Bill's Finals report

Reserve Grade Grand Final

Saturday 10th October 2020

Wanneroo v Kalamunda at UWA

Wanneroo Team

1 Jacob Smith

2 James Brown

3 Josh Yoder

4 Mike Bailey

5 Kyle Seear

6 Michael Lovie

7 Brayden Karangaroa

8 Jordan Templeton

9 Alex Hill

10 Michael Hepi

11 William Prendergast

12 Sylvo Iro

13 Corey Hardie

14 Claudio-Luis De Quintal

15 Baily Paine

16 Joseph Caccamo

17 Shane Ovens

18 Julian Krohn

21 Tipene Snowden

22 Matthys Vermaak

23 Jonah Mayberry

24 Dre Taurima

Coach: Paul Arnold

Coach: Te Rataau Whaanga

Manager: Harry Grisdale

After the opening whistle, both sides did a bit of shadow boxing to test the waters and get their rhythm. Kalamunda stole a Wanneroo line out throw and the Roo Dogs responded by winning a turn over ball from the reds. Wanneroo had another line out and Kalamunda promptly stole the ball again. Their big No 8 charged at Josh Yoder and the impact was palpable when the immovable object met the unstoppable force. Kalamunda claimed the break down ball, kicked it to the Wanneroo 10 metre line and followed up quickly. Their good work earned them a penalty at the ensuing ruck, which they kicked for a line out on the Dog’s 22. The greens then snaffled the Reds throw in and hoofed that ball down town. It was all very topsy turvy.

Wanneroo’s Soul Brother, James Brown, got in on the act with a pulsating run that the ref complemented by penalising the Kala tacklers. Mike Hepi sent the ball into the Reds 22 for a line out. The Wanneroo pack claimed the throw in, set a driving maul and took turns to hit the ball up. They did it for ten continuous, bruising phases and Kalamunda’s forwards were mighty relieved to see the ball spun out to Sylvo ‘The Horse’ Iro in the centres. Sylvo is a very powerful, damaging runner and he tested Kala’s defence immediately. Unfortunately he tested them a bit too much because the ref pinged him for hanging on to the ball in the tackle.

Josh used a subsequent line out ball in similar style to Sylvo, but the red defenders were equal to the task and Wanneroo had to settle for a scrum feed. The green machine absolutely mangled & brutalised the Bulls scrum and the Ref added salt to the wound by penalising them. Mike kicked the ball to Kala’s 22 for another line out and his pack used it to set another driving maul and humped their way forward. Jake Smith had the ball in hand at the back and he picked his moment to peel off for a go at the try line. He brushed several would be tacklers aside and made it to the 5 metre line, before being held. The ref signalled another infringement, but played advantage which enabled the Dogs to force their way over the try line where sSylvo managed to get the touch down. Outstanding play by the forwards and Mike Hepi added the bonus points

Wanneroo 7 – Kalamunda 0

Wanneroo uncharacteristically fumbled Kala’s drop out ball. They managed to withstand the reds onslaught but were forced to kick to get out of trouble. Kalamunda’s No 8 and fly half combined to run the ball back, but Wanneroo had regained their composure, stood firm and forced a knock on. Wanneroo got the scrum feed on their 10 metre line and made a huge heave that presented the ball on a plate to Alex Hill. He whipped it out to Corey Hardie in the centres, but Corey had no space outside, so he cut back towards the pack and reset the ball for another go. But the ref deemed the Dogs to be holding on and awarded a penalty to Kalamunda. They converted the penalty from 35 metres out.

Wanneroo 7 – Kalamunda 3

Wanneroo raced after their drop out ball, got above the Kalamunda receivers and managed to tap it back to Sylvo. The Horse hit it up strongly and when he got held, Kala gave another penalty away, enabling the Dogs pack to set up another attacking drive from the line out. Mike Bailey peeled off the back to have a go at the line and Kala had to concede another penalty to stop him. The Dogs sensibly opted for a scrum and won it in a canter. The Horse had another go and was well supported by his pack, but they got over excited and gave another penalty away. Both teams then took turns at making mistakes, until Wanneroo earned another scrum feed. It was an awesome sight to see the Kalamunda scrum get demolished by the Wanneroo pack. It was particularly staggering to watch the three J’s (Jake, James & Josh) butcher their opposing front row. The ref reset the scrum and the Dogs pack set a stable platform that enabled Alex to give his backs quality ball. Unfortunately, the backs didn’t react well and their poor passing gave Kala a chance to get at the ball. But the cavalry arrived in the shape of the forwards and they dug the ball (and the backs) out of the mess and set it up again. Mike Bailey had a go at Kala, but the ref saw another infringement at the collision point and signalled yet another penalty.

Kalamunda went for the line out option. Their jumper soared and his pack gathered around quickly to set a the ball for their backs. Their fly half and centre pulled a really good switch that got them into space and they made it into the greens 22. The Bulls forwards followed up, took the ball and tried to bludgeon their way to the try line. Wanneroo’s defence was outstanding, but the ref blew for a penalty to Kalamunda. The Bulls reacted faster than the dogs, took a quick tap and went over for a try under the posts. Their conversion kick bounced off the upright and the ref blew for half time.

HALF TIME: Wanneroo 7 – Kalamunda 8

The second half resumed with Kalamunda running the ball, until a ‘boots n all’ tackle by Corey slowed their momentum. Kalamunda were on a high after their try, but the Dogs were equally fired up and both sides adopted a ‘take no prisoners’ approach to the game. At the same time, Wanneroo’s discipline came to fore and they cut their mistakes out. The green forwards took a line out ball and drove it on relentlessly. Kala struggled, but managed to stop them at the expense of conceding another line out. The Roo Dogs pack set another unstoppable driving maul that got them over the line, but the ref ruled ‘held up’ and awarded them a 5 metre scrum. Once again the Dogs won the ball and this time Mike Hepi had a go at the line. He made progress and when he got slowed, his forwards were all over him like a rash and grabbed the ball. Their organised drive was almost unstoppable and although Kala tried desperately to hold the onslaught, it was an impossible task for them and Josh was the proverbial Dog with two tails when he crashed over for a try.

Green supporter, pie eater & regular team mate, Tim Larkan, pointed out that it was Josh’s 53rd try this season. Not too sure on that one. Mike Hepi added the extras

Wanneroo 14 – Kalamunda 8

Wanneroo were looking more & more like premiers and their team work was outstanding. The green pack had started well, but now they took their game to another level. They earned a scrum feed and won the ball easily, but the Bulls scrum half foolishly impeded Alex Hill at the base. Mike Hepi sent the penalty kick 40 metres up field. Then, just when all was going so well, the Dogs made a mess of the throw in and gifted the ball to Kala who kicked it wildly to get out of trouble. Bailey Paine was well positioned, took the catch comfortably and sent it back into Kala’s half for another line out. Josh Yoder, who was on fire and playing his best game ever for Wanneroo, stole their throw in ball, burst through their line and set it up for another assault on Kalamunda’s try line. Kala were caught offside and penalised. Mike sent another boomer of a kick, deep into Kala’s red zone. Bones claimed the line out ball and his cohorts set up another excellent driving maul and pounded their way forward. Kala dug deep and managed to hold them at their five metre line, but it was to no avail. The green forwards were in the zone and continued with five or six more punishing hits that inexorably forced the reds backwards towards their try line. Jake Smith finished off the move with a thumping hit and a well deserved try. Mike’s wide out conversion just missed.

Wanneroo 19 – Kalamunda 8

Kalamunda were down but definitely not out and they reminded everybody why they were finals contenders. One of their big men ran the ball, committed several Dogs defenders and set it up beautifully for his support. The Red runners tried a probing run up the left wing, made good ground and the put the Dogs under pressure. The ref said there were hands in the breakdown and penalised Wanneroo. The Bulls reacted quickly and caught the Dogs on the hop when they took a tap and sent the ball out fast and wide to their right winger who raced over untouched, for a five pointer. A great kick from the sidelines added the gravy.

Wanneroo 19 – Kalamunda 15

Now it was on for young & old. Wanneroo’s replacement fly half from the high veldt, Matthys Vermaak, kicked a high, looping drop out ball that enabled his forwards to get under it and take it on. Another aged (but very competent) replacement, Shane Ovens, belied his years and created havoc for the Bulls with a powerful charge, and when he got held Jandals was right up his clacker to maintain the momentum. Amazingly, when Jandals got stopped, Shane was up in support again and he had another good run. Mike Bailey and Josh were next in line and they too made valuable ground before letting the ball out to the backs – who promptly dropped it!

Kala ran the scrum ball and were looking dangerous, until an excellent Corey Hardie tackle forced a turn over. The green pack resumed normal service and set the ball up for Alex Hill, who fed it out to Matthys. He showed his class when he pulled a switch that totally deceived the defenders, before releasing the ball to winger, William ‘Willy P’ Prendergast who ran onto it beautifully. He was running out of space so he changed play to his right and raced up field before releasing ‘The Horse’. Sylvo took off, with overwhelming support from his team mates who propelled him over the try line. The ref said no try, but he penalised the Reds and Wanneroo opted for the line out. It was a foregone conclusion that the green pack would drive the ball on. Sure enough they obliged and Mike Bailey scored another well worked try. Mike Hepi followed up with a successful conversion.

Wanneroo 26 – Kalamunda 15

Kalamunda showed great resilience by hurling themselves into the fray to win possession. They shifted their point of attack attack to the right wing, but there was no way past Willy P, who drove the ball carrier into touch. Kala must have expected, and dreaded, the Dogs driving maul from the line out and they weren’t disappointed. The green pack’s thumping charge created space and ‘The Horse’ was set loose. He cut back in on the angle to escape a tackler, made good ground and linked up with Shane who took possession and continued the momentum. Shane was supported by Matthys and then Sylvo again, before the forwards took over. But the pack must have got over excited because they turned the ball over. Unfortunately for the Bulls it was only a short term loan and the jolly green giants reclaimed it almost immediately. The forwards all wanted to score, but being a generous bunch they let Alex Hill have the ball and he went over the top of them for an unconverted try.

Wanneroo 31 – Kalamunda 15

Wanneroo was unstoppable now and they totally overpowered and outplayed a brave, but increasingly hapless, Kalamunda. Josh got in on the act again with another barging run, closely followed by Jandals, who slipped the ball to Matthys. He ran and committed two defenders before giving a cheeky miss pass to ‘Willy P’. Willy tried to keep the ball alive, but got driven into touch and Kalamunda finally got their hands on the ball. But true to form, the Wanneroo pack spoiled their party by stealing their throw in. They set up another punishing maul that put the Reds on the back foot. The Bulls were reduced to having to commit deliberate offences to try and stop the Dogs progress. They already had a man sent to the bin five minutes earlier, now they had another one join him for committing a ‘professional foul’. Wanneroo kicked the penalty for a line out and sent the throw in ball to Sylvo. He showed amazing dexterity to step three would-be tacklers before planting the ball for his pack. The green juggernaut swarmed all over it and romped towards the line where Shane Ovens suddenly popped with the ball and tip toed over for the final try of the game.

FINAL SCORE: Wanneroo 36 – Kalamunda 15

Although it turned out well, this wasn’t an easy game for the Dogs. Kalamunda are a good team, who apply constant pressure with close support play. Give them an inch and they’ll take a foot. It was a fairly even contest up to half time, with both sides showing their abilities and determination without managing to put their stamp on the game. But the big difference was the Wanneroo pack led by captain Kyle ‘Bones’ Seear. They started well, built a strong first phase platform and supported in numbers throughout the game. They maintained their structure and discipline and gradually ramped up the power to become an unstoppable force. Kalamunda shirked nothing, but they must have been sick and tired of having to confront such intensity all day. Josh, Jake and Mike Baily shone, but their team mate’s honest toil laid the foundation for victory. The Wanneroo backs were a constant threat in attack and a mean, unforgiving unit in defence. As with last week, it was gratifying to see so many of our ex under 18’s in the team. They did their club and their team proud.

It was a wonderful day for the coaching staff and team management. They saw their game plan pay off and earn the Premiership trophy. Well done everybody.

Best player on ground was a difficult choice. Dynamic duo, Josh Yoder and Jake Smith were outstanding, as were most of their team mates. But in the end the coaches made the call and awarded it to Michael Bailey. Mike had a barnstorming game after having to move from the flank to fill a vacancy in the second row when Adam Candy dropped out (more about that later) and he filled the role admirably.

Mike started playing at Wanneroo in the under 14’s team and has continued through the grades ever since. He is a great guy who is always willing to do what’s best for the team. He is unique, in that he is genuinely able to play any position from 1 to 15 and I’ve seen him do it many times over the years. Well done Mike.

Now for the Candy Man.

Coach Paul Arnold is concerned for Adam’s wellbeing and is thinking of arranging counselling for him. Adam chose to go to a wedding rather than play in a grand final - and the wedding wasn’t even his.

We all hope he gets better soon.

Bill Watt

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