A depleted Neddies team took on Perth-Bayswater at The Foreshore on Saturday to complete the first of two rounds of the home-and-away season. It was an afternoon when the gloomy overcast conditions matched the rugby.
The game had a bad vibe to start with when Neddies, in uncustomary fashion, ran towards the river in the first half.
From then on, it was a case of Neddies edging in front, only for Baysie to counter.
Tear-away loose forward Richie “Rat” Naylor got Neddies on the board with an early try, which Baysie countered with one of their own.
A Jordan Fantasia penalty goal gave Neddies an 8-5 lead, before Baysie locked up the scores at 8-8 at half-time with their own penalty goal.
The see-saw continued in the second half with Louis Sanders-Loder slotting two penalty goals – and his Baysie opposite slotting two for the visitors for a final scoreline of 14-14.
It was hardly inspiring stuff for second placed Neddies to finish the round after a string of bonus point victories. However, one positive was the number of colts players taking the field including debutant fullback Kauri “Gillies Kaka” Cudd, Motueka product Sanders-Loder, loose forward Tevin Ferris and prop Jermaine Ainsley.
Coach Gus Martyn will be looking for a better effort from his troops as the boys head to Bennett Park in Scarborough on Saturday to kick-off the second round against Wests.
Despite a brave performance defensively, we weren’t able to get the points and went down 0-7 in what was clearly a very tight contest. Overall, this was a pleasing performance to have so little ball and continue to keep them at bay showed the good character building in the team. The only try came after about 60 minutes of pretty tight competitive rugby. Like many a decision on the day there was a scent of uncertainty about the grounding for the try, but such is life.
It was good to welcome back Barry in the second row and Dane on the wing, after injury lay offs. Both made big contributions and a couple of good hits that showed the rehab had worked. The props deserve a mention with Beast backing up after playing 3rds, Fonsy having to play prop when he normally plays hooker and Steve Andre putting in another big one in the engine room that netted him the 3 best player points – well deserved. Not really a day to report much open play in the backs, they simply had to do their share of the defensive load, and did that pretty well. Greg went hard at it and Craig conjured up a couple of the best breaks we had all day.
There has been enough in the last few weeks to show that we can look forward to some great performances as we enter the second half of the season. It’s the old story of one week at a time for now and we look forward to the challenge of Wests away next week. Plenty to look forward to.
A big thanks to the players and off field team members who carried out the 4th grade duties last Thursday night at the club. Big thank you to all, especially Rylan who reminisced fondly about days working the kitchen at fast food places to get through Uni. Funny how some old skills come in handy. If you weren’t there, please say a big thank you to Rylan, Pete M, Blacky and Steve Bradbury who helped us out enormously.