Unlike Kurtley Beale in Brisbane, Mike Botes didn’t fall over with the final kick of the match. And in the end it was Botes’ angled conversion which delivered Neddies its second last-gasp victory in as many weeks as the home team prevailed 31-30 over Palmyra in a heart-stopper at The Foreshore on Saturday.
Like the week before against Soaks, Neddies were staring down the barrel as Palmyra took a 27-17 late in the second half amid ever-darkening skies.
But while there were a few glum faces on the sideline, the only rolling over Rat (aka Richie Naylor) was prepared to contemplate was rolling over the try line. And that is what the Rat did twice in last 10 minutes, completing a hat-trick which carried Neddies home to the bonus-point victory.
The game started well for Neddies, with winger Izzy Lata, halfback Mike “Roo” Ruru and Rat all crossing for tries to give the home team a 17-14 lead. But Palmyra had the last say in the half, stealing a try from the restart to go to the break 19-17 in front.
Things looked grim for Neddies in the second half as Palmyra piled on another try and a penalty goal to extend their lead to 27-17. Injuries to key players, including Jake Wilson, Cam Crowley and Travis “The Pope” Church, was not helping matters for coach Tony Ball.
Paly desperately needed the win to keep their top four hopes alive, and it looked like the boys from across the Swan River would take the points.
That was when Rat stepped up to the plate with his try-scoring heroics, giving Botes – who has come through the junior ranks at Neddies – the chance to slot the winning conversion in front of The Third Half faithful. And as the Hulkster later quipped, he didn’t make a Beale of it. (Reflecting on the game later in the evening, the Hulkster was heard to ask: “Folau on earth did we get away with that one?”)
The win leaves Neddies second on the ladder behind Cottesloe. Things are really hotting up for third and fourth spots on the ladder, with only six points separating the chasing pack of five teams.
Round 12 sees Neddies venture north to Kingsway to take on the Rood Dogs. Go you good thing.
The Reserve Grade, fielding a star studded backline started off with a bang, with Ravu Raicama scoring 1 try and Fred Tuua scoring 2 try’s, 2 conversions and a penalty goal. Paly managed to get a try of their own and Neddies headed to the break 22-7. The boys hit out again after half time, with Donnavon Robertson showing his pace out wide, running in for the bonus point try. Paly gained momentum towards the last quarter of the game, but superb goal line defence by Nedlands kept them out. With 10 to go, Palmyra capitalised on some first up missed tackles in mid field, running in to score 2 late trys, securing a bonus point for finishing within 7. Final score was 27-21.
Palmyra had an early start with 3 points followed by a try. Nedlands had some good play however penalty after penalty for Palmyra allowss Palmyra to score again. Chris kicked a penalty and half time sounded at 15-3. Palmyra scored an early try which fired up Neddies and some great line defense was shown.
Neddies scored a try through Keith however it was disallowed because of a forward pass. 2 yellow cards against Nedlands allowed Palmyra to put on some points with the final score being 34-3 to Palmyra.
With the top two teams facing off it was always going to be a hard game. Scores were close for much of the game and with a few players missing, those that remained stood up to the challenge. Paly were fighting hard and scored a couple of trys to Neddies one. However penalties kept us in front.
The scores remained this way until a late try under the posts to a galloping Gadget sealed the victory as well as Neddies spot on top of the Ladder, in which we are now 9 points clear. The final score was 23-10. Aussie Bob will be pleased to return with a fine record still in tact!
It was good to be home again and the boys turned on some great rugby to beat Paly 29-7. The mid-season changes up the grades meant a number of players were getting starting spots and they made they most of the opportunity. A good example was Beast Kavumbura who looked right at home at loosehead prop, never going back at scrum time and doing great work in the tight that would have made the original Beast proud. Paly put plenty of pressure on early and the team soaked it up not letting them through. Good defence was a feature of the day and building on this will set us up nicely for the rest of the round and finals.
With a bit of ball Neds were able to build pressure of our own which resulted in a few tries in the first half. Some good driving work by the forwards saw Trent sneak around the edge for a five pointer. Being new to the halfback role, Trent has adopted the number 8 ½ relishing the chance for some snipping runs round the ruck. He even provided a pinball impersonation bouncing off the ginormous #1 from Paly. Nicholas once again took the restart well and the forwards delivered great ball that set the backs alight and they delivered with a classic 80m team try – champagne rugby!
Hats off to Paly who came out in the second half to throw the ball around and although this lead to some very heavy breathing, they were only able to pierce our defence once, with the big fella bullocking over. The Neds reply was swift with good pressure at the kick off gaining us the ball, some great sequential rucks and the big Argie Nicholas smashing his way through for another 5 pointer. This helped ease the pain he was feeling from the Poms belting Argentina last week. Good work in defence, really strong input from the bench and a general strong team effort were the big pluses from the day.
A big welcome to first-gamer George Wright (someone needs to think of a nickname as this one sounds too proper) who starred on the day taking the three points. His chip and chase effort would have produced a try, but for the shoulder charge that abruptly ended his run. Kicking the ball will be forgiven if the outcome is good.