Well as the Hulkster would say, you can’t argue with a clean sweep. Especially when that clean sweep shoots you to the top of the club championship ladder by just one point. But the Neddies 1st grade team were certainly pushed all the way as they sought to wrap up a win across all grades against old rivals Wests Subiaco at The Foreshore on Saturday.It was a game of four distinct phases in weather conditions which were more Melbourne than Perth. Neddies started like a bull at a gate and were soon up 11-0 after two penalties to Mike Botes and a try to Richie “Rat” Naylor. But the next phase of the game belonged to Wests, who rattled off 17 unanswered points as another big penalty count began to take its toll on the home team. As the half time whistle sounded, Neddies were down by 17-11 and in dire need of a momentum changer. And as the Irish were getting touched up by the All Blacks on the big screen in the club house, the question was being posed at the bar – was Neddies’ run of consecutive victories about to come to an end?But the half time break provided just the tonic Neddies needed for the all-important third phase of the game. First there was that all-too-familiar familiar passage of play: blockbusting Ryan McLeod punching a hole in the defensive line to set up his centre partner Saul Chase for a try. Soon after crowd favourite Travis “the Pope” Church was over for another try as Neddies snatched back the lead by 21-17.When Wests got back on the score board with a penalty goal, it was back to a one-point ball game. If it was a cricket game, bad light would have well and truly halted play by that time. But with bodies strewn across the park in various states of disrepair, Neddies surged over for a crucial try from a rolling maul which rumbled for all of 20 metres. As the jubilant players peeled off the ground, it was Rat buried at the bottom clutching the ball to secure his second try and another bonus point for Neddies.But then the game entered its fourth and final phase, as a desperate Wests team, trailing 26-20, stormed back up the field to score with time almost up. Amid ever darkening skies, the conversion sailed wide of the posts, as did a penalty goal attempt right on the bell.In the end, Neddies prevailed by 26-25 in what was a pulsating encounter. It doesn’t get an easier next Saturday, with Neddies heading to Harvey Field to take on Cottesloe in a round of games which is expected to include the appearance of Western Force players. Be there and be blue!
The bye week allowed a refreshed Reserve Grade team take the field against the traditionally strong Wests club on Saturday. Dry overcast conditions on the Foreshore promised a match that would allow an open style of play, and for much of the game that was the case. However the opening period of play saw both sides battle in close, in an arm wrestle that saw Neddies spend most of the first quarter in their own half. Stout defence kept the constant maroons attack at bay as the Lions struggled to get out away from the river end. A Wests penalty attempt from 40 metres out was flagged away, the ensuing restart allowing Neds to string together a passage of play to venture into opposition territory. Rewarded with a penalty just inside the visitors half, the valiant Rob Boulle conversion was also unsuccessful. Nedlands, buoyed by some territory advantage launched an attack into the Wests twenty two. However the hosts would be denied a try after a string promising phases ended in frustrating handling errors. The purple pigs managed to rumble well and again were denied a penalty attempt from just inside the Neddies half. The Royal Blues again attacked well, this time being rewarded with a handy penalty which Boulle had no problems with. Continuing with their momentum, Neds opted for the touch finder in the corner from a penalty just before half time. They unable to cross the line and took a slim 3-0 lead into the break.
The obvious message at half time appeared to have registered as a more enthusiastic and committed Neddies pack had the visitors on the back foot from the kick off. The resulting possession allowing a Boulle pass to switch play, finding a flying winger in Simon Harel to dot down – the conversion straying wide. Another war for dominance continued with both teams opening up the flow and tempo of the game. The Nedlands pack toiled well with front rower James Oddie leading the tight forwards while the loose forward trio of Ollie Baissac, Neil Smith, and Krystan Lawrence out-hungering their opposites. It was however a lapse in defence that allowed Wests steal a soft try at the edge of a ruck to keep them in the game. The resurgent visitors again camped in the Neddies twenty two, until a Smith turnover found Baissac overlapped out wide who raced away – only to be cut down deep inside Wests half. The resulting passages of play denying Baissac again being held up over the line. Replacement flyhalf Sam Rarasea then ignited the backline to put midfielder Eds Tauhinu through a gap, inturn finding fullback Jake Stevens slicing through to score. Rarasea converting from in front to put hosts 13-7 ahead. It seemed to the spark that was needed to fire Neds machine as another period of dominance up front saw some quality interplay. Rarasea switching play to again find a scything Stevens who cut through and grab a brace. Both sides rang the changes for the final few minutes – winger Izzy Lata looking threatening or Neddies on a few occasions. It would be Wests that would have the final scoring say – with a break out try enabling them to crawl the final score back to 20-12. A patchy effort from the Neddies team as a whole but stand out efforts from Baissac, Nielson and in particular Neil Smith. A more polished performance will be required next week by returning Coach McClutchie as the team takes on the unbeaten Cottesloe.
The U20’s had prepared very well during the week, with good intensity and great attitude during training. Game day, saw an overcast day, however, perfect conditions for an exciting game, against UWA. The game started off extremely well, with Nedlands having the majority of possession. Matt Smith, was controlling the game well alongside the returning halfback Tobs. Jordan Fantasia scored and converted two in the first half setting pace for the game. The margin was increased when Drake consolidated a hard scrumming effort to bring the score to 19. Through a hard running game by the two locks Matt and Tui, Neddies had the advantage late in the first half leading to prop Allen Leith beating several defenders and scoring in the left corner off a loose ball from Matt Smith.
The second half began poorly for the Neddie’s 20’s team, with a significant drop in intensity. For the first time in the game UWA were given space to run and managed to consolidate late in the second half with a converted try. However the try came too late for UWA to mount a comeback with Jordan scoring a hat-rick to seal off the game leaving the final score at 31-07.
On a dark and gloomy Saturday the Nedlands Thirsty Thirds upon completion of their club duties far quicker than any others, took to the field for another 1 vs 2 matchup, having dispatched the previous 2nd place getters 61-0. The thirds were aware from the pregame rev up from the Super Coaches of Sindo and Aussie Bob that this game was going to be unlike any other they had played this year. It was going to take a lot of KAHA from the Men in Blue to overcome the foes taking the field opposite them this afternoon. With newly appointed Captain Chris “4 inch Naylz” Naylor leading the team out onto the No 2 field it was a spectacle worthy of a picture.
From the kick-off the Wests Subi boys took it up hard to the Thirds boys with Mikey Weir and his front row partner Nick “The Baby-Faced Assassin”Butler taking on and bringing down the onslaught from around the ruck. They had practiced for this form of warfare with their trusty 2nd rowers Brett”Binga I’ve been Maced” Kelly and the ever present Tom “I’ll have a double” Ballantine every Thursday night and the lads were relishing the contest.Their Backrow of Ryan Lucy, Matt “barney” Suter, and Matt “Whatcha gonna Do” Chong-Sue kept the Ref honest and the Wests backrow on the backfoot withtheir bustling runs and quick pilfers.
The backs fed good ball by Tim “I’m Angry” Badham were punching holes with Mitch “the human cannon-ball” Lake and the Stigs Cousin taking it to the line and asking the question of the Wests Defense. Like a sumo wrestling bout, the two massive forward packs took to each other with gusto keeping the comic-book swapping marshmallow toasting backs as curious spectators to this clash of behemoths. It was 22 mins into the game before an indiscretion from the visitors meant the Stigs Cousin could take a shot at goals which went wide. From the long 22 drop out and some poor defence and a gifted penalty meant the West kicker had an easy kick and the score was 0-3 to the visitors.
A fired up captain Naylz gave his troops some verbal incantation that proved the difference, from the ensuing kick and turnover ball that sent Flyhalf Alvin “Stardust” Lau weaving his way between the starstruck wests players to score down the left hand side. The conversion was missed by the Stigs Cousin. Scores 5-3 to the home side.
More Sumo wrestling argy bargy ensued with the forwards bustling their way through for the Capt “4inch” Naylz to half ground the ball only for the Ref to disallow the try. Tom Ballantine made sure his crossing of the line right on half time was allowed and did it close enough for the Stigs Cousin toconvert. Score 12-3 to the home side.
At half time once “the Frrrruits”, the snakes and some water had been taken on board it was heads down and game back on.
With focus and determination the Nedlands Thirds took the game by the scruff of the neck and started to impose their playing style on the match, it only took 7 minutes for that style to manifest itself in a some great leadup work by Flanker Ryan Lucy, No 8 Matt “I’m not Barney” Suter for the ball to be spun wide and a great offload from fullback Hamish ” I’m not kicking” Weir to winger Percy “I can fly” Bulisovasova to cross in the rhs corner untouched. The Stigs cousin was having an off day and missed the conversion. Score 17-3 to the homeside.
Some overzealous but probably opportunistic case of a good shoeing by Capt Naylor resulted in him being Yellow carded. A brain snap a couples of minutes later had everyone guessing what Martin “Tank” Tutt was doing kicking the ball from within our 22 and not putting it into touch. Some linking and backup work by left winger Donnavin “I used to be a loosey” Robertson led to his try in the 62 min of the game. Not converted by the Stigs Cousin. Scores 22-3.
Both teams were dog tired in the closing stages of the game but Tom “I’ll have a double” Ballantine still had some fuel in the tank to back up a raid down the left hand wing to gather up the loose ball at the back of a ruck and cross for his second of the day right on the final bell. The Stigs cousin converted Final Score 29-3.
It was a perfect day for playing rugby when our 4th Grade Gold ‘Nomads’ team took to the field at the Foreshore against 4th on the ladder Wests. This game was always going to be a hard fought affair given Wests have a young and fit team, and this proved to be the case. Our Nomads however have a good mix of older heads and young guns, and from the kick-off started strongly, controlling the ball in the forwards and making sure our free running backs had plenty of opportunity. With the forwards working the ball toward the West line, Tref ‘T Rex’ Thomas barged over near the posts in the 5th minute to score the first try, which was converted by Tony ‘Pepperoni’ Mladnovski. The next 20 minutes was played between the 22m lines, with both sides hitting the ball up with gusto but the opposing side being up to the task in defense. It certainly wasn’t for the faint hearted, and this period of play featured some excellent running by flankers Mike ‘Givit’ Smith and Ross ‘Snowy’ Graham, and our Kieran Reid look-alike at 8 Logan Byars in the forwards, with ‘Haydos’ Smith and Matt ‘The Stig’ Pewhairangi, returning for his first game this season, in the backs. In the 20th minute we brought on our strike weapon, Andrew ‘Gadget’ Knight, and not long after Gadget got the ball on the wing and made a 50m dashing and weaving run to score near the corner – a very good try. Wests immediately hit back and worked their way up to our line, and it was only the solid defence from our forwards knocking back the Wests pick-and-drive that saved a try. We survived the onslaught and at half time we were leading 12-0.
The second half saw Wests come out fighting, and they really applied the pressure, working the ball past our 22m on a number of occasions, aided by a Nomads lack of discipline at the breakdown and a heavy penalty count against us. There was dramatic defence shown by Hillary ‘The Beast’ Kavumbura, Big Tref, Luke ‘Cool Hand’ Fonseca and Sam ‘Theatre’ Usher but the turning point came in the 20th minute when the forwards won a vital turn-over with Wests attacking just 5m from our line. The ensuing clearance brought much needed relief, and not long after Gadget unleashed another of his weaving runs that brought us to the Wests try line and a deft pivot and twist led to a James Timoney touch down. With a few minutes to go it was another forward led charge that resulted in Tony ‘Pepperoni’ Mladnovski scoring under the posts and converting his own try. The final whistle saw Nomads finish with a confident 24-0 win. This was a hard fought game that certainly tested our defensive capabilities. The forwards worked as a unit, and the backs had a number of excellent runs that were always set up by the fast and accurate passing of Tony Pepperoni. Best on Ground points went to: Logan Byars (3 points) The Stig (2 points) and Mike Smith (I point).
Welcome to another edition of the cavalier news. This week the cavs took on wests in our first home game in 12 games, and just like the drunk aunty at a wedding we were also on the top of the table. With no footy last week and a default a couple of weeks earlier our season has had more unwelcome disruptions than a teen having solo time with redtube and mum walking into make the bed. We knew wests were going to be one of the teams to beat this year and it showed with good numbers at training even with a bit of rain around, and with 12 reserves game day showed we were up for it. This really was a game of two halves going into the break down 12-3 then turning on 24 unanswered points in the second half with some classic cavalier tries being scored. Ted bundy claimed a brace to take him to 9 for the year and skipper Deano helped himself to a brace as well. Big games from Peps and Piri “1200” and some big breaks from Blair “the bus, whale shark, yuk” Dayley saw the cavs gain control early in the second half and piled on the hurt until full time. It was good to see so many cavaliers showing up for the game without hangovers although a few had the crack flu. Another big game next week against cott as the cavs press towards a first round clean sweep. And as always cavs stay black stay deadly