Ready to Rumble


Matt Bourke, Johnathon Frost and Hamish Pearce

From the Armidale Express, 11/06/2010
Five New England Nomads players will represent the Tamworth AFL (TAFL) competition tomorrow. The TAFL Power will take on AFL North Coast in an interleague match at Bellevue Oval.Selectors have named a strong side on the back of a training session in Tamworth last Sunday. Coached by Tamworth kangaroos’ Tony Bishop, the Power have named Tamworth Swans star Gavin Knee as the captain. Weston Whitby, Matt Bourke, Clinton Ballagh, Hamish Pearce and Johnathon Frost will all represent the Nomads tomorrow. The Nomads are the equally best represented club in the TAFL side, with the Kangaroos and the Swans also boasting five players in the side.

Knee, who will trade in his red and white strip for royal blue and gold, is confident the Power will be hard to beat.  “I’m really looking forward to leading the team,” Knee said at Wednesday’s team launch.  “It’s always a good challenge bringing people together from different clubs.” The Power is comprised of players from all clubs except Muswellbrook, who opted not to nominate any players for the representative game. Knee said the team was talent and was optimistic of a good performance tomorrow. “Tony’s (coach Tony Bishop) picked a game plan that will suit us,” Knee said.  “He rates the side as a strong one across the lines. We’ve go a solid backline — a good size backline — and we’ve got good pace and strength in the midfield.  We’ve also got some very good tackling midfielders.”

That’s complemented by a forward line boasting plenty of good targets and goal scorers. “As long as the midfield can deliver quality ball in there we should be able to put a good score on them,” Knee said.

Knee has played in previous representative fixtures but not for a couple of years. “The quality and speed is a step up from club level,” he said. It also makes a nice change to be teaming up with players who are normally enemies. “Normally I’m chasing a player like Nomads star Weston Whitby around on a Saturday. I’ll be good to get a chance to play with him,” Knee said.

Meanwhile Bishop liked what he saw at training last Sunday.  It was the only training run the side had before the tomorrow’s clash. “Getting the players together is a big obstacle for us,” Bishop said.  “The Inverell boys drove down the three hours and the Narrabri boys drove two hours. We had a really good session. Unfortunately a couple had to work and couldn’t make it.  But the rest had a good hour and 45 minutes. There was a lot of skills stuff and getting to know each other.  I was impressed with the way they trained.”

Bishop believes the team will be committed and hard-working.  “We are missing a few players – the Muswellbrook boys didn’t nominate anyone and that’s a shame as I thought there were a couple who might have been a real chance of being selected,” he said. “But all these players put their hands up for selection and want to play.” The inclusion of Whitby, especially, is a bonus. “He changes whole dynamics of our forward line,” Bishop said.

The game starts at 2.15

Not for reproduction except by permission of the Armidale Express

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