An Unfit, small, slow, unskilled, not that smart and untalented (direct quote from Coach George's pre-match speech on Thursday) 3rd grade field took the field on Saturday and managed to keep their undefeated streak going. This streak goes all the way back to their last loss; a casual training hit out against the colts on Thursday and now stands at a remarkable talley of one consecutive games in a row without a loss!
Inspired by Georges rhetoric a team featuring no less than 9 men who have played premiere grade rugby in the past (including 3 who have played provincial level in New Zealand) managed to get a hard fought 34 – 20 win over Wanneroo.
The team welcomed back to the rugby fold Marshal Moran. As the smallest front rower in WA rugby the mini-smash certainly packs a punch and chops massive backrowers quicker than Michael Fotu chops pints, with less of the aftermath. His return to the field resulted in a Best on field achievement based on his outstanding tackling and ability to almost get to the gain-line.
Other outstanding contributions came from returning loosie Karl the grey ghost Leary. Several break out runs of his unfortunately fizzled out as his early onset dementia has robbed him of the memory of how to put boot on ball. Hopefully a few more trainings will reignite some muscle memory. Also to the fore was midfielder Tommy Foster, sporting bright pink headgear and firing off a barrage of fends followed by 1 meter gains. Sources close to Mr Foster have informed us that the headgear is purely his latest effort in his ongoing battle with Jessie McGuire as the clubs prettiest player. With Kieran Duffin gone this is a contest now wide open.
Also. Shagga’s back = Winning.
41-15 winners over Southern Lions - still looking for a match reporter!
This week brought Wanneroo to the Oasis. A handful of changes saw another makeshift 15 take the field. Regardless of who plays and who doesn’t, Reserve Grade rarely fails to impress and, knowing that his parents Kim & Lavina were in the stands this week; Mitch Short didn’t waste time in trying to show them that he was still the best mistake they ever made. A brilliant solo effort saw Mitch burst open the defence like one of Jack Lloyd’s belts after a KFC Family Feast. Some ordinary goal kicking from stand-off Nick Ward meant the scores remained at 5-0.
With regular coach Jerry tied up this week with the Fijian World Series Rugby Team, the boys were being looked after by local hunk, and new member of the Pally coaching setup, Darren (aka. Mr. July). Darren has been on a strict diet of lettuce and dust since he has joined the club in an effort to be body ready for the 2018 Pally Calendar photoshoot (also known as the Pallyndar), which takes place on the Bye Round of Week 12. We asked Darren why the calendar shoot was so important to him and he said (insert South African accent) “Part of my contract agreement with the club was that they promised me the centrefold spread. They used to call me Mr. Worldwide back home but then that bloody Pitbull stole it from me. I need to get my new name. My goal is for everyone to call me Mr. Perthect”.
With the conversation of Darren’s muscles taking place on the sidelines the boys were, ironically, locked in an arm wrestle on the field. Recent seasons had seen Pally make light work of the Wanneroo opposition, however halftime came quickly this week and saw Pally go into it with a narrow 17 point lead, courtesy of some terrific finishing from Irish recruit Fergus Jemphrey, scoring a double. The second half kicked off and it appeared to take much the same shape and structure as the first, with some inconsistent ball handling and sub-par aggression at the breakdown, the contest was certainly an even one.
A couple of 2nd half substitutions saw Keegan Dassler and Jonny Alston take the field, to provide some much needed youth and athleticism to the game. With an instant impact, Alston cleared the ball 70m downfield to give Wanneroo a defensive lineout just outside their own 5m line. The resultant lineout saw Kale Bissett steal possession and saunter over the line to add 5 points to the board. Scrum Half, Hayden, clattered the ball against the upright with the conversion and the players made their way back to their own half to field kick off. In an instant replay of 3 minutes before, the ball was recycled and cleared downfield, giving Pally a lineout deep in opposition half. After a couple of phases and excellent handling, the ever present Fergus Jemphrey popped out of a ruck/maul (whatever they are) and over the line to grab his hat-trick.
Final score of 48-10 to Pally probably flattered the boys a bit, after a valiant Wanneroo side certainly made a game of it.
Next week sees the club travel to Bayswater to take on another much improved outfit, and hopefully grab another win to help climb the ladder.
After Palmyra's Women's team kicked off their season with a 54-0 demolition of Cottesloe in Round 1, coach Leka Lolohea was determined for the team not to drop their guard in Round 2. In his search for inspiration he was reminded of the immortal words written about a fellow Tongan legend: "Remember rugby is a team game so all 14 of you pass the ball to Jonah." Unfortunately he misheard the quote and the Paly Women ran on for their first home game of the season against the Divaz Lionesses with the words, "All 14 of you pass the ball to Tara," ringing in their ears.
And the girls showed their ability to stick to a game plan with speedster Tara Reed dotting down for a try in the 3rd minute of the match. And then again in the 8th minute of the match. And then the 13th minute. And the 15th minute after that. In all seriousness, it was an incredible spell. Kendra Fell chipped in with two conversions to see Palmyra quickly run out to a 24 point lead. The combined Wanneroo/Southern Lionesses team were shell-shocked but did manage to regroup for an attack on the Paly line and were awarded a try. Unfortunately their joy turned to disappointment when referee Jeremy Appleyard realised he had mistaken the 5 metre line for the goal line, in a moment more painful than a Shana Wong knee injury. They did eventually manage to score the try - for real this time - but this was almost immediately cancelled by a try scored and converted by Wallaroos team mates Vesinia Schaaf-Taufa and Kendra to lead 31-5 when half time was called (3 minutes late, thanks Jezza).
The Divaz Lionesses ran out as a more cohesive unit in the second half, scoring the first 2 tries and cancelling out Paly's bonus point advantage. It wasn't until the 51st minute that the home team restored their advantage with converted tries to Tara (that name again!) and Josie-Lee Bird in rapid succession. The Divanessez scored a late consolation but Palmyra will take a 45-22 win and a 2-0 record into the bye, with the team's big Western Force contingent off to prepare for Sunday's match at NIB Stadium against Hong Kong.
With both teams sitting in the bottom half of the table, and the half way point of first round games fast approaching, neither team could afford a further slip up this week. The match got off to a nervous start from both teams, with mistakes and errors in abundance. Wanneroo eventually managed to break the deadlock by opening the day’s scoring to make it 7-0.
If it wasn’t for the boot of David (Duck) Neilson then Pally could have easily found themselves further behind quickly. With accuracy towards the posts bringing the scores back to 7-3 and a canon alleviating pressure from deep in their own territory, it was this boot (fresh from his recent netball injury) that kept Pally within arm’s reach of a spirited Wanneroo side. Perhaps a lack of urgency or an element of complacency (or both) had crept into the lads this week, but whatever the reason, things were not looking promising. Wanneroo continued to press bravely and were deservedly rewarded with a 2nd try to increase the lead to 14-3 in their favour. A further penalty strengthened their position to 17-3 and the reality of a further poor result was setting in.
This was certainly the case for spectators on the sidelines, but not for young winger Marcus of Arrindell - showing a terrific turn of foot to race on to a kick through and dot down in the corner to make it 17-8. Duck converted from out wide to close the gap to 17-10. With a renewed belief and a vocal home crowd, the next score didn’t take long to arrive, after some neat interplay and the first signs of urgency and desire, Sioeli scampered over on the opposite side of the field to bring the game back to 17-15. Unfortunately Duck was just off target with his conversion so the scores remained the same. Almost instantly after this, Wanneroo inside centre dummied and went clean through quicker than a vindaloo curry, dropping the ball onto his foot and beating the cover defence to the line to score Wanneroo’s 3rd of the afternoon to extend their advantage to 22-15. The missed conversion meant the difference was still 7 points and Pally were certainly not out of it just yet. A Wanneroo infringement allowed Pally an easy 3 points and the gap was down to 4 points. With the crowd once again lending their vocal support, the boys listened. Chris Miller burst through a couple of weak tackles before sprinting over the line under the posts, giving Duck an easy conversion to give Pally their first lead of the afternoon at 25-22, with only a few minutes left to close out a hard fought victory.
Alas, this was not to be. An infringement at ruck time gave Wanneroo an opportunity to tie the scores with the last kick of the game - something they gratefully took, leaving the final score a disappointing 25-25 draw.
Both teams walked off the field feeling they had the opportunities to win the game and will also feel the next few games to be even more important, if they are to make the top 6 after the first 12 games.
This coming week sees the boys face Perth Bayswater at Pat O’Hara Reserve. This is a MUST WIN game and we ask that anyone, and everyone, get across to Bayswater on Saturday to help the boys get the win they so desperately seek.
Updated 22:28 - 15 May 2018 by Palmyra Media