Winter returned to The Foreshore on Saturday as Neddies hosted Joondalup in the first round of the new FMG Premiership Division top-six competition (Twiggy please note plug for the sponsor).
With the legendary Tom Fearn in charge again, the premier grade team took to the field after a couple of touch-ups in reserves and fourths, another win by Stardust’s unbeaten thirds and a win by the women’s team which leaves them looking dangerous in second spot on the ladder.
There were a couple of blokes in the run-on team who deserved a mention in last week’s column, but missed out due to your correspondent imbibing full strength beer early on at The Third Half lunch. They were hulking back Zach Makavilitogia, resuming his Jonah Lomu impersonations on the wing after a long-awaited return from injury, and last year’s Colts captain Kenny Macpherson, showing tremendous courage playing well above his weight division in the front row.
Speaking of hulking characters, it was great to see the Hulk back down at Neddies after returning from NZ.
Anyway, the game itself was one of three halves. The first of those halves belonged to the visiting Brothers. Playing with the wind, Joondalup showed the meant business, rattling off two early tries for a 14-0 lead. Then the game swung sharply back in Neddies favour.
It is hard to pin-point the turning point. Those of a superstitious nature on the sideline suggested it was the black dog who ran on to the field digging for truffles around the 22 metre line. The dog was chased from the field after TJ Bradbury expressed concern he might disturb the ashes of a late Neddies stalwart.
Others suggested it was the re-appearance of cult hero Damo “the Italian Thor” Pacecca, who clearly needs to be swabbed by independent authorities. Whatever it was, Neddies posted 31 unanswered points through tries to Maia King, the Horse (aka Aiden Laxton) and a pair to the evergreen Mason Pomare.
Despite his growing resemblance to Justin Bieber, gun fullback Kauri Cudd was able to keep the adoring teenage fans at bay long enough to nail all four conversions and a penalty goal. Amid fading light, things then swung back in Joondalup’s favour in the third half, with the visitors crossing for the last try for a final scoreline of 31-21.
There was plenty to like about the win, including standout performances from the likes of flanker Shane Hemi, Waiuku’s best rugby export since Glen ET Thompson.
The victory also propelled Neddies to the top of the log after Soaks stumbled against one of the real emerging danger teams, Kalamunda.
Saturday looms as another huge day at The Foreshore, with the RugbyWA Cup on the line as Neddies host old foes Cottesloe.
There’ll be plenty of action on the big screen as well as the Crusaders host the Sharks and the Waratahs host the Highlanders (chalk up two wins for the Kiwis there).
So you know the drill.
Be there. Be loud. Be proud. Go the truffle dog. GO NEDDIES!!