Round 3 of the competition saw Neddies hit the road again, this time to Bennett Park to take on traditional rivals Wests.
Continuing the trend from the first couple of rounds, there were some new faces in the starting line-up including centre Teegan Minkley and the return of halfback Nate Roberts and big winger Zach Makavilitogia.
The earlier results were in Neddies’ favour, with the third grade’s 41-14 win followed up by a 28-19 win in reserves.
And things started well for the Neddies premier grade when Teegan Minkley crossed for an early try. Wests countered with two quick tries to snatch a 14-7 lead before David “Duck” Neilson (not to be confused with the late Angels front man Doc Neeson) nailed a penalty goal to reduce the margin to 14-10.
Things then started going a bit pear-shaped for the Neddies scrum, which culminated with Wests being awarded a penalty try. At 21-10, things looked a bit ominous for the visitors.
But then the momentum of the game shifted. First Jackson Neilson crossed for a try to reduce the score line to 21-15, and then a converted try to inspirational loose forward Shane Hemi straight after the break put Neddies back in front 22-21.
When Duck slotted his second penalty goal, Neddies were in front 25-21. What’s more, the injection of super sub Damo Pacecca put the Neddies scrum back in forward gear.
But the late stages of the game belonged to Wests, who rallied with a converted try and two penalty goals for a final score line of 34-25. Interestingly, Neddies would have pinched a bonus point had the ref not intervened to over-rule both his linesmen on one Wests penalty kick. Even Hulk thought it had sailed wide. But he later conceded he was at the bar at the time.
Apart from the Waiuku workhorse Shane Hemi, Grayson “the pride of Gore” Knapp was a stand-out for Neddies up front. Hats’ off as well to the Wests’ supporters, who are always good to have a beer with. Even Westie Man.
Round 4 of the competition sees Neddies return to The Foreshore on Saturday week (after the Easter break) to take on ARKs. This is not to be missed because it is Past Players’ Day, which is code for extra bar staff required. The crack is for past players to wear their oldest piece of Neddies kit. Note: If there is anything older than Dave Brock’s Neddies tracksuit it probably has a national heritage listing. However, there has been a late betting plunge on George Horsham, who is rumoured to have kept some of his gear from the victorious 1947 Grand Final triumph.
Be there. Be loud. Be proud. GO NEDDIES!!