Uni @ McGillivray has been a bit of a banana skin game for Neddies in recent seasons. And so it was again on Saturday as Neddies came away with just one win against the students in Invercargill-like conditions.
A long list of injuries, and a couple of unavailabilities, meant the premier grade team which took the field was hardly recognisable, including two loose forwards in the centres and coach Luke “Dogga” Doherty forced to pack down for a full game in the second row. At one stage, it looked like Tommy Fearn was contemplating swapping the Red Bands for something with sprigs, while Terry Bradbury, Chris Lowson and Kenny Read were seen limbering up under the trees.
By halftime, Uni had made most of the conditions with an 11-0 lead, which grew to 14-0 early in the second half.
But Neddies teams don’t lie down and an electric break from halfback Mike “Roo” Ruru set up Neihana “Nase” Christian for a try. Kauri Cudd’s sideline conversion made it 14-7 and suddenly all that Neddies needed was another length-of-the-field intercept try from winger Brody Lam.
However, that wasn’t an option because Brody was over in New Zealand in the corner of his very BIG boxer brother Conrad Lam in his successful heavyweight bout against David “the Brown Buttabean” Letele in the undercard to the Joseph Parker v Takam IBF elimination fight (see picture).
Back at McGillivray, time ran out with the score still at 14-7, handing Neddies their first loss of the season. (Contrary to some reports, the RugbyWA Cup wasn’t lost as this piece of diminutive silverware is only up for grabs at home for the first three defences.
Dogga and Tommy will be hoping for some of the cavalry to return on Saturday when Neddies finishes off the first round of the home-and-away competition hosting Soaks at The Foreshore.
Be there. Be loud. Be proud. GO NEDDIES!!