Updated: Jun 7, 2019
Wanneroo v Coastal Cavaliers at Kingsway 1st June 2019
Wanneroo team: 1 Andre Roux
2 Scott Cornell
3 Thomasi (TJ) Vunivalu
4 Elliott Ferriman (c)
5 Seta (Rob) Fano
6 Olly Callan
7 John-Martin Stewart
8 Mark Cornell
9 Tane Koteka
11 Joe Bajjada
12 Andrew King (c)
13 Grayson Makara
14 Graham Hunter
15 Steve Nolson
Today was club legend and first grade captain, Andrew King’s, 100th first grade game.
Andrew started playing at Wanneroo as a young boy and has worked hard to make it to the top as senior first grade captain. He honed his skills over the years and widened his experience with a stint playing in Wales and a season at University, before coming home to his roots and rugby family at Kingsway.
Andrew is a great guy and a positive role model, who deserves every accolade we can muster.
I’d love to be able to say that today’s game was a showcase of exhilarating rugby for such a high profile occasion, but unfortunately I can’t. I’m not a journalist or writer who can wax lyrical and make every game seem like a scintillating display of polished, attractive rugby. I just make notes on the game and write what I’ve seen. When I read my notes back today, there was no lack of endeavour, work rate or effort, but there was a constant repetition of words like ‘turn over, penalty, error and mistake’. There was also some wonderful play. So I had to include both observations in this report.
There was one absolutely glorious moment of personal triumph for Andrew and a positive result for his team. But ultimately it was a gutsy, error riddled, highly competitive game that was ground out metre by metre and nose to nose by two totally committed teams for the full eighty minutes.
The Wanneroo team was primed and ready from the off. They started with passion and quickly forced their way into the Cavaliers 22. Cavs were willing opponents, but they had to dig deep to try and stop the Dog’s momentum. It looked good for Wanneroo when they were awarded a penalty, which they kicked for a line out. Unfortunately they lost their own throw in and Cavs used it to counter attack through the middle of the paddock. Wanneroo’s defence held up, but they were penalised again in the ensuing ruck. Cavs took the line out option and sent the ball to the half way. They weren’t impressed when the Wanneroo lifters sent lock, Elliott Ferriman, soaring high in the air to pinch their ball. Tane Koteka moved the ball quickly to release his backs, who ran beautifully, but conceded another penalty in the breakdown after the tackle.
Cavaliers attacked from a line out and spun the ball wide to their right winger. He tried, but couldn’t find an opening and play was switched to their left wing. Bad news for them, because Mark Cornell was waiting and he took the last receiver out with a scything tackle. But once again Wanneroo were penalised at the ruck about 30 metres out from their try line. Cavs turned down the kick at goal and opted a line out on the Wanneroo’s five metre line. Their jumper took the ball and dropped it plumb into his half back’s hands. He was looking to pass to his backs when a gap suddenly opened in Wanneroo’s line out. He couldn’t believe his luck when he darted through it for a converted try.
Wanneroo 0 – Coastal Cavaliers 7
There had already been errors made by both sides. But from this moment on, the game was punctuated by an endless stream of penalties and mistakes that constantly slowed the game and disrupted the rhythm and structure of both teams.
Wanneroo contested their own drop out ball and forced Cavs into turning the ball over. Seta (Rob) Fano and then Scott Cornell took the ball up on consecutive drives and forced the defenders backwards, earning the Dogs a scrum feed. Wanneroo wasted their advantage when they got penalised for hands in the scrum and the visitors joined them when they stuffed up their golden opportunity. The ball was subsequently swapped between one team and the other as they gave penalties away willy-nilly.
Wanneroo used another penalty to kick for a line out. Elliott gave a perfect ball to Tane and his backs made great inroads into Cavs defence before setting the ball up for the forwards. The piggys did a great job to work their way through seven phases before feeding man of the moment, Kingy. He tried to muscle his way through, but got held up and the ref blew for another penalty against Cavs. The Dogs took off quickly and the ball reached Nolly, who spun out of four attempted tackles before being stopped. His pack swarmed all over him and presented the ball on a platter for Tane, who picked it up and dove over for a well worked try. Cory’s conversion kick just slid to the right of the post.
Wanneroo 5 – Coastal Cavaliers 7
The game resumed with unceasing endeavour from both teams, but their error rate and the penalty count continued unabated. Wanneroo was pinged at an attack on the visitors try line and Cavs went for another line out on their own 22. Somehow, they butchered their throw in and the Dogs stole the ball. Quick hands sent it out to Joe, who raced away down the left wing. Mark Cornell was on hand to take the ball as soon as Joe got held. He drove it to within a metre of the try line where his fellow forwards rushed in and set a perfect ruck. Tane fed a short ball to Olly, who hit it on the run and crashed over for five points. The conversion attempt missed.
Wanneroo 10 – Coastal Cavaliers 7
The contest continued at a frenetic pace, but the constant mistakes by both teams made continuity difficult. Promising moves on both sides broke down and play was disjointed. Beets, Mark, Graham and Olly all made good contributions for the Dogs at various times.
Just before half time Wanneroo’s backs made a break, with Nolly coming into the line to create the extra man. He weaved his way into Cavs 22, before being brought down and the ref whistled for the inevitable penalty to the home side. Wanneroo chose the line out option and a tight, aggressive, driving maul by a fired up pack saw hooker, Scott Cornell, plant the ball over the line for a fine try that Cory converted.
HALF TIME: Wanneroo 17 – Coastal Cavaliers 7
At the half time chat, coach, Steve (Festa) Cavanagh, told his team not to be too down on themselves. He had laid it out before the game that Coastal Cavaliers were a very strong, competitive outfit, who had come very close to knocking off some of the other top teams. Their hard hitting approach was expected and they had done a very good job. But the Dogs had weathered the storm and showed their value and worth. He said to regroup, stay calm and get back into their rhythm and patterns.
The ferocious, unrelenting approach by both sides resumed, as did the penalty count. The game see-sawed between them and frustrations increased to the point where Andre (Beets) Roux and his opposite number had a mild tete a tete in the middle of the park. The ref gave them both a ten minute rest and awarded a penalty to Cavs.
Cavaliers stuffed up the resulting line out and got penalised for their efforts into the bargain. After kicking for the line out, Wanneroo gave the ball to captain King to have a shot at the Cavs back line. The ref awarded yet another penalty to the Dogs when Andrew was held illegally. The teams traded penalties for a while and the stalemate continued until Cavs managed to instigate a promising attack. Their forwards hit the ball up for three phases, before presenting it to their classy kicker who sent it into Wanneroo’s 22. Nolly caught it under pressure and tried to counter attack, but he lacked support and was forced to run sideways. He managed to evade three tacklers before being brought to ground in front of the posts. Guess what? The ref blew for another penalty and the Cavaliers kicked a three pointer. They were still firing.
Wanneroo 17 – Coastal Cavaliers 10
Despite conceding valuable points, Wanneroo remained positive and shunted the Cavaliers pack backwards. The ball went loose and was kicked over the visitors try line. Cavs only just managed to get in front of several Wanneroo chasers to touch it down and save the day. Their drop out ball was caught by Graham, who fed Kingy on the charge. He had another strong run, but once again the ball went loose in the tackle. The Cavaliers pounced on it and shipped it quickly to their left winger, who ran it in for a try from 30 metres out. The conversion missed.
Wanneroo 17 – Coastal Cavaliers 15
Wanneroo maintained their aggressive, fifteen man attacking style and the Cavaliers fronted up and matched them hit for hit. It was a relentless physical contest by both sides. The Dogs got another penalty when Cavs closed a line out illegally They hit the ball up well, but after four really good forward drives they turned it over. The Cavaliers half back whipped it out smoothly to a support runner who ran hard and straight, and a try looked to be on the books - until he ran into Joe Bajjada. Joe stopped him dead with a thumping tackle that took the wind out of his sails (and his lungs).
Wanneroo’s forwards regained possession, ran the ball back to Cavs and sucked them in before releasing it to Kingy. Andrew battered his way through the first line of defence and set the ball up for Tane. He gave it to Cory, who kicked it deep into Cavs territory. They returned the compliment and sent it back into Wanneroo’s 22, where it was knocked on and Cavs got the scrum feed.
Wanneroo prop, Thomasi (TJ) Vunivalu, had to leave the field because of an injury. He was replaced by another long serving club legend and 100 game player, Jake Smith. Onya Jake!
From the resulting scrum, Cavs attacked out wide, but once again they got penalised in the tackle. The endless litany of disruption by errors and penalties continued. Cavs tried an ambitious long range penalty from 42 metres out, which had the legs but not the accuracy. After the Dogs drop out, Cavs tried a silly field goal attempt which almost went sideways. Wanneroo grabbed the loose ball and kicked it deep into Cavs 22 and they sent it back into touch on the half way.
The Dogs ran the ball from the line out, in a sweeping move that saw Nolly take the pass in the midfield. He made it into the 22, but, inevitably, the ball was knocked on at the breakdown. Cavs sent the scrum ball out to their left winger, who raced into Wanneroo’s red zone. Unfortunately for him, his glory run came to an abrupt end when he got comprehensively decked by a belter of a tackle from Graham Hunter.
Another penalty for not releasing, saw Wanneroo kick for line out position again. The pack drove the ball on from the line out, before it was shifted to Cory who had a go. He breached the defence and passed to the ever present Mark Cornell on the 22. Mark drew another defender before feeding Andrew King on the burst. Kingy was within five metres of the line with two unmarked support players outside him, but this was his day and he was confident in his ability and strength. He smashed through and took three defenders over the try line with him, to score in front of his family and a multitude of supporters.
It was the one score everyone had been hoping for all day and the crowd went banana’s. Steven Spielberg couldn’t have written a better script. Fantastic effort Andrew.
Cory added the bonus points.
Wanneroo 24 – Coastal Cavaliers 15
The Cavaliers drop out ball was beautifully taken by Elliott, who was thrust high into the heavens by his lifters. The pack eagerly took possession and barged their way through several phases, until - yeah you guessed it - the ref penalised them at the breakdown. Cavs took the line out option once again, but lost their own throw in.
Both teams continued to gift the ball to each other, via the endless penalties both sides conceded. I assume the errors were a direct result of their total commitment and their determination to retain and / or regain possession. Sometimes unplanned things happen when neither team is prepared to take a backward step.
The game finished with Cavaliers attacking from yet another line out close to the Dogs five metre line. They tried to maul and wrestle the ball over the try line, but Wanneroo’s defence was organised and unyielding. Eventually the ref blew his whistle again, but this time it signalled the end of the game.
Notwithstanding the errors and huge penalty count, it was a close, unrelenting, physical contest with no quarter given or asked for by either side. Coastal Cavaliers are worthy opponents who will cause upsets among higher graded teams. They have a strong pack and a very experienced fly half with a good boot, who dictates play. They fought well, but maybe their wingers could have made more of the openings that were created for them.
Wanneroo is a team in progress. They are resilient, committed, tough, skilful and resourceful. They, and their excellent coaching staff, are continuing their climb to the top and learning with every game. Today's experience will be of great benefit to them.
Joe Bajjada addressed his team mates after the game. He said today was a good win which showed we are improving as a group, because last year we would probably have lost under similar circumstances. He urged everyone to be proud and look to the future with confidence, but maintain their attitude and work rate.
Congratulations to the team and especially to Andrew King on his successful one hundredth first grade game. We look forward to your 200th Andrew.
FINAL SCORE: Wanneroo 24 – Coastal Cavaliers 15
Steve (Festa) Cavanagh said it was an ugly win, but a win is a win - even if it isn’t pretty.
Wanneroo have to get used to the pressure of being a top four team.
When you are in the four, other teams will always lift their game against you.
Andrew King agreed with Festa that it was an ugly win, but he was pleased with it and with his team’s attitude and resilience.
Man of the Match – Andrew King
Second Grade Wanneroo 24 - Coastal Cavaliers 15
Thirsty Thirds Wanneroo 14 - Coastal Cavaliers 15
Flatulent Fourths Wanneroo 29 - Perth Irish 7