2024 Club Update – Round 03   Recently updated !

Bonsoir mes amis,

Welcome to the wrap-up of Round 3, as we reflect back on the trip to the ever sunny and exuberant Mountains Blue, and prepare to meet the first bye of the season (aka ‘wet weather round’), to then thereafter relaunch ourselves and host perennial competition front-runners Waverley Waves on the shores of Canada Bay on Saturday 18th May. It should be noted that the Drummoyne vs Blue Goats fixture was the only one that went ahead in 1st Division Subbies over the weekend, with all the rest appearing to have been rained out. Thus everyone bar the DDR and the Blueys will be boots-on next weekend whilst we contemplate our navels (and apples). But before that, let’s go back and consider the words of our long-suffering Coaches as they reflect on our recent foray to Lapstone Oval on Saturday 04 April 2024.

Sutherland Cup (5th grade) Lost 15-10
For the second week running, it was grand to see the Breakfast Club taking the field, this time on the ever-salubrious and bracing turf of Lapstone Oval, and contemplating the enormity of the Blue Goats that stood before them. And within the few, we happy few, we band of brothers, it was also great to see some returned faces with the likes of Oli Edwards and BigT Stuckey putting stitches in the jersey once more. Regarding the match itself, the opening forays were positive and the day looked to be Red for the taking with the Red Breakfast Club posting two pies to Rhys Harvey and Matt Webb, both unfortunately unsauced. However the Blue Goats were not done, as they came back into the match with two pies of their own, one sauced, and topped it off with a penalty goal to make the final score 15-10 to the Blue Goats. Ce sera sera.

Points were awarded with 3pts to Alex ‘Sky Captain’ Armistead, 2pts to Arthur Pichon and 1pt to Taylor Bevan.

One draw and one loss from two starts leaves the Breakfast Club in 5th spot with 3pts, ahead of Forest, Mosman and Lindfield, while the Blue Goats pull away to 2nd on 6pts. To be fair, the Blueys are fielding a 6th XV this year, so they do have good numbers. That said, it’s Waverley next for the Red Brekky Crew, who sit top of the table with 2 from 2 with BP’s and thus already on 10pts. So it’s boots on time boys to get the season headed in the right direction.

Judd Cup (4th grade) Drew 3-3
What is it with 4’s and draws? You can go years without playing in a drawn match and yet the 2024 Juddites have posted two of them in three games!

Comments from Supercoach Paulie were that, overall, it was a tough day at the office. Supercoach described it as a real tug of war, with both teams hammering the others try line, only for the opponents to secure a defensive penalty or hold the ball up over the line. Throughout the first half, the Red 4s struggled to get over the gain line against their girthy opponents. There were multiple phases of pods getting pushed backwards, or getting caught before the line and flatfooted, thus resulting in negative meters. And that combined with a poor sense of ball security, where we would work our way into good positions on the odd occasion, to only then throw that opportunity away with a wayward pass or a poor carry with no support. Set piece was largely the same, with our first few scrums taking a beating, but as the game progressed (and our opponents tired?) our ability to maintain good body height and provide clean ball improved to the point where we were actually dominant towards the end of the first half. Fortunately, lineouts were where Drummoyne was dominant from the outset, with Fraser Lamont owning the air. And so, from the midst of the maelstrom of frustrations and missed opportunities, the Red Juddites somehow managed to go to oranges at 3-0 up thanks to a Charlie Yeoman’s penalty.

According to Supercoach, the second period was much the same, with the Blue Goats very unlucky to not get across the Drummoyne line (to be honest). That said, while the Red Juddites were seemingly unable to mount a decent attack, Coach Heller effused that defensively it was one of the best and most committed efforts he had seen from a 4ths team, particularly given the Blue 12 was attracting 2-3 defenders each time he touched the ball. However/Thankfully, Blueys seemed unable to leverage that advantage and instead kept the game tight within their big pack. That said, the weight of possession, and probably fatigue, eventually triggered silly and basic penalties from the Red Juddites that allowed the Goats the opportunity to level, which they did with 10min left on the clock. The last 10mins were hard fought each way, and included the Blue Goats missing a number of penalty attempts, but ended in a 3-3 draw. Supercoach Heller was magnanimous in acknowledging the Blue Goats played well, used their size and were as ‘tough as boots’. That said, he was clear the DDR have no fear of the ‘big fellas’ and look forward to having them at home, on a larger paddock, later on in the campaign.

Points were awarded as 3pts to Fraser Lamont, 2pts to Josh ‘Everywhere’ D-Craig, and 1pt to Etoni ‘Tonga’ Alone.

Remarkably, with two draws and a loss, the Red Juddites sit 5th on table with 5pts, with Blueys now in 3rd on 6pts. Next up it’s Waverley Waves who sit a-top the Judd table with 2 from 2 and 9pts, but with a game in-hand. And thus our future is where it should be – in the hands of those gutsy enough to take it.

Whiddon Cup (3rds) Drew 17-17
The Whiddon Warriors continued on their line of close-run games, but this time refining the art of close games to close to a finite point: a draw. As per 5ths, the Red Men opening was strong with an unsauced pie to Vili, and then a second pie to Stu Hammond, sauced by Nic Scully, setting up the foundations for what looked to be a good win. However the Blue Goats came roaring (bleating?) back into the game with two sauced pies of their own. Another Red pie appeared to secure the match, but a late penalty goal to the Blueys saw them erase the slender Red lead and draw up level pegging. And that was how the curtain finally fell.

Comments from Supercoach Scully were that, with 4 of the regular backs unavailable, anxiety levels only increased again with Will ‘No Cash Bartos’ Barton’s shoulder dislocation early in proceedings. However the Red Juddites filled the breach and, despite being again significantly out-sized, the lads stayed in the game and didn’t go into their shells, as typified by Nic Scully chancing his arm and snatching a crucial intercept. Likewise, Joe Colley’s return was welcomed and he combined well with the now-cobbled-together team to bake another pie. Thus a 12-0 Red lead was taken into oranges and the lads seemed to have the situation in-hand. Into the second stanza, some massive hits were exchanged between Kieran Craven and his brother in law, the Bluey’s club captain, with the sides appearing to be playing for their own Craven/Kenny cup. He also made Sam McKenzie’s day out a memorable one, with Sam taking shots every which way, or so it seemed. Supercoach Scully continued that the Blue Men seemed to gel better with the Referees match interpretations in the second half and, in a mirror of last year’s visit to Lapstone Oval, the scores were eventually evened up by a Marinera’s Trench penalty (so deep it was scary) that gifted the Blue Goats the draw.

In summation, Supercoach Scully waxed lyrical about Iggy Kettle earning 3pts for being unrivalled in his dogged defence, particularly on the try line, and how halfback Tom Sidgreaves was ‘battered like a saveloy’ but kept springing back up again all game and so collected 2pts. Jim Davis also came in for warm mention regarding his efforts at 12 and the 1pt he was duly awarded. Plus there was also special mention about Stu ‘Old Man’ Hammonds return to 3rds and his slow-motion try (???).

Three matches played for one result of each kind means the Red Widows are in 3rd spot on ladder, tied with the Blue Goats on 7pts. And so the Red Widows now eye-off the Waverley lads, who were our Whiddonian nemesis last year, and are currently ensconced in 1st spot, with two from two for ten points and so having to play a catch-up game this coming weekend. For whom will the week-off bell toll?

Barbour Cup (Colts) Won 14-10
After three such frustrating outcomes on the day for the DDR, it was grand to see the Young Guns come through in the manner expected. Essentially, it was two sauced pies to the Red Barbourians to the Blueys two unsauced pies that sealed the deal. But of-course there is more to the story than just that.

Comments from Supercoach Rowdy were that it was grand to see the Colties return to the winners circle, particularly against a much larger Blueys team. Rowdy enthused about the fast start from the Red Men, which saw a Nick Baksa assist from a well-worked lineout move put Josh Rhodes in for a pie in the corner, with the sideline conversion by Captain Fantastic Nick Long being a work of art. However from there, the match see-sawed from one end to the other, with the Goats using their size and smaller field to their advantage, ultimately leading to Blue Mountains pulling back an unsauced pie of their own, to go to oranges 7-5. Rowdy continued that the ‘lads were sparky’ over the break, not intimidated in the lightest, and confident they could go with it. And so, whilst Blueys ran their subs smartly in the second half, their efforts weren’t enough to hold the Red lads nor stop a rampaging Owen Lenord from scoring in the corner, with another fantastic long-range conversion from Nick Long icing the cake. Blue Mountains weren’t done, and they managed another try, but the Red Barbourians controlled the situation well, and the game ended with a well-earned Red victory.

3 points went to Jordan ‘cabana boy’ Lancaster (3), who was notable for his great positional play. 2pts were awarded to Josh Rhodes, whose cut eye did scarce to erase his impact (and ‘chicks dig scars’ anyway, so I’m told). And1pt went to each of Fletcher Hardwicke, whose scrummaging is getting better each week, and Tom McClaren who led and linked brilliantly all day. Special mention also goes to Xander Phillips whose leadership in the lineouts was the best so far this year, and Lachlan Findlay who received man of the match honours from the referee.

With 2 wins from 3 starts but no bonus points, the Red Barbourians are currently 3rd on table with 8pts, whilst Mosman and Hunters still in 2nd and 1st spots, but each with a game in-hand. That said, it’s a cracker of a star for the Colts compared to years gone by. Accordingly, spirits are high as the lads set their sights for a successful season to come.

Burke Cup (2nds) Won 10-7
Continuing on from the Colties good form, it was grand to see the Burkies get their 1st win of the season-proper up on the board. After seeing the Blue Goats post the first pie and sauce, the lads responded with a pie to Vanezi with sauce squirted by Lachie Palm. And despite the programme showing Jordy as sampling fromage during the match, it was Lachy Palm who stepped to the fore and slotted the penalty goal when needed to see the lads squeak home on the scoreboard for a stress-relieving win.

Comments from Supercoach Woz were that, following the tight and even contests all day, the mighty Red Burkies trundled out onto Lapstone Oval as the storm clouds gathered, aware they needed to lay down a marker – both for themselves and the club. But in a worrying repeat of Colleagues, the Blue Goats completely dominated the first half, surprising the visitors with their attacking width and intent. As such, it seemed almost inevitable that the Blues would score, as they did via a well-worked overlap into the corner. That said, Drummoyne’s attitude in defence has been a feature of the opening three rounds. And so, relying on their defence to help find some composure, the Red Men began to grind back into the fray. Accordingly, after oranges, the deficit was erased via a sparkling ball-in-hand effort from Christian ‘Houdini’ Vanezi. And from there, where Drummoyne had been anxious in the first half, they became increasingly methodical and confident in their attacking play to the point where a second meat-pie beckoned, only to fall centimetres short. However a penalty advantage favoured the eastern visitors, and so Lachie Palm stepped to the tee again and cooly slotted the penalty to grab the lollies with a 10-7 win.

Points were awarded with ever-improving Frenchman Tom Estaque getting the 1pt, probably for his on-bus performance more than anything else, while Corey ‘Captain Fantastic’ Griffin’s sheer naked drive to win earned 2 points, leaving the occasional wine & cheese merchant Vanezi to grab the 3pts.

The win sees the Red Burkies as 4th on ladder currently, subject to change as everyone else (bar us & Blueys) plays out their game in-hand. Potentially it is the Burkies who have the most to lose among the club from the break as the interruption may jolt their hitherto building momentum. However the team has significant experience within it and, ably piloted by Supercoach Woz, will most definitely be keen to maintain their focus for the upcoming challenge of table-topping Waverley on their next outing.

Kentwell Cup (1sts) Lost 33-13
Speaking frankly, the Blue Goats put on a bit of a show. And while the Red Kentwellians dug in like so many ticks, and the cheesy cards were shown about in either direction, the Blue Goats did display the sort of sustained attack and execution that made them last years premiers and this years favourites again. However it has been stated from a number of sources that the Red defensive effort was pretty impressive and I can relate that it left a definite impression on all that did see (and feel) it.

Comments from Supercoach Mick were that the general mood of the lads was quite high to be joining in on the annual bus trip to the foot of the Blue Mountains to take the on the reigning premiers. And that mood continued through the warm-up and into the match, even though the heavens seemed to open on que from the initial whistle-blast, and hammer down with the rain that had been threatening to break all day. And ‘hammering’ seems an apt word to apply as that’s also pretty much what the Blue Goats did from that whistle blast, with wave after wave of attack smashing into the Red try-line defence. But it must also be noted that it took some 12-15min of relentless pressure before the Blueys eventually managed to breech the Red Wall for an initial pie out wide, duly sauced, to take a 7-0 lead. And that model seemed to set the tone for the next period of play, which was largely rinse and repeat, as an inspiringly formidable Dirty Reds defence kept their much larger opposition the other side of the chalk for what seemed like an eternity, until the Ref pulled cheese to send the Rend Kenty’s to 14 men and thus facilitated the Goats second try, allowing them to skip out to a 12-nil score line. From there, it was finally Drummoyne’ turn to get some ball. And with a dominating scrum and persistent attack harassing the opposition, it was only the Goats strong defence and a few un/lucky breaks (depending on your jersey colour) that limited the Red Men to only 2 penalty goals from Ben Halmarick to take it to oranges at 12-6 to the Blue Goats.

With time to regather, the lads were confident at half time that they had weathered the Blue Mountains best. And so, led by Captain Courageous Alex Conolly, they retook the field resolute and committed to continuing their efforts in defence, feeling that the points would then come their way. However it was not to be as the Blue Goats went on to remind folk of their premiership credentials, by going up a gear and posting 3 unanswered pies. It was beginning to look dire for the Reds. But the Red Kenty’s rallied and, with some damaging defence, deft kicks and committed chasing, reinserted themselves back into the game and even clawed back a converted pie to Ben Faavae. And that’s how it ended.

After the game, the general mood in the huddle was disappointment, but with a dash of surprising buoyancy, as the general feeling was that, whilst credit must go to the winners, the final score was felt to be somewhat flattering to the home team. As such, Supercoach Mick was adamant that the Red Kenty’s should hold their heads high and be confident that with a dry pitch, on a full sized field and at home for the round 2 clash, they can ‘do what needs doing’ before then look forward to meeting the Goats again in the semifinals.

Points went as follows: 3pts to Alex ‘No Pies’ Connolly, 2pts to Liam Doyle and 1pt to James ‘Malherbe’ Sheppard, with a sideline vote to Jordy ‘Two Cards’ Dehaarte for achieving a remarkable double cheese over two all-beef patties grades (according to the match records).

The loss sees the Red Kenty’s harboured at 3rd with 8pts for the time being as others catch up their game-count. Conversely, the Blue Goats skip out to 15pts, 5pts clear of 2nd placed Mosman, but again to be considered in the context of a game in-hand advantage (for now). Waverley sit in 4th spot on 6pts from a win and a loss, but with a game yet to play. So the middle of the Kentwell table is beginning to get crowded as teams jockey to see who may challenge the early-season strength of the Blue Goats. And thus, despite the loss, the Red men are in reasonably good stead from which to lick their wounds and refocus themselves accordingly to take on the lads from Bondi Heights in a fortnights time.

And so there it lies, with draws in 3rds and 4ths, losses in 5ths and 1sts, and wins to 2nds and Colts – a disappointing, but evenly split day. As ever, we thank the Blue Goats for their hospitality, and give a Big Ups to Vanezi, Tommy Botting and Co for sorting the buses.

With no game this weekend, we can all put our feet up. You may get down to the Akasha brewery to support our sponsor, or enjoy a tipple of Sew & Sew vino, or just enjoy watching some rain fall while others chase silly white and red coloured balls around different shaped fields in places both near and far. Either way, enjoy your weekend off. But be sure to get your head in the right place for the coming challenge as-posed by the Waverley Waves, to be faced at home on the shores of Canada Bay on May 18.

That said, there is no rest for some, with a good contingent of slightly more venerable Red Men recently showing a different sort of toughness, but nonetheless an enormous commitment. For those unaware, the likes of Luke Byrnes, Joey Hansell, Dave Mew, Alex Perkins, Andrew Phillips and Matty ‘Pieman’ Pride, who have all worn our red jersey with pride and distinction in recent years, all contested the Port Macquarie Iron Man over the last weekend. To be clear about it, it’s a 4km swim, a 180km bike ride and a 42km run that kicked off around 7am and which took most folk somewhere around 11-15hrs in the Hurt Locker to get through. Well done lads, that’s a fair effort in anyone’s book. And while Perko wasn’t in the pic for some reason, I have it on good authority he did make it home alive completing the half iron man (I probably wouldn’t have).

Anyway, that’s enough for this iteration. Have a grand weekend off doing whatever you’re doing.

Boire le vin.