Saturday’s game against Associates explained one thing – where that old cliché game of two halves came from.On an afternoon when Third Half regulars Hulkster and Rocket Jones were on the milk run to some two-bob resort in Vietnam, Damo was donning the lycra in Spain for the running of the bulls (look out for the pictorial exclusive in New Idea) and rumours of Waratahs coach Michael Foley heading across the Nullarbor gathered momentum, Neddies hosted the boys from Swanbourne in perfect conditions at The Foreshore.It was one of those afternoons where it felt great to be alive. Until the second half, that was.While goal-kicking has been a bit of an issue for Neddies this season, five-eighth Mike Botes turned on an exhibition in the first half of the top-of-the-table clash as Neddies shot out to what many thought was a match-winning lead of 23-3.Having apparently benefitted from some tuition during the week from former Neddies sharp-shooter Brad Wilkinson, Botes opened his account with three cracker penalty goals. It was then that Cam Crowley, having recently returned from a foot injury, scored a spectacular try on the back of some fancy footwork from fullback Jake Stevens. Not content with that, Cam was back over the chalk for his second try minutes later.The sideline conversion didn’t faze Botes, who slotted his fifth from as many shots as Neddies went to the sheds with a 20-point buffer.Little did they know that Suzie – the mystery bar maid who poisoned the All Blacks in the grand final of the 1995 World Cup in South Africa – had prepared the half-time oranges.After the break, there was only one team in the game. And unfortunately that team wore yellow.Three tries in succession saw Soaks whittle the lead down to 23-18 as Neddies’ 11-match winning streak suddenly looked more vulnerable than Damo in a one-on-one with the horned beast at Pamplona. Then, with four minutes left to go, Soaks scored a fourth try, with the conversion from Force player Kyle Godwin giving the visitors a 25-23 win.Next Saturday sees Neddies home again against another formidable opponent in Palmyra.
Reserve Grade suffered a disappointing 56-3 thrashing by an impressive Associates side on the weekend. Despite the spirited efforts of a few Neddies players, they were outplayed by Soaks in all aspects of the game. Nedlands failed to gain any controlled possession, poor decision making and handling errors thwarting any threatening attack and allowed the visitors to run through a sub standard defensive line. A lone first half penalty goal kept the Neds scoresheet off the doughnut, however the 27 point lead Soaks had built at half time would mean a change of form of mammoth proportions would be in order to prevent the blowout in the second half. Although holding the canary yellows out for much of the third quarter, the defending yips came back to haunt the hosts and they let through another four second half tries. A week of questions will need to be answered for the Reserve Grade side who are now managing to cling to third spot on the table. A resounding team victory against Palmyra next week maybe just the tonic to get their season back on track.
On a sunny Saturday morning the colts side assembled for the last game during the dreaded Uni holidays period. Playing with a depleted team against a talented and skilled soaks team the under 20’s struggled all day. The fighting spirit that this young side has shown all year however remained and the boys strived to the final whistle in what turned out to be a clinical display from the Soaks team.The you g members of the squad, which make the majority of the team will be aiming to emulate the Soaks performance over the coming years. Thank you to the supporters for being there to cheer for us and welcome your support for the rest of the year.
After a frustrating first half full of missed scoring opportunities, forward passes and poor defence (Soaks scored after 3 min, conv successful score 0-7), especially at the edge of the ruck the mighty Nedlands Thirsty Thirds found themselves behind (17-10) at halftime for the first time in nearly two seasons.
Faced with this unusual situation the half time talk was memorable for how little the coaches had to say. The players knew what the problem was. They knew that, with the exception of our scrum, which was absolutely destroying Soaks’ scrum, we had not played to anywhere near our ability. They also knew what had to be done to fix it. More urgency at the breakdown, greater line speed in defence and a reversion to simple structured football using patterns that would allow us to keep possession for long periods and build pressure on Soaks.
After a brilliant ‘rev up’ speech from Matt ‘Barney’ Suter just before they retook the field the Neddies boys came out for the second half with a totally different mindset. It was as if a whole new Nedlands team had taken the field, so great was the difference in their standard of play.
The forwards, ably led by the two Matt’s (Suter and Chong Sue) continued to dominate the scrum and the lineout but, more importantly, where in the first half Soaks had been very successful at slowing down our ruck ball, now the Neddies forwards swarmed into every breakdown producing a veritable torrent of quick ball for their backline to use, and the Nedlands backs did not disappoint.
The masterful backline coaching of the ‘Old Fox’ George Forster-Jones was evident in everything the Neddies backs now did. Their quick hands, hard straight runs and repeated use of switches, cuts and ‘half-moon’ plays were too much for the lumbering Soaks backs to contend with as the Royal Blue machine kicked into overdrive to score 39 unanswered points in 35 minutes and record a commanding victory (49-10).On paper the result looks like another comfortable bonus point win … but the sloppy first half performance was a timely reminder to all concerned of the dangers inherent in assuming that all you have to do to win a game is to simply turn up.
Best on Ground points this week went to Lakey (3points … one for each of his three tries), Suter (2points) and Chad (1 point)
It was a perfect day for playing rugby when our 4th Grade Gold ‘Nomads’ team took to the field at the Foreshore against 5th on the ladder Soaks. At the lower grade level you’re never sure what team from Soaks will turn up on the day, but it soon became clear the Cavs had to deal with the SAS boys and not the Nomads. The Nomads were switched on from the beginning, and the first try came after only 8 minutes to Nick Hendricks after some forward pick and drive play by the forwards. This woke Soaks up, and for the next 15 minutes there was some hard fought battles played primarily between the two 22m lines. Some expansive backline play started to increasingly make in-roads into the Soaks defensive line, and the guys finally broke through when Haydon Smith cut through some weak defence and scored with 5 minutes to go in the first half.
In the second half the Nomads continued their increasingly confident play, with the forwards starting to dominate in scrum time, and the backs pushing the ball from sideline to sideline and attacking the line with speed Gaps started to appear more frequently in the Soaks forward pack and backline, with the Nomads running in another four tries in the 2nd half courtesy to a double for Logan Byars, one to Captain Fitz, and another to Haydos. The final whistle saw Nomads finish with a confident 38-0 win. This was a good game to watch, and one where the different combinations in the team started to work. The forwards played hard and were excellent in set piece play, with the hard work in scrum practice being evident. The backs hit the line at speed and their positional play was excellent. Best on Ground points went to: Logan Byars (3 points) , Haydos and Simon Ruri (2 points), Nick Hendricks and Marty (I point).
This week seen the cavalier travelling road show back home for the weekend and going into the match against soaks the cavs were like a piece of used toilet paper on top of the log.It was always going to be a tight game after last time we just got away with a win with two finishing the game in the bin,this week was no different with more yellow flying around than a STI clinic. We were on the back foot early with soaks playing to their strengths, which are a massive wise (old) forward pack and getting over the gain line. When we did manage to get clean ball the cavalier attitude to move the ball seen big break outs but final passes and handling let us down with at least 4 tries going astray. Going into the last minute of the game down 15-12 the never say die attitude took over with Morgs taking the ball off a scrum and running 35m to score in the corner. But with time still to go we were camped on our own line defending, I was as tense as Joseph Fritzels daughter when its dads turn to babysit, but we held on 17-15. After hearing that god damn soaks song 3 times for the day it was our cavalier song that never sounded so good. With a week off training to get over some injuries etc we are back home again next week for some antics, and rexy ill get that carton this week cheers. Until next week stay black stay deadly.