The big wet came through on Saturday arvo as Neddies hosted the Roo Dogs to round off the Premiership Division, setting the scene for the finals.
The weather didn’t dampen the spirits of the Neddies faithful however, including the big Top Deck reunion hosted by Rex. This group was last seen heading down south under police escort before a planned return to Perth for the Bledisloe Cup.
In the earlier games, a default in fourths left Eric Brain cruelly stranded on 99 club games. The thirds prevailed 67-0 to secure second spot on the ladder going into the finals, though a 52-0 win was not enough to extend the season for the reserves.
The premier grade team were led onto the field by Joe “the Nut” Richie, who joined the elite group of Neddies premier grade centurions. It was a milestone also for five-eighth Dylan “Sudsy” Loversidge, playing his 100th club game.
The equation was pretty straight forward – beat Wanneroo to finish on top of the ladder for the finals. But there were two obstacles – the atrocious weather conditions and a Roo Dogs team with nothing to lose.
After bagging a double in last week’s away win over Wests, halfback Mikes Botes was back in the scoring action early with another try to give Neddies an early 7-0 lead. But points were proving hard to come by in the conditions – with a try by the visitors making for a 7-5 half time score line.
Things got a bit anxious in the second half when the Roo Dogs potted a penalty goal to go in front 8-7 as the rain thundered down. But nerves were ultimately eased as Neddies finished the stronger with tries to Kaleb Whakataka and Kauri Cudd for a final result of 21-8.
The win delivered Neddies the Minor Premiership and a spot in the 1 v 4 semi-final against Uni to be played at The Foreshore on Saturday week, August 17. That’ll be huge.
This week will all be about the Bledisloe Cup and the Neddies QBE Spirit of Rugby Long Lunch to be held at Crown Ballroom on Friday. With more than 900 guests, this will be the biggest of the 22 Test match lunches Neddies has hosted since pioneering these gigs in Perth back in 1998. That is an incredible result by Lisa Vaughan and her helpers.
While there is no senior club rugby this weekend, there will be plenty of Neddies junior teams playing at The Foreshore on Saturday morning before these future Neddies stars rush off to Optus Stadium for the pre-Bledisloe march around the stadium.
Be there (at the Test lunch on Friday and The Foreshore on Saturday morning for the juniors). Be loud (but not when the MC and guest speakers are talking). Be proud (first ever Bledisloe in Perth, you beauty). GO NEDDIES!!