Neddies reinforced its status as Perth’s leading rugby club with Grand Final victories in premier grade, reserve grade and colts at McGillivray Oval on Sunday.
The trifecta came after Neddies was on Friday awarded the WA Premier Club Championship award for a record 22nd year.
Sunday’s amazing Grand Final victories had Neddies supporters asking one question: When was the last time Neddies made a clean sweep of premier grade, reserves and colts? Well, an inspection of the records shows this is the first time that has ever been achieved. So a new chapter in the Neddies success story has been written.
Sunday’s trifecta started with the colts who went in as underdogs against the undefeated Joondalup. But the old saying that you have to lose a Grand Final to win one rang true for Neddies, with many of the boys having played in the 2014 Grand Final when Neddies just fell short. Skipper Gus Gillespie was inspirational as his team scored early before coming from behind to cling to a 17-12 win. It was the first time Neddies has won the main Colts competition since 2001 – a break of 14 long years. The win also showcased the colts development pathway put in place at Neddies last year under coaches Phil Oddie and Luke Powell. At least five colts got a taste of premier grade rugby this year for Neddies, while another two – Kauri Cudd and Tevin Ferris – developed into regular premier grade starters.
They say you have to have a good reserve grade team to win premier grade, and that adage rang true on Sunday. Having endured a disappointing season in 2014, the reserves stormed into the finals with winning momentum to overcome Soaks by 20-19. A feature of the game was the goal-kicking of Mike Botes, who nailed the ones that mattered. Mikey’s five penalties were instrumental in the win. A big pat on the back must go to coaches Aussie Bob Somerville and Dave McKnight and their jack-of-all-trades side-kick Tony Ball, who also knows a thing or two about winning premierships.
If there was one number which illustrated the style of rugby Neddies played this season, it was 80. That, incredibly, was the number of points Neddies scored in their two finals outings – against Cottesloe in the semi-finals and Wests in the Grand Final.
Exuding confidence, Neddies burst out of the blocks and had 17 points on the board in no time. While Wests came back strongly, Neddies finished the job with a resounding 39-27 win. Like Mike Botes in reserves, Kauri Cudd had one of his best days with the boot, while boom prop Jermaine Ainsley showed why he was named the 2015 most improved premier grade player with a barnstorming display. A great start to the coaching career of Luke “Dogga” Doherty and another feather in the cap of his mentor, the legendary Tommy Fearn.
There’s also a new slogan threatening to go viral after Sunday’s winning efforts – Bring Back The Nut. After guiding his team to a record 19th premier grade Grand Final win in front of his proud father Walnut, skipper Joe “Peanut” Richie announced to all and sundry that he had just played his last game. The Nut had obviously taken a knock to the swede when he uttered such heresy. He is expected to issue a statement clarifying matters at Saturday’s club wind-up do.
A great initiative to have the games streamed live, which meant plenty of Neddies supporters around the globe were able to watch the action unfold.
So an historic year for Neddies and reward for the many people whose efforts have enabled the club’s winning culture to continue.
Go you good things.