Big day out for New England

By Christian Knight (Armidale Express, 12/05/2008)
Even a couple of visiting Sydney Australian Football stars couldn’t steal the limelight from the New England Nomads who celebrated the club’s 10th anniversary with a 38-point spanking of the Tamworth Swans at Bellevue Oval on Saturday.

The Nomads executed a team strategy to perfection – whoever in the team had the ball, get it to strike forward Weston Whitby.

And Whitby made the Swans pay heavily – booting eight goals in the Nomads 17-12-114 to 12-4-76 carve up.

Nomads winger Caleb Dobos said the victory was badly needed, and hoped it would be a turning point for the Armidale side’s season.

While the Swans have been struggling, the Nomads knew they would be in for a contest as the Tamworth side is ‘always competitive’, Dobos said.

In a weekend of celebration for Australian Football, Sydney Swans players were dispatched to all parts of the State and Armidale was lucky enough to host Heath Grundy and Jesse White who were on the sideline for the Nomads big day out.

The Nomads were fast out of the blocks, leading comfortably at the quarter and at the big break – but the Tamworth side came out on fire in the third, booting three quick goals.

“But then we lifted again and pulled away and kept a six or seven goal lead to come away,” Dobos said.

The win caps a successful past week for the Nomads who secured a solid victory on the road against Gunnedah where Whitby was again the spearhead with 10 majors.

“Hopefully we’ll now build a bit of momentum going into our next match against the Roos in Tamworth,” Dobos said.

That contest is likely to give the Armidale side a litmus test of their progress.

After coming up one point short of the Roos in the first round of the season, the Nomads are quietly confident they can reverse the pecking order when they march down the hill.

Dobos said the visit of the Sydney Swans players to Armidale had been a grand gesture and a fitting one given that it tied in with the Nomads’ anniversary bash.

“I spoke with Jesse and he said it was just good to get out into the community and support community football,” he said.

White told the Express he enjoyed getting back to the grassroots of the game and seeing the support AFL has in non-traditional areas like Armidale.

And as the party continued long into the night on Saturday with a celebratory ball, there was no denying that unlike their moniker of transience, the Nomads were happy to kick back in this place they proudly call home.

Not for reproduction except by permission of the Armidale Express

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