Tamworth AFL Round 3 Review
Match One: New England Nomads 14.19.103 def Tamworth Kangaroos 7.9.51
The Nomads have signalled their intentions in this year’s competition with a 52 point dismantling of the reigning premiers in Armidale. The Roos lost only one game in 2011 and now have lost two out of their first three games in 2012, and again suffered a bad loss away from home. Interestingly, they also lost in Armidale last year to the Nomads and may find the wide expanse of Bellevue hard to play. The match started competitively, with neither side able to take control of the contest early on. The Nomads finished the first quarter a little wasteful, but had the better of the running late and took an 8-point lead into the first change. Needing a lift, the Roos rallied and got themselves back into the contest in the second quarter, but were wasteful going forward and couldn’t bridge the gap before half time. The Nomads took a one goal lead into the long change, with both Tom Granleese and Tim Cotter urging their troops to kick on in the third to grab the ascendancy. However, it was all Nomads in the Premiership quarter, kicking 4.7 to the Roos solidary point to open up a commanding lead with a quarter to go. The Roos managed 3 majors in the last quarter but the Nomads replied with another 5 of their own to run out convincing 52-point winners and took a hold of second place on the TAFL ladder. For the hosts, Venali Chukalisa slotted 6 majors, ably supported by Dave Richards who kicked 4. David Graan was their best afield, and despite not kicking a goal Weston Whitby also had a strong game. For the Roos, Dan Overeem and Coach Tim Cotter were the only multiple goalkickers with 3 and 2 respectively, while Cotter was their best with Daniel Gimbert also prominent. The Roos now hold onto forth spot on the ladder by percentage and will be hoping for an improved effort after the bye next week.
Match Two: Tamworth Swans 12.20.92 def Gunnedah Bulldogs 14.7.91
The TAFL’s closest result so far in season 2012 went the way of the Swans in an absolute thriller at Number One Oval. Both clubs came into this clash on the back of a thrashing the previous week and would have been keen to put that performance behind them. It was the Swans who started the best, controlling possession and peppered the goals, only to be wasteful in front of the big sticks. They did manage a 12-point quarter time lead but would have been ruing the fact it could have been a much greater lead. The second quarter was much of the same, with the Swans having the better of the running, and when they found their kicking boots were much more clinical in front of goal. They increased their lead to 17 points at the half and Rick Watt may have felt a little more satisfied about his team’s performance. However, Errol Lather had some magic words for his troops at the long change, as the Dogs came out flying in the third, kicking 6.2 for the quarter and got themselves firmly back into the contest. The Swans would have again rued some misses in front of goal, but there was more of the same in the last as the Swans clawed their way to victory literally one point at a time. The Dogs were more accurate in a tense last quarter, but at the final siren it was the Swans who clung onto the one point victory. Both teams had an even spread of goal kickers, with the evergreen Gavin Knee kicking 3 for the Swans and Kyle Nicholls being their only other multiple goal kicker with 2. Jordan Sharpe was best afield for the victors, ably supported by Ross Fraser. For the visitors, Jesse Dixon continued his impressive form, slotting 3 majors, whilst it was the midfield trio of Andrew George, Matt Pengilly and Chris Hayden who earned the praise from the coach for being strong all day. The Swans now find themselves third on the ladder, a game clear of their cross-town rivals but only a game behind the ladder leading Saints. The Dos remain winless for 2012, but better results are surely around the corner for this talented side.
Match Three: Muswellbrook Cats 9.9.63 def by Inverell Saints 23.11.149
The Saints made the long trip down the highway to face a resurgent Cats outfit in Muswellbrook and made it all count by recording an 86-point victory. Despite the scoreline, the Saints didn’t have it all their own way, and typically when a side travels to Muswellbrook it is always a tough battle. The Cats started the better of the two teams and slotted an early major with only 30 seconds on the clock. The Saints steadied with a couple of their own and despite leading at the first change, the Saints looked rattled and slow to the contest with their two goal lead. After some stern words from Jason Gobbert, the Saints blew the game open in the second, kicking the first 7 goals of the quarter and the rout looked on. However, the Cats replied with two of their own late in the quarter to wrest back some momentum heading into the long break. Needing to lift across the park, the Cats did exactly that, and had the better going of the third quarter, getting the margin back to 5 goals and looking likely to mount a serious challenge before the Saints settled with two late goals of their own to see the lead at 43 points at the last change. As has been their custom so far in 2012, the Saints ran away with the contest in the last, kicking 8 goals to 1 to push the margin out to 86 points at the final siren. It was not a true reflection of the fierceness of the contest, with the Cats having many young players starring around the ground in a great view for the future. Mike Gould was again impressive for the Saints, and has taken a stranglehold on the Gerry Griffiths Medal early in the season, slotting 10 majors, with Coach Jason Gobbert kicking 5 of his own. Gould was best afield, while defenders Joe Kimmince and Matt Harrison earned praise from the coach post game. For the Cats, veterans Stu McAdam and David Howard,and young gun Beau Dixon all kicked 2 majors. Dixon earned praise for a strong game across half forward, whilst ruckman Jarrod Braybon more than held his own through the middle. The Saints now sit alone atop the ladder with three wins from three, while the Cats are still within striking distance of the top 4, with only percentage separating them from the Roos. The Saints remain the only team to win away from home this season, making their start even more formidable as they return home next weekend.