As a proud Ritchie “Rat” Naylor clutched the Mike Denton Memorial Shield after Saturday’s season opener against University on Saturday, he looked to the sky to acknowledge his great mate Dents, who passed away in tragic circumstances in Bali last year.It was a fitting and emotional conclusion to a game which saw Rat score two of Neddies’ four tries in an outstanding individual performance. Neddies became the first team to have its name inscribed on the shield honouring Dents after a 32-19 triumph at McGillivray Oval.Only in the last minutes did Uni score what was the club’s first try against Neddies in the last two encounters.The game saw plenty of new faces playing for the royal blues for the first time including backs Ben Titoko, Henare Hira, Ben Seymour and Josh Holmes and forwards Scott Cameron and Locky McCaffrey. It also marked the welcome return of a couple of familiar faces in props Mark “Rocket” Davies and Travis Church and loose forward Joey Egan.Inspired by a message sent from the Denton family in Dunedin and a minute’s silence, Neddies started strongly and went to the break with a 15-6 lead after Ben Titoko and Rat had scored tries, with Ben Seymour banging over a conversion and a penalty goal. In keeping with his roo hunting exploits of the previous weekend, Rat employed the roo-bars for his try, shunting two University defenders out of his path on the way to the line.Another 100% goal kicking effort kept University, with a third penalty early in the second half narrowing the gap to 15-9.However, two more second half tries, to Locky and Rat, saw the score blow out to 32-12 before Uni crossed the line in the final moments.There were plenty of grinning faces later that night as Peanut, flanked by his dad Walnut, celebrated his 30th birthday. A bonus point win to start the season, but more importantly a very special trophy which will have pride of place in the new Neddies club house, which will be officially opened on May 19.
No Match report was submitted this week but reports from the sidelines was that the Reserve grade were outplayed. The team is chock full of new players and may take a couple of weeks to gel. The scoreline was blown out a bit after two intercept tries and also a penalty try. Final Score 35-15
The first game of the season started off with a real sense of excitement and with the boys keen to show what they’ve got. The team, with no playing experience together and most playing a division up, played with extreme heart and pride. Players such as Tui Roberts and Hugo Smith making big tackles early on and players such as Vean making breaks through the UWA defense. Ten minutes before half time the scores were even, but a quick lapse in concentration in the last 5 minutes allowed for UWA to score a try and a penalty kick, meaning we were trailing 10-0 at half time. We came out firing in the second half and the first ten minutes the teams were inseparable. However the years and experience of the UWA team shone through, and even though the young Neddies team played with great spirit and determination, our lack of experience showed and we slipped through a few easy tries. Special mention must go to Keith Henderson and Jordan Fantasia as they played the whole 70 minutes in extreme intensity.
The Thirsty Thirds started out the first game of the season missing some of their regulars but infused with the new mantra of “No Thursday train – No Start”, and Sindo’s harsh $5 match fee collection spiel of “Show Me The Money or you don’t play” ringing in everyone’s ears before the game.
An absolute plethora of players turned out at McGillivray Oval last Saturday fired up for the Mike Denton Memorial Shield to start the season off.
With the start of the game the forwards showed their dominance with some good patterns but were thwarted in unleashing the powerful backline by Uni’s solid defense. Following several quick passages of play we found ourselves with the put in to a scrum just 5 metres from Uni’s tryline. The ball was well won and, off the back of an advancing scrum our new recruit at No. 8 (Tom Ballantine) did the club proud with a bullocking run to cross for our first try 6mins into the game.
Some more hard work was needed with Uni showing some spirit to claw their way back into the Nedlands half and threaten our 22m line but they were repulsed again and again. Neddies were having trouble getting quick ‘go forward’ ball from the breakdowns but finally, after 18 minutes of play, we managed to string three quick rucks together to unleash our strike weapon, ‘Percy the Fijian Fullback’. Free at last from the shackles of mediocrity Percy was much too fast for the few remaining Uni defenders as he ran joyously wide and free to cross the line for our second try.
Alvin “Stardust” Lau, making his debut for the Thirsty Thirds at flyhalf, was kept busy rallying the backline troops so that they could make good use of what little ball our overzealous forward pack (who simply refused to acknowledge their halfbacks repeated calls for the ball) deigned to give them. But with the family try scoring title up for grabs again this year, Chris Naylor drew first blood with a clever and committed run close to the line that no-one else was ever going to get their hands upon.
The coaches call at half time was for more control and quality ball to the backs especially when we were in the strike zone! What we didn’t expect to see was a forward (who shall remain nameless in this report … but not at training this week) taking it upon himself to do one of those silly halfback box kicks that aimlessly gives away possession when we need the ball the most.
In the second half some changes were made to give the bountiful bench some game time, this worked well with three more tries being scored, two to Alvin Lau and one to Nick Rostin one of our hardworking 2nd Rows. The Mauritian connection also had quite a showing with 3 of their gang (Simon, Robert and ‘Pigeon’) all getting a run.
A lapse in defence at the very end of the match allowed Uni to score an unconverted try. As a result the final score line was a respectable 32-5 to Nedlands. But the score could have been a lot bigger were it not for some poor decision making and the greedy behavior of the forward pack. These errors tarnished an otherwise solid start to the season and will be the focus of significant remedial work at training this week.
The Neddies 4th grade knew from the outset that they faced an uphill battle playing against perennial 4th Grade premiers, the UWA Dream Team. Unlike UWA, who are a settled side that has been playing together for many years, the Neddies team was mainly made up of young players from our 2012 Development Squad, along with several club legends, such as indomitable captain-coach Marty FitzSimons and the evergreen George Fortser-Jones as well as a few of the older ‘Nomads’ from seasons past. As such they were an eclectic group, one which had had very little opportunity even to train together and, against an opposition as well drilled and cohesive as UWA, their lack of familiarity and match practice really showed.
Throughout the first half, the Neddies found themselves on the back foot as they allowed simple mistakes to ruin well-built phase play. The opening try was scored by Uni within the first 5 minutes of the game, as a result of simple mix up at the base of a 5 metre scrum. After this Neddies made ground with lots of hard running. However the ball carry into contact was compromised as the Uni team was able to steal the ball from the rucks. Continuity was lacking from the Neddies. Uni went on to score 3 more unanswered tries in the first half, The Neddies captain Marty Fitzsimon refused to give in to Uni and rallied his troops to ensure a strong end to the half. The forwards began to pick up their game and were looking menacing going forward from breakdown to breakdown. Their excellent support play and continuity resulted in a try by Andy Clarke in the dying minutes of the first half. The try was converted by Rob Boulle. Thus the match went into half time with a score of 28-7 to Uni.
Neddies entered the field for the second half with many fresh players who were raring to go. The advice of the coaches at half time was to keep things simple and ensure play was kept tight so as to ensure that support was always there. With some fresh legs on, Neddies stepped hard on the accelerator as they pinned the Uni team in their half for most of the second half. Wagga Doherty took over as fly-half from Rob Boulle and assumed the kicking duties. He successfully converted a penalty and made the score 28-10. Just as things were looking goof for the Neddies, a slight lapse in concentration resulted in Uni scoring a soft try. However our boys were back on the pedal again as they harassed the Uni side. Paul Baker was taking the ball with pace off every break down and gaining ground with some hard running. The game was drawing to a close but the Neddies weren’t done yet. In the last minute of the second half Damien Pacecca received a short ball from a ruck 2m from the try line, spun around and evaded the opposition, to score a try at the corner flag. The conversion was unsuccessful; however the Neddies performance in the second half was commendable. The final Score was 40-15 to Uni.
Although it was a loss, it was a good learning experience and this team will grow from strength to strength throughout the season.
The Cavaliers started their season off up at Beaumaris Sports Club against Joondalup.
On a warm afternoon, expectations were high but they got off to the worst possible start with barnstorming number 8 and vice captain Ben Fahey succumbing to a terrible season ending ankle injury in the first hit up of the game.
After a short injury break play got underway again and the Cavs were back to their usual harlem globetrotting rugby. They headed into halftime ahead 19 nil thanks to some entertaining play and some well worked team tries that had coach Banksy salivating so early in the season.
The 2nd half was much the same, with the boys running a tired looking Joondalup around and although allowing Joondalup a dodgy looking consolation try, they were deserved winners 45 – 7.
Seven tries were scored in all, with two to Nick Soloman, and even the old rooster of the team Marv getting across the stripe. Goal kicker David “Chooky” Haydon kicking 5 from 7 difficult kicks to add the icing on the cake. Coach Banksy didnt want to single any players out this early but team mentor Dan “37” Shaw had a special mention for the effort of big props Pepu “was a back, now a forward” Gumbo and Eddie for putting in the hard yards, and standout midfielder Blair “the bus” Daley, who carved up the opposition all day.
The Cavs are away to Curtin next weekend.