You may read the unofficial match report on the RugbyWA website, but read-on for the official eye witness, sideline version.
On a calm bright afternoon, Neddies Premier Grade boys came up against a very determined Rockingham team. With 9 boys out injured or otherwise committed, there were a few nervous punters mingling amongst the stalwarts on the sidelines. Having just watched Tony “the brat” Mladenovski calmly slot a sideline penalty after full time for the Reserve Grade to win their match, Peter Bailey and Dave “brockie” Brock were overheard to say – “Hope it doesn’t come down to that in Premier grade – my new knee couldn’t take it”. With more Balls on the sideline and amongst the spectators, the Premier Grade side took the field with new captain Ryan “storming” McLeod winning the toss and playing into a brisk Nor easterly. Mikie Botes got the scoreboard ticking over some 3 mins into the match with a huge long range penalty into the breeze and then after some great multi-phase play Izzy strode over in the far corner for the opening try. Rocky rose to the occassion and pressured Neddies coming close to scoring, but winning two penalties and missing both. New boy Sitcho Mathieson stood up in his debut run on game, giving Mikie plenty of quality ball, without Dogga on the field P Steyn stepped into the breach. Close to half time, Rocky slotted a great long range drop goal and the scores at the break were 8 – 3. Yet again after what must have been some inspirational words – the Neddies juggernaut stepped up a gear. Ryan MacLeod scooped up a loose ball outside Rocky’s 22, ran into the midfield, offloaded to Jake Stevens who jinked his way past he last man in Rocky’s defence to score the first of the next 5 tries for the half. Man of the Match – Marlen Walker showed yet again the deft footwork, speed, agility and poise that all Neddies front rowers past and present dream of having. Starting 30 metres out from a standing start, fending off 200kg defenders, side stepping fleet footed backs, carrying 3 defenders on his shoulders, he scored the try of the month. To prove it was no fluke he backed it up with a second. Hulkster, Muzz and Rexie stood in awe with big Kev lost for words. Travis “cathedral” Church proudly mentioned he taught Marlen how to do that!!! With 12 minutes to go, Tony Borley Ball gave his bench – made up of up and coming talent from the 20’s a run at Rocky and in true Neddies gutsy fashion – they stood up and played admirably. Joey “pocket rocket” Egan again showed why his courage is larger than his frame, James Oddie gave a lesson to the Eagles on how to mark a high ball under pressure. Now to next week and a top of the table clash with Soaks – Go Neddies.
After conceding second place on the table to University last week, Reserve Grade found themselves battling Rockingham to regain some form and lock down third spot this week. The Neddies side which had no less than nine changes to the previous run on side would need to gel early in order to get past the visiting side that has already proven this year to be a finals contender. However it seemed like de ja vu for the hosts as they again found themselves under pressure from the kick off and were pinned inside their own twenty two. The opening ten minutes of continual pressure was enough to open a hole in the defence and Rocky strolled over to open the scoring. The conversion was unsuccessful, however, the purple haze continued to test the Neds tacklers as they dominated territory and possession. True to previous form, Neddies line defence held strong in the face of Rocky turning down successive penalty shots at goal and opting for chance to attack from the lineout. The second quarter saw Nedlands venture deep into Rockingham territory largely through loose forward returnee Dan Bailey who continually exposed the ruck fringe defence. Fullback Henare Hira also threatened on attack with some searching runs. A much improved Neddies set piece, particularly at scrum time, provided a solid platform for a Nedlands assault late into the half. A multi-phase passage of play took the Royal Blues close to the line, then a quick tap penalty by number eight Tom Ballantine caught the visitors napping and he stumbled over for a five pointer. The conversion next to the posts gave Nedlands the 7-5 lead at the break.
Neddies started the second half with invigorated energy and had Rocky back peddling from the restart. A turnover at the breakdown and toe ahead allowed the purple pack to break free and camp back down the hosts end. Another determined defensive effort gave Neds back possession and allowed them to grind back away towards the river end. They were rewarded with a penalty from forty metres out, replacement flyhalf Tony Mladenovski obliged to give a 10-5 lead. An expansive attacking game from both sides allowed an open flowing game, with both sides using the width of the park, testing the mobility of the defenders. Despite controlling much of the possession, Nedlands lapsed in defence to allow Rockingham to cross their line cheaply down the left side. The failed conversion kept the scores level at 10-10. The ensuing restart met a freshly confident visiting side who came storming back and were rewarded with another try after consecutive penalties. The goal attempt too wide – 10-15 Rockingham. Captain Alvin Lau rallied his troops – rookie lock Mikey Egan responding to his skippers call with some determined ball carries to add to an already industrious game. Both sides battled tirelessly for domination with neither side willing to concede, yet regular turnovers became the symptom of the tiring packs. Neddies’ fresh legs off the bench proved their worth when Eds Tauhinu finished off an impressive passage of play with a try in the left hand corner. The Mladenovski attempt was short – scores level again 15 all with three minutes to play. Neddies sent it wide from the kick off but were bundled out on halfway giving Rocky the lineout. Neds pressured hard in defence led by prop forward Glenn Briggs, creating the turnover and giving them another crack at the line. Another break by Eds Tauhinu sent the locals inside the opposition half with the subsequent breakdown attracting an attacking penalty right on full time. Mladenovski again stepped up to put through the three pointer from 35 meters on the angle to win the game for Nedlands 18-15.
An exciting win that gave the Reserve grade their second win through a penalty kick on full time this season. A great team effort with many good performances. Those of note were front rowers Glenn Briggs and starting debutant Chris Naylor. Eds Tauhinu was again a stand out in the backs with best on ground second rower Mikey Egan. The team will be looking to draw confidence from that game and look forward to the old foe Associates again at home next week.
The opposition forfeited this week
The Thirsty Thirds started this match slowly. With lots of changes to the forward pack winning our set piece ball initially proved quite problematic. And what ball we were able to win was dropped by the backs. So although we spent the first 15 minutes or so camped in the Rockingham 22 we had nothing to show for it until finally some good handling, with Lakey, Chongie and Trefor all prominent, put Hamish away to score between posts … converted 7-0 to Neds.
From the kick off some slick passing from Wagga to Lakey to Stru put us on attack once again and despite a frustrating sequence of missed chances, dropped balls and poor passes we were eventually able to score our second try from a scrum just to the left of the posts. The forwards won the ball cleanly and then a simple switch between Wagga and Chad led to the big centre crashing over between the posts … try converted: 14-0 to Neddies.
Rocky hit back from the kick off. They regained possession of the ball and advanced steadily through multiple phases until they were able to force a scrum with their feed deep inside our 22. This was their first real attacking opportunity of the game, but it proved to be a wasted opportunity. The Neds forwards overpowered their scrum, the ball squirted out loosely and their 9, under intense pressure, scooped up a weak looping pass in the direction of their flyhalf. But the pass never reached its target. Instead Wagga swooped in, took the intercept and ran the length of the field to score and convert.
Halftime score 21-0 to Neddies.
The second half began as well for us as the first had ended. Trefor caught the ball from the kick off and dropped off a deft short pass to Chad running off his shoulder. From there the big feller, with a huge head of steam up, was unstoppable. Unfortunately Wagga could not convert the try: 26-0 to Neddies.
Rocky kicked off again, the Neddies forwards hit it up three times left then Keith found Lakey and Chad on the switch, they drew in the remaining Rocky defence and Chad threw a beautiful long pass to Donnavin that put the flying winger clean away to score untouched in the right hand corner … once again try not converted: 31-0 to Neddies
After this there was a lull in the scoring for 10 minutes or so but then, from a loose clearance kick by Rocky, Chad regathered and smashed through some feeble defence for his third try … and the compulsory ‘team carton’. Try not converted: 36-0 to Neddies.
At this point Big Tref left field and anointed Wagga as his deputy. So stoked was Wagga that he immediately celebrated his elevation to the captaincy by slicing through the Rocky defence from a set scrum move and putting a flying Hamish away for his second try … again not converted … making the score 41-0 to Neddies.
From the kick off good play by Keith culminating with a great ‘kick and chase’ allowed us to force a 5 metre scrum. Once gain the Neddies forwards presented good quality ball and the backs and they did not waste the chance to score. A well worked back line move between Wagga, Chad an Lakey put replacement Wian DeBruyn into space. The young Colt showed the advantage of ‘fresh legs’ late in the game. He used his fabled ‘jet shoes’ to good effect, racing away to score untouched. The conversion made the score 48-0 to Neddies.
Two minutes later, in the final play of the game, two more Colts, Tui and Rupert, pulled off a big ‘gang tackle’ to jolt the ball from the grasp of the Rocky ball carrier. This allowed Lakey to scoop up the pill and sprint 50 metres to score under the posts. Somehow Lakey missed the drop kick for conversion … from right in front … and the disgusted ref blew full time.
Final score 53-0 to Neddies.
Best on ground points this week (and the coveted ‘King’ hat) went to Chad (3 points), Wagga (2 points) and Lakey (1 point).
Their oppositon also forfeited
While like every year with mid season comes injuries, the flu, friday night benders and a drop in numbers and sat was no different. In true cavalier tradition having 12 reserves in previous weeks to only have 14 players game day was always going to test us, but thanks to a couple of ex cavaliers and tonys dad that came to watch we were able to play with two subs. Going up against wests which is a top 4 side was not going to be an easy task and it took more heart and guts than an mrs mac pie to get the job done. Two tries were scored by the blair “the bus, yuk,whale shark, cletus, snotty snodgrass spencer” dayley and the try of the season to date coming from a set piece that seen the pill go through all the backs hands before ted bundy went over for his 11th of the season. All the boys were like lepers playing out of there skin. We were the walking wounded at the end with wests flooding the field with fresh legs but our tired defence keeped stepping up. With another big game this week against soaks we will be charging spectators to watch due to the carbon tax. Final score 12-3 to make it 11 from 11 the longest winning streak since the cavs creation in 2007. Untill next week stay black stay deadly.