The second round of the competition saw the undefeated Neddies Premier Grade team taking on University, the 2011 Premiers. The game started with early pressure in Uni territory and a kickable penalty within the first 30 seconds. Unfortunately the kick was wide and landed very close to the Thomas’s lounge room window. Neddies dominated territory for the next 15 minutes until a Uni breakout and quick hands resulted in the students earning an attacking scrum 5m from the Neddies line. From the scrum Uni worked a quality move to score close to the posts with the conversion giving the visitors a 7 point lead.
The remainder of the first half was a closely contested affair with University showing the form that took them to the 2011 Premiership. A highlight for the home team was a 34 th minute attempt at goal which went wide and again threatened to cause a Thomas rethink about glass insurance.
With Neddies running towards the Third Half corner in the second half the home crowd was optimistic but not expecting such a quick start with a try in the first 2 minutes catching a few spectators at the bar and your scribe in the lavatory. Apparently the try (converted) was a Cam Crowley touchdown off a Ryan McLeod break (7 all).
Uni struck back in the 55th minute with a penalty to take the lead however the home team was rewarded five minutes later with good hands in the midfield resulting in Cam Crowley going over for a converted try. A 68th minute penalty goal from sustained pressure saw Neddies take a 17 – 10 lead. Being seven points down Uni decline kickable attempts at goal to go for the try however resolute Neddies defence denied them the points. A highlight of the closing stages was Rugby WA Board Member Steve Fink buying $20 worth of raffle tickets – not an everyday occurrence. With 2
minutes to go and the game in the bag Dogga showed the benefit of his Western Force experience with a yellow card giving him first use of the showers. And importantly the Mike Denton Cup Stays at Neddies at least until next season.
Perfect conditions welcomed both teams to the Foreshore for a game that would confirm second spot on the table for the victors. With each side coming of a bye week, it was the Uni side that started with energy and urgency as it surged through a stunned Neddies defence. The visitors camped on Neds line early and crossed over softly to take 7-0 lead. The signs were looking ominous for the hosts as the students continued their dominance with ball in hand, gaining easy metres and controlling possession. An unsuccessful penalty attempt was soon followed by another opportunity, this time the feminine Uni goal kicker obliged and they leapt to a 10 point lead.
Neddies struggled to maintain the minimal possession they were able to get hold of, with their set piece under intense pressure and unforced errors hampering any attempt to gain momentum. Fortunately the defensive lapses that had plagued Neddies game earlier were becoming less and they were able to relieve some pressure through the occasional penalty and line break. Fullback Neihana Christian picked a good game to find some lost form – as he regularly showed his team mates the way through Uni’s defensive line – particularly on counter attack. The second quarter was more encouraging for Neddies supporters as it became apparent the hosts had woken from their bye week slumber. Despite continual assaults on their tryline, effective scrambling and line defence denied the green and yellows another touchdown. Uni frustrations boiling over, the referee required to intervene as they targeted the loose forward trio of Crowsy Lawrence, Neil Smith, and Ollie Baissac as the main culprits for keeping the Neddies tryline intact for the latter stages of the first half. However after a gluttony of possession Uni were inevitably awarded a handy penalty which gave them a 13-0 lead at the break.
The second half again started with an enthusiastic University side that looked to control the game through weight of possession and territory. This time Neds continued to defend as stoutly as they ended the first half. Neddies too were able to control extended phases of play off the back of an improved scrum and accuracy at the breakdown. Evergreen utility back Alvin Lau standing in at flyhalf controlled play well and peppered defenders in vintage “stardust” fashion. His service to his fellow backs allowing line breaks particularly for inside centre Eds Tauhinu. It was Lau himself who found the crack in the Uni defence to stroll over untouched next to the posts after a determined series of forward drives that led into the opposition twenty two. The conversion getting the home side back in the game 13-7.
From the kick off both sides again exchanged kicks to gain the territory advantage but a wayward return kick from Uni sparked a counter attack. Winger Bryan Sanders finding space down the left side and put Lau away under the sticks again to score. The simple conversion gave Nedlands their first lead of the game 14-13.
The final quarter became another battle for domination as both teams toiled at the each others defensive line. Uni were given assistance down field and a chance to take the lead through consecutive penalties. A successful kick gave Uni the lead back at 16-14. Neddies then began to construct an attack deep into the opposition end but were denied by a penalty at the breakdown. Uni held the ball for a passage of phases and were again given a chance to kick for a penalty goal approximately 35 metres out. 19-13 University. Despite another charge at the visitors line from Neddies that would be the final score.
After a rough start, Nedlands Reserves will be encouraged by the fight back to outscore the strong University side two tries to one – but will be disappointed to loose to the students twice this season. Neddies best were fullback Nase Christian, the back row of Baissac, Smith, and Lawrence, and second rower Mikey Egan.
It was a bright sunny day to kick off the round. Neddies started off very well dominating possession in the 1st 20 minutes, then switched off and let in 3 easy tries. Last 10 minutes we came back with an intercept to Jordan, off some very good defense. After the half the boys were fired up and we stayed in uwa ‘s half for the majority of the game. New man Jake Wilson scored a nice try in the corner of a nice pass from Izzy . After that we had them stuck in there 22 but couldn’t capitalize on the set pieces and eventually they came back down and scored. The team has improved heaps from last round and hopefully we can carry it through the rest off season. Final score 31-14.
With many of our best players either injured, or playing up the grades or working away, this game was always going to be a testing one for the Thirsty Thirds. Nonetheless, such is our depth of quality players, we were still able to field a strong starting team and, for the first 30 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 Cameron ‘Hoppy’ Sinden, ‘Don’t Call Me Timmy’ Badham and Mitch ‘Lakey’ Lake ran riot scoring four brilliant tries. Thus, with only a few minutes left until half time, we were leading 24-0. Then things started to go ‘pear shaped’. First Camo was sinbinned for over vigorous rucking, then injuries to Badham, Bailey and Harel necessitated mass changes to the backline. The resulting confusion as to positions and a general lack of commitment in defence allowed Uni to score the first of their three tries, just before half time. During the break further substitutions were made in order to ensure that all players who had trained on Thursday night and had paid their club fees in full got at least half a game. This is no doubt a good and fair policy, but it further disrupted both our attack and defence. In the absence of both of our regular half backs Rabi ‘The Yank’ Ratnesar made a good fist of clearing the ball but, outside him, the backline had effectively ceased to function. The two ‘Supercoaches’ (Bob and Sindo) were worried men as Uni scored twice more to push the score up to 22-19. But then the Neddies captain Chris ‘Nailz’ Naylor took control. At his direction the forwards decided to change tactics. They wisely stopped giving the ball to the backline. Instead they decided to keep the ball close, hold on to possession and keep mistakes to a minimum. It was not pretty to watch, but it was effective. As a result, for the last 15 minutes of the match Uni barely got their hands on the ball and eventually, from a well worked Neddies rolling maul close to the UWA line, replacement flanker Sam Ussher smashed over for our fifth try. The easy conversion made the score 29-19 and seemed to take the wind out of Uni’s sails. Their previously boisterous bench became silent and they never really challenged us again. In the end, despite a creditable Uni come back early in the second half, this was another relatively easy, five try, bonus point win. It puts the Thirsty Thirds a massive fourteen points clear at the top of their competition table and has left the ‘Supercoaches’ with just one problem … what do they do now to ensure that the boys do not lose focus and become complacent? This is important because the reality is that the team has got to its current dominant position without ever playing consistently well for a whole game. However, as their slashing first half performances against Palmyra and Kalamunda in Games 5 and 6, and their heroic defence when down to 14 men for most of the game against Cottesloe in Game 8 showed, if only the players are able to concentrate and actually play to their ability for a full game, this team has the potential to completely dominate the competition. Whether it can do so or not is really up to the players! Do they have the resolve and the mental discipline required? That is the question.
Reminiscing the bitter memory of their round 1 game with Uni, which did not go well for the Nomads, the boys were fired up to take back the points lost. It turned out to be a highly physical battle with Uni having the upper hand once again. However their attacks proved futile as the Nomads quickly reorganized their defence and kept calm waiting for Uni to make a mistake. Uni managed to score the first try due to the untimely injury of the Nomads full back Brett Topham, and that was just the beginning of the Nomads injury worry. Percy Bulisovasova stepped in to cover fullback duties and, for most of the remainder of the 1st half, the Nomads were camped in the Uni half edging closer and closer to the try line. However a minor handling error caused a turn over to Uni and they began a counter attack which the Nomads scrambled to defend. Once again another untimely injury lead to a Uni try as Percy’s legs gave way from a high speed chase. Percy bravely who got back to his feet and tried to remain on the field, however the injury was taking its toll and Mitchell Lake had to step into centre with Mark Tawhai pushing Hayden Smith to full back. The game continued as Marty ‘Captain Courageous’ FitzSimon and Trefor ‘T-Rex’ Thomas lead the forwards for an onslaught of attacks which Uni managed to defend till the referee blew the whistle for half-time with the score reading 14-0 to Uni. The Nomads knew it was far from over as the re-entered the field for the 2nd half. Right from the start their work rate picked up where and the Neddies forwards launched an onslaught of attacks. Replacement scrum half Keith Brady played brilliantly to ensure quick movements of the ball between forwards and backs. Chad ‘ Coolio’ Collins did an amazing job linking up his backs as they kept testing the Uni defence. Phil ‘Ranga’ Scarf replaced Trefor and added new energy to the team. This was his first game after his injury in Round 1 and he was determined to make an impact. The forwards did a number of pick and goes with saw ‘Ranga’ charge across for the Nomads first try at the 47th minute. Score now 14 -7 with the try converted. However celebrations were short lived as Uni sneaked in another try as another injury woe left a gap in the team defence when winger Tom Odihambo went to ground. From the kick off after that try, the Nomad back line strung together a brilliant move which almost lead to a try, however the ball was eventually turned over to Uni who managed a runaway try to end the game at 24-7. Not the result the Nomads wanted and definitely not a score line that truly reflected the game. This game clearly showed that we have the personnel and the ability to beat any team in the 4th Grade Gold competition. However it also showed that we will only be able to do so if we can get all our best players on the park and playing together regularly. So far this season so many of our best players have either been injured, or playing up the grades or working away that we have not been able to establish the teamwork and sense of team spirit that is required to win games against sides like Uni or Wanneroo, both of which are able to field settled teams of talented ‘veteran’ players who are so experienced that they do not seem to have to rely on the team work and discipline.
This week the cavs were home to baysie and just like a teenager that hasn’t hit puberty the cavs are still yet to drop one. The mood was set early thanks to some early tries including a great team effort that ended with Blair”the bus, yuk, whale shark, moonshiner, cletus” Dayley dotting down but it was his haircut that was the real star, not since the days of the great Hitro Okesene has a haircut been more flamboyant, and down right stupid. With ex cavaliers”the hairless duo” pauly and robert mugabe in the public gallery cheering us on there was more entertainment on offer including two tries to simmy who grew a third leg to commemorate the one his dog “dag” lost recently to out strip the defence. It was another hard day at the office for the forwards against a much bigger pack that tried to kill the break down and slow our ball everytime.
With yet another week off last week the boys fitness had dropped off a bit but with all the spare time they have had i notice there right arms are alot bigger. Although the game was a bit messy and full of penalties all the boys had good games except Marv, a few standouts were stand in captain chooky, stumpy, simmy, and peps.
Thanks to a $50 fine for no match report last time i have been forced to do some things in public toilets around perth that would make george michael blush to raise the money to pay so i hope the cavs appreciate it. Final score 29-5 bonus point win. As always cavs stay black stay deadly.
(p.s marv played well and got player of the day)