If there were 7 words in the RugbyWA report that summed up Saturday’s round 17 match against Cottesloe, they were these: The Gulls were hungrier for the win.Desperate to book a place in the finals, Cottesloe came to The Foreshore with everything on the line. But perched on top of the ladder with a finals’ berth already safely in the bag, there was no such sense of desperation in the Neddies’ camp.Resplendent in their special jumpers to commemorate Ladies Day, it was obvious when the Neddies players ran on to the field that some of the playing shirts were much tighter than the skirts. In fact, observing proceedings from his wooden leaner in The Third Half section, the Hulkster went as far as to air his suspicions that stand-in skipper Travis “The Pope” Church might have actually been wearing body paint.On the field, the game soon developed into something of an arm-wrestle. Cottesloe opened the scoring with a penalty goal and soon after capitalised on a favourable penalty count to score a converted try. Facing an early 10-0 deficit, Neddies opted to take the points when they were on offer. And when Mike Botes nailed the second of his two penalty goals – which was a monster from near half-way – Neddies were back in the running at 10-6.However, in what has become a familiar pattern at The Foreshore this season, the second half belonged to the visitors. In fact, the Hulkster was blaming the lack of action in The Third Half corner for the stiff neck he developed from observing the fillies.Two Cottesloe tries blew the score line out to 20-9 and while Neddies rallied in the final minutes, the game belonged to the hungrier Gulls.While missing a few key players like skipper Luke “Dogga” Doherty and powerhouse centre Ryan “For crying out” McLeod, coach Tony Ball will obviously be hoping for a hungrier attitude from his troops against the Roo Dogs on Saturday in what is the last competition game before the finals. At stake is the Minor Premiership – which Neddies can secure with a bonus-point win from the fast finishing Soaks.Barring any upsets, it looks like Cottesloe and reigning premiers University will be the two teams contesting the 3 v 4 semi-final at The Foreshore on Sunday September 16. Roll on September.
The foreshore once again turned on a crystal clear winters day to see Neddies Reserve Grade do battle against fellow top four contenders Cottesloe. Victory today would see Nedlands stay in the race for finals with the alternative meaning an uphill battle to be in the playoffs at all – as if any match against the Seagulls needed added incentive, the tension on the sidelines was palpable.
Neds kicked off into the sun with the river at their backs and it was Cott who appeared the more nervous, shelling the opening kick. It was then Neds who revealed their own anxiety, unable to capitilise on the visitors’ error through their own mishandling. Cott were piggy backed out of their own half through consecutive breakdown penalties, the latter being an unsuccessful shot at goal. From the drop out, Cotts’ return kick found halfback Kent Abbott who inturn passed to the orange blurr of outside back Matt Ventor slicing through visiting pack deep inside their own half before offloading to fullback Jake Stevens who out paced the cover tacklers to score under the sticks. Winger Rob Boulle calmy slotted the conversion to get the 7 point lead in the early stages.
The pale blues returned with interest with some bollocking phases of play using the width of the park asking questions of the locals’ defence. For the most part Neddies held strong until a return phase to the left saw the Cott tighthead unmarked and he strolled over out wide, the conversion evened up the ledger. Cott appearing buoyed by their retaliation again spun the ball wide from a scrum on halfway and the left winger outpaced the defence to dot down in the corner – the conversion landed to put the chip eaters up by 7.
As the nerves had settled much of the final quarter saw play between the 22’s such was the torrid battle between both packs with both defences anulling any potential linebreaking threat. Nedlands were able to string some phases together through some grafting close quarter work of the forward pack inparticular charges from all members of the tight five who worked tirelessly. It wasn’t until late in the half that midfielder Henare Hira broke the defence through the middle only to be cut down short of the line. The subsequent ruck drew an attacking penalty to which Boulle obliged, and the teams went to the break with Cott having their beaks in front 14-10.
The second half started in familiar fashion, this time Nedlands knocking on the restart kick. The loose trio of Joey Egan, Ollie Baissac and Callum Sauer had featured prominantly at breakdowns in the first stanza – and it was a Baissac breakdown turnover that again relieved pressure for the locals. Neddies turned down points opportunities on three consecutive occassions, instead electing for the lineout less than ten metres out from the Cott line. This persistance was rewarded after a serious of forward charges gave quick ball to a waiting backline, Ventor again seizing the chance to chip and chase into the Cott scoring zone and winning the race against his opposite. Boulles’ conversion was wide but Neddies again took the lead by one: 15-14. The following period of play reflected the shift in momentum as Neddies held the visitors in their own half only to be denied by desperate defence and untimely handling errors. A tactical touch finder from Boulle allowed Neddies to again put the visitors lineout under pressure a few meters out from their line. Neds own lineout again initiated an attacking assault around the ruck fringes until prop Damo Pacecca took a wide ball and was driven over the line. Boulle converted to take the score to a 22-14 Nedlands lead. Boulle narrowly shaved the upright a short time later with a penalty attempt from the same position.
The final stages saw Cott launch attacks from all parts in an effort to cut the lead. However Nedlands’ ruggged and stout defence that had held Cott scoreless for the second half persisted and forced the Seagulls into their own handling errors. The Royal Blues withstood another barrage of phases, conceding only a yellow card to evergreen prop Terry Smith for a debatable high shot. The desperation in the visiting camp was evident, giving up the chance for points instead opting for the lineout close to the Neddies line. Once again the Lions determination in the tackle overcame only to conceed a penalty on the stroke of fulltime. But the Neds outfit had taken it out of the Cottesloe pack and they succumbed to the penalty goal attempt in order to muster a bonus point. The kick missed and seasiders left empty handed. The Neddies camp were rightfuly jubilant and satisfied with a victory many would agree as the pick of the season. A top team effort against another top team – particularly up front by Captain James Oddie and his tight forwards, continued strongly by halfback Abbott who served his backline well, and the directive accurate boot of winger Boulle. Neddies will be looking for another top performance next week against the Roo Dogs to cement their finals spot.
The U/20s ran onto Nedlands Reserve confident that they would have a better game against Cottesloe than in the first round but it was not to be. They were missing hooker Rupert an prop Allen an had a few backs with injuries such as Matt. The first half ended with Izzy kicking 2 penalties making the score 6-22 to Cott. There was a chance to make a comeback but the Cott backs were very illusive with great side stepping an Neds missed quite a few tackes an the score kept rising for Cott. Keith Guy an Richard had a great game and most of the scrums were strong although we lost one tighthead. The boys need to concentrate on low hard tackles an not talking back to the referee. Unfortunately prop Kevin was yellow carded in the last 5mins which was the last thing the team needed. The full time score blew out to 6-63. The boys need to train hard an refocus for next week. At least the ABs had a blinder of a game at Eden Park!
The ‘Thrilling Thirsty Thirds Try Fest’ continued this weekend against Cottesloe. Unlike the first round, where we graciously allowed Cott to play almost the entire game with one man more than us, the Thirsty Thirds were in no mood to be generous this time around and comprehensively crushed the ‘Three Gulls’ scoring seven scintillating tries to nil. Outstanding performances were logged by Ryan ‘the Loosie’ Lucy and Alvin ‘Stardust’ Lau but the coveted King Hat went to Chris ‘Wagga’ Doherty … not because he played all that well but just because his Dad had travelled all the way over from Wagga Wagga in NSW to watch his son play and help him celebrate his 40th birthday, so it seemed only fair to ensure that his boy made a complete spectacle of himself once again by having to wear that ridiculous hat for the rest of the day. It is our last game of the regular season next weekend at Wanneroo and if the Thirsty Thirds manage another bonus point win and, as we expect, our friends from Kalamunda roll second placed Uni, the Thirsty Thirds could finish an unbelievable 21 points clear at the top of their competition table, which must be some sort of RugbyWA record. Roll on next Saturday.
It was a special day for the 4th Grade Gold ‘Nomads’ team as club stalwart George Foster-Jones lead the team onto the field for his 500th game. A tunnel formed by 1st grade, 3rd grade and club regulars made this a fitting tribute to an amazing milestone in George’s incredible career at Nedlands.
Unfortunately Cottesloe had not read the script because they scored the first try 5 minutes into the game down the far wing after Gadget got a knock to his knee in a tackle. Our first player down. The Cott try woke our guys up and after spending 5 minutes camped on the Cott tryline with some excellent forward based play and many penalties, the backs took over and Mark Tawai scored from a well worked backline movement. An unfortunate casualty was GFJ rolling his ankle, so Mr 500 was finished 15 minutes into the game. Two down. The Nomads continued their strong pick-and-drive forward play and sideline-to-sideline backline moves just building up pressure, and although Cott defended well they could not hold out much longer. The strong defence did take its toll, and fullback Hayden came off with a neck injury, so he was 3rd man down. Our next try came courtesy of Big Ollie who was seagulling in the backline and used some a combination of size and momentum to crash over for what was a very good team try. Halftime saw the Nomads winning 12-5.
The second half was a worthy battle, with Cottesloe defending against a lot of Nomad possession. After 10 minutes we were once again on the Cott line, and a well worked backline movement saw Mark go in for his second try near the corner. Cott felt the sting of defeat and did something about it by running in two quick tries to get the score to a more worrying 19-15, and added to this was Mark rolling his ankle and having to come off (4th down), there was some genuine tension in the air. Luckily, our revamped back line continued to play expansive rugby, and the forwards lifted to another level, and a charge down by Simon near the Cott line ended in what was an unchallenged try much to the surprise of everyone including Simon. It was a good result for the team despite the worrying injury count, with the Nomads finished the game with a 26-15 win and wrapping up 3rd position on the ladder.
Well just like a drunk dad with the kids at the perth show eventually we had to lose one. In a game where there was nothing between the sides the cavs just run out of time when we were pressing hard at the end. Cheered on by the cavaletts who were going for gold at the drunk olympics we just couldnt pull it off. A win this week will see us take the minor premership and set us up for a revenge game against cott in final one. final score 7-3 stay black stay deadly