Watching his son’s under-10s game on Saturday morning, premier grade coach Tony Ball joked that he might have to take his boots to Allen Park that afternoon after news came through that his entire front row was doubtful for the match against reigning premiers Soaks. And by kick-off time the news was no better, with skipper Mason Pomare joining props Joe “Peanut” Richie and prop Mark “Rocket” Davies in the casualty ward, leaving Travis “The Pope” Church to play under sufferance as crook as a dog. Not that coach Ball had a full deck to play with in the backs either, with Cam Crowley joining injured stars Davis Tavita and Ben “No stop for smoko” Titoko on the sideline.
And it looked like being a hard day at the office when Soaks exploited their pack strength to score two early tries to take an early 14-nil lead. That’s the way things ended up for the first half before coach Ball gave his troops one of his old-fashioned half-time bawling outs that some nude bathers at Swanbourne beach apparently thought was the shark alarm.
If it was the ticker of his players that Bally questioned, he got the answer in the second half. What transpired over the next 40 minutes was a performance built on guts, composure and a never-say-die attitude.
When fullback Fred Tuua landed an early penalty goal, there was still plenty of daylight between the scores as Neddies trailed 14-3. With 10 minutes to go, the score-line remained the same. Then two acts of brilliance from halfback Mike “Roo” Ruru and fullback Fred Tuua stunned the home crowd. As Neddies hammered the Soaks line, Roo took a quick penalty tap and launched himself through various Soaks body parts to score. The conversion put Neddies in striking distance at 14-10, but time was the enemy.
However, launching a last desperate attacking raid from the kick-off, Richie “Rat” Naylor broke the line and fed Fred Tuua , who stepped his way to the line for a miracle try which sealed the dramatic 17-14 victory, one of the most satisfying of the season.
Despite the growing injury list, coach Ball did welcome one player back one influential player in former skipper Luke “Dogga” Doherty, getting his first run since injuring himself in last season’s semi-final against Soaks. Welcome back Dogga!
The win has left Neddies level-pegging with Cottesloe at the top of the log, opening up a 12 point buffer over Soaks and Wests. Next Saturday sees a return to The Foreshore as Neddies take on a Palmyra team who will be desperate to stay in touch with the four.
Full replay of Premier Grade from the weekend, courtesy of LMSC.
The reserve grade were up against it coming into a game with one of the front runners. A couple of early penalties to Beau Hape kept them in the contest and both teams looked quite even, with many back and forward breaks. Eventually Neddies found some space and hooker Reuben sprinted down the sideline in front of the Associates crowd to score in the corner. Jandre had an outstanding work rate and was instrumental in a few turnovers. Half time score was 10-11 to Neddies.
Soaks started with a hiss and a roar nabbing a couple of what seemed to be easy tries. Neddies played outstanding in patches but made crucial errors at the wrong times. Beau Hape scored a great try after some good team pressure but in the end the damage had been done with the final score 25-18.
The game started off with a fury of penalties for Associates resulting in a try. Nedlands held Associates out until the last 5 minutes with some very good play. The half time score was 12-0.
Line outs started being a problem as Nedlands were losing line outs and possession.
Nedlands let in two tries early in the second half however showed some good play and matched Associates in patches.
Final score being 47-0 with a few soft tries in the last 10 minutes. An improvement from the previous game against Associates.
With Aussie Bob still on hiatus and a few changes due to the FIFO lifestyle, 3rd grade knew they needed to come out guns blazing in Swanbourne. Neddies lineout was on fire with multiple steals to Danny and Handsome, however they were unable to convert this pressure to any points. Penalties were also a problem with the referee taking quite a disliking to Suter. Maybe his prescription tinted glasses countered any effect of those rosy red cheeks. Finally after 30 minutes an Alvin-lou Lau break put the not so shaggy Cam Sinden under the posts.
Half time and both teams were still in it. Neddies started to play some good rugby and after 20 minutes things opened up a little. Gadget sped down the sideline to score in the corner and then after some good work from English Max and slick team passing, Alvin was left with the ball and danced through Soaks defenders like he was dodging bullets in the Vietnamese jungle to score! Good support tries to Danny and Neis put the game well beyond doubt with the final score 33-3
The game started well with a solid first-up scrum and a good call to go blind by Sticho leading to the first five-pointer to Haydos. Continuing his fine form with the boot Haydos duly converted and we led 7-0. Pre-game talk was on winning the breakdown and the boys stuck to that well for most of the first half. Barry Kelly played like he was auditioning for a spot in the Lions with some great hits and strong work in the ruck/maul area. Some good thinking and a well-placed kick by Simon Ruri saw Gadget doing what he does best and scampering over for a try, 12-0 Nedlands. Soaks lifted to the challenge in and scored two tries to close the gap to 12-10.
Despite a slow start to the second half the machine got going again and finished the game strongly to win 36-15. Some really good rugby in the second half saw some great tries, non-better than the effort by Martin “Tank” Tutt. A quick tap and good gap running by Nicholas “Mara” D’Addona set things going then an off-load to Tank set the scene. Soaks may have been fooled by the #1 on his back, but the smart punters knew what was about to happen when Tank picked it up about 40m out from the line. Two great fends created some space and kicking in the afterburners made sure the fullback was rounded with ease. Why can’t all props run like that? Chad Collins capped off a really good game with a strong run down the cricket concrete sideline pushing players off before offloading to a welcoming Troy who finished the game off in style, scoring under the posts. A really satisfying game for the effort made at winning rucks, strong scrum and some good ball movement. The train is back on the tracks.
Welcome to George and hats off to Jesse and Trent who had big games in unfamiliar positions.