The weather Gods weren’t kind on Saturday as Neddies headed north to Kingsway in Round 12 for a critical top-four encounter with Wanneroo.
Earlier in the day, Neddies’ most famous father, Andre Ponga, drove to Curtin Uni to watch the Neddies juniors play and gave the boys a great talk on his WA-born son Kalyn’s path to becoming such a humble superstar.
In between all The Third Half umbrellas, there were two faces of note at Kingsway. One was Joe “Peanut” Ritchie, who had given away his State of Origin tickets on Thursday on the expectation he was heading offshore on Saturday, only to later discover his travel plans had been delayed and he was thus able to play after all. The other was Aiden “The Horse” Laxton, saddling up again after a long stint on the sideline with an injured fetlock.
There were mixed results in the earlier games, with the thirds going down 16-14 to the Roo Dogs in their first loss of the season. The reserves had a 34-0 win, while the fourths went down 15-0.
The premier grade felt the full force of the weather conditions as they hit the track, and points were at a premium as a result. By half time, Neddies had eked out an 8-3 lead after dominating territory for most of the first spell, despite being down to 13 players at one stage courtesy of two yellow cards and a fair bit of sideline discussion about exactly who did what, where and when.
Sitting fourth on the ladder, the home team were still within striking distance when the second half kicked off. However, tries to Ammon Matuauto and Tuks Raimona (adding to his first half effort) gave Neddies a 20-3 buffer. When Jackson Neilson ran in the last of the day, Neddies were comfortable 27-8 winners, enough to maintain second spot on the ladder just a single point shy of Cottesloe.
Saturday marks the end of the first round of the competition, with Neddies heading to Mandurah for Round 13 to take on a Coastal Cavaliers team high on confidence after their recent win over Wests. According to President Neddies Bob, there are buses leaving Neddies at 10am and 11am for those players and supporters looking for a ride. Word has it that Cavs stalwart Goff McClelland, who recently appeared on the popular South Island TV show, Port Chalmers Most Wanted, is putting on a hangi and a DJ, so pay to get a late leave pass.
Be there. Be loud. Be proud. Go Goff. GO NEDDIES!!