Round 13 Wrap-up

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Jul 21, 2022 | News

We have hit Round 13 of FMG Premiership rugby and our boys are looking to storm the Seagulls nest at Cottesloe and shore up 3rd place on the Premier Grade ladder as we head into the final round before the competition splits. Despite some big outs in Premier Grade this week with Jake Buist and Manu Tofilau both missing from last week’s side and Otu Mausia still on international duty with the ‘Ikale Tahi, the depth we have built has seen the likes of Aidan Mcdonagh, Owen Milburn, and Nathan Hardwick slot back into the matchday 23, and with talismanic No.8 Nuku Pauta back in the starting 15 the mood around the club this week has been one of quiet optimism and steely belief. Our best rugby is good enough to beat anyone, and now everyone around the club truly believes it. In other matches, Third Grade have a tough assignment vs. 3rd placed Cottesloe, and our Reserve Grade are looking to make it 3 in a row. Our women come up against former coach Gaby Wolfe in a spicy affair against Wests and our Colts have a tough game vs Joondalup as they try and shore up 2nd place and a shot at the title.

However, this week we will dive straight into our delicious Premier Grade main course. Despite many of the day’s results not yet falling our way: Colts going down by 2, Thirds by 4, Reserves by 5, the confidence of the Baysie faithful in attendance today at Harvey Field that our boys will get the result remains unshakeable. We all believe today is the day. That our long run of outs vs. these bloody Seagulls (who let’s face it are nothing more than glorified Coastal Pigeons…) ends here, and that we will underline in bold type our premiership credentials with a famous victory. 80 minutes now stands before us and immortality, in a battle that is as old as time itself: the Challengers vs. the Champions, heart, soul and guts vs. cash, privilege and hubris, light vs. darkness, good vs. evil, and a showdown between the young buck (Reesjan Pasitoa) vs. the grizzled old bull (Peter Grant). Lesssgo!

The game commences. Reesjan’s kick is a good one but Cottesloe secure possession and clear the ball upfield through Peter Grant.  Andrew Ramsden returns the ball to halfway, and we look to settle through a trademark Nuku charge, however he is targeted by the Cottesloe Lock, and the clean out from Sam George and Matt Faoagali is unable to shift him. The first opportunity falls to Cottesloe, and Peter Grant’s kick for touch finds the line deep in our 22m. Cottesloe win the lineout and look to drive their maul over the line. Brandon and Matt both lose their feet which impacts our ability to set our maul defence and Cottesloe do mange to drive over for an early score. The successful conversion sees them skip out to an early 0-7 lead.

Another good re-start from Reesjan puts the Cottesloe jumper under pressure and he knocks on under harrasment from Matt Faoagali. A strong early scrum gives us clean ball and we go wide through hands to Danny. Reesjan, then directs the team back towards the middle of the park and whilst his pass hits the deck Dante is able to scoop it up and charge forward through some flimsy Cottesloe defence for 20m before being puled down meters short of the line in a fine ball-and-all tackle by the Cottesloe Fullback. We stay patient, and continue to probe looking for a weakness in the Cottesloe defensive line until they are pinged for going off their feet at the breakdown. Playing with the advantage Reesjan looks to pick Liam out on the wing with a cross-field kick, but the ball ends up in touch. Coming back for the penalty Reesjan coolly slots it to make the score 3-7.

Nuku catches the restart cleanly and Stopsy box-kicks back to Cottesloe on the halfway line. Cottesloe hold the ball for a few phases and then make a half break out wide with some dangerous interplay between their 13 and 14, however the ball comes out of the ruck and Aidan is straight onto it hacking it forward twice and taking play back over the halfway. Unfortunately, Tavish is penalised for diving on the player on the ground and Cottesloe are able to put the ball back down into out half for a lineout throw. Cottesloe win the lineout and look to maul again. The ballcarrier breaks free of the maul and is tackled. Referee adjudges it as blue ball going forward so Cottesloe win the feed. Cottesloe look to run from the base of the scrum, but only manage to run straight into Nuku who is able to get straight onto the ball and force a penalty for not releasing. On the back on this penalty, we move play back down into the Cottesloe half. We hold possession from the resulting lineout and start to pressure the Cottesloe defence. We earn a penalty advantage after a late hit on Reesjan, but don’t need to come back for it. Instead, Matt Faoagali carries strongly into contact and manages to shrug off their Loosehead’s attempted tackle, and power through for a try next to the uprights. Reesjan is striking them cleanly today and his successful conversion takes the score to 10-7 to Perth Bayswater with 16 minutes played.

Liam catches the kick off cleanly, but his attempted clearing kick is charged down by the Cottesloe chaser. He does well to clean up, and shows great strength to first stay in the field of play and then as he is pulled over the line to keep the ball alive, but Brandon is unable to pick it up cleanly under pressure, and Cottesloe earn a scrum 5m out from our line. Cottesloe run a set play off the scrum, with their scrumhalf passing to Peter Grant who lets their 13 run a decoy line through Reesjan and Tavish and then dishes it out the back to the 11 who straightens through the gap created between our 10 and 12 as Tavish overcommits slightly on their 12 a little wider. Tav can’t get his shoulder on the 11 and Reesjan can’t get across far enough either, as the cuts through and scores next to the posts. Now to fully appreciate what occurs next dear reader, I’m going to need you to imagine the next sequence of events playing to Benny Hill music…In a display of either incredible arrogance or stupendous stupidity (or perhaps a little from Column A and little from Column B) the Cottesloe kicker attempts to take his conversion directly off the grass, rather than waiting for his tee. As he makes his approach the ball (predictably) falls over… under pressure from Joe Annan, Liam Becker, and Dante he actually does well to scoop it up, sidestep Joe and Liam and get off a drop-kick off as Dante comes through but unsurprisingly his attempt hits the post and misses. One wonders if that gimme 2 points will come back to haunt them later on…? The score is 10-12 to the Coastal Pigeons after 21 minutes.

The next 10 minutes is a real arm-wrestle between two evenly matched teams, punctuated with moments of brilliance from both sides. Nuku forces yet another turnover at the breakdown inside our 22m on defence, and Reesjan clears to almost halfway. Cottesloe defend well and disrupt our scrum ball and most of the action occurs around the halfway line. When Cottesloe do turn the ball over 10m inside their own half, the ball is shifted quickly to their 13 who beats Max Veech on his outside shoulder for pace, and then accelerates through a gap between Matt Faoagali and Sam George, breaks through Tavish’s attempted tackle, and then slips through Andrew’s low last-line attempt and appears headed to score. However, Sam George has tracked back and manages to pull him down from behind. Aidan and Danny have also worked incredibly hard to get back to the tackle and pressure the breakdown. Cottesloe cynically dive in to seal off the ball and are penalised accordingly. Great hustle by Black to get back in defence and on the ball to earn the penalty. From the resulting lineout Dante throws short to Niko who dishes out to Josh, then Reesjan and onto Tavish who straightens into contact but loses the ball. Tobias Hoskins scoops up the loose pill and offloads to their 8, who is then absolutely manhandled by Nuku in a big tackle as he manages to rip the ball away and then run himself. From the next ruck Stopsy finds Reesjan, who attracts two defenders before passing to Sam. Sam accelerates through a half gap before passing to Andrew on the burst on his outside. Andrew carries for 50m in clear space before drawing the Fullback and passing to Liam on his outside, however with  their left Wing coming across in cover on Liam he plays a beautiful one-two, passing back inside to Andrew who has continued his run to support and who continues on touching down next to the uprights. Scintillating backline play! Reesjan’s successful conversion moves the score to 17-12 after 29 minutes.

We may have the lead after the first half an hour of play, but it is certainly the Seagulls Coastal Pigeons that finish the half with the wind in their sails. They are next to score via a Gio Leituala penalty goal, after a beautiful chip, chase, and regather from their impressive fullback Jono Ihaka, brought play within our 22m, and the subsequent phase-play saw Bayswater caught offside. We respond with a penalty of our own minutes later moving the score to 20-15, with 5 minutes left to play. Unfortunately, from here Cottesloe run in two quick tries to end the half. The first to Tobias Hoskins after some great continuity in the build-up saw three Cottesloe players able to offload in the tackle and keep the ball moving and our boys unable to halt their momentum. The second came form a spilt high ball in midfield. From a dominant scrum and with penalty advantage, the Pigeons managed to shift the ball from 9 to 10 to 12, and with a little stutter-skip-step Cottesloe 12 Gio Leituala was able to split Sam and Danny and with Tavish unable to lock the ball in his cover tackle effort Gio finds their 13 in support on his inside who touches over for a well worked first-phase try. The result of this 5-minute blitz is a 20-29 Cottesloe half time lead.

“Never Give In” “This is the lesson: never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” Winston Churchill —Harrow School, 29 October 1941

Perhaps any other team would give in. Perhaps any other team with the weight of expectation and the history of 13+ years of misery against this team would fold. Perhaps any other team would look back at how far we have come this year as a club, and as a playing group and have said that’s enough. We’ve done enough and it’s too hard to drag ourselves back into this contest away from home. But not these lads, and not today for we are Baysie Hard! We are the best with pride, and we bleed Black & White for our brothers, and we never quit until that final whistle has blown.

The second half commences. Reesjan catches the restart and bangs a booming kick back over halfway and into touch, almost as a signal of intent that we are still right up for this contest… We continue our good start to the half with Matt Faoagali getting on the ball and earning a quick penalty, Reesjan controlling the speed and direction of the play masterfully and not afraid to put the ball onto his boot and play down field, with one beautiful raking kick in particular pulling up 5m from the line and 5m from touch, and the replacement Cottesloe Fullback being met by an impenetrable black wall. However, despite our bright start it is again Cottesloe who are next to score, managing to capitalise on a few Baysie mistakes and forcing their way over from close to the line. The score is 20-36 to Cottesloe with 10-minutes of the second half played.

Cottesloe have now scored the last 3 tries, and things are looking ominous. It would be hyperbole to say that we needed a miracle (and far be it from me dear reader to ever embellish the truth for the sake of your entertainment), but we certainly needed to arrest their momentum and find a spark to light our path to victory. Michael Cheika called them his “Finishers”. South Africa refer to the “Bomb Squad”. To us they are simply our brothers, and we know 1-23 will always do a job for us when called upon, and we are calling now: Chris Saulala replaces Tavish Meade, Ty Newsome-Smith comes on for Joe Annan, Keisuke for Matt Faoagali and Sam Faoagali is on for Max Veech. Five minutes later Nathan Hardwick replaces Andrew Ramsden and Owen Milburn replaces Aidan Mcdonagh. The replaced players have been some of our best afield today, but we are backing our brothers to bring us home, and to lift the intensity in the last quarter of the game.

Slowly we start to shift the momentum. Cottesloe have a lineout on our 5m. They try to maul but it goes straight to ground. They try running at Brandon and then at Ty and are absolutely crunched in bone-rattling tackles. Seeing his chance after Ty’s hit Keisuke is straight onto the ball and earns us the penalty, with Cottesloe pinged for holding on. Sublime goal-line defence! Keisuke then wins a great lineout under huge pressure from the Cottesloe jumper, and we are starting to find our groove. With Chris Saulala having come on at half time we now have the dual running threat of Reesjan and Chris around 10/12, and with the energy and direct running of Ty Newsome-Smith, Brandon Olow and Dante Tatafu finding another gear, we are starting to bend their line and get quick front-foot ball. Our superior fitness and conditioning is also starting to show. The longer the game goes the better we are looking, whilst in contrast the Coastal Pigeons are looking tired (oh won’t someone throw them a chip?). We have now managed to make our way into the Cottesloe 22m on the back of a scrum penalty, they are not pushing straight, and they are starting to get pinged regularly for it. Reesjan runs again taking it to the line and sees their Tighthead and Hooker in front of him. He dummies once and it draws their Hooker out of the line, he then double-pumps the pass cutting Sam Faoagali in the process and passing behind the Cottesloe Hooker to hit Brandon at pace who dives over for the try. It is the single most scintillating piece of ball playing I have seen this season! It is Reesjan doing Reesjan things, and we are happy to have him home. His conversion takes the score to 27-36 and 3 tries scored. A 4-try bonus point will guarantee us a Top 6 finish regardless of the game result or any other results around the grounds, but I get the feeling this is the last thing on the players minds as they briskly jog back to our half. They think they can win this.

Cottesloe are still trying to attack, but their fatigue is becoming more evident. Tobias Hoskins, who has been their best all day makes a half break, but he has no support, and he then loses it in the strong tackle of Owen and Ty. He would not have dropped that ball in the first half.  We win the scrum and then clear the ball down field courtesy of Nathan Hardwick’s huge right boot. With increasing sting in the tackle from the likes of Owen, Keisuke and Ty, Cottesloe are starting to make more errors, and as if on cue knock-on just inside our half. Danny scoops up the loose pill and charges for 10m before being dragged to ground, he then releases and goes again for another 20m taking us within the Cottesloe 22m. We continue to throw runners at them, with Niko, Nuku, Reesjan all carrying strongly, and forcing Cottesloe to attempt increasing levels of shithousery (hands in the ruck, not rolling away, side entry) in and around the ruck to slow down our ball. The referee issues them a general warning, but they are lucky not to see yellow. Nuku takes a quick tap and charges at the line but is stopped, Josh then fires it to Chris Saulala, and they are unable to stop him from such close range.  Reesjan’s conversion takes us to 34-36 and the 4-try bonus point, but we want more. We are now guaranteed a Top 6 finish but it’s not enough. We want their Captain and President choking on the words Baysie were just the better team today and you boys deserved your win. Our boys sprint back to our half. They know they can win this!!

A Cottesloe knock-on on our 10m line gives us another chance to attack. We shift the point of attack wide and Sam George carries strongly. Cottesloe are trying all they can to slow our ball. We continue to carry into contact with venom, and we are straight there to clean and secure the ball. Josh attempts a quick dart from the ruck but is collared and is surrounded by 3 Pigeons, but Niko and Sam Faoagali work to get there and are accurate in their cleanout and ensure we retain possession. Reesjan comes into half and finds Brandon who carries into contact for the thousandth time today, his battered body spent as he lays on the ground in pain as the play moves away from him. Reesjan then goes wide again to Chris, who offloads over the top to Sam George who is tackled. Liam, Owen, and Chris dig deep to get there to clean and secure the ball. 78 minutes have been played and we are simply out working them. Stopsy gets to the ball and fires a bullet past Nuku (who gave half a thought to catching it before realising he was not the target) onto Ty’s chest. Ty burns past and through 4 players on a powerful 30m surge to the line for the go-ahead try.

Brandon is still on the ground receiving attention as Reesjan takes his time lining up the conversion to go 41-36 ahead.  He slots it coolly and jogs back as the referee blows his whistle. The fans on the sideline think that is game and scream in delight, but alas it is only the referee blowing time-off for the injured player… There is still 30 seconds to play, and we will need to close this out. We catch the re-start cleanly, and secure the ball. Stopsy confirms 30 seconds to go with the referee, and we look to control the clock with few safe carries before putting the ball into the touch. Unfortunately, the Universe has a penchant for providing more theatre than that, and if on cue Ty almost turns from hero to vaudevillian villain spilling the ball right on fulltime. There is enough time to pack the scrum only. These bloody Pigeons will get one last crack at us after all…

We pack the scrum, and it goes straight ground, re-set only. The ball comes out of the second scrum, and it is messy. Under pressure the Cottesloe replacement half flicks a ball out the back to Gio who knocks on back (apparently?) and then as he is pressured by Reesjan he knocks on back again (come on… Seriously?!). He then gets away from Reesjan and accelerates and nearly busts through, but Stopsy manages to grab him and hold on like grim death. They then go wide to the left to their 23 who steps outsides Keisuke’s attempted tackle and is only just grabbed by Reesjan, but manages to offload to their replacement Wing, who looks to be through until Danny cleans him up in a textbook tackle: if he misses they score, but he makes no mistake! Cottesloe are throwing everything at us, like a storm-surge tide on the beach below, but just as rocky cliff holds back the tide regardless of the force, our defensive line will not yield. We do however give away a penalty for being offside. Cottesloe kick to the corner and set up for a lineout 5m out. They throw to the 5th man who catches it cleanly, but just as he brings it down to pass to the back of the maul for the drive, they drop it! The referee has spotted it and that is game!! We have prevailed 41-36, and with that the long drought is over. The large contingent of travelling Baysie fans, players and coaching staff are in raptures. There is even the odd tear in the eye amongst those who have experienced the many dark days against these guys over the past 13 years. It is a famous and hard-fought victory and one that each and every player involved has earned over the past 80+ minutes through his blood, toil, tears and sweat.

There are a few quiet words exchanged on the field in recognition of what we have achieved today, but there is also a recognition that whilst the win is sweet, we have merely booked out ticket for the dance. There is still so much for us to play for this year, and it only gets harder from here. So, we will go into the worst changing rooms in Western Australia, we will sing our song with pride, but we will also not get too carried away because we have another job to do next week!

In lighter news, for anyone that has been following these write-ups since the Pally game, and who may still be concerned about what may have happened to poor Sweet Caroline, I am delighted to inform you that she was heard in the Cottesloe away dressing rooms last Saturday at approximately 5:40pm, and just quietly I think she maybe in line to make a few more appearances this year yet.

In closing, and borrowing again from my good friend Winston Churchill.

“Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

This is certainly not the end for us, and we now march on to the next phase of the FMG Premier Grade season with a mission to make the Top 4 and shake the established world order of WA Premier Rugby’s Golden Triangle. I leave you with this dear reader. We respect each and every team inside that Top 6, but we fear no one!!





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