Tamworth AFL Round 4 Review
Match One: New England Nomads def Gunnedah Bulldogs by forfeit
Despite being competitive last week in Tamworth, the Bulldogs were unable to gather a side to travel to Armidale this week. They have now fallen to their fourth loss of the season and will get a home game next weekend against a rested Kangaroos outfit. By virtue of the the result, the Nomads have a stranglehold on second place on the ladder. The TAFL rule on forfeits means the Armidale boys get a 150 to 0 win, and has propelled them to the best percentage in the TAFL by just .01% over the Saints. It sets up a massive clash at Bellevue next weekend against the league leaders.
Match Two: Inverell Saints 23.25.163 def Tamworth Swans 6.2.38 at Varley Oval
The Swans made the trip north to the Sapphire City knowing they could push the league leaders, especially considering the last time Rick Watt coached a Swans side at Varley Oval he walked away carrying the Premiership Cup. However the Saints are riding a wave of confidence right now, and Jason Gobbert's side were not keen to give one up at home. The match started with some fierce contests at the ball, with the Swans old firm of Knee, Wendt and Donohue providing some starch through the Swans midfield. After an initial 10 minute arm wrestle, it was the Saints who started to turn the momentum in their favour, and it was the in-form Mike Gould ho made the biggest impression early, kicking 3 first quarter goals. Despite having chances, the Swans could only manage a lone point in the first quarter and found themselves down by 32 points at the first change.
The start of the second quarter saw the Saints start to stamp their authority, kicking the first 4 goals of the period and looking to put the Swans to the sword. However the boys from Tamworth fought back hard, kicking their first two goals for the game late in the quarter, and despite being dominated for large parts of the game, the Swans trialled by 49 points at the long change, and not out of the contest just yet.
The trend for the Saints this year has been strong second halves, and needing to clean up their error rate, they produced some clincial footy in the third quarter. Leigh Turner started to get the better of the ruck contests and his partner in crime Keiran Te Velde was getting clearances at will. This provided plenty of of quality ball to the Saints potent forward line who took full advantage to slot 9 third quarter goals. The Swans managed three goals of their own for the quarter, but the margin had blown out 91 points at the last change.
The final quarter saw both teams continue to slog it out across the park, with the Swans more than holding their own in the contested footy. However it was the Saints who managed to get the free men across the park and the win was capped off with a six goals to one final quarter and a final margin of 125 points. Gould finished with a game high 7 goals to continue his dominance on the Gerry Griffiths Medal count, with Nick Baird kicking 6 majors. Turner was the Saints best, with Te Velde and Joe Kimmince also earning praise from Gobbert. Andrew Donahue and Kyle Nicholls were the only multiple Swans goals scorers with two each, while the evergreen Dean Finlay was the best for the boys in red. Newcomer Phil Hennesey and Donahue also had strong games.
The Saints now prepare for a top of the table clash against the Nomads in Armidale next weekend, while the Swans will travel south to battle the Cats.