New look Nomads ready to roll

Matt Green clears, Tablelands Cup 2009

Matt Green clears, Tablelands Cup 2009

By James Polson (Armidale Express, 01/05/2009)
The New England Nomads start their 2009 Country Energy Tamworth Australian Football League (TAFL) season at home tomorrow against the Tamworth Swans.

Both sides are in the midst of a rebuilding phase with the Nomads dealing with a mass exodus of players from the squad that finished third last season, while the Swans just missed a finals berth in 2008.

It will be a big day at Bellevue Oval with the junior Auskick session commencing at midday, followed by the seniors match which will include a longest kick competition, sponsored by Country Energy, at halftime.

There will be prizes on offer and the halftime fun is open to anyone.

Winners from each club will all compete for a major prize on grand final day.

Nomads president Ben Page said the locals were looking forward to getting back on the paddock and seeing what the new squad can do.

“It’s been a long pre-season with the late start, I think some guys are probably sick of training,” he said.

“Our coach Brendan Meehan has been over the moon with the numbers we’ve been getting to training and the level of football is just getting better and better.”

Page said that, despite the inexperience of much of the roster, the Nomads were looking for another strong season.

“Probably half the guys haven’t played before, but they’ve played other codes so the ball skills and fitness are there,” he said.

“The coaching staff are under no illusions that it will probably take a few games for us to hit our straps.”

Unlike previous seasons, the university contingent does not form a significant portion of the squad.

Page said that this year only ‘five or six’ of the Nomads are students – a fact that will come in handy when the university holidays hit.

“That was always a big problem,” he said.

“We’d field some fairly understrength sides.

“We’ve got a lot of town guys, which is something we’ve wanted for a few years, and they’re all guys who are settled in town with jobs so they’ll be available.”

The only unavailable players for the round one hitout are students yet to return from holidays.

“It’s unfortunate because there’s some handy footballers among them,” Page said.

The Tamworth Kangaroos made it two in a row over the last year’s grand final opponents Inverell in Tamworth last week with an 11-point win in the traditional ANZAC Day clash, while in other TAFL action this weekend the Gunnedah Bulldogs head to the Hunter to take on Muswellbrook.

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