The Bus. Rocket. Boots. JP (and that hit). The weather. The six colts. And those Highlanders.
There were plenty of talking points on Saturday as Neddies hosted Kalamunda in round 11 with that very small and inconspicuous RugbyWA Cup on the line.
Warming the hearts of the Third Half supporters in Invercargill-like weather conditions was the sight of Ryan “The Bus” McLeod and goal-kicking prop Mark “Rocket” Davies back in Neddies colours in the seconds. The Bus and Rocket were obviously inspired by the return last week of fellow Neddies stars Juan “JP” Pretorius and the high octane Matt “Boots” Venter. Sideline rumours that Magnum, Whale, Versace and Ken “Sir Edmond” Fleury were also contemplating come-backs were quickly dispersed given the Neddies playing strip has changed three times since the last time any of them wore it.
The first half of the premier grade game was one of those wet weather arm wrestles where the biggest cheers were generated by JP’s teeth-rattling hit in the midfield and the Highlanders fans (aka the Chris Naylor cheer squad) in the warmth of the clubrooms.
The 3-0 scoreline, courtesy of a Davis Tavita penalty goal, was a reflection of that.
With the rain easing in the second half, Neddies lifted a gear and rattled off three tries to Davis, winger Liam van der Westhuizen and the Flying Roo, Mike Ruru, all converted by the dancing feet of Kauri Cudd. Suddenly, with the scoreline at 22-0, there was a sniff of a bonus point win.
There was indeed a fourth try scored. But unfortunately for Neddies, it was the Bulls who scored it, for a final scoreline of 22-5.
A quick head count in the second half revealed no fewer than six colts in the premier grade team in Liam, Kauri, Hershelle Classen, Terrell Berryman, Tevin Ferris and big Sam Offer, who had earlier repeated his first round efforts against Kalamunda with another try-scoring burst down the sideline for seconds.
That made it 10 wins on the trot for Neddies since the round one loss to Wests. (There is an interesting refereeing stat in that, but we won’t go there).
As it happens, Wests loom as Neddies next opponent in a top-of-the-table clash at Bennett Park on Saturday.
You wouldn’t miss it for quids (or the Super 15 semi-final). Be there. Be loud. Be proud. Go Neddies!