NEW England Nomads and Tamworth Kangaroos set up a showdown for the minor premiership in Armidale next week with wins on Saturday.
The Kangaroos got over Gunnedah 18-16-124 to 14-10-94 at Gunnedah while the Nomads rolled competition leaders Inverell 13-13-91 to 11-15-81.
It sees the Saints drop back to third with the Nomads and Roos sharing top spot with one game to go.
The Nomads got the jump on the Saints in the third quarter and led by four goals heading into the final term.
“They came back pretty well in the last quarter but we just managed to kick a couple of steadying goals,” Nomads coach Tom Granleese said.
“I was glad when the siren went.”
It was a fitting way to commemorate 50 years of AFL in Armidale and there were plenty of former players, officials and coaches on hand to watch.
“It was just fantastic to do it with all the old boys and old girls,” Granleese said.
He said their fitness and running game was probably where they got the
“Our ground is so wide and we have quite a few smaller, zippy players,” he said.
Particularly in the third quarter they used that well.
“We played to our game plan and used our runners well.
“And our ball movement hurt Inverell,” Granleese said.
They also did a good job shutting down the feed into the Saints forwards.
“Our pressure upfield was what did it,” he said.
The midfield really worked hard to stop them getting quality ball to their forward line.
Ash Cruickshank led the way on the scoreboard for the Nomads, kicking five, while Caleb Dobos and Weston Whitby potted two each.
Whitby and Cruickshank were also among their best along with Zac Economou.
At Gunnedah, the Bulldogs launched a final quarter fightback but couldn’t bridge the gap after the Roos had led 109-58 at three-quarter time.
Dan Overeem and Matt Hodge were again the Roos’ main targets, booting four each, while Chris Gee kicked four for the Bulldogs.
Down at Muswellbrook the Cats kept themselves in the hunt for an unlikely finals berth with a hard fought 17-8-110 to 14-11-95 win over the Tamworth Swans.
It was a see-sawing contest with the Swans in front at the first and third breaks only for the Cats to over-run them and with a five-goal final term snatch a 15-point win and go level with the Bulldogs who are ahead on
Stuart McAdam and Kenneth Garland were both prominent for the Cats kicking four, while Brendon Smith chipped in with three.
For the Swans, Paul Tapper and Scott Nowland booted three.
TABLE: New England Nomads 44 (161.58%), Tamworth Kangaroos 44 (138.33%), Inverell Saints 40, Gunnedah Bulldogs 16 (80.72), Muswellbrook Cats 16 (47.18%), Tamworth Swans 8.
Tamworth Kangaroos’ Lachlan Maloney just manages to squeeze this kick away before Gunnedah’s Scott Hardy can spoil. Photo: Barry Smith 040812BSE07
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