NEW England Nomads cannot rest on their imposing record if they are to secure a third straight Essential Energy Tamworth AFL grand final at Bellevue Oval.
The Nomads have won the past two TAFL premierships at Bellevue and, until a few weeks ago, had been unbeaten this season.
Inverell Saints produced their best to topple the Nomads for the first time in two years and are determined to repeat that in Armidale again today.
Nomads coach Zac Economou said his side would have to be at its best to ensure it doesn’t suffer a similar defeat as the one inflicted at Varley Oval a few weeks back by the Saints.
“We’ve played them a lot the past few seasons,” Economou said in a television interview this week.
“We know they are looking for redemption from last year’s grand final but we’d like to keep our streak going too.”
He said the Nomads had a number of players missing in recent weeks but should be back to full strength, with “six or seven players” back from uni holidays.
He also said the recent loss might have been “the loss we needed to have”.
A ringing wake-up call that it will take hard work to land a third successive TAFL flag.
While the Nomads are at home to the Saints in today’s major semi at Bellevue Oval, the side they beat last Saturday, Tamworth Kangaroos, is hosting Narrabri Eagles in the minor semi-final at No 1 Oval, Tamworth, today.
The Roos have been building in recent weeks, with the return of some of the best and will be close to full strength against an Eagles who were swamped by the Saints last Saturday.
The Saints kicked 29.26 200 to the Eagles’ 8.5 71 last Saturday.
If the Saints can reproduce that form they will present the Nomads with a tough home semi while the Eagles hope to have captain-coach Todd Dunn back from injury to inspire them against the Roos.
Both games are timed for 2pm starts.