INVERELL Saints became outright Essential Energy Tamworth AFL competition leaders with Saturday’s 95-point dismantling of New England Nomads at Inverell’s Varley Oval.
The Saints kicked 19.20 134 to the Nomads’ 5.9 39 in an overwhelming display of might and power.
Saints stalwarts Dick Gleeson and Jason Gobbert led the way, the former captain coach and present president Gleeson booting four goals and the current captain-coach Gobbert three.
Tom Williams, Nicholas Reid, Russell Brien, Nick Baird, Sam Kimmince and Chris Schneider were outstanding for the home side whilst Riley Connor, Zac Economou, Jon Freund, Simon Stubbs, Clinton Ballagh and Lachlan McLeod all tried hard for the visitors.
The loss drops the Nomads to equal second with the Tamworth Kangaroos on 28 points but ahead on percentage after the Roos hammered the below-strength Gunnedah Bulldogs in the first of a No 1 Oval double header in
The Roos kicked 21.127 143 to 12.9 81.
Along the way, Matthew Hodge kicked a club best 12 goals.
The previous best had been held by Andrew “Stringer” Hawkins at 11 but Hodge bettered that with a goal in the final quarter after he had kicked most of them in the first half.
He then shifted to the centre of the ground for the Roos.
Daniel Gimbert also came up with three goals and, along with Hodge, was one of the Roos’ best.
Lachlan Maloney, Brock Quinn, Luke Robinson and Mitch Douglas also earned captain-coach Tim Cotter’s praise.
“Gunnedah were going to be a dangerous side after their win over the Nomads last week,” Cotter said.
“Our win was based on our six defenders – we didn’t let them kick any easy goals and they created openings for us up front.
“We used Matt (Hodge) as a target today but I didn’t realise he had kicked that many.”
Gunnedah was missing goal-kicking star Chris Gee and three or four other experienced players but had plenty of good players such as uni student Matthew Wykniet, who booted six goals.
“The Roos were too quick for us,”coach Errol Lather said.
“They spread it wide and we couldn’t match them man on man but when we got the ball game going we kicked some good goals.
“We did have five or six out and had half a dozen inexperienced players filling in.
“When you play a quality team like the Roos they will show you up.”
In the second game of the double header Muswellbrook Cats led at every change to beat the Tamworth Swans by 11 points, booting 14.13 97 to 12.14 86.
Young Beau Dixon was outstanding, the fleet-footed 16-year-old kicking four goals and setting up numerous attacking raids for the Cats.
Ken Garland booted five goals as well as starring in the ruck.
Gavin Knee and Paul Tapper both kicked three goals apiece for the Swans, with Knee, Andrew Donohue, Dean Finlay, Will Priest, John Robinson and Damien Wendt best for the home side.
“We were behind all day,” Swans coach Rick Watt said.
“But the Cats did play well and have a couple of smart young players.”