Tamworth AFL Round 10 Review
Match One: Tamworth Kangaroos 19.21.135 def Muswellbrook Cats 9.6.60 at Number One Oval
The first match of the double header in Tamworth saw the Kangaroos record a convincing, if not slightly scrappy, win over the Cats. The win was set up early by the Roos, when they raced out to a commanding lead. Their rebound from defense was excellent and they spread and switched play at will, keeping the Cats chasing early on. However, the boys from Muswellbrook battled back and kicked the last 3 goals of the first quarter to get the margin back to 34 points at the first change. The Roos continued their dominance in the second, piling on another 5 goals to 1 for the Cats to take the lead out 59 points at the long change. Coach Tim Cotter would have been happy with the first half from his troops and knowing that percentage is going to be important come the end of the season would have been urging them on for more in the second. However, it was the Cats who responded best and took the Roos on at their own game. Showing some brilliance across the ground, the Cats kicked a couple of goals early in the third to give them a sniff of a comeback, but the Roos responded and held firm, extending the margin to 71 points at the last change. The last quarter was a scrappy affair, with neither side looking particularly keen to be there. The Roos extended their lead to 75 points at the final siren and kept the pressure on the top 2 teams on the top of the ladder. The victors had 11 different goalkickers and none with more than 2 majors demonstrating their balanced attack across the field. Luke Robinson, Rob Fisher and Alex Hudson were their best in a good team effort. For the Cats, John Mahy slotted 5 majors in an impressive performance, with Jarrod Braybon, Jai Pursell and Clint Blenman their best.
Match Two: Gunnedah Bulldogs 19.17.131 def New England Nomads 16.19.106 at Wolseley Oval
The Bulldogs have delivered that breakout performance they have been threatening all year, knocking off the top of the table Nomads at Gunnedah. The Dogs blew the game wide open early, taking control of the contest in the first quarter with an onslaught on the Nomads goal. The lead stood at 41 points at the first change and could well have been even greater had the Dogs kicked straight. Tom Granleese had to settle his men at the quarter time break, and they responded with an improved effort in the second quarter. However, their normally rock solid defense leaked another 5 goals in the quarter, and they could only bring the margin back to 37 points at the half. Errol Lather would have been delighted with his men, but would have implored them to give a four-quarter effort to pull off a great win. They were tested in the third as the Nomads kicked the first couple of the term, but the boys from Gunnedah settled an finished the quarter the better, to hold a 33 point lead into the last change. Needing to dig deep, they repelled the many attacking forays as the game opened up and became a shootout. The Nomads had the better of the last quarter, but gave up too much of a start and found themselves 25 points down at the final siren. The result sees the Dogs record their third win of the season and undoubtedly their best so far and gives them the front running for fourth spot and that elusive finals position. Andrew George pushed forward and provided 6 goals for the victors, with Chris Gee chipping in 5 majors and Jesse Dixon 4. George was the Dogs best, with Shane Murphy and Dan Hughes also prominent. For the Nomads, Shaun Cusack slotted 5 majors and Dave Richards four.
Match Three: Inverell Saints 12.8.80 def Tamworth Swans 11.8.74 at Number One Oval
In the twilight game in Tamworth, the Saints recorded a gritty 6 point win over the Swans and took top spot on the ladder in the process. It was a tough outing for the boys from Inverell, who lost key players Leigh Turner and KJ Te Velde in the first 5 minutes of the match to injury and were forced to dig deep late as the Swans charged home. It was an even first quarter, with neither side able to assert any real dominance around the ground. It wasn’t until the second quarter that the game started to open up, with the Swans slotting 4 majors to start the quarter and looked to be taking control across the park. The Saints responded late and kicked the last two goals of the half, but still found themselves 10 points down at the long break. The third quarter was always going to be pivotal, and it was all the Saints early, as they quickly erased the deficit and set about putting themselves in front heading into the last change. A late Swans goal brought the margin back to 13 points at the three quarter time break, with the game still well and truly in the balance. It was a pulsating final quarter, with the Swans kicking the first 2 of the quarter, and drawing level with 15 minutes to go. However, the Saints steadied and kicked the next two to get the margin back to 12 points. When the Swans bombed a long goal with 4 minutes to play, it was back to six points and both teams were pushing hard for victory. However, the Saints steadied and repelled the Swans for the final frantic minutes to record the win. For the Saints, coach Jason Gobbert kicked 6 majors, with Russell Brien, Mike Gould and Sam Kimmince amongst their best. For the Swans, Gavin Knee kicked 4 goals, with Ross Fraser, Kyle Nicholls and Andrew Donohue their best. The win sees the Saints take the top spot on the ladder by percentage over the Nomads, with the Swans now a game back from the Dogs in fifth position.