Round 12 of the competition saw Neddies home again against UWA, one of several teams desperate to stay in contention for the finals. However, the afternoon was in stark contrast to the previous week at The Foreshore, when Neddies blitzed Cottesloe as the weather gods looked on favourably. In horrendous conditions, Neddies scored the first try of a dour afternoon when Ryan “The Bus” McLeod found the try-line to put the home team 5-3 in front. However, Uni responded with a try and a penalty goal to take an 11-5 lead at the break. Neddies turned territory into points in the second spell when winger Kauri Cudd, backing up from the colts 35-0 demolition of Uni, nailed two penalty goals to level the scores at 11 a piece. Neddies maintained the scoring momentum when hooker Mason Pomare crashed over for a try to give Neddies a 16-11 lead. However, it was the students who finished stronger, edging 17-16 in front with three minutes left on the clock with the second of two penalty goals. While Neddies were able to regain possession in the last minute to mount a last-ditch assault, it came to nothing when the ball was turned over as Uni crossed in the corner for the sealer. The bonus point Neddies was able to salvage from the 22-16 loss has left the team on equal points with Cottesloe at the top of the log after the Gulls were downed by Soaks. The loss meant it fell to an emotional Richie “Rat” Naylor to hand over the Mike Denton Memorial Trophy to Uni. However, in a great act of sportsmanship, Uni requested that the trophy remain in safe-keeping at the Neddies club. Saturday sees Neddies hit the road north to Kingsway to take on the bottom-placed Roo Dogs. A reminder too for those attending the Force v Blues game on Saturday night to wear your Neddies colours for the club & country Super 15 round.
Apologies for not submitting a report for last week’s game against Kwinana but with a score line of 104 to 0 there is not much one can say. A different story though against a full strength UWA side. This was a hard fought battle in pretty ordinary conditions. Playing into the rain and wind/gale we played near perfect wet weather rugby to control and convincingly win the 1st half. With the wind behind us in the 2nd half we continued to play with flair and skill putting some great phase’s together and scoring nice team tries. It was great to see the forward pods continually winning the middle of the paddock and the backs having the skill to take advantage of their hard work. The final score of 36 to 5 was a fair indication of how well we controlled the game. Well done to all players’ involved, special mentions to Jimmy Lee, match MVP, Neil Smith and Jimmy O’Connell.
There can be few things more rewarding in this great game of ours than sharing a tough victory against a worthy opponent with your teammates. This was our best win for the year so far with many positives. Despite a small error by coach and manager to start with 14 players, the victory was set up in the first half with some good controlled rugby and hard carries by all concerned. We spoke about earning the right to move the ball around and that we did with some really strong work in the tight, given the windy conditions. This led to some good consistent possession and when the tries came they were good ones. A brief lapse in concentration let Uni get one and we led 3 tries to 1 at half time.
The first half had been notable for good defence, especially in the backs with Simon fitting nicely into #12 and working well with Greg to shut Uni attacks down. The scrum again played a key part in Nedlands having good ball and pressuring theirs. It continued to pressure them even with several changes. Hats off to Beast, Steve, Luke and Casey for great stuff in the front row, well supported by Barry, Stu, Shane and Colin. Of course, the loosies provided the usual top up to that effort.
There were notable moments in the game, but none more so than the great chip and chase try by Greg. It was a brave decision made oh so correct with some excellent execution to secure the 5 – made 7 – by scoring close to the posts. Jimmy converted adding to another good performance by him, especially as he had already played for 3rds. Great club spirit and guts in that. Greg took the best player points in another good one. He had either healed up well from last time, or just proved that you don’t need balls (intact) to play well. The Beast was slightly overshadowed by the younger brother when he came on, especially when B2 drove to within centimetres of the try line with a bustling run. We went down to 14 players for 10 minutes after the Tony Blair lookalike with the whistle decided he didn’t like Luke P’s policies of being a nuisance at the ruck, and carded him. Hard to understand Poms all round.
Uni really picked up and went at us in the second half with the wind at their back and with more organisation at #10 meaning they were a constant threat, particularly from broken play. As it turned out this was a tough competitive game with Jimmy’s goal kicking getting us the win, and four good trys gaining the bonus point. We stuck together and the players off the bench really added when they came on. A great lift in readiness to topple the unbeaten ARKS next week.