Round one of the competition kicked off in magnificent conditions at the Foreshore as Neddies hosted Wests in a rematch of the 2015 Grand Final. It capped off a feast of rugby at the Foreshore, with the Neddies juniors earlier hosting Wests in a pre-season carnival.
The game saw another father-and-son premier grade duo added to the Neddies record books when big Drake Robson – son of former Neddies stalwart and Life Member Stu “Animal” Robson – trotted out in the new Neddies lyrca-like playing strip. Drake anchored the second row with another former Colts player Grayson “Gingz” Knapp, who is back in action after spending last season sidelined with shoulder injury.
The Neddies Colts development pipeline was also on show up front, where prop Tom Sheminant took his place at prop after some impressive performances for the WA Under-20 team.
Neddies were first on the board when Kauri Kudd slotted a penalty goal and converted a try to debutant winger Brodie Lam, a very talented player with some great rugby pedigree.
That 10-0 lead jumped to 17-0 at halftime when Tom Sheminant rumbled over the line to dive on the ball for his maiden premier grade try.
Wests built some momentum in the second half, scoring a try to narrow the scoreline to 17-7. But time after time Wests were denied by some resolute goal-line defence by the Neddies forwards.
Then, as Wests tried to crack the defence out wide, the game reached a critical turning point when Brodie Lam snatched an intercept on his own line and ran almost the length of the field to score his second of the afternoon.
That gave Neddies a 22-7 buffer. Neddies left plenty of points on the park as final passes went to ground and also surrendered momentum and territory by conceding a wave of penalties. Wests rode that wave to score the last try of the day for a final scoreline of 22-14.
There were plenty of contributors for Neddies – among them Juan “JP” Pretorius, who regularly busted open the Wests midfield while putting in some trademark hits on defence.
Saturday sees Neddies head north to take on Joondalup in round two. Be there, be loud, be proud – Go Neddies!