Nomad giant reaches new heights with half century

From the Armidale Express, 17/06/2012
When Omphile Temoso arrived at the University of New England a few years ago he didn’t even know what Australian rules football was, so the idea of playing 50 games for the New England Nomads wasn’t even on his radar.

But four years on and that’s exactly what the giant from Botswana did on Saturday when the Nomads beat Inverell at Bellevue Oval.

His 50th game was a triumph, but it all started in 2009 when he had never seen a Sherrin and was working in the university library.

A Nomads committee-man was also working there and persuaded Temoso to at least come to training and have a look.

At 205cm tall Temoso was, not surprisingly, more of a basketball or volleyball player, but his height also had the Nomads staff interested.

“There was no basketball or volleyball in town but I wanted to keep fit,” Temoso said.

“I thought I’d go down to the ground and run a few laps.

“I wasn’t actually interested in playing the game.

“But the coach saw me and was interested and started kicking to me. 

“I didn’t intend playing so I thought ‘what is this guy doing?’

“There was a pre-season cup, which was the Tablelands Cup, and they put me into the game.

“I was throwing it a lot and fouling.

“But I played five or six games during the season and started to understand the game and the rules.

“At the end of the second year and the start of the third year I was one of the key players in the team.”

Now he has 50 games for the Nomads under his belt.

It was a milestone that crept up on him but one he is pleased about.

“I never thought about it until people started talking about it,” Temoso said.”It’s a big achievement for me. But I never realised.”

After a steep learning curve in 2009 and 2010 at a time when the Nomads were far from dominant in the Tamworth AFL, Temoso has become a regular in what is now a strong outfit.

“Especially in the first and second years, we didn’t have a great team,” Temoso said.

“But in the last couple of years we’ve been one of the big teams.

“I wasn’t here last year.

“I went to the North Coast league.

“It was a higher standard because they have three grades.

“I think that definitely helped my game.

“I played for the Port Macquarie Magpies and they are good.

“They are still the leading team there this year, but last year we came second.”

Unfortunately, by switching clubs at the wrong time, the 28-year-old is still yet to taste premiership success.

New England won the TAFL last season and is leading the competition again this year.

Not for reproduction except by permission of the Armidale Express

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