Round 13 saw Neddies head north to take on Wanneroo in a game where the most relevant stats from the game were probably three, 20 and four. Three was the number of colts who made their premier grade debuts for Neddies in the form of colts skipper Grayson Knapp, elusive halfback Herschelle Classen and mobile lock Wade Durrant – much to the delight of his dad John. Cool as a cucumber Herschelle made an immediate impact by slotting a sideline conversion, emulating the long-range effort he lobbed over the bar in the last minute of the colts game to win the match. 20 was the number of minutes it took Neddies to chalk up a bonus-point after Richie “Rat” Naylor (2), prop Brendan “That’s not a bus, THIS is a bus” O’Dea and Davis Tavita had crossed for tries. And four was the number of tries halfback Mike “Roo” Ruru bagged for the afternoon. In the end, Neddies ran out 92-12 winners, despite leaving about 20 points on the park from missed conversions. While the win saw Neddies earn the maximum points to stay on top of the ladder, it’s a struggle to hard to find any real winners from games like these. Still, there were positives for Neddies including a reduced injury count, the blooding in of three more colts players and the performance of powerful new winger Rob Maxwell, who looks the bizzo. Round 14 sees Neddies play under lights on Friday night at Allen Park in Swanbourne against a Soaks team who have found their groove in recent weeks and are desperate for a top four finish. Make sure you get down there to show your colours!
After the arduous journey into the wilds of Kelmscot and ignoring the guidance system on the Panzer Mk2 I made it to the ground to see a distinct lack of 3rds players to standby and help out Marty Fitz and the Magnificent Fourths.
Once the troops all finally arrived and we agreed on the starting time of the game it was down to business with Aussie Bob on hand as Steve Macs Coaching Double and Mark Badham as Sue Roberts Managing Double we were off and running.
Arks came out well fired up with some nimble forwards and a game plan to flood the breakdown anytime a neddies player was isolated. This took a toll on the boys in blues ability to recycle and use quick phase ball and unleash the patched together back-line although having Jake Stevens at center was a reassuring thing. However that didnt help when we weren’t supporting the ball carrier into breakdowns.
In an absolute arm wrestle of a game where no side dominated it was end to end plays with desperate defence from both sides shutting down try scoring opportunities, although one breakout utilising Gadgets speed from a turnover ball saw him at his speedy best to outsprint the opposition on the outside and motor over for a “piece of meat” down the LHS touchline. Score Neds 5 to 0 Arks. Wagga missed the kick once he had the kicking tee delivered to him.
Arks replied rather quickly to this through some appalling defence and non existent communication after another chip through from the Arks right-hand winger. Score Neds 5 to 5 Arks. The ARKS kicker must have been at the same nightclub as Wagga Doherty Friday night as he missed the conversion too.
This was the score at Halftime where most of the talk on the pitch was about lifting the intensity and support play for the ball carrier.
It was a great start to the second half where Neds came out much stronger and spent a good deal of time in the Arks 22 but couldn’t convert this into points. That was until Big Tref Thomas, inspired by the ball skills of Will Skelton when he sent Izzy Folau through a massive hole to score for the Wallabies, produced a copybook move to unselfishly put Matty Paris through a hole that Tref himself said he could have walked through himself to score. Score Neds 10 to 5 Arks. Wagga missed the kick once again.
Arks again came back through their chip and chase game but were thwarted by the Neds scrambling defense on several occasions until we lacked the numbers coming back for them to score just to the right of the posts with their kicker shanking the kick badly to the right. Score Neds 10 to 10 Arks.
From the kickoff Neds forwards punished the Arks forward pack with turnover ball and some great driving malls, none better than one that went 15m and got within 5m of the try line. It was about this time that a large ARKS sideline person of NZ descent took umbrage at an observation made by Aussie Bob about what sitting on an esky all afternoon had done to his genitalia. We managed to get over the line twice in the latter period of the game but both tries were disallowed by the touch Judge, although not wearing any official insignia why he had the say so over the tries baffled the boys.
In the final play of the match the Nedlands scrum that had held firm all afternoon felt they had the ARKS scrum well and truly beat and took the opportunity to give Jimmy “the Try Burglar” Lee his piece of meat for the day. Wagga missed the kick. Final Score Neds 15 to 10 Arks.
Many Thanks to The Beast his brother Beast Mk2 and Marty Mac for standing by, sorry I didnt get you on but the game was just too close to change things.
(Yes Folks He’s back)
Victory the previous week sure came at a big cost. With five starting players from the good win over UWA out injured and two more away with work, this was always going to be a big challenge. A significant role during warm up was introducing new players and trying to remember names. Well done to all the guys who helped us out. Add to this the trouble some had in finding the ground at ARKS and it is not hard to get a feel for the way we started. The table topping ARKS mob, unbeaten so far in 2014 were too organised for us early in the game and with some strong running centres they opened up a few of trys gap quite early that we were never able to bridge.
Gutsy stuff from Shane who filled in at prop, while Richie (a savior from the Cavs) negotiated the journey to ARKS and got his gear on. The disruptive start never turned into much throughout the first half despite the best efforts of the team on the track. Good to see bustling Mark Tawhai back after a hiatus and he carried strongly for some good yards. With a stand in prop and a brand new hooker we didn’t do too badly in early set pieces, but couldn’t secure any quality ball from which to mount a counter attack and we spent most of the first half defending, sometimes better than others.
The time spent on introductions in the first half wasn’t totally wasted with a really improved performance in the second half. There was a lot more smart rugby and some genuinely strong carries that kept us in the ARKS half for long periods. None more so than from B2 who showed that with a little refining he will be a very difficult prospect for opposition defences. Alas, despite the effort we weren’t able to trouble the scorers. Proving that possession is king, we kept ARKS to one legitimate try in the second half. They were given another, that made us feel like we were at Soldiers Field watching NFL given the extent of the forward movement of the ball. For some strange reason the referee felt compelled to apologise after the try was scored. Didn’t seem to occur to him that he could have called the player back before he had run the 80m. Some days you can’t buy a trick.
Couldn’t fault the effort and courage to fight back in the second half, which says something about the team and the spirit within. Big thanks to Marty McD for backing up for us and to Richie, who we will send a Google maps app to for future reference. A bus trip to Bunbury next week should help with remembering names.