THE LAST time the New England Nomads won the Tamworth AFL premiership was six years ago and tomorrow they face an Inverell Saints side that has been an ever-present force on grand final day ever since.
One of the few remaining Nomads players from that time is Weston Whitby, who says it is hard for the club to maintain a strong team every year but the team of 2012 is capable of replicating the 2006 side’s success.
“It’s been a while,” Whitby said.
“But because of the uni we have a lot of players who come in and out.
“It makes it hard to get a strong side.
“We’ve got a good side this year, very fit, and we work well with each other.”
Whitby helped the Nomads beat the Tamworth Swans back in 2006.
This year’s Inverell Saints will probably be an even tougher assignment.
“They’ve been in it the last five years,” Whitby said. “It will be a challenge.
“They’re a very tall side.
“We have to run them off their feet.
“We have to play our good, strong running game and support each other.”
Whitby is a big part of that game plan.
Not only does he boot plenty of goals, he is also instrumental in any success the Nomads have in and around the middle of the field.
He said there were also some other key players who would have an impact in the decider.
“We’ve got a quick little goal sneak in Dave Richards,” Whitby said.
“Then there’s the big forwards like Shaun Cusack and Simon Stubbs who are good at taking big marks.
“Dave Graan goes all day and goes hard and our coach Tom (Granleese) is very solid at the back.”
In addition to those players there is the experienced core of the team that has been around for a number of years.
Whitby is one of those.
“Jono Frost has been around for a while too,” he said.
“And Clint Ballagh is captain and he’s been around for a while.
“Then there’s the veteran, Adrian Walsh.”
The other players to watch for in the Armidale side include Ashley Cruickshank, who has played in grand finals with the Tamworth Kangaroos in the past, Jon Freund and Caleb Dobos, who were good in last week’s final, and the likes of Nathan Lambie and Riley Connor.