Round 13 against the Coastal Cavaliers at Mandurah’s Oakmont Reserve was a bit of a Norman Gunston affair. A shave far too close for comfort.
During the day there was a hello and a goodbye. The hello was the return of Kirk Kawana, who earned the nickname The Queen Mary (the boat not the monarch) back in his playing days. Kirk answered an SOS for the fourth grade and finished with a try and a torn calf against Perth Irish (See before and after pictures below). It was the second random act of kindness by the Junior Committee Member who, with wife Char, sponsored the juniors BBQ on Thursday.
The goodbye was the Italian Thor, Damo Pacecca, who played his last for Neddies this season on Saturday as he prepares to resume his analysis duties with the Wallabies. Rumour has it Damo is staking a claim for Israel Folau’s vacant seat at the front of the plane when the Wallabies head to South Africa shortly for their Rugby Championship opener against the Springboks.
Back to Oakmont Reserve, where the premier grade team took to the field in reserves (24-19), thirds (36-31) and The Queen Mary-inspired win over Perth Irish in fourths.
Of note was that eight players in the starting line-up had come through the Neddies Colts, with a couple more on the bench.
Things started well enough for Neddies with Aiden Laxton, sporting Mel Gibson’s hairstyle from Braveheart, crossing for the first try of the day. There wasn’t much more scoring action in the first half, with a penalty to the Cavs resulting in a halftime score of 7-3.
Then things started to get a bit tense. A Cavs penalty and a Liam van der Westhuizen try saw Neddies out to a 12-6 lead, leaving the gate open for the home team to take the lead. And the Cavs did just that with a converted try which put them in front 13-12. An upset looked on the cards as the smell of the hangi being cooked out the back for the after-match feed started wafting around the grandstand. But the last scoring act of the day belonged to Neddies, with replacement Aaron Evans crossing for a late try for a 19-13 victory.
The win kept Neddies second on the table, one point adrift of Cottesloe. The points carry over as the top six teams now compete in the FMG Premiership Division, which starts on Saturday with a home game against UWA.
So get down to The Foreshore (where you might also catch some of the Super Rugby grand final on the big screen) as we move into the business end of the competition.
Be there. Be loud. Be proud. Go The Queen Mary. GO NEDDIES!!