THE New England Nomads are set to tackle the Gunnedah Bulldogs tomorrow for the first time this season, after the Bulldogs forfeited the first clash in the season opener.
The Nomads are well cemented at the top of the ladder, and the Bulldogs are trailing in fifth place.
But speaking ahead tomorrow's game, player-coach Tom Granleese said this does not mean that the boys from Gunnedah are to be underestimated.
“We always have a tough game down there, and since the Narrabri side folded earlier in the season, Gunnedah have been able to pick up some really strong players,” he said
“They have some really good guys in the midfield and strong full forwards, which we will need to keep on eye on.”
Leading the Nomads’ charge against Gunnedah will be captain, Clint Ballagh.
“Ballagh is a captain that leads by example and he is very courageous in the backline by setting up counter attacks,” Granleese told The Express.
“Against a team like Gunnedah, who we haven't played yet, having him on the field will be invaluable.”
Another player to watch is the illusive forward David Richards.
“He is capable of kicking 10 goals a game and he is someone the Bulldogs won't want to see get the ball,” he said of Richards.
Tomorrow’s game will also see the return of Nomads old faithful, Tom Walsh.
Walsh is currently in Melbourne at university and also plays for the University Blues in the under-19 Premier League.
The Nomads are glad to see Walsh return, even if it is only for a short time.
“It will be great to have Tommy back for a few games, and he will bring alot to the team dynamics for our next few games,” Granleese said.
The colder weather has seen the Nomads head indoors to the University of New England basketball gym for a number of their sessions, which has helped with team morale.
“We have just focused on our own game, but the lads have enjoyed the change of scenery by mixing things up a bit,” he said.
“Mixing up the training has just been a welcomed change.”
Escaping the harsh winter weather has not softened the Nomads though, and Granlesse confirmed the Nomads like playing in tough conditions.
“If it is wet and cold in Gunnedah tomorrow, it’ll suit us much better,” he said.