AFL North West: New England Nomads and Inverell Saints clash for grand final spot

LAST CHANCE: Wulu Hall in action for the Nomads in their major semi-final loss to Gunnedah last week. The Nomads play Inverell in the preliminary final in Armidale on Saturday.
LAST CHANCE: Wulu Hall in action for the Nomads in their major semi-final loss to Gunnedah last week. The Nomads play Inverell in the preliminary final in Armidale on Saturday.

The Nomads aim to keep alive their bid for a sixth straight premiership when they host Inverell in the preliminary final at Bellevue Oval on Saturday. 

Nomads coach Hunt said the key to toppling the Saints is starting fast.

“Definitely starting well. Last time we played them up there at Inverell, that’s where they really got us,” he said. 

“They start well every time we play them. 

“They're a big team, big bodies. So they like to get in front and once they’re in front, they’re hard to peg back.

“So we really have to focus on starting well this weekend and playing out four quarters.”

The Nomads will be close to full strength for the clash, and have welcomed back young star and Sydney Swans Academy athlete Cameron Graham. 

“He gives us a lot of run and is a silky footballer … We have been missing him over previous weeks,” Hunt said.

For the first time since 2012, the Nomads won’t host the grand final. 

They played Gunnedah in the major semi-final last Saturday and the reigning premiers fell 15.18-108 to 6.9-45. 

Hunt said the Bulldogs were just too classy throughout the match. 

“Gunnedah played really well, particularly right from the start,” he said. 

“They started well, put a couple of early goals on us and put us under pressure right from the first quarter. 

“From the first half, we could have been behind a lot more but fortunately they were a bit inaccurate in that half.

“But we probably found ourselves closer than we should have.”