Bill's Match report: Wanneroo v WestS Scarborough 8th June 2019

Updated: Jul 5, 2019

Wanneroo v Wests Scarborough at Kingsway 8th June 2019


1 Andre (Beets) Roux

2 Scott Cornell

3 Thomasi (TJ) Vunivalu

4 Elliott Ferriman

5 Seta Fano (Rob)

6 Olly Callan

7 John-Martin Stewart

8 Mark Cornell

9 Reece Anapu

10 Andrew Deegan

11 Joe Bajjada

12 Andrew King (c)

13 Grayson Makara

14 Graham Hunter

15 Steve Nolson

After last week’s ugly win, Wanneroo was looking to consolidate their position with a good showing against a resurgent Wests Scarborough team. It was always going to be a tough task, but the weather didn’t bode well for either side. It was a bleak, dark, miserable day and Wanneroo played towards the club house with a strong wind blowing in their faces.

Wests could reasonably have thought that having a strong wind and driving rain behind them would give them an advantage in the first half. So they must have wondered what hit them at the kick off. The Wanneroo pack raced after the ball and Mark Cornell’s tackle on the catcher jolted the ball loose. The Dogs got the scrum feed on Wests 22 and when they shunted Wests backwards ref Graham Cooper ordered a reset. From the reset, Rees gave fast ball out and Andrew King carried it into contact. The forwards followed on with a couple of hit up’s before Reece switched the play to Andrew Deegan on his right. Deegs ran and got to within 10 metres of the try line before being tackled. Wests were pinged for offside at the ensuing ruck and Wanneroo kicked for a line out on Wests five metre line.

Elliott took the line out ball, but overbalanced and went to ground. Reece grabbed the loose ball from the ruck, cut through a narrow gap and almost got to the try line before being brought down. His forwards were all over him in an instant. Seta Fano (Rob) picked the ball up and was barrelled over the line by the rest of his pack, for the opening score. Andrew Deegan just missed a very difficult conversion, kicking into the wind and rain from wide out on the right wing.

Wanneroo 5 – Western Suburbs 0.

Wests drop out ball was caught by Reece in his 22. He fired a low pass to Andrew Deegan, who fumbled it, but recovered and fed Steve (Nolly) Nolson who was waiting in front of the posts. Nolly took off and beat two defenders before he was tackled. Had he received the ball just a split second earlier it could have been a much more penetrating run. Wests scrum was under duress and their backs found no spaces to attack.

Wanneroo was in control and looking a cut above Wests. They made inroads into Wests five metre zone, but when they hit the ball up the ball carrier didn’t release and Wests were off the hook. The Dogs conceded another penalty and Wests kicker used the howling wind to send the ball back into the home team’s 22 for a line out.

Subsequent play saw Wests mount their first meaningful attack, but they were unable to breach Wanneroo’s defence. The Dogs lost their own throw in, but managed to recover the ball and counter attack. Reece made a break but was taken out with a neck high tackle that was obvious to everyone - except the ref. He awarded a scrum to Wests.

Wests were gradually getting their scrum together and their backs made a brief foray into Wanneroo territory before conceding a scrum to Wanneroo on the 22. Wests revamped pack demolished Wanneroo’s scrum and got a penalty into the bargain, when the home pack collapsed. They had a shot at goal, but it drifted wide and Wanneroo breathed easily.

The teams exchanged kicks until a knock on resulted in another scrum to Wanneroo. The ball flew out to Grayson, who made ground before passing to Graham Hunter. Graham ran out of space and tried to flip the ball back, but it went to Wests who kicked it downfield. Deegs sent it back into touch 30 metres from Wests try line. Wests took the line out ball on and a couple of passes later their loose head prop Nick McClennan (son of Wests legend, Trevor ‘Black Jack’ McLennan) muscled his way through a couple of tackles, until he met Elliott Ferriman and got decked.

Scott Cornell sent a precision line out throw to John-Martin Stewart, who initiated a driving maul. The pack marched forward with Scott carrying the ball at the back and the try looked to be on, until the maul collapsed and Scott had to break open. He was held, but set the ball for Beets who did a pick and go that was carried on by Elliott and then TJ, who forced his way to within six metres of the try line. From the ensuing ruck the ball went to Elliott, but he got a crunching tackle before he was set and the ball was spilled. Wests fumbled it and the ref brought play back for a scrum to Wests. The scrum was evenly matched this time, but Wests put the ball through hands to their full back. He made a break, but had to kick for touch because the cover was coming. Wanneroo got the line out ball to Nolly, but although he ran well he didn’t get the necessary space or time to make an effective break.

From looking like they would overrun Wests in the first 20 minutes, Wanneroo were now in a hotly contested game, particularly in the scrum where Wests had turned the tables. The Dogs got penalised and Wests were awarded the scrum feed. They drove Wanneroo’s scrum backwards, forcing them into conceding another penalty. West opted for another scrum and pressured Wanneroo so hard their front row collapsed. Wests now had the wood on Wanneroo in the set piece and when the ref awarded successive penalties to Wests at three consecutive scrums they chose another scrum every time. But despite the quality ball they got, Wests ball carriers still couldn’t break the Dogs defensive line.

If you haven’t played in the front row, you will never understand the immense pressure applied there. The front rowers wear the good times and the bad times with equanimity and rarely make headlines, but their team mates know they are the unsung heroes of rugby and appreciate their contribution.

Wanneroo’s scrum got shunted again and the guys just had to swallow the pain. The Dogs tight five actually did well to hang in because all three back rowers had their heads up looking for the Wests ball runners. Sure enough Wests backs had a crack, but JM and Mark combined to stop them on the line. Their tackles forced the ball loose and Scotty cleaned it up enabling Andrew Deegan to kick his team out of danger.

Wests line out was scrappy, but they got the ball out to a runner who was tackled by JM. Although John’s technique looked good the ref penalised him for hands on the floor when challenging for the ball. The ensuing scrum collapsed and the ref chatted TJ before resetting it. This time, Wests forced Wanneroo back almost to their own try line before the Dogs pack could put the brakes on. JM, Deegan and Kingy all hit ball carriers with punishing tackles. Wests should have been disappointed they didn’t score, but they got a penalty out of it on the 22. Naturally they chose the scrum again and this time the ref gave TJ a yellow card. JM had to come off to allow replacement prop Tim Larkin on for the scrum.

Wanneroo’s scrum got done over and Wests half back went for the try. He really should have made it and must have been gutted when Grayson cut him down right on the posts. Another couple of inches and he would have scored. After Grayson’s tackle, the half back managed to offload the ball to one of his backline runners, who knocked it on. It was a just reward for Wanneroo’s amazing defence. Unfortunately the pack had to front up to another Wests scrum on the five metre line. They went down again, but the ref deemed there was no offence and played on. Wanneroo fought for the ball and got it to Deegs, who chipped it into touch for half time.

HALF TIME: Wanneroo 5 – Wests Scarborough 0

Apart from the scrum, both sides were so evenly matched in defence and attack, that neither of them was able to make a decisive break. Every player on the paddock hurled themselves into the fray without hesitation and none of them had taken a backward step. The second half promised much.

Wanneroo’s 14 men restarted and the pack now included Force player Leon Powell, who replaced Seta Fano. Wanneroo caught the drop out ball in their 22 and had a go at Wests, until they lost momentum and the ref awarded them the dubious honour of a scrum feed. Their scrum was a little tighter and Reece managed to get the ball away relatively easily. After a couple of probing runs by the backs, Deegs kicked the ball into touch.

Both sides tried to attack whenever the opportunity presented itself, but the impasse continued. Tim went off and Wanneroo were back to a full complement of players. Wanneroo had a couple of sorties, but Wests had the majority of the ball for the next ten minutes. The rain was pouring, and the wind was howling, but it had changed direction denying Wanneroo the advantage that Wests had enjoyed in the first half.

The play was brutal, with no quarter asked or given. It was rugby at its most primitive and it’s most enjoyable. The Dogs scrum was still fragile, but holding up in the face of enormous pressure. Wests backs had the advantage of getting good ‘go forward’ ball from their scrum, while Wanneroo mostly got ball and man together. But they made the best of every opportunity and their defence was outstanding. Grayson and Kingy typified Wanneroo’s spirit by their endless tackle count that stopped every attempted midfield break by Wests.

Wests full back pumped a high ball into the gloom and rain, but Deegs took it easily and returned it to the half way line for a line out to Wests. They won their own ball and kicked it for touch, but the Dogs caught it and sent it straight back to Wests full back. He made a short dash before being caught by Leon and slung to the ground like a rag doll. Scott pinched the loose ball and set a ruck, from which Nolly had a run. When he got held, Leon had a go, but Wests tackle line was equally as good as the Dogs. Shortly afterwards Leon had another pick and go from a ruck and JM carried the ball on before feeding Joe Bajjada on the left wing. Joe crossed the gain line and set the ball, but it was lost by the next receiver and Wests got the scrum feed. They Dogs scrum disintegrated and Wests took off with the ball, but the ref called them back for a penalty against Wanneroo. They kicked for line.

Beets stole Wests line out ball, but the ref saw another offence and awarded a scrum feed to Wests. He followed that up with a penalty against the Dogs in the scrum. Wests full back (now playing half back) put the ball into the scrum and when the whistle went almost immediately for another penalty, he fed the ball quickly to his number 8, who made good ground before a tackle took him out.

Wests had another five or six cracks at Wanneroo but couldn’t penetrate their crushing defence, so their centre tried a cross field chip kick behind them. Nolly was wise to it and got there to take the ball right on his line, but two Wests players were in his face and his clearance kick skipped off the side of his left boot into the middle of the paddock. Wests tight head prop couldn’t believe his luck when the ball plopped right into his hands. The excitement must have affected his mental faculties, because he threw an awful pass straight to his number eight’s ankles and he knocked on. Wanneroo had tacklers waiting, but it must be said that a potential try opportunity was wasted.

The ref penalised Wanneroo again for being in front of the kicker. Wests ran the ball quickly and tried five consecutive hit ups and Wanneroo stopped them all dead just in front of their try line. Wests then sent the ball out wide to their left wing, who ran hard for the try line. He got tantalisingly close before being hammered into touch on the junction of the side line and try line by Graham Hunter and Scott Cornell. Amazing play by both sides, but Wanneroo got the prize when the ref said ‘no try’ because the ball carrier was tackled into touch.

Leon took the line out ball. TJ latched onto him and along with the rest of the pack they forced their way out of their red zone. They powered forward until they were pulled down and the ref penalised the same Wests prop who had chucked the bad ball earlier. Deegs kicked for touch and Wanneroo caught their own throw in, but made a mess of it and gifted the ball to Wests. Unfortunately they emulated Wanneroo and stuffed it up too, so Wanneroo got a scrum feed. Wests wheeled the scrum but the Dogs got the ball away to Deegs who sent a long raking kick to touch on the half way.

Wanneroo almost stole Wests line out ball, but Wests managed to do just enough to get it away to their midfield. Their ball carriers were tackled in succession by Grayson, JM and Beets, so they switched play quickly and got the ball to their left wing. He had just enough space to squeeze past Graham’s despairing tackle and it looked like he had a clear run home, when Olly came out of the blue and tackled him into touch in the 22.

Wanneroo sent their line out ball to captain Andrew King, who beat three players before being stopped. The ball was carried on by TJ, Mark and then Olly before it was passed to Deegs for the clearance kick. He hoofed it but the wind blew it back across field where the ref awarded a scrum to Wests. Wanneroo was penalised at the scrum for coming in on the angle, but Wests turned down the possible three points for a kick to line in the home 22.

The kick didn’t have the legs to make touch and Grayson caught the ball. He beat two defenders before offloading, but the pass went astray and West regained possession. The ball carrier was tackled by Mark Cornell but ref brought play back for a penalty against Wanneroo for offside. Wanneroo wheeled Wests scrum but they still got the ball away to their fly half. He passed to his centre, who got a calling card from Andrew King at the same time. Wanneroo scavenged well and regained possession at the next breakdown.

Wests had the lion’s share of the ball and gradually forced Wanneroo back into their own 22. Wanneroo wrestled the ball back and gave it to Deegs to clear the lines, but his kick went sideways and the Dogs had to fight tooth and nail to recover it. They gave everything they had to try and bust their way out, but Wests tackle line held firm. Wanneroo were pushed wider and wider and they had to set up again on their left wing. The ball was passed out from the ruck for a forward drive when tragedy struck and it was knocked on about 10 metres from the try line.

The Wanneroo pack’s ‘never say die’ spirit saw them dredge unexpected reserves of energy to wheel Wests scrum, but the ref pinged them for their efforts and West opted for another scrum. Wests probably expected to drive Wanneroo back, but the Dogs pack dug in and held firm. Wests half back / full back tried a run round the side and got clattered by Olly & Mark (classic back row defence). Wests maintained their crash bang approach and Wanneroo continued to knock them over. Wests prop, McLennan, took the ball and bulldozed his way to the try line, but Wanneroo’s tackling was awesome and he was stopped. The ref had his arm out for a Wanneroo infringement, when the Wests half back saw an opening on the left and kicked a cross field ball to two outside runners. The first player caught the ball, but elected to go on his own when the better choice may have been the pass. He was slowed by Grayson before Kingy, Olly and Joe piled in one metre out. Wests pack created a ruck and the half back slung the ball to a player on his right. He was tackled by Leon and the break down ball was again passed to the right to Wests fly half. He popped the ball to his flanker who hit a narrow gap and went for the line only to be pulled down by Olly. The ref blew for yet another penalty against Wanneroo and Wests half back took a quick tap and sent the ball to his right wing where his prop was doing his best Sean Fitzpatrick seagull impersonation. He used his size and weight well and took two defenders over the line with him for a try in the 78th minute of the game. The wind was blowing so hard a team mate had to hold the ball steady for the kicker. He kicked a huge conversion from the five metre line.

Wanneroo 5 – Wests Scarborough 7

It was cruel blow for the Dogs who had worked so hard for so long, but they saddled up for another go immediately.

Wests took the drop out ball and hit it up a couple of times before their fly half sent it down town to where Deegs was waiting. He drew his man and passed to Nolly, who accelerated away down his right wing. A fantastic cover tackle brought him down and a ruck formed. Wests fly half charged into Kingy,who was standing away from the ruck, and the ref blew for a penalty to Wanneroo. Deegs took a quick tap and fed Leon on the charge. He barged his way forward and when he got stopped the ball was passed to Olly who made more ground. Wests infringed again, got penalised again and Deegs kicked for a line out on Wests 22 which would give them a last opportunity to score. But the Dogs had to endure more heartache when Wests stole the throw in ball. The Dogs gave everything they had to try and regain the ball, but Wests kept possession and ran the clock down for the narrowest of wins.

FINAL SCORE: Wanneroo 5 – Wests Scarborough 7

The game was played at a frenetic pace in atrocious conditions and both sides gave it everything they had, leaving nothing in the tank. In the first fifteen or twenty minutes, Wanneroo had it all over Wests, but to their credit, the visitors fought their way back into the contest. From then on it was trench warfare rugby from both sides with every man on the paddock tackling themselves to a standstill. It was a relentless, unceasing physical clash that would have seen lesser teams fall by the wayside.

You could say the game lacked finesse, or that it was one dimensional, or that it was affected by the weather etc. All those things are debatable, but what is certain, is that the crowd was privileged to watch two teams prepared to go toe to toe for eighty minutes and never say die. It was a tackling extravaganza and considering the number of physical attacks mounted, it was a clean, controlled game without any malice.

Well done to both teams.

In my opinion, a draw would have been a much fairer result, because neither team deserved to lose.

Wanneroo are a young team on the rise, and this was one more test of their character and willingness to learn. They are an honest group, who accept constructive criticism along with the accolades and are always looking to improve. Hopefully, they will take the positives from this game, assess the negatives and remove them from future games.


Steve (Festa) Cavanagh was hugely disappointed and said Wanneroo can’t afford to let other teams finish over the top of them. Nor can they be content with close finishes.

We learn from today and start again.


Andrew King said his team’s defence was excellent in the first half when they played into a strong wind. In the second half the wind changed and the team did an outstanding job to keep Wests scoreless till the last three minutes. Even so, it was a very disappointing result.

Man of the Match – Reece Anapu


Second Grade Wanneroo 8 – Wests Scarborough 22

Thirsty Thirds Wanneroo 59 - Wests Scarborough 12

Coach Paul xxx said his team was tested early on by a well drilled Wests outfit.

They stepped up, didn’t panic and stuck to their structure and game plan and came away with a well deserved win. Man of the match – Michael Lovey

Flatulent Fourths Wanneroo 38 – Bunbury 12

Bill Watt

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