Hard yards hat-trick

By Matt Nicholls (Armidale Independent, 17/09/2014)
New England Nomads’ third Tamworth AFL premiership in a row was marred by a brawl involving players and spectators at Bellevue Oval on Saturday.

The Nomads were up by 40 points late in the third quarter when an Inverell player was knocked unconcious after a hip-and-shoulder went wrong.

The hit – which was ruled fair play by the umpires – escalated quickly, with punches thrown and players sent from the field.

All the while, Saints player Darren Pithers was lying on the field unconcious.

When he came to, he felt soreness in his neck and officials called an ambulance.

The game was called off as a result, with around two minutes left to play in the third quarter.

The result wasn’t in doubt, though.

The Nomads had overcome a sluggish start to be leading 13.7 (85) to 6.9 (45).

Winning coach Zac Economou said the incident took away from the win.

“It wasn’t the way we wanted to finish the season,” he said.

“The reaction of the Inverell players and their spectators was pretty ugly.”

Economou said captain Weston Whitby and Pithers collided when the Inverell player went to bump him.

“He came off second best and it was a combination of whiplash and his head hitting the ground that hurt him,” the coach said.

Before that incident, the Nomads were on a roll.

Inverell led by two points at quarter-time and 11 points early in the second term, before the Nomads kicked into gear to score five unanswered goals before half-time.

New England had doubled its 20-point lead at the main break before the game was called off.

Dave Richards was the hero, booting eight goals in a best-on-ground display.

But Economou said livewire half-forward Isaiah Graham was responsible for the Nomads’ spark in the second term.

“We were down by two goals and then he just turned it on,” the coach said.

Inverell didn’t stick around for the post-match presentatations at Bellevue Oval, but Saints coach Nic Baird said it was for the best.

“It was pretty heated and there was a fair bit of emotion out there,” Baird said on Monday.

“The best thing to do was to head into the sheds and then move on.”

Baird said he didn’t condone the response from his players and spectators.

“It’s not how we want to be represented as a club,” he said.

Baird said the Saints would struggle to field a side in the TAFL next year, with a host of older players retiring and young players heading off to university.

“If we have a side it will look completely different,” he said.

With three premierships in a row, the Nomads’ days in the competition could also be numbered.

There’s a chance New England could move to the North Coast AFL competition.

Not for reproduction except by permission of the Armidale Independent

Grand Final Result

Nomads def. Saints
Q13220 3523
HT8351 4731
Q313785 6945
FT13785 6945


  • C. Ballagh,
  • V. Chakalisa,
  • T. Dickson,
  • Z. Economou,
  • M. Foley,
  • M. Folpp,
  • J. Freund,
  • J. Frost,
  • A. Garraud,
  • C. Graham,
  • I. Graham,
  • T. Granleese,
  • W. Hall,
  • S. Hanks,
  • T. Hunt,
  • Z. Old,
  • L. Raymond,
  • D. Richards,
  • M. Spencer,
  • O. Temoso,
  • Z. Wells,
  • W. Whitby.


  • D. Richards (8),
  • I. Graham (3),
  • W. Whitby,
  • Z. Economou.

Award winners:

  • D. Richards (Graham Nuttall Trophy),
  • T. Granleese (Golden Fist),
  • D. Richards (Players' Player),
  • S. Hanks (Coach's),
  • T. Hunt (President's),
  • I. Graham (Captain's),
  • M. Foley (Gleeson's),
  • C. Ballagh (Spectators').

One Response to “Hard yards hat-trick”

  1. Brendan Nolan Says:

    Go Nomads,

    The overall class of the players in the Nomads side proved way too good for the Inverell Saintes. it was a pleasure to see the boys take control of the game from the second quarter.From then on it was just a case of how far.
    Well done boys we are proud of you.


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