Bill's Match Report: Curtin v Wanneroo at Edinburgh Oval 18th May 2019

Updated: Jul 5, 2019

Wanneroo: 1 Andre Roux

2 Scot Cornell

3 Thomasi (TJ) Vunivalu

4 ‘T’ Walker

5 Hadley Swan

6 Elliott Ferriman (c)

7 John-Martin Stewart

8 Mark Cornell

9 Tane Koteka

10 Chris Palmer

11 Graham Hunter

12 Ethan Riley

13 Grayson Makara

14 Broden McCurry

15 Steve Nolson


With more than a third of Wanneroo’s first choice players unavailable through injury, the huge amount of changes was always going to be a test of the team’s ability to maintain their structure and organisation. But on the positive side it’s also an opportunity to introduce new players.


Although Curtain are still looking for their first win and have suffered some heavy defeats, they started with purpose. Their forwards carried the ball confidently and, with their backs providing close support, they forced their way to within 20 metres of the try line. Wanneroo’s defence coped without too much trouble and forced the ball carrier over the sideline for a line out.


Hooker, Scott Cornell and his line out jumper combined to give quality ball off the top. The back line used it so sweetly and smoothly that they shredded their opponent’s defensive line allowing Steve (Nolly) Nolson to open Wanneroo’s account with a well worked try. Chris Palmer converted.


Curtin 0 – Wanneroo 7

The Wanneroo pack chose to run the restart ball straight back at the Goats and they made good ground with John-Martin Stewart in the drivers seat. When Curtin finally managed to stop the forwards, they created a ruck and JM laid the ball back for Tane Koteka, who passed it quickly to his left. The backs again ran with devastating effect, leaving Curtin’s defenders clutching at shadows. Every runner created space and the last pass was popped to the ever present JM, who planted the ball under the posts. Chris converted again.


Curtin 0 – Wanneroo 14

Wanneroo continued to attack, but their execution was becoming a bit sloppy and they turned over possession to Curtin. The home team took the direct approach, straight up the middle and their tenacity forced the Dogs into conceding a penalty. The Goats kicked for position and sent the subsequent line out ball to their mid field backs who made several good runs. They were well supported by their stocky flanker, who carried the ball strongly. Wanneroo’s defence was up to the task, but they gave away another penalty and Curtin kicked their first points of the day.


Curtin 3 – Wanneroo 14

Wanneroo was playing an aggressive, go forward style, but their play was becoming increasingly individual, fragmented and error prone and they continued to give unnecessary penalties away. This was manna from heaven to Curtin, and eventually they were able to have another successful shot at goal from one of them.


Curtin 6 – Wanneroo 14

The Dogs were comfortably on top, but making hard work of it. Instead of setting a stable platform and delivering good ball, too many players were trying to go on their own and some forwards were trying to do the backs job. But to be fair to the guys, it’s often difficult to retain your structure and format against a much weaker side.

Curtin’s scrum was a shambles and it was being continually monstered by Wanneroo. Their No 8 was doing a sterling job at the base to clean up lot of uncontrolled ball, but it was a given that their luck couldn’t hold out and the ref eventually pinged them. Wanneroo kicked for the right touch line and another quality line out ball was sent smoothly along the back line to the left wing, before being switched quickly back to the right where Graham Hunter was on patrol. He took the ball, raced towards the try line and sucked the defence in before slipping an inside pass to Ethan Riley, who crossed for another five pointer. Chris’s difficult kick from out wide faded away at the end.


Curtin 6 – Wanneroo 19

Curtin refused to lie down and they worked hard to mount their few attacks, but they were disjointed and unable to gain any real benefit from their efforts. The spectators had an interesting interlude when Wanneroo used a line out ball to create a driving maul inside Curtin’s 22. The ball was carried at the base of the maul by one of Wanneroo’s best and most consistent players, Mark Cornell. He used his extensive knowledge and experience to guide and control the maul to put himself into position for a shot at the try line. He manoeuvred the juggernaut perfectly, before detaching and powering his way hard and low through the defence to plant the ball down behind the line with great confidence. Classic play – EXCEPT he’d put the ball down behind the five metre line and not the try line.


Play stopped momentarily, because the players were unsure what was going on and when they realised it wasn’t a try, everybody piled in for a demented ruck that went Curtin’s way. It was a bitter sweet victory for them because they were awarded the dubious honour of a scrum feed. Despite this so called advantage they still got destroyed by Wanneroo.


Play continued but it began to deteriorate, with the ball being squandered in equal measure by both sides. This continued for a while until Wanneroo were awarded another scrum feed. Then they suddenly woke up and displayed their true worth with a fine display of integrated team play that saw Steve Noll score his second try of the day. Chris added the bonus points.


Curtin 6 – Wanneroo 26.

Mr five metre Mark, caught the restart drop out ball and slugged his way through the Curtin pack to set up a ruck. Somehow Curtin came away with the ball and made repeated attempts to make ground. Unfortunately for them, Wanneroo was an impenetrable wall of green and their efforts were thwarted. But they persevered and eventually were rewarded with a penalty that they successfully converted.


Curtin 9 – Wanneroo 26.

Curtin picked up where they left off and tried desperately to make headway into Wanneroo territory, but they got nowhere. Luckily for them the Dogs were giving them a slim lifeline by continuing with their individual style of play. Wanneroo were awarded a line out on their right wing, inside the Curtin 22. What should have been an easy ball out to the backs was messed up and went to ground. Tane managed to scoop it back to Chris, who took it on before slipping it inside to JM who was in close support. John returned the ball to his backs, who passed it effortlessly along their line until it reached Mark Cornell. There he was, doing his best Sean Fitzpatrick seagull impersonation out wide on the left wing. The five metre man made no mistake this time and fairly bounced off the holy ground to ensure the try. The kick was excellent, but it bounced off the post and the ref blew for half time.


HALF TIME: Curtin 9 – Wanneroo 31.

The half time huddle was interesting.


Coach Steve (Festa) Cavanagh asked his team to assess their first half performance.

They were unanimous in their opinion that their game was underwhelming, they were playing as individuals and their game plan had gone out the window. Captain Elliott Ferriman’s opinion was more succinct and to the point. He only said two words and the guys agreed with both of them.


Festa and Elliott asked the team to return to their core values of structure, composure and patience.


SECOND HALF

The second half opened as though it was an action replay of the start of the game, with Curtin having a crack at Wanneroo. But like the first half, they just weren’t up to the task and couldn’t penetrate the Dogs rock solid defence. Wanneroo shook off their mediocre play, stole one of Curtin’s attack balls and used it to release the ever dangerous Nolly. He made a superb break that left Curtin players floundering in his wake, before feeding lock, Brad Campbell, who went over for a try (Brad had only been on the pitch for a few minutes after replacing Elliott at half time) Chris did the honours.


Curtin 9 – Wanneroo 38

Wanneroo had obviously heeded Festa & Elliott’s half time instructions, because their structure and team play was improving. Unfortunately Brad suffered an injury and had to be replaced by Elliott.


Curtin dug deep and went to the well once more. They hit the ball up for six or seven phases, but the Dogs play was a cut above and they had no trouble holding them. The home side were awarded a penalty and kicked for a line out, but the ball fell short and was caught by Nolly who sent it straight back up field. Wanneroo added more pain when they stole Curtin’s line out throw in and presented it on a platter to Tane. He released his eager backline, who put it through hands and unselfishly and fed Nolly coming into the line. He drew the defence before giving an inside pass to Broden McCurry, who was playing his debut premier grade game. Broden darted in for a converted try.


Curtin 9 – Wanneroo 45

Coach Festa was ringing the changes in personnel to blood some of his young players.

JM took the restart ball and with the pack’s support he got over the gain line immediately. When Curtin finally managed to stop them, Wanneroo hoofed the ball deep into the 22 and followed it up quickly. The Dogs contested the breakdown aggressively, but conceded a penalty in the process. Curtain kicked for a line out on the half way, but lost another throw in to the Dogs. Wanneroo used the ball judiciously and Nolly did the honours by crossing in the corner for another try. The wide out conversion missed narrowly.


Curtin 9 – Wanneroo 50

Wanneroo had not only done exactly as Festa & Elliott had asked by putting their game back together, they were now refining and perfecting it. Curtin were shell shocked and running out of legs as quickly as they were running out of options. A quality play by the Wanneroo backs saw the ball transferred like it was on a piece of string. Graham Walker drew the defence before giving a silky inside pass to Ethan Riley, who slipped it to Grayson Makara. Grayson committed his man and returned the ball to Ethan, who crossed untouched for an excellent try. The conversion was successful.


Curtin 9 – Wanneroo 57

The Dogs were now putting on a display of high quality, disciplined rugby. Curtin had courage, but they lacked cohesion, structure and fitness (as well as the ball).

Wanneroo was rampant and all the players wanted the ball, but unlike the first half they used it wisely and judiciously when they got it. Prop, Andre (Beets) Roux made a bruising run, into a crowd of Curtin players before laying back a perfect ball that was fed out to Chris Palmer waiting in space. He ran 50 metres and scored out wide on the right wing. The long range conversion was unsuccessful.


Curtin 9 – Wanneroo 62

A route was becoming a massacre. Poor old Curtin were in disarray and the distance between them and Wanneroo was insurmountable. Nolly scored again after an 80 metre dash that saw him weave inside and outside the dispirited Curtain players. The conversion went over.


Curtin 9 – Wanneroo 69

Elliott leapt high to catch the restart ball and set up a ruck. The ball was fed out and the Dogs attacked on the left, but Curtin managed to stop the runner and Wanneroo set up a ruck. By this time Elliot had popped up again and took the pass from the breakdown and hit it up to set another ruck. He laid another quality ball back, which the rampant John-Martin picked up, charged forward and fed Broden on the burst. Broden ran forty metres through a demoralised defence to score a converted try.


Curtin 9 – Wanneroo 76

Wanneroo were superlative in the tight and on fire in the loose. Curtin must have been in a world of pain and despondency, but they showed good intestinal fortitude to face up to the unrelenting attacks.


The Dogs pack destroyed another Curtin scrum, but somehow their No 8 got his hands on the ball while under immense pressure and drove it forward. When he got tackled and taken to ground Wanneroo were penalised for hands in the ruck. Curtin kicked for the line out, took their own throw in ball and had a red hot go. Although they managed to retain possession for eight or nine phases, they were repeatedly decked by the Dogs dynamic tackling. The ref had allowed play to continue, but he’d already flagged for an infringement by Wanneroo and was playing advantage to Curtin. With no advantage created, he brought the play back to the original offence, where Curtin kicked for another line out.


Wanneroo managed to spoil the throw in, but knocked the ball on doing so and the ref awarded a scrum to Curtin. It was probably the last thing in the world their forwards wanted, and sure enough, they got marmalised in the set piece. To add insult to injury, the ref penalised them. Wanneroo quite sensibly chose the scrum option again. By this time, Curtin could hardly stand up, never mind scrum. But they gave it their best shot and got pulverised again.


The ref penalised Curtin and Wanneroo took a tap and spun the ball out wide and quick. Guess who was out there in the back line, waiting with handbag on hip? Yup, it was Mr five metre / seagull Cornell. Mark took the pass and made a good run before giving the ball to Chris Palmer. He slipped it to Grayson Makara who ran a beautiful line for another converted try.


(I’m only joking about Mark’s sea gulling. He assures me it’s a pre-planned positional play and he’s following Festa’s instructions)


Curtin 9 – Wanneroo 83

Wanneroo continued to pile on the pressure and were able to break through Curtin’s ragged defence at will. Replacement, Corey Tearoea made a break to the right before giving an inside pass to ‘T’ Walker who scored another five pointer. ‘T’ tried a drop goal conversion that missed.


Curtin 9 – Wanneroo 88

Nolly took possession and showed Curtin a clean pair of heels as he ran straight through the midfield untouched, for his fifth try of the game. Naturally he converted it too.


Curtin 9 – Wanneroo 95

Curtin were dead and buried, but they didn’t realise it and they continued to create the odd surprise.


From a Wanneroo scrum, replacement No 8 Shaun Barling picked the ball from the base only to be confronted by the Curtin half back who stripped the ball from him. Shaun is an outstanding player who rarely makes a mistake, but this time he was caught unawares and paid the penalty.


The half back took off and made it into Wanneroo’s 22, but he lacked support and the Dogs took the ball off him and gave it to the predatory Steve Nolson. Nolly made a searing break to his left and motored to the half way untroubled, but he was being closed down by several defenders so he kicked the ball behind them and followed it up. The Curtin full back caught the ball inside his own 22 and was trying to run it out when Nolly flattened him. A Curtin support player managed to pick the loose ball up and like his team mate, he attempted to run it out of his danger zone down the side line. But he was stunned when young Wanneroo replacement Louis McNally (playing in his first senior game) smashed him into touch. Fantastic tackle Louis. Well done.


Wanneroo transferred their line out ball swiftly through hands to score the try that would have seen Wanneroo crack the century of points – but the last pass was dropped. At the subsequent breakdown a Curtin player fell foul of the ref and got yellow carded. He must have complimented the ref on his wisdom and good looks, because the yellow card was immediately upgraded to a red. Silly boy.


Sometimes there is a case for euthanasia and this was one of them. The game came to a merciful end when Wanneroo took the ball and changed their style from finesse and elan to crash, bang, wallop. It paid off in spades when they gave the ball to Broden and he chalked up his hat trick of tries. The conversion was successful.


FINAL SCORE Curtin 9 – Wanneroo 102

The stats tell a story, because the score went from 9 – 31 at half time to 9 – 102 at full time. Wanneroo scored 71 unanswered points in the second half.


COACH’S COMMENTS:

Steve (Festa) Cavanagh said he was glad to be able to give some of our juniors a run in first grade and he thought they all performed creditably. He was impressed with winger Graham Hunter’s efforts, but disappointed for him that the ball never reached him for a try scoring opportunity.


He thought the team played really well and controlled the game completely, especially in the second half.


CAPTAIN’S CALL: Elliott thought the team started slowly and it took some time for them to find their rhythm. The team was clinical in the second half and used the ball well to finish the job.


Man of the Match – Steve Nolson


OTHER RESULTS: Second grade Curtin 0 - Wanneroo 105

Thirsty Thirds Curtin 0 - Wanneroo 114

Ladies Uni /Perth 5 - Wanneroo 81


Today was a very special day for Frank Newton. Frank is an ex Wanneroo President and one of the club’s longest serving members. He has served on various committees (including the current one), is a long term sponsor, organiser, recruitment officer and all round good guy.


Frank was proud to see his grandson, Broden McCurry, make his debut starting appearance for Wanneroo first grade.


Broden scored a hat trick and Frank got all a photo of all three tries. Congratulations and well done to both of you.


Bill Watt

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