Semi Final Match Reports and Message From Rugby WA

To all you Neddies Members who worked so hard last Sunday, please see a great note from RugbyWA as follows

RugbyWA would like to thank your club for the efforts that were put in to host a successful finals day at The Foreshore last Sunday.The club presented its fields and facilities extremely well.Please pass on our thanks to your club members and volunteers who worked extremely hard to make sure the day went smoothly.If your club has any feedback on the hosting of the day and how it could be improved more than happy to receive your feedback.We trust Nedlands RUFC would be keen to host future final series matches.

Premier Grade

Premier Grade was one of three Neddies teams to take the direct route to the Grand Final after a successful first weekend of finals rugby. It was a weekend capped off with a huge turnout at The Foreshore for what was the first round of semi-finals matches to be staged at Neddies.But watching Neddies make their third successive Grand Final in a row was not for the feint hearted. Having journeyed south to Rockingham to take on second-placed Soaks on Saturday, Neddies found themselves playing into weather conditions which were more conducive to kite surfing.However, the headwinds proved no issue for Neddies, who had two tries on the board to Jake Stevens and centre “Twin Overhead” Cam Crowley within the first 10 minutes to take a 10-0 lead. Unfortunately that was it for Neddies for the first half, with the rest of the point scoring coming from Soaks, including a monster penalty goal right on half time which turned Neddies early lead into a 13-10 deficit.Despite playing into the wind in the second half, Soaks didn’t lose their momentum, increasing their lead to 18-10 with another try. The next 20 minutes was a muddling affair punctuated by a mounting penalty count as the prospect of another qualifying final began looming larger for Neddies as the minutes ticked over. To compound matters, tragedy struck when inspirational skipper Luke “Dogga” Doherty went down with what appears to be a season-ending injury.But then, with 10 minutes remaining, the game suddenly burst back to life. The spectacular turn of events started when prop Mark “Rocket” Davies went over for a try. It continued when Rocket converted his try from an awkward angle to make it a one point ball game. And then, with time almost up and pulses racing, Neddies launched one final attempt at breaching the Soaks defence. After the forwards had rumbled their way towards the Soaks 22, the ball was spun wide to winger Ben “No stop for smoko” Titoko, who lunged across in the corner to evade several Soaks defenders and steal the match at the death for Neddies. While the 22-17 victory was soured by the loss of Dogga, it gives Neddies an all-important week off before the Grand Final on September 30, leaving Soaks and Cottesloe to slug it out for the other spot. Bring it on.

Reserve grade

Neddies dominated the first 20 minutes with breaks to Eds, Camo and Ollie at different points. Playing into the stiff breeze we  failed to convert these into substantial points with many opportunities being lost. A single kicked penalty  being the only reward. Soaks fitness and in your face defence began to take its toll and soon after  they managed to breach the line and score to put them in front. This was accompanied by a penalty goal to have the visitors enter the break at 10-3.  The second Half started poorly for Neddies with Soaks again making a break which put them hot on attack. From here Neddies were able to Clear, but it was not for long and the Swanbourne team were again able to cross the try line soon after. This left the score at 17-3 and Neddies in dire straits to score next. The team woke up a little but with Soaks killing the ball continuously at the breakdown it was hard to get the game flowing. We were rewarded with plenty of penalties and  were able to continuosly enter Soaks half,  but with no prevail . In the end Associates defence won them the game. Stand out players were Crowsey with crucial turnovers and Matt Parris whose work rate was huge. Final score 17-3

 On behalf of all the players a big  thank you to Trent, Boycie and Jim for the time and effort they have contributed during the season. Until next year!

Thirsty Thirds

It was with some confidence that the Thirsty Thirds made the long trek down to Rockingham for their Major Semi Final clash with UWA last Saturday. We had played Uni twice before and, on neither occasion was the result ever really in doubt, despite fierce resistance having been put up in both matches by our enthusiastic young opponents. We felt certain that this match would be no different, but we had reckoned without the levelling influence of the strong wind and an overwhelming penalty count against us. Thankfully the boys kept their discipline and, for the most part, did not question the steady flow of adverse decisions. This was admirable enough. But even more to be admired was the fact that we did not drop our heads despite bombing two certain tries through poor handling and having a dubious try awarded against us when the referee, who had initially signalled ‘held up’, reversed his previous decision after he had consulted the touch judge. The half time score of 10 – 10 indicated a closely contested and very even match, but that in no way reflected the reality on the field. The advantage of running with the strong breeze in the first half was really all that was keeping Uni in the game. In the second half, with the ever strengthening wind at our backs, we were able to play almost exclusively at UWA’s end of the field. As a result, although the flow of penalties against us did not stop, Uni were no longer able to convert any of those penalties into points. Whereas, in the first half, we had only been able to score tries from forward drives close to the Uni line (one try to lock Tom Ballantine and one to prop Alex Stephens) in the second half the backs really took control. First Wagga, Chad and Lakey combined well to put right winger Donnavin ‘Call me Digby’ Robertson over the line and then Wagga threw his trademark dummy, sidestepped the full back and jogged over between the goal posts to touch down himself. Both tries were converted, thus giving us a comfortable 14 point lead with less than 10 minutes remaining on the clock. That should have effectively ‘iced’ the game, but then our centre Josh ‘Smokin Joe’ Malinavetilevu was yellow carded for what looked to be, to everyone else on the ground, a hard but fair tackle. As a result, with eight minutes still to play, we were down to 14 men.  A crucial decision like this, against lesser teams, might have given Uni a chance to make a comeback, but not against the Thirsty Thirds. Our talismanic captain Trefor ‘T-Rex’ Thomas stepped up and took control of proceedings. At his direction the forwards stopped giving the ball to the backline. Instead they held on to possession for multiple phases and, by keeping mistakes to a minimum, ensured that Uni barely got their hands on the ball for the remainder of the match. Finally, with only seconds left on the clock, a well worked Neddies scrum base move saw Tom ‘Whisky’ Ballantine smash over for his second try to seal a comfortable victory 29-10. The comparative ease of this win, especially given the trying circumstances, showed once again that, when the players buckle down and and actually play to the best of their ability for a full game, this team has the potential to completely dominate any opposition. Whether it can do so in the Grand Final is entirely a matter for the players. Do they have the resolve and the mental discipline required? That is the question.

Nomads

Kick-off at 1130am on a Sunday is an unusual time for the Nomads to be playing rugby but, as we were all aware, this was no ordinary game – this was the start of our finals campaign of three sudden–death elimination games and the culmination of a season’s hard work.  As soon as the Nomads took the field against Wests the ‘Finals’ intensity was evident, and for the first 10 minutes we were camped on their line running wave after wave of forward and back attacks.  Fitzy, Ussh, Loges and Lukey continually took the ball up into the heavy traffic to set up the play, and allowed Tim to clear the ball to Tony, Simon and Mark for some fast and hard charges toward the line.  Wests defence was good at first, and they managed to get out of their half on a few occasions, but the heavy work load started to take its toll and a sweet backline movement to the left side of the field resulting in Auben scoring in the corner after 15 minutes.  Wests redoubled their efforts from that point, and took it to the Nomads on a number of occasions but, although they made some inroads, they never crossed our line.  Penalties did however help them to maintain field position and a successful penalty goal late in the half meant that the half time score was only 5-3 in the Nomad’s favour. Running toward the river in the second half the Nomads continued their increasingly confident play, with the forwards starting to dominate in the set piece, and the backs pushing the ball from sideline to sideline and attacking the line with speed.  Gaps started to appear more frequently in West’s defence, and a well worked backline movement created an overlap that resulted in James scoring on the wing to push us 7 points clear after 10 minutes.  Wests knew their season was on the line, so from the restart they attacked with determination. From a strong attacking position in mid-field they worked the ball to their left wing who ran in a good winger’s try. Shortly after that they kicked a second penalty goal to jump out to a 13-10 lead with 15 minutes to go.  Our coaches were now worried men. But it was evident that Wests were tiring badly and that, with their 3rd grade scheduled to play immediately after our game concluded, they had very few reserves on the bench to whom they could turn. We on the other hand had a full bench of reserve players all raring to go.  So we began to flood the field with “fresh legs”. As a result our trusty manager had to do more sprints to the sideline officials desk than Usain Bolt does in a year, but the tactic was clearly working as we now were regularly making it over the gain line and catching the tiring Wests pack offside. The resulting flow of penalties allowed Tony M and his trusty boot to keep the scoreboard ticking over, with the result that, with less than a minute remaining, we were leading by 6 points and had control of the ball. As the forwards methodically drove off the back of ruck after ruck and gradually ate up the remaining seconds it seemed that all that our halfback Tim B. had to do was pick up the ball and boot it into touch to end the game. But Tim and Auben had other ideas. They noticed a gap on the short side and together they worked a beautiful short passing movement down that side to put Auben clear. The ‘Flying Scotsman’ scorched down the touchline to dive over in the corner and seal a well-deserved victory 24-13. Overall this was an excellent game of rugby with everyone digging deep and playing as a team. 

Cavaliers

Normally the only reason the cavs would be in Mandurah on a saturday morning would be to collect crabs from the estuary, or getting crabs from someone at a nightclub. But this time we were down on business and as it happens its the business end of the season. With all the boys sober and rearing to go except Damo ” theres not enough cooking oil on this planet for the punishment i deserve” Boys who found out the hard way that friday benders and finals dont mix. The first half seen us play with little possession and territory and were a 7-0 down after 2 mins. Going into the break 17-3 down and with the some injuries including the skipper Deano who had to leave the field 15mins into the game, We realized we were below par and it was our time for a come back. A try to simmy in the last quarter after a massive kick chase by matty and then a freakish off load from kc took the score to 17-11 after a chooky penalty. But it was the last minute that had us reaching for the defibbulating machine, joey intercepting a cott pass and putting it on the toe from 65m out and then a foot race for “The Bus” to score in the corner, then all eyes were on the conversion that chooky nailed to take it to 18-17. With time still on the clock cott managed to recycle the ball for 8234 phases before spinning it wide on an overlap for there wing to race into the corner to win the game, only problem was that fullback Matty T was all over him like michael jackson on McCaully Culkin with a game saver. But they kept the pill alive and it swang to the other wing and this time it was chooky with the game saving tackle with the officials ruling a double movement. So with the cavs singing their song and not having to listen to cotts award winning lyrics of their song meant we were grand final bound. Chooky and Matty T shared the POD jacket this week but also Joey and KC had stand out games. With the cavs being the walking wounded at the moment a week off is a god send.
Stay black stay deadly