Tamworth AFL Round 17 Review
Match One: Gunnedah Bulldogs defeated the Tamworth Swans 11.20.86 to 9.14.68 at Number One Oval
In the first game of the final round double-header, the Bulldogs sealed their place in the 2012 post season with a hard fought 18-point victory over the Swans. The Dogs were made to earn this game, with the plucky Swans putting in a solid 4 quarter effort. Despite looking in control for much of the contest, the Dogs were never able to push the lead out to a comfortable lead, with the Swans briefly hitting the lead early in the last quarter. However, the Dogs showed some grit and resilience and put themselves back in front for good just a couple of minutes later, and qualified for their second consecutive finals series in the TAFL. Veteran forward Chris Gee was the main focal point up front, kicking 4 goals, with Matt Pengilly also chipping in with 3 of his own. Chris Hayden, Andrew George and John Woolaston were strong for the victors. For the Swans, Simon Freer was strong all day up front, slotting 4 majors, while Nathan Bradburn, Will Priest and Gavin Knee were their best in their last game for 2012.
The Dogs will head back to Tamworth for the Minor Semi Final next weekend where they will clash with the Roos in the do or die clash.
Match Two: New England Nomads defeated the Tamworth Kangaroos 11.10.76 to 7.13.55 at Bellevue Oval
The biggest match of the season was played in far from ideal conditions in Armidale, with artic like winds facing the combatants on Saturday. The prize at the end of the day was the Minor Premiership, and the right to host the Major Semi next weekend. At the final siren, it was the Nomads that took that prize, and in the process, became the first team other than the Saints or Roos to do so since 2006. They will take plenty of confidence into next week’s matchup, having knocked off their two closest rivals in the past fortnight. The win was set up early, with the Nomads holding a handy break at the half. That lead increased by 3 quarter time, and despite a spirited comeback in the last from the Roos, the Nomads held on to record a famous victory. Shaun Cusack and Weston Whitby were the main destroyers up front, with each kicking 3 goals. Whitby was best a field, with Jono Frost and Grant Elson also dominant. The Roos had just 3 goalkickers, with captain/coach Tim Cotter slotting 3 majors. He was also their best, with Lachlan Maloney and Luke Robinson plying their trade with distinction.
As mentioned earlier, the Nomads will now host the Major Semi next weekend against the Saints with the all important double chance up their sleeve. The Roos will head back to Tamworth to face the Dogs in the Minor Semi with it all to play for.
Match Three: Inverell Saints defeated Muswellbrook Cats 24.18.162 to 9.13.67 at Number One Oval
The very last game of the 2012 home and away season saw the Saints clinically dispose of the Cats in a warm up for the finals series. With the earlier result in Tamworth, the Cats needed to beat the Saints by something near 500 points to claim the fourth spot in the finals, but the Saints put the contest to bed early with a dominant first quarter, kicking 8 goals to nil in that stanza. The match was then held on something of an even keel, as the Cats battled on bravely against the boys from Inverell. The lead stayed steady around 60 points for much of the second and third terms, before a late burst in the third saw the margin blow out near to 100 points. The Cats got some late goals in the fourth quarter and were far from disgraced against the Saints. For the Saints, Michael Gould sealed the Gerry Griffiths Medal kicking 5 goals, with Joe Kimmince adding 4 of his own. Gould and Kimmince were amongst the best for the Saints, as was half back Chris Schneider. For the Cats, Brendand Smith, Jackson Bower and Jarrod Braybon were strong all day.
The boys from Muswellbrook can now start planning for next season, while the Saints play the Nomads in the Major Semi in Armidale next weekend.