4th Grade Grand Final
Wanneroo v Swan Suburbs at Success 24th August 2019
1 Darren Hewlett 16 Francis Williams
2 Stuart Verden 17 Luke Michal
3 Owen Shaw 18 Lee Ward
4 Bryn Jenkins 19 Graham De Villiers
5 Neil Sutcliffe (c) 20 Arnaud Latouche
6 Wouter Van Pletson 21 Adam Carlyon
7 Darren Lintern 22 Shane Ovens
8 James Uezell
10 Clynt Elsworthy
11 Dean De Villiers
12 Wesley Smith
13 Josh Richards
14 Keith Hopwood
15 Damien Piek
Coach: Wes Smith
Manager: Harry Grisdale Jr
Although Wanneroo’s opponents were mostly younger, bigger and stronger, the Roo Dogs were confident without being cocky. They started the game with good driving, cohesive play that forced the Swans right back to their own try line. The Dogs were in perfect position with possession and the try looked to be on, when suddenly, the ball popped up to one of the defenders out wide on their left wing. He reacted quicker than all the other players on the paddock and sprinted 95 metres to score, totally against the run of play. He set the ball down under the posts for the easiest of conversions.
Wanneroo 0 – Swan Suburbs 7
The restart saw the Dogs in a bit of disarray, but they quickly regathered their equilibrium and threw themselves back into the fray. Their efforts earned them a scrum feed. But they got shunted off their own ball and Swans got the penalty, which they kicked for a line out. Wanneroo’s relentless determination enabled them to pinch Swans throw in, but that advantage was lost when they conceded another penalty. Swans went for the line out option again and the Dogs contested it so fiercely that the opposition jumper was pressured into slapping the ball away. This led to a ruck where a Swans player was penalised for not releasing.
The Dogs ran the ball from a scrum, but a massive hit by one of the Swan forwards jolted the ball loose. The Swans big men carried it on and managed to drive out of their own red zone, but they had to earn every metre, because the green defenders put some terrific tackles in. Wanneroo’s hard work negated the Swans forward momentum and this time the ref gave the Dogs a scrum feed. Swans transgressed at the set piece and Wanneroo got the penalty forty metres out. The ball straight over the black dot.
Wanneroo 3 – Swan Suburbs 7
Wanneroo seemed to have their mojo back. James Uezell, Jason ‘Tubs’ Hooke and Darren ‘Hewy’ Hewson carried the ball strongly, making life very difficult for Swans and Wes had a barnstorming run shortly afterwards. But their good work came to naught and Swans were able to absorb the pressure. The Dogs struggled in a couple of scrums which allowed Swans to release their big fella’s who ran it straight up the guts. Wanneroo showed courage and technique to stop them. They also got a penalty which they kicked for a line out, five metres from Swans try line. Neil gave the ball off the top to Steve, but he got the ball at the same time as the Swans pack got him. He managed to wriggle his way through them and have a go at the line, but he got brought down and the ball went loose in the tackle. A Swans player tried to hoof it to safety, but it was a horrible effort that just provided another good attacking opportunity for the Dogs. Wanneroo took the ball on, but turned it over again and the Swans full back ran 90 metres for another converted try against the run of play.
Wanneroo 3 – Swan Suburbs 14
Swans attempted to run the restart ball, but Wanneroo got right up into their faces forcing the ball carrier to kick. He kicked long and because the Dogs were so intent on attack they were left in a vulnerable position behind. A lone cover defender got into a good position, but he got a god-awful bounce and the ball plopped into the hands of a Swans chaser who took off for the try line like his bum was on fire. To Wanneroo’s great credit they got back and chased him all the way, but couldn’t prevent another unearned, converted try.
Wanneroo 3 – Swan Suburbs 21
HALF TIME: Wanneroo 3 – Swan Suburbs 21
The Roo Dogs knew they had to be positive and go for broke. But they took chances that led to penalties and Swans scored very soon after the resumption.
Wanneroo 3 – Swan Suburbs 24
Swans were riding their luck and Wanneroo couldn’t contain them. Their scrum half made a lovely run that saw another seven points added to their score.
Wanneroo 3 – Swan Suburbs 31
Wanneroo continued to toil, but lady luck seemed to have totally deserted them and they were getting no reward for their efforts. Then, just when all seemed lost, their powerful tackles started forcing Swans into making mistakes. Wanneroo won a scrum feed and when their opponents got penalised for illegal play at the set piece, Steve took a quick tap & go. He made good ground and his play was emulated by Dog and Wes who carried the ball on into the Swans midfield. Swans had to give another penalty away to stop them and the Dogs kicked for a line out ten metres from their try line. The Dog’s forwards took the ball forward and vented all their frustrations (which were many) on the opposing pack. They hammered their way through Swans to the try line for a well deserved and overdue try. There were many claimants for the touch down because every man and his dog was involved, but general consensus gave the honours to club veteran Hewy. Great try. The wide out conversion missed.
Wanneroo 8 – Swan Suburbs 31
I didn’t see the rest of the game, because of the conflicting kick off times for Wanneroo’s finalists, but coach and injured player Ian Harvey gave me the following report.
Wanneroo showed wonderful spirit to continue with their ‘never say die’ approach, but it was hard yakka for them. Four times they drove the ball up, four times they got penalised and four times Swans breathed again. That sort of hard yakka drains the tank very quickly and as the Dogs played on, they tired and made mistakes. A green player knocked the ball on and a Swans player got a foot to it and chipped it forward. Then a Wanneroo player got back and tried to knock it out of harm’s way, only for the ball to bobble around loose. Swans managed to scoop it up and drive their way over the line for another try. They scored again after that.
Wanneroo 8 – Swan Suburbs 43.
FINAL SCORE: Wanneroo 8 - Swans Suburbs 43
Swan Suburbs deserved their win at the end of the day, and the Wanneroo team showed good rugby camaraderie to congratulate and applaud the presentation of their Premiership trophy. But I have to say that the Dogs had the worst luck in the world in the first half, when three tries went against them, totally against the run of play. To their enormous credit they didn’t give up, fought it out to the bitter end, showed good glimpses of their true potential, but were unable to finish. It was a great pity that club legend Ian Harvey got injured before the final and couldn’t grace the ground on the day.
You had a wonderful season guys and overcame many obstacles to make the final. It’s just a pity that the gods deserted you on the day. Thank you for your truly wonderful support throughout this year and I hope you all continue next year.
3rd GRADE GRAND FINAL
Wanneroo v Nedlands at Success 24th August 2019
1 Tim larkin 16 Shane Ovens
2 Carl Lawson 17 Jake Smith
3 Josh Yoder 18 Jason Rooke
4 Nathan Yoder 19 Ian Boffin
5 Jake Radcliffe 20 James Euzell
6 Michael Lovie 21 Ceri Cummins
7 Kyle Seear
8 Goliath Nikora
9 Bryce Watkins (c)
10 Matthys Vermark
11 George Leslie
12 Sylvo Iro
13 Lee Irwin
14 Claudio De Quinto
15 Mike Hepi
Coach: Paul Arnold
Manager: Harry Grisdale Snr
This was the clash of the titans. With the Minor Premiers, Wanneroo, going head to head against second placed Nedlands for the jewel in the crown - The Premiership.
After a short spell of shadow boxing, to test the waters, Wanneroo launched into Neddies with guile and intensity. Their smart play earned them a scrum feed that enabled scrum half and captain, Bryce Watkins, to slip a quick ball to fly half Matthys Vermark. He made a sublimely deceptive run between two defenders, sucking both of them in, before feeding full back Mike Hepi, who came into the line on the burst. Mike finished this glorious bit of play off by hitting a hole in Neddies defensive line for the opening try of the game. The conversion missed
Wanneroo 5 – Nedlands 0.
Wanneroo kicked the restart ball long and it rolled over the sideline for a line out. Neddies hooker and jumper combined to make a hash of the throw in and Bryce was astute enough to sneak through their line and snaffle the ball. He made a mazy (and amazing) twenty metre run, all the while surrounded by blue jumpers, before being confronted with another one directly in front of him. He grubbered the ball cleverly and when the defender picked it up, Bryce clobbered him then got to his feet to try and claim the ball again. A superb bit of play. Although Bryce didn’t regain the ball, his efforts enabled Wanneroo to keep pressure on Neddies and the Dogs won another scrum, feed five metres out. Number 8 Goliath ‘G’ Nikora did a pick & go from the base, but got well dumped by a defender. He calmly set the ruck ball for Tim to have a pick & go into the massed Neddies defence. He made ground, but the Blues went over the ball and Wanneroo got the penalty, which Mike Hepi kicked for another three points.
Wanneroo 8 – Nedlands 0.
Nathan Yoder went high to catch the restart ball and dropped it down to Carl Lawson, who charged forward. When he got tackled Neddies got pinged for joining the ensuing ruck from the side. Unfortunately, the advantage was wasted because Neddies ended up with the ball. They kicked it high and straight to Carl, who had got back and was waiting on the half way line. He must have been unsighted (I’m being kind) because he fell over trying to pick it up. But it was only one very minor blemish in a game that Wanneroo was controlling perfectly.
Nedlands looked totally out of sync and the Dogs surged into their red zone, forcing them to kick for touch to relieve the pressure. Wanneroo used their line out ball to set up a driving maul and marched Nedlands back a good 15 metres. Carl was in his usual pozzy at the back of the maul with the ball in hand, but his normally impeccable timing was a little bit awry because he peeled off a mite too early and got stopped short of the try line. He set the ruck and the ball went out to Sylvo ‘the Horse’ Iro, who hit it up so hard that Neddies had to give a penalty away to stop him. Mike Hepi had no problem adding the bonus points.
Wanneroo 11 – Nedlands 0
Nedlands managed to win a rare bit of possession and laboured their way into the Dogs 22 where the ref awarded them a scrum feed. The Roo Dogs mangled them in the set piece, but they still managed to get the ball out and have a run down their right flank. Wanneroo was fierce in the tackle and stopped the ball carrier, but the ref penalised them for a ruck offence right in front of the posts. Nedlands finally got on the scoreboard
Wanneroo 11 – Nedlands 3
The score seemed to give Nedlands new heart and they gave the ball to their biggest guy, who was built like the Hulk. There was only one direction he was going in and he bulldozed his way forward, brushing off a couple of tacklers on the way. He was just ramping up for another hit when Kyle ‘Bones’ Seear brought him down with a text book tackle from behind. The Hulk gave a penalty away and Wanneroo kicked for a line out on the 22. Bones soared high to take the throw in and the ball went to Sylvo, who made his usual uncompromising run before being caught on the wrong end of a tip tackle by Neddies No 4 Stefan Booth. Stefan got a ten minute rest, the Dogs got a penalty and Matthys kicked for another line out. This time Michael Lovie took clean ball and Wanneroo set up another well organised driving maul. Carl got his timing spot on this time and scored an unconverted try.
Wanneroo 16 – Nedlands 3
Wanneroo had total control of every aspect of the game and were on top by a country mile. Nedlands were down and out and looked to be heading for oblivion. Wanneroo forwards ‘G’ and Bones made strong solo runs, sucking in defenders before the ball was sent out to Lee Irwin. He made a brilliant 50 metre run that had Neddies in all sorts of strife and it took three defenders to stop him. Good support from Lee’s team mates gave Wanneroo a scrum feed on Neddies 22. Bryce released Matthys, who tried his luck on the open side before switching play to Lee on the short side. Lee took off supported by Claude, but they had almost no room to work in. When Lee got tackled he only just managed to get the ball to Claude. Everybody held their breath because Claude had to juggle the ball in the air, while at top speed, to try and control it. But control it he did, and he ran through the tightest of gaps to score. Mike’s conversion bounced off the post.
Wanneroo 21 – Nedlands 3
HALF TIME: Wanneroo 21 – Nedlands 3
After the restart, Neddies gave the ball to the Hulk for another midfield gallop. He hit up well enough, but unfortunately for him he ran into Sylvo who tackled him so hard he dislodged the ball. The Roo Dogs countered with some big hits of their own and had Nedlands on the ropes for a while. But Neddies have a strong competitive culture and it’s not in their nature to give up easily. Their determination, assisted by a bit of rare loose play by the dogs, eventually saw them get a rare good ball inside their own 22 with a huge overlap on their left. They passed the ball confidently along the line and it was simply a case of which Neddies player would catch it and race away to score. That was until, Wanneroo’s lone defender, Lee Irwin, who was on point duty against four attackers, intercepted a pass, plucked the ball out of the air and strolled over Neddies line for the simplest of tries that must have gutted the blues. Mike added the extra points.
Wanneroo 28 – Nedlands 3
Wanneroo had the game in a stranglehold and it looked to be all over, bar the shouting. The green forwards took the ball on from a breakdown, but got penalised for not releasing at the next breakdown. Neddies turned down the easy three points on offer and kicked for a line out about seven metres from the Dogs try line. Their hooker threw a long, high ball to the tail of the line and they set up a driving maul. Wanneroo’s forwards were a little slow to react and get bodies to counter the drive allowing Neddies to maintain their forward momentum and get a converted push over try.
Wanneroo 28 – Nedlands 10
Neddies were resurgent and resumed their cunning tactic of releasing the Hulk. He did his usual rampaging run, but Wanneroo stopped him fairly comfortably and he died with the ball. Had he looked outside, he would have seen his winger unmarked and in space with a really good possibility of making it to the try line. Unfortunately, the Dogs got penalised in the tackle and Neddies took the line out option again. They ran the ball from the line and when they couldn’t find an opening on the right, they tried the centre and when they couldn’t make any headway there, they went to the left. Wanneroo’s defence was rock solid, but they gave another penalty away in front of their posts. Neddies did a tap & go but Tim decked the ball carrier within a metre, to snuff out any possibility of a try. Then the ref saw another transgression in the ruck and handed another penalty to Nedlands, five metres from the Dogs try line. The Hulk had another hit, but Jake tackled him before he could get a head of steam up. Neddies tried several more crash bang hits but couldn’t get beyond that magical five metre line. Eventually the Roo Dogs won a turn over ball and hoofed it out of play, giving the line out to Neddies.
Nedlands had been gradually building momentum and they used the line out ball well. But Wanneroo were strong in defence and denied them ground for several phases of play. Their defence was at least as good as Nedlands attack and it was a question of who would blink first. Then disaster hit, when a Wanneroo player got pinged for a high tackle. I couldn’t see if it was high or not, but the player got ten minutes in the bin and Wanneroo was down to 14 men.
Nedlands continued with their ‘bash it up’ tactic by turning down the kick at goal for a tap and go. They took the ball into contact for four phases and although the Dogs defence was excellent, they conceded yet another penalty. It was no surprise when Neddies had another crack with ball in hand and no surprise that Wanneroo’s defence held firm. But Neddies retained possession at each phase and kept driving on until numbers came into play and Wanneroo, being a man down, ran out of defenders. The blues scored an unconverted try out wide.
Wanneroo 28 – Nedlands 15
The game restarted with the Roo Dogs taking the play to Nedlands. They made their way into Neddies 22 before a knock on stopped their progress and gave the scrum feed to Neddies. The Dogs seven man pack shoved Nedlands scrum backwards, but they scrambled the ball away and mounted an attack down the right side. Sylvo was there to save the day with a punishing hit on the ball carrier. Neddies kicked the breakdown ball for their left winger, who gathered it and ran well. When he got stopped, Neddies regrouped, found a gap in the defensive line and went through it into the Dogs 22, where the ref awarded them a penalty. They again refused the points on offer, kicked for the line out and set up another driving maul, before releasing the ball to their backs. They tried attacking the right wing, but couldn’t find a way through and the ball carrier got thumped for his efforts. But as he got tackled, he managed to get the ball away to his winger who found another gap and went over for another unconverted try.
Wanneroo 28 – Nedlands 20
Nedlands were right back in this game, looking increasingly powerful and hungry for the ball. Wanneroo seemed to have lost their way and were making uncharacteristic, unforced errors. The Dogs showed great tenacity, dug deep and went hard at Nedlands pack, forcing them back into their own 22 and giving them no option other than to kick. Neddies kicked the ball, but missed touch and it landed in Wanneroo’s 22, where a bit of miscommunication seemed to occur between the two defenders. Each of them seemed to be waiting for the other to claim the ball and neither of them did, till it was almost too late. The ball was kicked long, but it didn’t go out and Neddies caught it and sent it back into Wanneroo’s 22 where it finally bounced into touch.
Wanneroo’s pack gave the line out ball to their backs and Sylvo charged forward, setting a good ruck position. Shane did a pick and go that was followed in quick succession by Jake Smith and Matthys. The Dogs were gradually making their way ever forward, through Neddies big hits, to get out of their red zone. The forwards set another breakdown and the ball was passed out to the waiting Wanneroo backline. But tragedy struck when Nedlands intercepted a pass and the ball was planted under the Roo Dogs posts for a converted try.
Wanneroo 28 – Nedlands 27
Now it was game on. With only minutes left in the game, the Roo Dogs were desperately trying to avoid mistakes, while Nedlands were clamouring for possession and position. Wanneroo worked their way into Neddies red zone and Neddies responded with a long kick to the touchline on the half way. A Wanneroo defender was well placed to cover the flight of the ball and he allowed it to bounce, because it looked like it would go into touch and give the line out to the Roo Dogs. The ball bounced, but it stayed infield and didn’t go over the sideline. The defender was left with no option other than to pick it up. Unfortunately he knocked the ball on in the process and Nedlands got an attacking scrum feed. Something occurred at the scrum engagement that I couldn’t see from the other side of the paddock and the packs stood up, then the ref saw something he didn’t like and gave Neddies a bent arm penalty. Neddies, true to form, took the tap & go lifeline and hammered their way forward. They hit the ball up desperately for at least six phases and Wanneroo belted them in all six phases. It looked like Wanneroo would hang in, until the blues sent the ball out wide and fast and Nedlands scored the winning try right at the death knock.
Wanneroo 28 Nedlands 34
FINAL SCORE: Wanneroo 28 - Nedlands 34
I don’t really know what to say about this topsy turvy, enthralling game that resulted in the cruellest of ‘on the whistle’ losses for the Roo Dogs.
It would be churlish not to congratulate Nedlands on a great ‘come from behind’ win. So, I’d like to say well done to Nedlands and especially to their aged war horse, ex first grade and state captain Trefor Thomas who still manages to lace the boots.
But I can’t begin to describe the sorrow I feel for this wonderful Wanneroo team. A lot of them played two games a day, throughout this season when second grade was short on personnel. They were the third grade competition front runners all season, played a lot of outstanding games and gave us some truly memorable memories.
They are the backbone of the camaraderie and club spirit within the Roo Dogs. It was typical of them, that they turned up at the club on Sunday morning after their devastating loss (and copious rehydration session afterwards) to do voluntary work for the whole day when Wanneroo hosted the senior grand finals.
Thank you so much guys. You don’t need a trophy to show you are champions. We all know it anyway.
LADIES GRADE GRAND FINAL
Wanneroo Divas v Kalamunda Kweens at Kingsway 25th August 2019
1 Cass Kaisia 16 Marea Green
2 Nadia Smith 17
3 Sera Ah-Sam 18 Brooke Mason
4 Pareana Taitoko 19 Tanya Leittuala
5 Frieda Ah-Sam 20 Caitlin Burt Poloai
6 Lana Hawkins (c) 21 Martha-Ann Paul
7 Taylor Waterson 22 Ashleigh Timoko
8 Rangipip Kahui 23 Esther Kalepo
9 Amy Tietjens 24 Vesinia Schaaf-Taufa
10 Tui Cope
11 Hinemoa Wirihana
12 Emysen Robinson
13 Bridget Meade
14 Aisha Wigley
15 Shaniqua Manawatu
Coach: Pareana Gillette
Manager: Dixie Jones
Like the third grade final, this was another tussle between Minor Premiers, Wanneroo Divas, and runners up Kalamunda Kweens. Their rivalry ensured that ir was always going to be a fiercely contested game by both sides.
Kalamunda started well and almost immediately had Wanneroo under the pump inside their own 22. The reds attacked on their left and then on their right and had the Divas in all sorts of troubles until a great tackle by Alysha stopped their ball carrier. Wanneroo got the line out throw in but couldn’t make any headway against a strong defence. Kalamunda’s power game earned them a scrum feed but it was a poisoned chalice because the Divas routed them in the set piece and forced them into conceding a penalty. The Divas ran the ball for 6 or 7 phases but couldn’t crack a very good defence.
The teams traded hits for a while without either of them gaining the ascendency. Wanneroo had a scrum feed and gave the ball to Tui, who kicked it long. Kalamunda didn’t take the ball clean and actually appeared to knock it on, but the ref didn’t pay the penalty to the Divas and play continued until there was a contested breakdown. Kalamunda came away with the penalty and took a quick tap & go down the right wing. The ball carrier was well tackled, but managed to get her pass away to a support runner. Kalamunda’s backs combined to create a three man (woman?) overlap and they scored the first converted try of the game.