Complacency is always a risk when you’re unbeaten at the top of the table. And braving the elements at Harvey Field has seen many Neddies teams come unstruck against old foe Cottesloe over the years.But there was a special fighting quality about the bonus-point win over the Gulls on Saturday that warmed the hearts of the Neddies faithful huddled under umbrellas on the hill. What’s more, Neddies success at Harvey Field throughout the afternoon was enough to put a bit of daylight between second-placed Uni on the overall Club Championship ladder.The game started with the crowd scurrying into the Cott club house as the rain lashed the field. And as the Neddies players were lashed with penalties, Cottesloe jumped to an early 6-0 lead.Hyperactive loose forward Richie “Rat” Naylor looked to have put Neddies on the board when he was awarded a try, only for a caucus of match officials to retrospectively decide otherwise.But as the rain dried up and the sun started peering through the clouds, Neddies continued hammering the Cott line. With the grunt work being done up front, it was only a matter of time before Neddies outstretched the defence for winger Matt “Boots” Venter to cross out wide. With Neddies under8s assistant coach Ben Seymour adding the extras, Tony Ball’s team went to sheds 7-6 ahead.By the time the second half had started, the sun was out in full. And the only ones left in the club rooms were those with loud Irish accents anticipating an upset with over the All Blacks on the big screen.Cott snatched the lead back with another penalty goal before Neddies, looking increasingly threatening, piled on three tries. The first was to lock Phil Steyne and the second to former PG Hampshire winner Nate Roberts. By the time Boots had crossed for his second try from a perfect Ben Seymour chip-kick, Neddies were out to a 28-12 lead and threatening to inflict more damage. As coach Tony Ball emptied his bench it allowed colts player Chalky Jnr to make his 1st grade debut with his brother Chalky Snr. To avoid any confusion, the Chalky brothers are now officially known as Chalk and Cheese.Anyway, Cott managed to grab one back on the bell with a try in the corner for a final score line of 28-17. There were lion-hearted contributions across the park from Neddies, perhaps none more so than cult hero prop Travis “The Pope” Church, Rat and inspirational skipper Luke “Dogga” Doherty up front. Saturday sees Neddies return to the Foreshore for another tough one against the Roo Dogs to complete the first round. Be there or be square. And if anyone is in Europe or the Caribbean this week, please let Rex Julian know.
Under cold slightly drizzly weather the u/20s faced Cott at harvey field. The 1st half finished with the score at 17-3 with a penalty kick from Jordan who made some great kick throughs s as did Izzy. Cott fullback looked very dangerous at times an scored two tries. He nearly got a runaway try from an intercept on Neds try line but was chased down by Keith who caused him to knock the ball on. Then the cott winger did a dangerous tackle on jordan an got yellow carded. Nick made some great line breaks an then neds lost tighthead prop Allen who had played a great attacking game when he kicked one of the cott boys in the head an was sent off. Neds defence was very effective and they looked like they would come back in the second half. But the second half looked a bit messy at the breakdown as it started to drizzle but cott only managed one more try with the final score 22-3 to cott. Neds looked dangerous at times on their try line but the slippery conditions saw the ball turned over several times. Player of the day was winger Keith who ran an kicked the ball accurately all game. Two points went to lock tui williams who took the ball up well. One point went to outside centre jordan. Coaches phil an joe are doing a great job of coaching this very young u/20s side who are predominately 17yo. They are fortunate to have a few older experienced players in lock matt an flanker jamie hawgood. If this team stays together for the next few years they will be a force to be reckoned with.
The Thirsty Thirds had not prepared well for this match. On top of general confusion throughout the week about who was available to play for us, we had also to deal with the last minute secondment of club stalwart and regular starting halfback Alvin ‘Stardust’ Lau to fill in for 2nd grade on the wing and, worse still, it was raining on Thursday night (our only training night) and lots of the boys managed to find an excuse not to train in the rain. So we were not as well organised as usual when we ran onto the field to take on a fired up Cottesloe. But for the first ten minutes or so you would never have guessed that there had been any problems with our preparation. The Nedlands forwards dominated and, with the majority of possession the backs, ably led by ‘Wagga’ Doherty and ‘Don’t Call Me Jerry’ Collins, ran riot. After 10 minutes, despite running into a stiff breeze, Neddies were already 10 points in front, the result of a try by Nick ‘the White Massai’ Rostin and a conversion and penalty by Wagga. But then disaster struck. In a nasty off the ball incident a Cottesloe player savagely attacked the elbow of our hooker with his jaw. This act of thuggery was unfortunately misinterpreted by the otherwise excellent referee, with the result that Chris ‘Skipper’ Naylor was shown a red card and had to leave the field. The ‘Supercoaches’ (Bob and Sindo) were worried men, faced as they were with the prospect of their team having to complete the remaining 60 minutes of the game with only 14 players. But they should not have concerned themselves. The boys responded magnificently to the challenge posed by the loss of their captain. At Wagga’s direction they kept the ball close to the forwards, held on to possession and kept the mistakes to a minimum. It was not pretty to watch, but it was effective. It ensured that Cottesloe barely got their hands on the ball and at half time the score was still 10-0 to Neddies. Neddies began the second half by taking up exactly where they had left off in the first. With the breeze at his back Wagga’s deft kicking out of hand kept Cott pinned in their own 22 and, despite the very tight and limited style of play Neddies were forced to adopt, the Royal Blues went close to scoring on several occasions. Eventually, from a scrum near the Cott line ‘Don’t Call Me Jerry’ was able to use his power, pace and massive bulk to muscle his way over for our second try, which Wagga duly converted to give us a 17-0 lead. At last the game looked safe! Bob and Sindo emptied the reserves bench in the hope that fresh legs would better enable us to close out the match. But, as is often the way when wholesale replacements are made, the opposite seemed to happen. Cott came steaming back into the match. They scored two unconverted tries and were pushing for a third when time finally expired. So it was a close run thing in the end, but nonetheless a remarkable effort by the boys, to win when playing with only 14 men for most of the match. This gutsy win puts the Thirsty Thirds nine points clear at the top of their competition table with only bottom placed Wanneroo to come before the end of the first round. The boys know that they still have much to work on, but if they are able to establish some stability in the make-up of the team over the coming weeks, and begin to build some combinations, this team has the potential to absolutely dominate the remainder of the competition and go into the Finals well placed to secure a third successive premiership. Best on ground points this week went to Wagga (3 points), ‘Don’t call Me Jerry’ (2 points) and Alex ‘Raging Bull’ Stephens (1 point).
Right from the start it was evident it was a not going to be an easy day at Cottesloe’s home ground. Light showers ushered the Nomads on to the field then took their leave to be replaced by a windy guest who stayed throughout the game. The Nomads could not seem to find a rhythm to engage Cott. Haden Smith was making many initial breaks, however good defence by the young Cott backline was always able to stop his relentless attacks. The Nomads forwards were rushing things at the breakdown in their efforts to generate quick ball and were conceding many penalties as a result. After 10 minutes of play the ball finally found its way to the Cott forwards and they were determined to not let it get back to the Nomads easily. Their concerted drive saw them get the first try of the match. This fired the Nomads up and they gradually began to get back into the game. However emotions were running high and the boys found it hard to settle into their normal patterns of play. The first half ended with Cott having the upper hand and a 5-0 lead. The half time talk saw Trefor ‘T-Rex’ Thomas Marty ‘Captain Courageous’ FitzSimons forcefully demanding that the team slow down, concentrate and do the simple things right. When play resumed the already highly physical game got even more bruising. With Tref and Marty leading the way, the Nomads forwards were now looking much sharper at the breakdowns. They repeatedly blew Cott off the rucks and secured copious quantities of clean ball for the back line. The Nomads had found their rhythm at last and, as soon as they did so, a neat backline play sent full back Hayden Classen steaming over the Cott try line. Cott was definitely on the back foot now and their foundations continued to be shaken by the onslaught of the Nomad forwards. The ‘pocket battleship’ flanker Ross Graham was everywhere, exploiting every Cottesloe error and winning multiple turnovers for the Nomads. In the 52nd minute, quick passing along the line put right wing James Timmoney clear. James outpaced the cover defence to dive over in the corner and score the winning try. It was not an easy game but it was a character building experience especially for the younger Nomads. Final Score 10-5 to the Nomads. Best on Ground points went to Ross Graham (3 points), Trefor Thomas (2 points) and Simon Ruri (1 point).
This week the cavalier juggernaut rolled into cottesloe for a top of the table clash and just like a scene out of a famous NZ romantic comedy the cavs asked cott to cook us some eggs and when they refused we beat them. The conditions didnt suit our style of play and with the cavs being like gremlins dont like getting wet, but it was us they played the weather best with deano, chooky and matty t keeping cott on the back foot all day with smart kicking. Cott had a far bigger team across the paddock and it showed with there strong scrums but it was our boys defence that got up and stopped them behind the advantage line which was the key to the win. Our first try came with blair ” The bus, whale shark, yuk, moon shiner” dayley taking a good short ball then beating a couple of tackles then jeff wilson like swan diving in for a 7 pointer thanks to a chooky conversion. Some big “d” going into the break had the boys pumped with some huge hits from scotty b, stumpy and kc setting the way for the second half. Ted Bundy scored our second try with a good kick chase and some great reflex skills that only mass murderers have to pluck an opp mistake out of the air and race into the corner. The score stayed at 12-0 till full time but could of been more but the cruel bounce of the ball was against us with a couple of tries going a miss, the introduction of our foot fetish specialist “diggers” with his trade mark tackles at runs made an instant impact in a cav pack that gave away alot of size but came out on top in wet weather footy which is something to be proud of. With one more game in the round the cavs are hungry for a first round clean sweep and with the numbers that are down each week everyone is pushing for spots. A big congratulations goes to wilson for firetrucking the bed on wed night, thats the sort of maturity i look for in an assistant keep up the good work. Untill next week cavs stay black stay deadly.