Second Grade Semi Final Saturday 3rd October 2020
Wanneroo v Nedlands at Success Oval
1 James Brown
3 Josh Yoder
4 Adam Candy
5 Julian Krohn
6 Michael Lovie
7 Michael Bailey
8 Kyle Seear (Capt)
9 Alex Hill
10 Michael Hepi
11 Willy P
12 Sylvo Iro
13 Ceri Cummings
14 Tip Snowden
15 Bailey Payne
16 Joseph Caccamo
17 Shane Ovens
18 Jye Edwards
19 Brayden Karangaroa
20 Claudio DQ
21 Dre Taurima
22 Jonah Mayberry
23 Thys Vernaak
Wanneroo's coaching staff had prepared the team well for this game, physically, tactically and mentally and the players were primed and ready to take Nedlands on. They launched into the boys in blue from the kick-off and their determination and aggression was rewarded with a penalty that Mike Hepi used beautifully. His pinpoint kick sent the ball deep into the corner near Neddies try line. The Roo Dog pack took a clean line out ball, formed a classic driving maul and shunted Neddies back over their own line. It looked like a try for all money, before the ref sighted a knock on and awarded a 5 metre scrum feed to Nedlands.
Both packs lined each other up at this first set piece encounter and Nedlands came off second best. They got the ball but were driven backwards by a green scrum that was cohesive and powerful. The blue’s number 8 did a remarkable job when he managed to drag the ball out of the mess and kick it towards the touch line. A Wanneroo player made a desperate attempt to stop it going out and although he got his fingers to the ball, he only managed to help it over the line and Neddies got the line out. They took their own throw cleanly and tried to put the ball through hands to their left wing, but it didn’t get there because the Wanneroo backs raced up, got right into their faces and pressured them into a knock on.
Wanneroo gave the scrum ball to Sylvo (the Horse) Iro, on the gallop and he hammered his way into a packed defence. He managed to drag a couple of tacklers along but lost the ball in doing so. Neddies grabbed the ball and hoofed it hopefully downfield to relieve the pressure. Unfortunately for them it didn’t make touch and Wanneroo’s back line ran it straight back. Neddies managed to realign and set up a defensive platform. It wasn’t great, but it was effective enough to slow the Wanneroo ball carrier’s progress. But Kyle (Bones) Seears was in his usual excellent support position, right up the ball carriers bum. He took possession and emulated Sylvo’s run with another ferocious charge. Nedlands managed to stop him too, but only by transgressing at the breakdown and conceding a penalty that the Dogs kicked for a line out.
The Wanneroo pack was the proverbially well-oiled machine on the day. A beautiful throw, an imperious catch and a precision drive saw them blow Neddies away for the opening try of the game. Adam Candy planted the ball with ease, but in truth it was an eight man try. Mike Hepi’s conversion attempt slid wide.
Wanneroo 5 – Nedlands 0
The Roo Dogs resumed with confidence and very quickly regained possession. They worked their way into Nedlands 22 with a series of controlled drives that involved the forwards and the backs. Once again, they applied the blow torch to Neddies and once again the boys in blue had to concede a penalty to stop the Dogs momentum. Mike Hepi rewarded his team mate’s endeavours with another three points.
Wanneroo 8 – Nedlands 0
The relentless Wanneroo juggernaut rumbled on with 6 or 7 phases of unstoppable driving play that had Nedlands in all sorts of strife. But the Dogs good work was undone when the ref pinged them for not releasing at the breakdown. Neddies opted for a line out, took their own ball and swung it to one of their midfield runners. He must have thought he was the victim in a Quentin Tarantino movie because he got butchered by a massive hit that all but demolished him, courtesy of the Candy Man.
After they scraped their midfielder off the floor, Nedlands were awarded a scrum and they showed that they had a pair, by running the ball strongly from it. They had a go down their left wing and drew the green defenders before kicking for position. Tip Snowden claimed the ball, but he collected several blue tacklers at the same time and was driven into touch. Neddies continued their good work when they used the line out ball to attack through the middle of the park and force their way into Wanneroo’s 22. The Roo Dogs flung themselves into the tackle, but Neddies had a roll on that enabled them to maintain their forward momentum. The ref eventually saw an offside by an over eager green player and awarded Nedlands a penalty in front of the posts. Neddies hard work was rewarded with a three pointer.
Wanneroo 8 – Nedlands 3
The Roo Dogs were determined to make amends for their brief lapse and showed great spirit by attacking, and winning, their own drop out ball. They used it judiciously and set up several well constructed attacks that had the Blues floundering. I’d like to have named all of the players involved, but I couldn’t write quick enough. Suffice to say Alex Hill finished off an outstanding passage of team play by strolling over for a try. Mike Hepi added the cream with a successful conversion.
Wanneroo 15 – Nedlands 3
The game resumed with the Candy Man taking the drop out ball, but he got swamped by Neddies players at the same time and the ball was lost at the ensuing breakdown. Nedlands showed their resilience and quality when they ran the ball from the scrum. All their players wanted to be involved and they made some bruising hit ups that put the Dogs on the back foot. Neither side was going to give way willingly, but Neddies had the edge and used their advantage to stretch the Dogs defensive line and create an opening. Their Number 8 positioned himself perfectly, took the ball at pace and hit the gap, making good yards towards the try line. It looked like a try all day, until Ceri Cummins appeared from nowhere, launched himself from the side and brought the big man down. Whew. But Ceri’s magnificent effort only delayed the inevitable. Neddies took the ensuing ruck ball that their No 8 had set, just outside the try line, and drove it on again. Wanneroo lacked nothing in commitment, and threw themselves into the fray, but the ref saw an offence and penalised them.
Neddies spurned the easy points on offer and took a tap & go. The Wanneroo defenders charged forward and took the space away from the Blues, but the Dogs were bunched up in midfield. Nedlands saw that this had created an overlap out wide and they put the ball swiftly through the hands to their left wing. He went over for a try in the corner, despite an excellent tackle by Tip. The conversion missed.
HALF TIME Wanneroo 15 – Nedlands 8
Neddies made a complete hash of the Wanneroo drop out ball because the greens attacked it once again and disrupted them, but the Blues got the scrum feed. Their half back fed the ball out ok, but the Roo Dogs repeated their ‘in your face’ routine and disrupted Neddies rhythm. It got even worse for them when Jye put the frighteners on one of their backs and he reacted by throwing an atrocious ‘Hail Mary’ pass. The Dogs ace ‘bum sniffer’ Bones was in exactly the right place and intercepted the pass. He crashed & bashed his way forward, sucking defenders in left and right, before shipping the ball to a support runner. The gods certainly favour the brave, because Jye had followed up and was on hand to take it. He finished off a lovely passage of play with a classy try. Mike’s conversion was pushed inches wide by the wind.
Wanneroo 20 – Nedlands 8
Nedlands drop out ball sailed deep into Wanneroo’s 22, and for once the game, the Dogs receivers were indecisive and appeared to lack communication. It looked like each player was waiting for the other to call. Eventually Mike Lovie took ownership and grabbed the ball, but the time lapse had allowed Neddies to get to him and he got dumped. The blues aggressive play earned them a penalty and they kicked the points.
Wanneroo 20 – Nedlands 11
Wanneroo regathered and composed themselves sufficiently to win the ball at a breakdown. They built multiple, well structured phases and gradually and patiently worked their way to the halfway line. But a forward pass ruined their excellent build up and gave a scrum feed to the Blues. Nedlands seized their opportunity and launched an attack up their right wing that made inroads into Wanneroo’s red zone. Their momentum was only stopped with a last gasp tackle by Tip. Neddies quickly switched play to their left wing in an attempt to make ground, but they still couldn’t penetrate the Dogs rugged defence. They had to settle for another scrum feed, from which they kicked for touch. I didn’t see why, but the ref then awarded a bent arm penalty to Nedlands and they opted for a third scrum. They obviously had belief in their midfield players because that’s where they focussed their attack once again. They ran well until Mike Hepi barrelled into the Blue’s ball carrier and stopped him dead, but Neddies did well to retain possession and skipped a quick ball out to their left winger, who scored an unconverted try near the side line.
Wanneroo 20 – Nedlands 16
Wanneroo lifted again and attacked Ceri’s beautifully weighted drop out ball. Jye beat the Blues to the ball and sent it back to his support runners. Josh (Septic) Yoder (Septic Tank = Yank) took it on the run and made a punishing charge into Neddies packed defence. His cohorts followed up quickly and presented a quality ball that enabled the Dogs to create phase after phase of driving runs that constantly pushed Nedlands backwards. I lost count, but they probably set up something like 15 phases that eventually got them over the Blues try line. Fair go to Neddies though. They worked like demons, never gave up and managed to hold the ball carrier up over the line for a 5 metre scrum.
Wanneroo’s Alex Hill gave a quick ball from the scrum base to ‘The Horse’. Sylvo is an awesome sight in full flight. He hit the Nedlands defenders in a classic, low driving position and carried some of them over the line with him for what looked like a try, only for the ref to signal ‘held up’ again. Another green scrum, another powerful heave and a repeat performance from The Horse got the ball to within a metre of the try line. Every Dog and his man wanted the ball, but Jye got the cherry and the five points. Mike put the icing on the cake with a successful conversion.
Wanneroo 27 – Nedlands 16
The game continued at the same high intensity and both sides gave everything they had, with no quarter asked or given. The ref awarded a bent arm penalty to Nedlands at a scrum and Neddies took a tap & go and hit the ball up through the midfield again. They committed the green defenders before skipping the ball out wide where they had created an overlap. The Dogs managed to scramble across and cover, but Neddies very cleverly, changed the angle and cut back inside to score under the posts. They converted their try.
Wanneroo 27 – Nedlands 23
Neddies were resurgent after their score and immediately went on the attack. They ran wide down the right wing and it was looking ominous for Wanneroo, until a great tackle by Willy P stopped their progress. The Dogs subsequently had a penalty awarded which they kicked for a line out, but it missed the target and the Blues ran the ball back down their left wing. It was touch and go again, until a big hit by the Dogs earned them a ball that they used to probe Neddies defence. They made good yards until they got penalised for not releasing. The Nedlands kicker made a blue when his touch finder emulated the Dogs kick and dropped short. Wanneroo accepted the free gift and drove the ball into the Blues territory where they were awarded a line out. A faux pas occurred between Bones & Jandals that resulted in Bones fumbling the throw in ball, but sniffer’s quick reactions enabled him to tap it back on his own side where the fat boys cleaned it up. The green machine rumbled on with Neddies making desperate attempts to stop it, including a high tackle that nullified their efforts. The ref pinged Nedlands and awarded a penalty to the Roo Dogs. Mike kicked a much needed three pointer with only minutes left on the clock.
Wanneroo 30 – Nedlands 23
It was a nervous few minute for those of us on the sidelines, but the Roo Dogs team didn’t seem perturbed. They resumed normal service and had another go at Nedlands. They won a ball out wide on their right and fed ‘The Horse’ on the gallop. Sylvo clippety-clopped his way towards Neddies try line and looked to be heading for glory - until he had a brain fart and stopped to show off his break dancing ability. He said he tripped, but I don’t believe him. Anyway, after Sylvo finished his Michael Jackson impersonation, Neddies got the ball and managed to break out for one last hurrah. They made it as far as the halfway line before the Roo Dogs put the brakes on them and the ref blew for full time.
FINAL SCORE: Wanneroo 30 – Nedlands 23
This was a great game, played in excellent spirit, by both teams. It showcased all that is good about rugby and created a festive atmosphere for the supporters and spectators alike. The players knocked spots off each other all day, but they did fairly and without malice. It was a pity that one of them had to lose.
It was wonderful to see a good complement of young players who have come through Wanneroo’s junior club ranks and made it into this team. The young guys blended in seamlessly with their more experienced team mates and showed a maturity beyond their years. Congratulations and thank you to the senior players for the way they have nurtured and encouraged them.
Special thanks to coaches, Paul Arnold and Teratu ‘T’ Whanga. Their dedication and hard work through the season has moulded and developed their players into an exciting and well organised finals team.
I can’t go without adding another thank you. This one goes to Carl Lawson. Our vertically challenged, happy hooker. Carl would have been playing today if he hadn’t suffered a shoulder injury that required surgery. Despite his injury, he coaches a junior team and still made time to join Paul and T as a specialist assistant coach. Good work Carl.