GRAND FINAL 2020
Wanneroo U16’s v Nedlands U16’s
McGillivray Oval Saturday 17th October 2020
1 Reece Pedley
2 Ryan Tedge
3 Rueben Baker
4 Lachlan Mead
5 Tane Tarau
6 Harry Andrews
7 Conor Byrne
8 Kian Saus
9 Hare Ahuriri
10 Mythiaz Heather
11 Justin Talemaira
12 Nathan Tahu
13 Paul Bezuidenhout
23 Rhys Pennie
15 Conal Bermingham
18 Scott Hollins
19 Divan Van Meersbergen
14 Tyler Ward
21 Sam Ndreca
24 Patrick Hartmann
16 Aidan Kirby-Smith
Coach: Turongo Watene
Asst Coach: Tini Watene
Asst Coach: Christian Tedge
Manager: Linda Byrne
Rehydration: Caleb Karangaroa / Tye Saus
Medical: Gavin Byrne
Nedlands kicked off to Wanneroo, who promptly lost control and knocked the ball on. The ref awarded a scrum feed to Neddies and when the teams lined up for the engagement, it was obviously going to be a very tough day at the office for Wanneroo. The Blues forwards were big, but their front row was massive and they would not have disgraced a premier grade scrum. My hat came off immediately to the Dogs and to their front row in particular. Predictably, Wanneroo’s scrum went backwards at a rate of knots and Nedlands took off with ball in hand. The Blues full back looked awesome and ran powerfully, but he was stopped in his tracks by a crunching tackle from Nathan Tahu. Then the one thing none of us want to see, happened. Nedlands full back appeared to be hurt and comatose and somehow Wanneroo’s Conal Bermingham had copious amounts of claret coming from a head wound. Conal was taken off and replaced by Tyler Ward. Neddies full back got up, but was very unsteady on his feet and was taken off. We all hope he is ok.
Wanneroo was awarded the dubious honour of a scrum feed and got shunted again. Neddies used the quality ball to attack in numbers, but their progress was stopped courtesy of a superb tackle by Justin Talemaira. The Blues recycled the ball quickly, hit three more powerful phases up with overpowering support to score the first try of the game. The conversion was successful.
Wanneroo 0 – Nedlands 7
The Dogs drop out restart was a high, looping beauty which gave the green forwards the opportunity to contest the ball. Kian Saus claimed it and took it on into Neddies territory, well supported by his pack. Nedlands knocked on at the breakdown and Wanneroo got the scrum feed. Nedlands behemoth pack wheeled the scrum, but the Dogs hung in and the ref gave Wanneroo the feed at the reset. The Dogs got pushed back again, but No 8 Kian managed to drag the ball out of the melee, peel off and feed Justin. He made ground, but got isolated in the tackle and it looked like Neddies would benefit, until the ref called play back for a penalty to Wanneroo at the scrum. The touch finder was successful, but the greens made a Dogs breakfast of the line out and Nedlands regained possession. They ran hard, forcing Wanneroo to regroup, which they did pretty well. Neddies drove into the tackle line and one of the Roo Dogs pulled the ball carrier down, only to be pinged for an arm above the shoulder. Nedlands kicked for position, but it was a poor effort and the ball was caught by Justin inside his own 22. He took a calculated gamble and ran it back, but Neddies pressured him into running across field until he got stopped, still inside his own 22. Wanneroo piled in to support him, but overdid it and gave a penalty away. Neddies opted for the line out, won their own ball and bludgeoned their way forward until Conor Byrne chopped the ball carrier down. The Blues retained possession at the breakdown but fumbled the ball and Wanneroo were awarded a scrum feed on the 10 metre line. Wanneroo’s scrum got monstered, enabling Nedlands to score a converted try (I thought the conversion missed, but the ref didn’t).
Wanneroo 0 – Nedlands 14
The Wanneroo players were like James Bond (shaken but not stirred) and they attacked their own drop out ball again. This time they were unsuccessful and the ‘Blue Meanies’ ran the ball back at them. The Dogs lacked nothing in courage and hurled themselves into the tackle, but Nedlands had size and momentum over them and were able to power on until the ref penalised the green defenders. The Blues ran the ball again and Wanneroo gave their all in attempting to stop them. They didn’t stop them, but they did manage to slow them at the cost of another penalty. Neddies took the scrum option and powered forward, giving their No 8 an armchair ride. He did a pick and go, threw a good dummy that was bought by a green defender and placed the ball behind the line for another converted try.
Wanneroo 0 – Nedlands 21
Wanneroo toiled relentlessly and without complaint, but they just couldn’t get their hands on the ball. Nedlands used their big men as battering rams and although the Dogs were brave and tackled well, it was a big ask because of the size of Neddies runners. The Blue’s prop (No 28) is massive and must be over 1.8 m tall and well over 120 kg. He’s probably a very nice guy, but his size and his front row companion’s size made for an uneven contest. No 28 took the ball forward and Wanneroo managed to take him down, but Neddies recycled the ball and fed another runner to hit it up. When he got stopped, the Blues released No 28 again. He hadn’t had to move away from his last hit up position. He got stopped again and Neddies recycled the ball to another runner, before releasing No 28 once more. This time he managed to barge his way to the try line. Wanneroo showed great heart to stop him again, bit it was all to no avail because he did his job very well, by drawing the defence and allowing his support to score another converted try.
Wanneroo 0 – Nedlands 28
Nedlands had enjoyed almost total possession, position and domination and the Dogs must have been shell shocked. But to the Green team’s credit, the words defeat or surrender didn’t seem to be in their vocabulary. Nedlands took the ball on another brutalising run, but they stuffed it up and Wanneroo got a penalty that they kicked for a line out. They won their own throw and tried their luck up the left wing, making good yards until the ball carrier got tackled. Wanneroo swarmed over the ball, gave it out and had another go on the right. They worked like demons, created multiple phases and every player put his hand up for a run. They worked as hard as a one legged man in an arse kicking contest, but couldn’t breach the Blue’s line. But their relentless endeavours ruffled Nedlands and eventually forced them into coughing up a penalty. Wanneroo ran the ball again, and I didn’t think it was possible, but they raised the tempo and their work rate to another level. The Dogs were awesome and they barrelled their way through another 6 or 7 phases, but the extreme labour took its toll and they gave a penalty away. It was a crucial make or break moment and it appeared that the Dogs had broken. Nedlands kicked the penalty for a line out, but transgressed at the throw in and the ref indicated a bent arm penalty to Wanneroo. The Dogs took a ‘tap & go’ that put Neddies on the back foot and they managed to hit up & recycle the ball for another six or seven phases. Nedlands only method of stopping Wanneroo’s progress was by trying to slow the ball at the breakdown and the ref penalised them. The Dogs responded with another quick ‘tap & go’, charged headlong into Neddies and created another five successful phases that culminated in Tyler Ward finishing off a breathtaking and unbelievable period of organised mayhem and glorious madness with an outstanding team try. The conversion was successful.
I was so engrossed in the play that I couldn’t keep up with recording which players did what. But I can assure you that every single player in the team was involved and they all contributed to the try. They deserve all the accolades I can think of.
HALF TIME: Wanneroo 7 – Nedlands 28
During the half time break, Wanneroo coach, Turongo Watene, was calm, analytical and positive. He urged his team to drag Neddies big men around the field. He pulled no punches when he told the players they had made it hard for themselves and therefore it was up to them to respond. They must lift, look for work and be prepared to run anything from anywhere.
The second half started with Nedlands going back to basics, by giving their BIG guys the ball and following the wreckage. Not pretty or tactically brilliant, but highly effective because they burst through Wanneroo’s desperate tackles and crashed over for another converted try.
Wanneroo 7 – Nedlands 35
Wanneroo were brave and showed their character by refusing to buckle and took the game to Nedlands. Hare Ahuriri and Nathan Tahu combined to make inroads into Neddies territory where they earned their forwards a scrum (oh dear). Wanneroo’s pack did well to get the ball out and Hare did equally well to get it out to their midfield runners. Justin and Nathan pulled a couple of deceptive switches before releasing the ball to Ryan Tedge, who was well positioned on their left. He linked up with Kian and they sucked a couple of Neddies players in before returning the ball to Nathan, who hit it up perfectly. Hare was on hand to take the ball when Nathan laid it back, and he saw a gap and shot into it like the proverbial rat up a drainpipe. Wanneroo triumphed again and Tyler’s conversion sailed over too.
Wanneroo 14 – Nedlands 35
This crazy game resumed with Wanneroo prepared to run at any opportunity, but they made a couple of mistakes that resulted in a scrum feed for Nedlands gargantuan pack. The Blues won their own ball comfortably and their backs ran it wide. Wanneroo were brave in the tackle, but they had to commit too often and eventually ran out of numbers. A Nedlands player hit a hole to score another converted try.
Wanneroo 14 – Nedlands 42
It seemed to be a forgone conclusion that Nedlands would maintain their relentless pressure and reap the rewards. But nobody had told Wanneroo about their plan and their never say die attitude was evident. Nedlands set their stall and sent another of their big men up to bash his way forward, only for him to be confronted and decked by lock Tane Tarau. Neddies retained possession and whipped the ball out to a runner, but he got decked too. Wanneroo stole the ball and fed it out to Tyler, who made a scintillating run to the line and the Dogs earned another five pointer. The icing went on the cake with a successful conversion.
Wanneroo 21 – Nedlands 42
This astonishing game resumed with the Nedlands hooker having a dash before running into a Wanneroo tackler. The Roo Dogs did a great job to win the ball and kick it into Neddies territory. It bounced awkwardly between several Blue players who all seemed to think the other would pick it up. Wanneroo took advantage of the confusion, raced up, contested the ball fiercely and the ref rewarded their efforts with a scrum feed. Nedlands wheeled the scrum and the ref reset it. I’d imagine Wanneroo’s front row must have been punch drunk by this stage, because they had borne the brunt of the big hits by Neddies props all day. Anyway the Dogs scrum struggled through once more time, dug the ball out and kicked it deep. After a bit of inconsequential play, Neddies big men crashed and bashed into the green defensive line again. Wanneroo didn’t shy from the collisions, but exhaustion was setting in and it became a mountain too high for them to climb. Nedlands scored another converted try.
Wanneroo 21 – Nedlands 49
Astoundingly, Wanneroo somehow dug deep one more time and found enough fortitude to chase their own drop out ball, challenge Neddies and win possession. The ref signalled a penalty to the Dogs, but played advantage and the greens mounted another attack. Unfortunately the ball was lost in the tackle and the ref called them back for the original offence. Wanneroo kicked for the line out and the forwards used their throw in ball to set a driving maul. They pushed Neddies pack backwards, created space for their backs and Hare fed Nathan on the run. Nathan stepped the defence and scored a well deserved try. The conversion missed.
Wanneroo 26 – Nedlands 49
The Roo Dogs continued to defy exhaustion and fronted up again. They put their bodies on the line and had another go. They epitomised the lyrics ‘Take another shot of courage’ in The Eagles song ‘Tequila Sunrise’. The Dogs efforts earned them a scrum feed, where they were able to compete and win a fair contest because Neddies No 28 was in the bin, having been yellow carded. The Dogs backs made a slick break to their right, but knocked the ball on and Nedlands got the scrum. The Blues must have been heartily sick of Wanneroo, because although they were 23 points ahead, they kicked the ball dead for game over. But the ref indicated the game wasn’t over and called them back. Neddies took a ‘tap & go’, but Wanneroo’s admirable defence stood tall right to the end and held them out.
FINAL SCORE: WANNEROO 26 – NEDLANDS 49
Wanneroo may have come second on the scoreboard, but they are winners in my book. A lesser team would probably have folded under the relentless pressure. These young men stood tall, worked for each other and never at any time did they even think of surrendering. They were true sportsmen who played fiercely, but fairly, with courage and dignity. They are a credit to their coaching staff, club and supporters.
Congratulations to Nedlands on the Premiership. I’m sure the rivalry and camaraderie will continue next year.