Nomads unable to tame Saints

By James Polson (Armidale Express, 01/09/2008)
The 2008 Tamworth Australian Football League season is over for the New England Nomads after they went down to defending premiers the Inverell Saints in Saturday’s preliminary final, played at Inverell’s Varley Oval.

The Armidale side were never able to recover from a first quarter blitzkrieg in which the Saints kicked seven majors on their way to a 11-14-128 to 11-9-75 win and a grand final date with the Tamworth Kangaroos on Saturday.

While Weston Whitby kicked two of the Nomads’ first quarter goals, they were unable to match the scoring feats of the Saints, who took a 40-point lead into the halftime break.

New England returned from the main break with renewed vigour, and kicked three goals to the Saints’ two to give the Nomads faithful faint hope of a comeback.

They scored first in the final quarter with Inverell’s Chris Whitton on the sideline due to a yellow card, but once he returned there was no stopping the defending premiers.

The Saints’ Nick Baird kicked another double in the fourth to give him at total of six for the match and ensure his side would be there on the big day.

Whitby top scored for New England with six goals, while Dylan McGrath and Rich Malone each bagged doubles.

Also starring for the Saints was Michael Viney with four, Richard Gleeson with three and David Kent with two.

Nomads coach Brendan Meehan, while understandably disappointed to fall at the final hurdle, said it had been a good season for the club.

“Things didn’t go as planned,” he said.

“I was worried that after the loss last week they’d come out determined to make up for it, and that’s waht they did.

“After the seven goals in the first quarter we just couldn’t get to them.

“They deserved the win, but to give our fellas credit they never gave up, even with five minutes to go when they were six goals down.

“We were pleased to get that far, and with the Tablelands Cup it’s been a good year.”

Meehan said he expected ‘at this point’ to be at the helm of the Nomads again next season, and that the club was looking at losing a number of players from Saturday’s side.

“Six or seven of yesterday’s team will be gone,” he said.

“It will be a big building phase for the club, but with the way the game is growing around here it will be good to build up a nice home base of players.”

And Meehan’s tip for the grand final?

“At the moment it would be the Roos,” he said.

“They just seem to have that little bit extra.

“Where we’ve got good players, they have them right across the park.”

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