got the points for player’s player.

Gary Hadland and Michael Viney each booted three majors.

For the Nomads, Weston Whitby landed four, Matthew Maxwell two and the only other goalscorers were Ben Page and Jay Wright who potted one each.

Page said the Nomads weren’t too disappointed with the performance.

“We were but it was a vastly different team to the one we put on the park in the Tablelands Cup,”he said.

“We were just hoping to be competitive and to be blatantly honest probably didn’t expect to win.

“The score blew out a bit in the fourth quarter, we started to run out of players and inexperience probably cost us a little.”

Page named a number of players outside of the main goalscorers as standouts.

“Anthony Reid and Clint Ballagh were probably our two best,” he said.

“They played exceptionally well, as did Matthew Maxwell, Ken Clayton and Brent Weightman.”

The Nomads return to Bellevue Oval on Saturday to take on the Muswellbrook Cats.

The Cats had a 21-point loss to Tamworth at the weekend and are yet to record a win this season.

Page told the Express some of the missing players, mainly university students, will be back in the squad for this week’s match.

“We’re expecting a few back, most will be travelling back that weekend but we hope a couple will be back early,” he said.

“We’re fairly confident of getting a win and the season will pretty much start the week after when we’re full-strength.”

In other TAFL action this week Inverell host the Tamworth Kangaroos while Gunnedah will also travel to the country music capital to face off against the Swans.

Not for reproduction except by permission of the Armidale Express

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