Round 3 Match Reports

Premier Grade

While the Western Force suffered a contentious loss to the Cheetahs in South Africa, there was better fortune for Neddies on Saturday as the club completed a clean sweep of Associates in all grades except for the under-20s and the 1st grade team went to the top of the table.On an afternoon when the predicted rain never eventuated, the Neddies team which took the field against Soaks at Allen Park featured quite a few changes, including the promotion to fullback of young colts player Hendrik Ceronio.While it is a rule stressed to the Neddies juniors at Britannia Oval to always make sure you pick up the ball when it is knocked on, that message was lost on Neddies in the opening minutes of the game. Instead of picking up the ball when it split to the ground from a backline move, the Neddies fans watched in horror as a Soaks player casually scooped up the ball and ran 40 metres unopposed to score under the posts.With both sides trading penalty goals thereafter, including three to neddies fullback Ceronio, Nedlands reduced the margin to 13-9 with half time looming. It was then some individual magic from winger Ben Titoko put Neddies into the lead for the first time. Sprinting down the sideline with little room to move, Titoko produced a perfect chip and chase to score his second five-pointer for Neddies this season. That enabled Neddies to go to the sheds 14-13 in front.It was a lead Neddies did not relinquish. In the second half, dynamo flanker Richie “Rat” Naylor, who is shaping up as an early candidate for the PG Hampshire award,  tried to claim the second try off the back of a rolling maul. It was however barnstorming prop Trav Church who got there in the end. Nothing like seeing a prop emerge from the bottom with the ball. Five-eighth Mike Botes, another graduate from the Neddies colts, extended the margin to 9 points when he banged over a penalty goal. Neddies then produced a great defensive effort in the last few minutes to protect their 22-13 lead to make it three from three to start the season. It was a game where plenty of ticker was shown across the park, perhaps none more so than from inspirational skipper and second-rower Luke “Dogga” Doherty, who in a former life was an inaugural Western Force player. As one Neddies supporter was heard to mutter after the game, those Chinese crackers must have got stuck.Next week is another tough one for coach Tony Ball as his team has its fourth consecutive away game, this time against Palmyra.

Reserve Grade

After an improved effort against Rockingham and positive training sessions during the week, the
developing Reserves were confident of another strong performance – this time against the old foe at
Allen Park.

The signs were encouraging early on as the Neddies forwards dominated set phases and carried
the ball hard into contact. Leading the charge was young hooker Krysten “Crowsy’ Lawrence, loose
forward Ollie Baissac and late call up evergreen prop Damo Pacecca. Neddies sustained pressure
throughout the first quarter and would have been duly rewarded but for untimely handling errors.
A Rob Boulle penalty kept the Lions’ nose in front until winger Matt Ventor left the Soaks in his dust
to score next to the posts. Openside flanker Ben “Fud” Ashford was at his pilfering best creating
turnovers which allowed Neddies to control much of the possession and territory for the first half.
Strong running midfielder “Smokin Joe” Malinavitihevu benefited from the dominance and scored
after some fancy footwork and a solid bust through the middle of the park. Solid defence saw the
canary yellows with a lone penalty as Neds held a 17-3 lead and momentum going into the break.

The second half saw that momentum shift by a rejuvenated Associates side which continually
peppered the Nedlands defence. That defence held out and a promising counter attack through
multiple phases allowed winger Monty Van Der Berg to score out wide. Soaks again came back
strong and found holes in the Neddies defence to score twice in quick succession. Against the run of
play Ventor again found space to outpace all tacklers to score. Replacement prop Alex Stephens was
also effective in attack which lead to another Malinavitihevu try. Associates continued to challenge
Nedlands line and having camped inside the attacking 22 for much of the final quarter a consolation
try was inevitable.

In what was the proverbial “game of two halves” Neddies prevailed 34-24. Admittedly not the
complete performance players and coaching staff were after, but certainly encouraging signs from
this emerging group. Neddies best on the day were Fud, Joe & Damo.

Under 20s

FT 49-5 HT 25-0
20s had a disappointing loss but improved in the second half. Chalkie continued his fine form leading from the front and Matt had a good performance as well. With ball in hand we looked dangerous enough but unfortunately ball was turned hover too much and defense still needs to improve. Soaks were an experienced team and seemed quite well drilled and we were missing the key players Tom and Hywel who has gone to Wales. The second half was an improved performance and probably should have had a try early on when we had them under a lot of pressure. We eventually got a try which was well deserved and just showed what we can do when the ball is in our hands
We will be looking for a hugely improved performance next time we play them and that game will be one that we can win if we have a really good game.

Thirsty Thirds

An expectant crowd assembled at an overcast Allen Park to watch the Nedlands 3rd Grades (third round) fixture against the old enemy…ARFC. With the Premiership winning coaching partnership of Aussie Bob and Pete Sinden absent from the weekend’s proceedings, auditioning for X Factor Australia, all eyes were on the teams’ new conditioning coach, JaRule to coordinate beers, soft drinks and the human pyramid!

After a few last minute reshuffles and a scrappy warm-up the team was ready to take the field against a heavily focused, enthusiastic Soaks XV keen to demonstrate they still had some energy left after their 45 min warm up! Powerful running from their strike runner “Sweaty” gained them good field position, but following a solid mid-field challenge for Matty “The Chiropractor” Chong-Sue, Nedlands were penalised for an infringement at the resultant breakdown allowing the Soaks No.10 to convert his first shot at goal. Nedlands quickly responded with some good back play, helped by the forwards waking up to clean out the rucks. Quick ball allowed for some silky interplay, Chongy and Chris “Crime Dog” Naylor linking nicely to open the scoring for the visitors. Undeterred, Soaks went on the offensive, trying to punch through the Neddies defensive line. Their No.10 soon realised their attempts were being thwarted by some hard tackling and opted for the easy drop goal. Going into the break the scores sat 17-9 to the visitors.

The half time call from Capt. M. Lake was to stop giving away penalties; the re-gigged Nedlands XV responded and came out firing in the second half. Tries to Tom “Balls” Ballentine (x 2) and Chris “The Minister of Defence” Doherty gave Nedlands the point’s cushion they deserved. Some more staunch defence from Alvin “Showtime” Lau and The Capt, proved too much for a now weary Soaks, with Nedlands finishing comfortable victors by 34 points to 12. Nedlands showed periods of cohesive brilliance but often let themselves down by conceding unnecessary penalties at the breakdown. Another great result for the Thirds and the win continues their 2012 unbeaten record.

Player of the day went to fullback Auben for his commitment in hitting the line at pace and with high knees. (When asked to comment: Sinden was lost for words).

Nomads

Once again an improved and fired up Nomads side took to the field with a bang as they took on a well drilled Soaks team. With a fired up Trefor Thomas returning to field after a couple weeks off it was decided to take them on in the front and provide go forward ball for the backline.

With the forwards cleaning out the rucks and nice ball to the backs from Tony Pepperoni ,Nedlands opened the scoring with a great team try.  Nedlands carried on smashing into the Soaks defence and caught them napping with a quick tap off a late hit penalty to score after the ball passed through so many hands we are not sure who dotted down. Impressive as always in the forwards was form flanker David Bailey who was providing great support play and go forward with the ball in hand. In the backs the strong defence and decisive actions of Tony, Hayden and Chad kept the Nomads on the front foot.

After half time “Super Sub” Roo Van Der Berg ran rampant through the soaks defence to score a brilliant try off a lineout, this seemed to give the Nomads motivation and some brilliant attacking rugby followed. Some good scrummaging by the forwards set the platform for the backs to run with great support play and tackling once again from Mike Smith. Nedlands played some champagne rugby with a full time try being converted by Roo from out wide to end an enjoyable game of rugby for the Nedlands boys with a 26 to 12 Victory.

Player of the Day went to loosehead Paul Baker whose work rate went unmatched across both grades. Paul noted he’d managed to complete more game time on Saturday than he had in the entire 2011 Season. (When informed of the news, Aussie Bob remained tight lipped).

The Cavaliers

For the first time since summer hiding in the dunes at the nudist beach the cavs returned to swanbourne, but this time it was for business. We knew we were in for the toughest test to date so far this season and thats what we got. It was a special day for a cavalier foundation member Peps that was playin his 100th senior game for the club, the other member Marv that was on 100 as well couldnt make it after falling through his ceiling while having some quiet time in the roof space. The game couldnt of started worse with numerous handling errors and killing the ball from both sides. It took 12mins before the first break of the game with morgs busting them open and making a 50m run, the following plays the ball came right through a few sets of hands before bundy dotted down in the corner, and just like the serial killer with the same name he picked up his 5th in 3 weeks. Unfortunately morgs left the field injured which didnt get many likes on facebook.    Going in to the second half after some stern words from senior players and a reminder about subs from the coach, play from the cavs was more productive. It took some vintage counter attack to produce the second try with mat (wearing boots for the first time this year) putting on some sweet michael jackson moves to leave a few in wake before feeding our new blinged up winger “piri 1200” who also has watched thriller, then to the bus under the posts. Then things turned for the worse with the ref having enough of ball killing, he sent two of the boys from the field which made the last minutes a hard slog. But true cavalier grit shown through with a 15-8 win. The forwards had a tough day at the office rarely winning a scrum and a lineout but got round the field quicker than the op which was the difference in the end, chooky was a stand for the cavs as was matt and “piri 1200”. The words said in the huddle after the game showed how much we want to win this year, and a medal at the end of the year would be a nice send of for coach banksie before he starts his 2 year mormon stint in the blue mountains.   Best of luck to our manager “37” and tash for the impending birth of there child this week, and get well soon fazer.