Big Day for Nomads Stalwarts

By Matt Nichols (Armidale Express, 20/08/2010)
They’ve been the cornerstones of the New England Nomads for the best part of a decade and it’s fitting they notchup milestone matches together tomorrow. Adrian Walsh and Ben Page will play their 104th and 100th matches respectively against Gunnedah at Bellevue Oval tomorrow in what is to be a big day for the club.

Walsh will break the Nomads’ record for most matches played, while Page will become just the third player to notch up the ton at the club. Yesterday both players said they were extremely proud of their time at the Nomads. “It’s a good feeling,yeah,” Walsh said. “To break Sarge’s (Jonathan Sargeant) record is a weird feeling, though. He was the backbone of the club for a lot of years and virtually ran the whole show when the Nomads started in 1999. If it wasn’t for Sarge we wouldn’t be standing here now.”

Evergreen at 47 years of age, Walsh said he had no intentions of retiring at the end of the year. “I see no reason to stop. As soon as I’m not enjoying it or keeping a young kid out of the side I’ll retire”. The current president of the Tamworth AFL Walsh has been at the Nomads since 2001. “For the first year and a half all I did was run water,” he said. “I thought my knee was no good but eventually relented and played in the first round of 2003”.

Beside him on the field and also making his Nomads debut was Page, who had moved to Armidale from Newcastle. Boasting a lot more experience than most of his teammates, having played more than 100 games at Cardiff, Page was an instant hit at Bellevue Oval and played a key role in the midfield. At 33, the former onballer spends most of his time up forward these days. “I should have brought up the 100 games a couple of seasons ago but I’ve been hit by injury and other commitments”, Page said.

Unlike Walsh ,Page said he intended to hang up the boots at the end of the season. “I’ve got a young family and a business to worry about so that’ll be it for me,” he said. “Hopefully we’ve still got a few games to go, though”.

The Nomads play Gunnedah in the last round of the TAFL tomorrow before facing the Tamworth Swans in the minor semi-final a week later. The final will most likely be played in Tamworth, although Page and Walsh said they weren’t worried where the game will be played. “I think if we field the best side, we can beat the Swans on their home ground,” Page said with Walsh nodding beside him. “If we do we’ll play either Inverell or the Tamworth Roos for a spot in the grand final. “With this rain around, it will bring the Saints (Inverell) back to the pack a bit so we’re still putting in 100 per cent knowing a premiership isn’t out of the question.”

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