Round 1 of the new Premiership Division on Saturday could best be summed up in three words: Go the Horse
It was a day for milestones at The Foreshore as Neddies took on Uni in glorious conditions. The Waiuku workhorse Shane Hemi joined the Neddies elite when he played his 100th premier grade game for the club, marking the occasion with a try. Asian rugby tour specialist Chris “Nails” Naylor chalked up his 200th game for Neddies in thirds, while former premier grade star Dan “DB” Bailey was on hand to watch his brother David eclipse the 100 game milestone.
Speaking of former premier grade players, the lure of a comeback in fourth grade seems to be catching on. First it was Brad Wilkinson, then Greig “Macca” McKenzie and Kirk “the Queen Mary” Kawana. On Saturday it was that picture of clean vegan living Tony Ball loitering on the wing. This trend has not been lost on George Horsham, who was overheard making enquiries about the whereabouts of the boots he has not seen since Mad Monday after the 1957 grand final.
Anyway, the fourths got up 26-10, setting up the prospect of a clean-sweep over Uni after the thirds chalked up a 57-0 win and reserves prevailed 31-0.
The premier grade team took to the field with a reshuffled backline. And they looked to be in a spot of bother early on after Uni raced to a 10-0 lead in as many minutes courtesy of a penalty goal and an intercept try. But fortunately for Neddies, the 10 minute mark is where the scoring ended for the visitors.
Despite sustained pressure and a strong territorial advantage, Neddies could only manage one try in the first half to centre Rawiri Davis, giving Uni a 10-7 edge at the break. Uni could easily have been further ahead were it not for the heroics of Dylan “Sudsy” Loversidge, whose desperate ankle-tap cut down the flying Uni winger just as he threatened to give the Third Half supporters windburn blazing down the sideline.
A Shane Hemi try put Neddies in front 14-10 soon after the break as crowd favourites Aiden “The Horse” Laxton and Mark “Rocket” Davies entered the fray. After that, The Horse took it upon himself to provide all the entertainment as he tormented the Uni defence, as the Go The Horse chant echoed across the Swan River and up towards Fremantle. Tries to The Horse and Drake Robson made for a final score line of 28-10, leaving Neddies one point in arrears of Cottesloe at the top of the Premiership Division ladder. Not a bad place to be at this stage of proceedings.
The action returns to The Foreshore on Saturday as Neddies host Soaks with plenty going on off the field as well, including a Third Half lunch and a 20-year reunion of the victorious 1999 Neddies premier grade team (see picture below).
How could you even contemplate missing that, especially with no Super Rugby on?
Be there. Be loud, Be proud. Go the vegans. Go the Horse. GO NEDDIES!!