THE NEW England Nomads look to have cemented their place as the top contender for the 2012 premiership after claiming a 91-81 victory over the top-placed side, the Inverell Saints at Bellevue Oval on Saturday.
The first half saw the scores relatively even and Nomads player-coach Tom Granleese said it wasn’t easy for his side to keep the Inverell side on a tight reign early on in the game
“The score in the first half was tight and the lead kept changing marginally,” he said.
“It was a credit to our boys to be able to hold on to the lead going into the second half as we were kicking into a fairly stiff breeze in the first part of the game and this was a little hard to counteract at times.”
THE Nomads’ strong kicking game saw them further their lead in the third quarter before a courageous Inverell side fought back .
“Inverell came back at us and they looked like they could almost come within striking distance,” Granleese said.
“Luckily we were able to hold them at arm’s length to secure the win and they just ran out of time on the clock.”
The Nomads’ victory was led by the effort of Nomads captain Clint Ballard who had only just returned from overseas.
“ Ballard led courageously from the backline and even though he has been away for awhile, on the field it was like he had not even missed a beat,” Granleese said.
Nomads centre-half forward Ash Cruickshank was also a driving force behind the Armidale side’s victory.
“Cruickshank had a great game and kicked five goals which is a gallant effort and was pivotal in cementing the way our game unfoldend against the Saints,” Granleese said.
The Nomads now have their sights firmly set on securing a place in the grand final and Granleese said his side is looking to finish the season at the top of the ladder.
“If we can secure two wins from our next two games we will be able to secure a semi final at our homeground and we will be well on our way to being able to secure the grand final being held at Bellevue Oval,” he said.
The Nomads suffered a number of losses earlier this season, but they look to have turned the corner just as the business end of the season approaches.
“We are starting to play some really good footy and we are now working really well together as a team,” Granleese said.
“It was tough earlier in the season but we have been able to play consistently the last few weeks and we are now focused on finishing the season on top and to win the premiership would just be the icing on the cake.”
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