16 July 2011
Big ask: who can stop lock Olsen Rere?
Perth-Bayswater first grade led Nedlands for much of the game and made them look ordinary in the process, but still came away with a 22-10 loss against the competition leaders.
The boys in black have become masters of the first half championship and led 7-5 at the break, tough defence and a couple of well-chosen opportunities keeping the fancy lads from the foreshore at bay.
But two quick tries towards the end of the second spell were all Neddies needed to bring home the points, although the home side can take some consolation from a reduced error rate, mostly solid defence and a bustling finish.
Nedlands went straight onto attack from the opening whistle and hammered Perth's 22 with repeated phases but after ten minutes Perth broke free, kicked ahead and centre Thomas Trautmann lost the race to the loose ball in goal by inches.
Nedlands went back on attack but again Perth defended stoutly, broke free and should have scored at the other end of the park but took the ball to ground while ignoring a three man overlap.
But this time Perth stayed on the job and after winning a scrum on the 22 in the midfield, halfback Ethan Carlisle peeled off on the blind and fed Western Force fullback Alfie Mafi who scored near the corner. Trautmann landed the wide conversion and the home side led 7-0 after 25 minutes.
Irresistible Force: fullback Alfie Mafie rarely failed to break the line
Then Neddies were right back on attack and this time shot over in the corner, after a horrible Perth clearing kick that went straight into the arms of the Nedlands forwards. The sideline conversion was astray and Perth remained ahead 7-5 with halfttime approaching.
Nedlands had a golden opportunity to score just before half time with a penalty scrum on the 22 but passed forward and the ref called time.
Perth opened the second spell strongly and Trautmann kicked an angled penalty goal after seven minutes when Nedlands dived over the ruck.
But again Neddies' reply was immediate, moving downfield and surging over the line for a try beside the posts. The conversion was a formality and Nedlands took the lead for the first time, 12-10 after eleven minutes.
Perth worked hard for fifteen minutes of territorial dominance but the game was a steep learning curve for the young ref, who deferred to the competition leaders constantly and was erratic with his scrum rulings.
All Perth's efforts were in vain and Nedlands rushed downfield to score in the corner. The conversion missed but Neddies went ahead 17-10 with 15 minutes to play.
Another Neddies try followed in quick order as Perth were caught on the hop, the visitors going ahead 22-10, but the home side lifted to dominate the closing stages and were unlucky not to score before full time.
In other grades, seconds lost to Neddies 48-15, thirds went down to Nedlands 54-7, fourths lost to Neddies 29-14, but it was all good news from there on with Under 20s winning by a forfeit 25-0 (amazing that Nedlands can't field an under 20 side, but they can always buy someone else's players if they run short), Under 18s defeated Wests-Subiaco 46-27 and the women's team squeaked home against the Rocky ladies 109-0.