Neddies travelled to Harvey Field on Saturday to take on Cottesloe in a rematch of the 2013 Grand Final.
There were a quite a few faces missing for Neddies, including star five-eighth Davis Tavita, the two Jakes – Wilson and Stevens – former Australian sevens player Will Brock and hooker Mason Pomare.
On the flip side, there were premier grade debuts for 18-year-old Louis Sanders-Loder and former colts player Jordan Fantasia, with another 18-year-old, prop Jermaine Ainsley, coming off the bench. Though they are hardly of colts vintage, there were three other welcome faces coming off the bench for Neddies in Joe “Peanut” Richie, winger Alvin “Stardust” Lau and former PG Hampshire winner Nate Roberts.
Playing into a stiff breeze, Cottesloe scored an early try to take a 5-0 lead and that proved to be the only points registered in the first half.
While playing with the wind in the second half should have been a bonus for Neddies, it didn’t pan out that way. Within 15 minutes, Cottesloe had turned two Neddies errors into tries to extend their lead to 17-3 after Nelson College product Louis Saunders-Loder had put Neddies on the board with a penalty goal.
When Cottesloe kicked a penalty to go 20-3 in front, it looked to be red rover for Neddies. However, the boys showed great spirit in storming back into the match with tries to Stardust and Ryan “The Bus” McLeod, giving the visitors the sniff of snatching a come-from-behind win. However, that’s where things finished up with Neddies salvaging a bonus point from the 20-15 result.
Neddies will need to reduce the errors on Saturday when they travel to McGillivray Oval to take on a University team coming off a high-scoring win over Soaks.
Once again the 2’s started well and dominated the early exchanges. But once again too many dropped balls let the pressure off the opposition and when they ran they ball back at us we missed way too many first up tackles … with the result that at half time we trailed by 16 points. We knew we had to be first to score in the second half but instead, in only the third minute of the half, we kicked poorly in general play, straight into the hands of the Cott fullback who then raced almost the length of the field to score untouched by the left hand corner post. Rather than crushing us this mishap seemed to galvanise the team and, although we were now trailing by 21 points, the Neddies forwards from then on took complete control of the match with a dominant display both at the set piece and at the breakdown. As a result we managed to maintain good field position for most of the rest of the game and, with Jayden Scorringe slotting penalty kicks at regular intervals, we had managed to reduce the deficit to just 7 points by the time the final whistle went. At least that meant we picked up a bonus point for the day. But in the end, despite an improved performance, especially in the second half, it really was just last week’s story all over again. We lost a game we could have won through poor defence and basic skill errors in attack. Nonetheless there were some encouraging signs. It is clear that we have a very strong forward pack. The loose forwards, in particular, have been outstanding and have dominated their opposition in both of our competition matches to date. But we desperately need to find and settle on an effective backline combination. The talent in the backs is there. However, what with injuries, promotions to the Premier grade team and several players being unavailable for work or study reasons, we still have not been able to field anything like our strongest backline. Hopefully that will come this week when we play old rivals UWA at their home ground. Please note that this week our kick off is scheduled for 12:50 pm due to the Western Force game played at 5.40pm.
Final score: Cottesloe 37 beat Nedlands 30
Neddies started off the 2014 season with a 43 to 10 victory over arch rival Cottesloe.
An interesting 1st 35 minutes with Neddies giving away plenty of possession, lack of discipline at the breakdown, and territory to a fired up Cottesloe. Midway through the 1st half Cottesloe’s inability to break Neddies defence lead to them losing their control resulting in one of their players being red carded. Neddies had a player yellow carded at the same time.
When Neddies did finally get their hands on the ball they looked pretty sharp and they scored two well-constructed tries, one to Naiz and the other to Gadjet.
Neddies into the half-time break with a small lead.
Amazing what a bit of soul searching and chat from senior players can do, the errors were drastically reduced ball retention was improved and multiple phases were strung together. Generous use of the interchange bench was made, a little blood was spilt (Peanut) and a further 5 tries were scored.
Second half scorers were, Peanut, Dbizzle, Gadjet (completing a double), Tank and Moggsy
Cottesloe were kept scoreless in the second half.
A great team effort and all Neddies players should be proud of the way they went about completing the business.
Pretty hard to pick the MVP, but my pick was Nails and it has nothing to do with him getting married in a couple of weeks.
Special mention to Trefor who unselfishly passed the ball to a teammate when the try was there for him to score. They won’t come much easier than that one Trefor.
Looking forward to playing Joondalup next Saturday, later start than normal so looking forward to a bit of a lie in before trekking North.