Saturday’s premier grade match was a story about a hungry rat and four meat pies.The rat was tearaway flanker Richie Naylor and the four meat pies were what he scored against Kalamunda to single-handedly secure a bonus point win for Neddies.Having blown big half-time leads to lose the previous two matches, and with several players sidelined including skipper Luke “Dogga” Doherty, a few nerves would have been warranted as Neddies headed to Hartfield Park for the Round 14 encounter. There were, however, a couple of players making welcomed returns, including Matt “Boots” Venter and hooker Mason Pomare.Rat had an inauspicious start to the game, coming off bloodied and cursing after getting a close-up view of an opposition head at great velocity. His departure for some sideline panel beating saw the brotherly reunion of Chalky and his brother, aka Chalk and Cheese.Fired up upon his return, Rat was unstoppable from the back of a scrum as he opened the scoring for Neddies. His second try was a carbon copy as Neddies went to the break 10-0 ahead in what was a scrappy encounter.Rat completed his hat-trick soon after the break, with Mike Botes’ kicking wobblies ensuring the score line was a number divisible by five. Not content with that, Rat then chalked up number four to make it a personal haul of 20 points.Winger Ben “No stop for smoko” Titoko then got in on the action, scoring under the posts and adding the conversion before he hobbled from the field. Chalky stretched the lead to 34-0 with Neddies sixth try of the afternoon before the Bulls stole one back at the death for a final score line of 34-5.The bonus point win saw Neddies remain at the top of the log with a three-point buffer over Soaks with four rounds remaining.Saturday sees a return to The Foreshore when Neddies take on a Perth-Bayswater outfit that put proved to be a handful for Tony Ball’s troops in their first round encounter. It promises to be another cracker of an afternoon, with a big turnout expected for sponsor’s day and the Third Half lunch. For those of you who were watching Coronation Street or Neighbours at the time, Neddies got a big rap from the team at The Rugby Club on Fox Sports on Thursday night for being on course to make the finals of the premier grade competition for a 30th consecutive season. How’s that for a record.
After a few recent disappointing performances the Reserve Grade were looking to put in a much improved effort this week against the lowly placed Bulls and get their season back on track. Recent rain meant the Hartfield track would greasy on top, with the only certain thing about the weather being the shifting breeze meant it was going to take a concentrated effort to control the game.
Neddies welcomed back front row veterans Kane Greer and Terry Smith to bolster the pack as they looked to dominate a traditionally rugged Kalamunda home side. As expected it was the local pack that battled hard and controlled possession in the early exchanges, giving their backs ample opportunity to pin the visitors in their own half through effective tactical kicking. Neds fought sternly to get some territory only to be pressured through their own kicking and tactical errors. Despite numerous Bulls’ attacking phases Neddies defensive line remained resolute succumbing only to the unsuccessful penalty attempt from out wide. The first visit into the red and black half paid dividends as winger Matt Ventor blitzed a couple of defenders to find fullback Henare Hira who barged over for the the first five pointer of the day. Nedlands continued their charge however this time it would be them who would be denied a penalty goal attempt. Both sides became guilty of handling errors and battled to gain any sort of continuity until loose forward Jeandre Van Der Weisthausen picked from a ruck and raced away down the left side. This launched a series of phases that saw No8 Tom Ballantine crash over off the back of a dominant five meter scrum – the conversion successful to give Neds a 12-0 lead. Kalamunda refused to concede and became desperate to stay in touch with the visitors, shifting the ball at every opportunity to find space. Their enterprise was rewarded when they found space from a kick between Neddies outside backs, a Kala winger snapping up the bouncing ball and racing away under the sticks. The successful conversion managing to keep Nedlands 12-7 in front at the break.
The second half started as planned for Neddies with second rowers Ranga Scharf and Mikey Egan claiming the kick off and combining to run deep towards the tryline, with Egan only being denied by a covering corner flag tackle. From the ensuing lineout Neds pressured the relieving touch finder, creating the error and allowing replacement prop Jamie Hawgood to snap up the loose ball and charge over for a try in the corner. Kalamunda frustrations boiled over in the proceeding passages of play back inside their territory, with their hooker being sent to the bin after flurry of hand bag swings. With one man down fullback Hira again exposed Kala defenders with a scything counter attack from inside the Neddies half. He linked with winger Donnavin Robertson who also showed some “Ventor-like” heels to sprint away and score, this time the conversion successful. Back to their full quota, the Bulls charged hard at the Neddies matadors who continually taunted the attackers with their resilient defence. From another turnover Nedlands pounced to counter attack with winger Bryan Sanders regathering his own kick and off loading to fellow back Nase Christian who effortlessly sprinted 40m down the left touch line to score. Much of the final quarter became victim to the greasy conditions with scrums featuring prominently. This was until Nedlands managed to connect and hold a passage of passes through some enterprising interplay which saw ball movement across the width of the park, young impact bench player Jordan Fantasia benefiting with a try. The conversion didn’t bother the scorers but the Neddies crew had already done enough of that to come away with a 37-7 victory. This time a solid effort from the Reserves with the better performances coming from Donnavin Robertson, Max Smith and especially Tom Ballantine.
This Saturday Nedland’s U20s almost caused a serious upset, narrowly losing to a strong Kalamunda side with the final score standing at 15-18. Kalamunda brought quite an intimidating game with speculation that their colts team had been bolstered by some under twenties first grade players. Team moral was at a low during the pre game warm up until coach Phil managed to fire the team up in the final locker room huddle before the game. Through some well controlled pieces of play and strong defence Nedlands held the lead at the end of the first half at 8-5. This first half was undoubtedly the most physically intense performance the team had produced all season, with an all round solid performance in defence and in attack good recycling of ball and control at the break down allowing inside centre Izzy to score late in the half.
Buoyed by the solid first half performance Nedlands started the second half well with lock Matt able to retain the ball from the kick off. However through a good running play Kalamunda were able to take the led early in the second half. Nedlands was able to strike back quickly to this try off a scrappy kick from Kalamunda allowing full back Vian to take the ball himself and score Nedlands a much needed try, which was converted bring the score 15 minutes from the end of the game to 15-10. Unfortunately Nedlands weren’t able to hold onto this led, through a questionable yellow card late in the second half Nedlands were put at a serious disadvantage to the relentless attack of the larger Kalamunda forward pack. Over all however it was one of the best games the team had played all season, regardless of the narrow loss.
The fair weather trainers severely hampered the midweek preparations for this very important game for the Thirsty Nomads. Ravaged by absences, injuries, family commitments, lack of a GPS and the flu the pregame prep was off key as the players sauntered in from 12pm for the warmup. A delayed start thanks to Kalamunda in good conditions for playing rugby promised a lot of this game, Kala seeking revenge for the 62-0 defeat dealt to them by the Thirsty Thirds in the first round. From the outset Kalas intentions were fairly clear, get the ball to the 2 human wrecking balls they called props. Our defence around the rucks was capable of containing the big boys for a while, but it was our patchwork quilt scrum that was getting caned by Kala.
A left hand side breakout and off load by our winger showed potential of things to come but a crunching tackel as he offloaded knock him into GAGA land and he was taken from the field whereupon once he woke up he still was speaking GAGA. With ball handling and passing the could be bettered by Sharus U-15’s letting us down time and time again, it just didnt let us build momentum. So it didn’t take long for Kala to score and we were behind the eight ball at 7-0 to Kala. Further to and froing had our captain and the ref in a verbal stoush as a penalty from a scrum to Kala in front was successfully kicked, 10-0 to kala.
Another defensive lapse 10 min later had the Kala no 8 rip through the backline 40m out and sprint through to dot down for a non converted try. Score 15-0. The spirited fight back from the kick off was great where our commitment and urgency at the breakdown led to quick recycled ball had Kala in shock as our No 11 crossed for our reply within a two minutes of the restart. score 15-5
Half time changes had the desired effect of steadying the scrum and putting some fresh legs onto the field, as the game wore on we clawed our way back scoring 3 tries but allowing one more to Kala for a final score of 23-20. Not a good day at the office for the previously unbeaten Thirsty Nomads.
With the 4th Grade Gold ‘Nomads’ team beating Kalamunda 50-0 in the first round, and Kala sitting 2nd last on the table, this should have been a game the boys built on the good form that the team has been developing over the last few weeks. The first sign that this was not going to be a walk in the park was seeing half the team either starting or on the bench for the 3rds. Hmmm. And then it started raining.
With a 12 year old being assigned as the match referee, the signs were ominous that we needed to be careful. The first half was actually a good hard game of rugby, with both sides running the ball well, and the Nomad defence effectively stopping the Kala attack. Our best chance to score came just before half time with a well worked movement down the far side being snuffed out at the try line with scrambling Kala defence. The 0-0 score line at halftime was a good reflection of the first 30 minutes.
In the second half the Nomads started to switch into some confident play, with the forwards making in roads with some good pick and drives. However, a combination of Kala deliberately sealing off the ball at the ruck, the ref not taking any action despite our gentlemanly coaching and articulate suggestions from the side line, and an increasingly frustrated forward pack resulted in a horror 10 minutes where the Nomads were continually penalised, with a number of those being penalty reversals. Kala walked away from this period up by two penalty goals.
The last 10 minutes saw our guys get to the Kala line on at least 3 occasions only to be let down in the last movement, and this really summed up our day – we started off well but couldn’t finish it off. On paper this was a game we should have easily won, but Kalamunda wanted the win more than we did. Our discipline let us down badly, and we cannot go into the finals with the same approach. Let’s call this the wake up call we had to have. Time to regroup.
This week the travelling cavalier circus was down in mandurah.
Fielding their most experienced line up ever with nearly a combined 1000 senior games amongst the whole line up.
2008 premiership players Nutty ‘cock gut’ Pethig, Braden ‘toot’ Black, Dean Tait and Jarrod Gibby, the future, the past’ davis were on hand to help out a very short cavalier unit. With injuries and mid winter holidays accounting for the majority of absentees.
But they got the job done with a minimum of fuss winning 47 – 0.
The forwards had a leisurely afternoon jog around, thanks to uncontested scrums and blair ‘the bus’ daley was at his block busting best and should have owed the boys a carton when he looked certain to run in a hattrick, but the tight ass mucked around in the in goal waiting for someone to flog it off to, in the end Gibby obliged and scored an easy meat pie.
So daley is probably going to have to do a shot of cooking oil instead.
Chooky continued his good form with the boot, nailing a couple of sideline conversions in windy conditions.
So the cavialier machine keeps rolling on towards their maiden minor premiership.
Till next week stay black and stay deadly!