Win against Inverell will set the 2010 season for Nomads

by Matt Nicholls (Armidale Express, 14/05/2010)

Nomads' captain Nick Schultz

Nomads' captain Nick Schultz

New England Nomads captain Nick Schultz says his side can book a place in the finals and kick-start their premiership campaign with a win over Inverell tomorrow.In what will be the Nomads’ biggest game of the Tamworth AFL season, Schultz said a win over the Saints at Bellevue Oval would be a ‘massive confidence booster’. 

“This is a big chance for us to separate us from the bottom three,” he said. “Narrabri, Gunnedah and Muswellbrook are all struggling this season so we can cement a spot in the top-four if we beat Inverell. It will be a massive confidence booster as well. We’re not playing just to make up the numbers.”

Inverell, regarded as one of the toughest teams in the TAFL, will be no pushovers.

The Saints go into the game on the back of a loss to the Tamworth Kangaroos last week.

Inverell coach Nick Baird said his side would have to work on their starts after they were ‘jumped’ by the Roos.

The Saints lost by 23 points in the top-of-the-table clash, but Baird said a poor first term was his side’s downfall.

The Roos kicked 7.5 to the Saints’ 2.2 to set up a 33-point lead.

Baird said after the game the first quarter killed his side.

“Apart from that we played pretty well,” he said.

“I was pretty happy with the way we played after that.

“We stuck it out and I thought we were a chance when Mick Viney kicked a goal early in the final quarter.”

Viney’s goal brought Inverell within 15 points of the Roos, but the Tamworth side steadied to win.

Schultz said he expected the Saints to come out firing tomorrow.

“They beat us twice at home last year and they travel better than any other side in the competition,” he said.

“But (Inverell’s) big bodies aren’t everything.

“We will need to try and expose them by playing a running game.”

Schultz, who played his first game of the season last week against Muswellbrook after an overseas trip, will be one of the key players for New England tomorrow.

A cornerstone of the defence, Schultz, Clint Ballagh and Adrian Walsh must stand tall against the Inverell forwards.

At the other end of the ground, Weston Whitby is expected to return to the side after missing last week’s match with a niggling injury.

Whitby has been a linchpin up forward for the Nomads this season, and along with Matt Maxwell, has given the opposition defenders plenty to think about.

But for Whitby and Maxwell to kick goals, they must be fed by the midfield.

Hamish Pearce has been in career-best form of late and will be a driving force in the engine room, while Johnathon Frost, Matt Bourke and Jay Wright will also provide support.

Play starts at 2pm at Bellevue Oval tomorrow.

See The Express on Monday for a full wrap of the match.

Not for reproduction except by permission of the Armidale Express

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