Reigning premiers Neddies kicked off their 2014 season with a 33-18 bonus point win over Wests in what was a Super Saturday down at the Foreshore.
Neddies had hosted more than 20 games of rugby by the time the premier grade started at 3.30pm after putting on one of the biggest junior carnivals ever hosted by the club, starting with the under-6s at 8am. Congratulations to Junior President Kylie-Anne Drummond and her committee for staging an event which showcased Neddies as the great club we all know it to be. It was also a big day for the supporters, with The Third Half hosting another great lunch.
The premier grade action started with a mathematical drama when a quick count of the Neddies team revealed only 14 players had taken the field. The call then went out – “Where was the artist formerly known as Roo?” It turned out Roo (Mike Ruru) was still in the changing rooms getting some urgent physio attention after straining his back in the warm up. But unlike Melbourne Storm skipper Cameron Smith, who suffered the same mishap while warming up for Saturday night’s game against the Bulldogs at NIB Stadium, Roo was soon on the field, albeit looking a tad uncomfortable.
The season opener itself was a classic game of two halves.
While it was rejuvenated winger Cam Crowley who crossed for the first meat pie of the season for Neddies, the home team found themselves 13-5 down at the break after Wests had scored a long-range intercept try. Neddies played into a strong wind in the first half but had another factor to contend with – a staggering penalty count which included two yellow cards. There is a very common factor in that penalty count which dominated post-match discussions, but we will leave that on the field.
The half-time deficit looked even more of a concern when the heaven’s opened in the second half, causing all but the staunchest of Neddies supporters to retreat to the club house for shelter from the rain and wind.
However, Neddies responded with some great wet-weather rugby to cross for four second half tries to halfback Roo (2), new prop Lei Alohleilei and the world’s fastest white man, Jake Wilson.
All in all a good first outing for a Neddies team featuring quite a few new faces including hooker Matt Ropoama, flanker Shane Hemi, lock Tyler Edwards and props Lei and Jermaine Ainsley, along with the welcome return from injury of goal-kicking playmaker (and hit man) Davis Tavita.
Next week see’s Neddies head to Harvey Field to take on the Gulls. Be there and wear your colours with pride!
The 2’s started well and dominated the first 20 minutes. The forwards monopolised possession in this period but as the game wore on and the Neddies forwards tired Wests began to win some ball. With it they kicked well, using the strong breeze to their advantage, and managed to pin us in our own half for long periods. We tried to run the ball back at them but continually infringed, giving their excellent goal kicker plenty of opportunities to slot points. Then just before half time an intercept pass allowed their right winger in for a soft try and a half time score of 16-0 to Wests. We came back well at the start of the second half and managed to bring the margin back to 5 points with less than 10 minutes to go. But once again poor handling by our backs led to intercepts … and two more soft tries to Wests. In the end we were our own worst enemies. We gave away too many penalties and threw three intercept passes, all of which led to tries against us. So there are no prizes for guessing what the coaches will have us working on at training this week.
Final score Wests 31 beat Nedlands 18
Nedlands vs Perth Bayswater
The colts continued the momentum built during the preseason scoring 5 tries to 1 in a dominant display over a big Perth outfit.
The Colts started the game strongly looking to spread the ball wide in an attempt to tire the large Perth forward pack. With some slick passing from the halves combinations of Herschelle Classen & Wicus Slabber and strong midfield carries from likes Tevin Ferris & Grayson Knapp Perth found themselves constantly on the back foot.
Early territory and possession saw Bruce Morrel go over in the corner after some powerful running from Kauri Cudd injecting himself into the line from fullback.
The middle period of the game saw Perth frustrated with strong defensive line preventing them from scoring any points despite controlling possession and territory for the back end of the first half.
Running into a strong wind in the second half had the colts change tactics and front up physically through the forwards, which in turn allowed the backs to put the ball through the hands and with some great running lines crossed the advantage line at will. However the forwards would not be denied with big prop Alex Pensini crossing the chalk after another big carry close to the ruck.
A great full team effort saw the final result finish 31-7 and the season under way for the Nedlands colts.
WA U17 vs Victoria U17
In other news that Neddies can be proud of from the weekend was the win for WA U17s that has earned them a place in the JGS National Grand final. The team includes 3 members from Neddies including Lock Sam Offer (Wesley College & Nedlands U19’s) , Head Coach Gus Martyn & Sharu Gasan S & C Coach (play’s 4th grade at Neddies). The final will be played here in Perth this coming weekend so It would be great to see everyone down at MacGillivray oval at 11am on Saturday (5th April) to support your state and our Neddies representatives.