It was a cracker of a day on Saturday as Neddies travelled to Tompkins Park to take on Palmyra and a cracker of a result to boot. While there were some concerns that a growing injury list might leave Neddies vulnerable in the round four match-up with Paly, the result was a bonus-point 35-20 triumph which left Neddies unbeaten on the top of the log. The result was also a tribute to the long list of colts who have gone on to represent Neddies in the premier grade. A quick head count of the players who took the field for Neddies in premier grade on Saturday who have either graduated from the colts, or are still eligible to play for colts, included the likes of Kristen Lawrence, Mike Botes, Rob Sauer, Chalky, Henare Ria, Ollie Baisac, Cam Sinden, Saul Chase, James Oddie and Hendrik Ceronio. Throw in coach Tony Ball, who also came through the Neddies juniors, and that makes 11. Neddies started well and soon had their noses 6-0 in front courtesy of two penalty goals from Mike Botes, including a monster from halfway which landed in the $2 stall at the Fremantle markets. The ever elusive Ben Titoko scored the first five-pointer down the sideline, and when Botes added the conversion Neddies were looking ominous at 13-0. However, Palmyra were able to feed off Neddies errors to rattle off the next 10 points with a penalty goal and a converted try. Suddenly the home team was back in the game at half time, trailing by just 13-10. Neddies were back to a 10-point buffer when Luke “Dogga” Doherty, who put in another lion-hearted performance for Neddies, scored a great captain’s try. And by the time Richie “Rat” Naylor had crossed for Neddies’ third try, the score had blown out to 28-13 as coach Tony Ball emptied the bench. With another bonus-point victory beckoning, it was solid midfielder Ryan McLeod who sealed the win for Neddies with a fourth try to give Neddies a comfortable 35-20 win. All up it was a gutsy performance from Neddies where everyone stood up, including another workaholic effort from flanker Chalky, cheered on by his ever-growing Chalky cheer-squad in the stands. On to this Saturday, which will be one of the biggest occasions down at the Neddies Foreshore since the 75th anniversary celebrations in 2009 and Magnum’s debut game for the club in 1937. Neddies will take on Kalamunda to celebrate the opening of the new club house and arrangements are being made for all the Juniors to play down at Neddies as well, starting from about 8am. So get down there early to support the future stars of Neddies including Tyla “Heavin” Stevens in the under-7s, Jamie “You won’t hear him comin” Drummond in the under-8s and Travis “Just give me the” Ball in the under-9s.
Clear blue skies set the scene at Tompkins Park for the rematch of last years Reserve Grade Grand Final. A Nedlands side that had little resemblance to their last encounter against Palmyra, started the game with a brisk breeze at their backs and looked to control territory early through the tactical boot of flyhalf Cam Sinden. However it was a Palmyra grubber kick that found its way over the Nedlands tryline, finding the defence napping and was forced by the reigning premiers to open the scoring. Neddies then generated a promising assault and were rewarded with a Rob Boulle penalty. The battle for territory continued until slick hands from Sinden and loose forward Jeandre Van Der Weisthauzen broke Neddies out from deep inside their half – then finding speedy number eight Ollie Baissac in space who gave to winger Monty Van der Berg to score in the corner. Boulles conversion was also followed by a penalty to give Neds a handy 13-5 lead. Reminiscent of the previous week, Nedlands threatened the opposition line regularly but came undone through costly handling errors. This was compounded when Paly scored from a rare period of possession inside the Neddies twenty two. The reply was swift as a box kick from halfback Paul ‘Sicho’ Nielson was regathered by winger Van Der Berg who fed ever present loose forward Fud Ashford who touched down out wide. Nedlands had continued ascendancy up front through some clean lineout ball and a solid scrum base thanks largely to hooker Mitch Taylor and rookie second rowers Danny McAuliffe and Mike Egan, who all worked hard around the park. Unfortunately the locals’ backline defence held fast, snubbing out any Royal Blue assault – although finally being rewarded with another Boulle penalty. The tables were then turned as Paly camped on the Nedlands line for five minutes before the end of the half, only to be denied by solid line defence and an obstruction call. A hard fought 21-12 lead to Neds at the break.
The second half proved an arm wrestle for both possession and territory with both sides launching promising attacks from all parts of the field. Neddies loose trio continued to menace the Paly ruck creating turnover ball that unfortunately it could not be converted into points. It was again against the run of play that Paly shifted the ball wide and found a pacey winger race 80 meters through some lackadaisical defence to score, the conversion putting them in striking distance at 21-19. The hosts continued their momentum and after multiple phases of the stop start affair were awarded a penalty from wide out which was slotted and Palmyra hit the lead by a point with less than five to go. Neddies took the initiative to maintain possession yet found it hard to get within scoring range. With time up on the clock, Palmyra were penalised at the ruck just inside their half. The three point Boulle penalty kick from 50 meters on the angle into the breeze would win the game for Neddies 24-22. Cheers of jubilation mixed with sighs of relief echoed around the ground from Nedlands supporters, players, and coaching staff. Celebrations were subdued in the changing rooms afterwards, an indication from the players about the feeling of exhaustion and “the one that almost got away”. Rob Boulle, Fud Ashford, and Mikey Egan were the best for Nedlands on the day – with everyone looking forward to the first ‘new home’ game of the season next week.
The under 20s prevailed in a hard fought battle in blustery conditions at Tompkins Park. The first half was a bruising affair with Nedlands only points coming from a penalty. Palmyra took advantage of their opportunities at the end of the first half and scored a try. Down 7-3 at the break Nedlands needed inspired efforts from the likes of Allan Leith, Ben Viljoen, and Mat McGowan to fight their way back into the fixture. With 20 minutes remaining Hendricks danced his way through the pally defence and scored a much needed try to put his team up by 3 points. Nedlands started to look dangerous with the ball in hand at this point. Mat Smith put a well weighted chip behind Palmyras defence which fell into the grateful hands of Viaan who scored with 10 minutes remaining. Up 15-7 Nedlands held onto to record a come from behind victory and show the rest of the competition the fortitude and mental toughness the team is made of.
At 12.35pm the Magnificent Fifteen took to the field. The wind was still and the air was thick with expectation. A crow cried in the distance. There was glint in AS’s eye. Chad burped. Pally kicked off. The Neddies forwards secured the ball and immediately transitioned into their game plan at the urging of the old guy playing fly-half with a unconvincing high pitched squeal of “wave!.” Tom ‘Whisky’ Ballantyne assembled a pod and came storming around the corner for the second phase. The opposition’s eyes grew wide and their whites shone a glow on the imposing sight, adding to the theatre of the day. Further phases saw the ball promoted at the line by Matt ‘Barney’ Suter as the forward sensed space and time in a dangerous continuum. Pally’s unorthodox defensive structures meant the Neddies forwards could not fully complete many phases but showed supreme dominance stringing together multiple impressive sets. The backs enjoyed clean and crisp ball when requested as Alvin ‘Stardust’ Lau relished the chance to display his credentials as a true half back and they didn’t mess about. Even when they did, they didn’t mess about. The world watched on, the remainder of the team mere passengers, as Mitch ‘Lets Go Fishing in the’ Lake, Chad ‘Don’t Call me Jerry’ Collins and Auben ‘Alex Perry’ Lavery caused havoc with ball in hand out wide. Good lead up work down the left flank where Nick ‘The White Massai’ Rostin and Paul ‘Pickled’ Baker were able to link up with ‘Big’ Tom Odihambo as he channelled his inner Chester Williams, forced infringements by Pally. With a lineout deep into Pally’s territory the Triple Ts sent Tim ‘Timber’ Blomfield into orbit to retrieve the pinpoint throw from Chris ‘Nails’ Naylor and the squad proceeded to execute a perfect Tango movement out to the right corner. Some scintillating footwork by Don ‘Navin’ Robertson went unrewarded as Neddies pressed the line. Quick ball ensued and smart hands on the line saw Don’t Call Me Jerry Collins pop a nice ball up to a steaming ‘Alex Perry’ Lavery who juggled the ball like a too-hot haggis only touch down next to the poles for the first try of the match. The next stanza saw much of the same play with Matt ‘What You Gonna Do’ Chong-Sue leading charge after charge inside and out like a heavily tanned Dimiti Szarzewski. A period of repeated infringements at the breakdown cast a pall over the ground as the distinguished referee vigorously thrusted his pointed hand sky ward as if to reference a higher power, complicit in each decision, punishing a Triple T forward pack that lives on the fringes and apologises to no-one. A glimmer of hope stirred the Pally Resistance. Again pressing the Pally line the ball went wide and again Collins and Don Navin Robertson danced to their own tune, equal parts mesmerising, equal parts destructive, to put white to green in the right corner. Shortly thereafter Old Man River Doherty got confused and accidentally used Timber Blomfield as a decoy and weaved his way through in what resembled a pensioner with walking sitck type movement for a meat pie his own.
Another pall was cast over the ground and the glaring sun went behind a cloud during a not so brief period. This period, like our own Perestroika, featured Alex Perry blowing (pardon the pun) and bombing a try after try to the anguish of the Neddies faithful and the disgust of his teammates. This ignited a spark in the Pally Resistance who, to their credit, strung some good phases together and managed an impressive try with the assistance of Lets Go Fishing in the Lake.
However the tide had turned. The Triple T pack was taking no prisoners and set a platform on which the team could build a structure so solid in its foundations nothing could knock it over.
It was a game of two halves. The first and the second, linked together with a brief period known as half time. It was during this period that the collective Supercoaches devised a plan to elevate the game to another level and various substitutions were made and planned. The execution of this strategy was such that the Triple T’s performance ascended to a new plane and key substitutions in the forwards Mike ‘Not Mundaring’ Weir, David ‘Will the Real DB Please Stand Up’ Bailey and Ruan ‘Van Der Van Der’ Van Der Berg mercilessly punished a gallant Pally. Van Der Van Der Van Der Berg was particularly impressive scoring multiple tries and running like a shorter and straighter-haired Ryan Kankowski to the unwavering support of his better half on the sideline. The backs were ably substituted with Andrew ‘The Pygmy of Port Hedland’ Farquarson, Hamish ‘Also not Mundaring’ Weir and Perky ‘Bulla Bulla’ Bulisovasova who made the left hand touchline their own, continually turning their opposing numbers this way and that and sometimes that way and this and at times various combinations of the two to create opportunities and ultimately provide Nails Naylor enough inspiration and guidance to see him canter over the try line like the inspired progeny of a Black Caviar.
As the game drew to a close the crowd on the sideline hushed. The sun shined brightly and somewhere a calf was born. A bead of sweat on Nails’ forehead glistened in the light. The whistle shrilled and the coaching staff shook hands and basked in the warm glow of success. The scoreboard clocked well over 50 to the Triple Ts and a job was done. A job was done.
After the scintillating display of attacking rugby provided by the Thirsty Thirds in the ‘curtain raiser’ there was an unusual air of excitement and expectation in the air as the mighty Nomads took the field to do battle with the Palmyra 4th grade. From the kick of it was evident that it was not going be a walk in the park as both forward packs tested each other at every corner. Our forwards seem rather unsettled from the start, trying to gather their game together and present cleans ball out to the backs. Things only began to calm down for our boys after about 10 minutes in when Trefor “T-Rex” Thomas, having arrived late for the match, ran on to rally the troops. With the arrival of the old warhorse things began to fall into place and the Nomads where reaping the benefits as Hayden “the hammer” Smith blitzed through the Plamyra back line to score our opening try, and followed it up with a successful conversion. Now Palmyra began to pick up their game and get organized. Their forwards kept their pick and goes in place and pushed forward with momentum towards the Neddies try line. The Nomads defended well but Plamyra pushed through for a try, score now 7-5. The Nomads were soon hot on their heels once more as they returned Paly’s call with another cracking try of their own as new comer Sam Hocking weaved in an out of the Paly defence to score right under the post, try converted successfully by Tony Mladenovski. But the Nomad’s happiness was short lived as a minor lapse in concentration lead to Paly scoring another try just before half time. Score at half time 12-10. During the half time break Martin “Captain Courageous” Fitzsmon urged the Nomads to push on and to make sure that they are not beaten on enthusiasm out in the field. With that in mind the players marched on into the second half to deliver a scorcher of a performance. Right from the start our boys were on Paly’s back as the hounded their back line with line breaking attacks which lead to an eventual try by Andrew Simmons on the right wing. Then it was the forwards turn to bulldoze over Paly as they worked a series of powerful ‘pick and goes’ to inch gradually closer and closer to the Paly try line. Eventually Nick ‘Super-sub’ Power was, true to his name if not his physique, able to power his way over from the edge of the ruck to score the Nomad’s 4th try. The game was drawing to a close and so was Paly’s dream of a win over the Nomads as Stru Collins blazed down the wing to score the Nomad’s 5th try. Final Score 31-10, awesome come back from the Nomads.
Well just like a porn star doing a outdoor shoot the cavaliers were also looking forward to a romp in the sun. The day started well when star flanker diggers avoided jail for a minor incident and could take the field and more importantly can start his foot fetish website.The law was laid down before we left the changerooms about our on field discipline that let us down badly last week, so with some innovative coaching the introduction of a shot of cooking oil for any sinbin or talking back to ref, it had an immediate effect with penalties only a third of last week. It didnt take long for the cavs to get on the board and going into the break with 5 tries including one of the great solo tries by stand in captain chooky, the boys were hungry for more. Finally Marv made it on to the field for his milestone game after falling through his ceiling last week pretending he was a jew hiding from the germans. Player of the day was Joe with numerous line breaks and Spooner also impressed with 1100 hit ups. But chookys kicking coach will be under pressure with chooky only kicking at 50% on sat. final score 53-0