The action started at sparrows down at Neddies on Saturday when Rodney Ball and his ground crew arrived at The Foreshore with their head-lamps on to set up the field for another cracker of a junior carnival.
But the mystery and intrigue started even earlier that morning when The West Australian newspaper revealed that league sensation Kayln Ponga was a Neddies boy. Well not exactly, but sort of.
In what has become a time-honoured path to The Foreshore, the article revealed how Kayln’s dad Andre left New Zealand for Perth in pursuit of his rugby dream. That path took Andre to Neddies in 1989 – along with seven of his Kiwi mates.
Memories are a bit hazy down at The Third Half end of the ground at the best of times, so your correspondent was unable to shed any light on which Neddies team Andre Ponga and his seven Kiwi mates played for back in 1989. It was that year that Neddies fielded arguably its strongest ever premier grade team with players like Bam Ban Koteka, Block Manu, Reg Walters, PR Roberts, Gavin Bermingham, Grant Mickell, Tom Fearn, Spotty Ryburn, Glen Thompson, John Kani, Nudge Edwards and even an ex All Black by the name of Murray Watts.
Andre Ponga might be able to shed a bit of light on his time with Neddies when he and wife Adine head back across the Nullarbor to watch son Kayln play in the second State of Origin game at Optus Stadium on Sunday week (June 23). Hopefully the Pongas have time to call in to The Foreshore for steak night, a cleanser or two and a ticket in the meat pack draw. (Memo Neddies Bob: Might have to order some XXXX).
Back to the junior carnival on Saturday morning, where the games included a special under-12s fixture between Neddies and Mandurah. That game was for a trophy in honour of the late Travis McEntyre, who had an association with both clubs. Neddies were able to keep the trophy after a hard-fought win over the Pirates.
In the seniors, there were mixed Round 10 results for Neddies against Perth-Bayswater in the lead up games, with the fourths going down 62-7, the thirds prevailing 36-5 and the reserves game called off early due to an injury.
By the time the premier grade took to the field, the rain which threatened for most of the day had set in. It was duly noted the conditions would suit one Neddies player in particular – Duck. At least Peter Bailey got the joke in Dave Allport’s absence.
Baysie haven’t been travelling that flash this season, but played the conditions well to have their noses in front 6-5 after the first quarter. But Neddies finished with two tries to take a 17-6 lead at the break. The second half was a different story with Neddies crossing for four more tries to run out 43-6 winners. Work horse Drake Robson was a stand-out in the forwards, while Dylan “Sudsy” Loversidge – who has perfected the Kieron Fonotia dummy pass – brought great energy from fullback. Good to see Teegan Minkley and Kaleb Whakataka on the park again for Neddies and back amongst the scoring action.
The win left Neddies in second spot on the ladder, though there is no room for a slip-up with only seven points separating the top five teams. She’s a close run race this season for sure.
Round 11 sees Neddies back at The Foreshore to take on the Southern Lions. Hopefully in better weather conditions.
Be there. Be loud, Be proud. Go Kalyn Ponga. GO NEDDIES!!
Read the article in the West Australian here.