Randwick Rugby Newsletter!
It was another big day at Coogee on Saturday and what started out so promisingly ended in disappointment in the afternoon. The morning shift proved fruitful yet again with big wins to 3rd & 4th Grade and 1st & 2nd Colts, with the only casualty being 3rd Colts.
Then to the afternoon. It’s getting to the point where we are considering changing 1st and 2nd Grades games time to the Today Show slot to see if it works! 1st Grade were well in it again, but some poor front-on defence and a controversial referee try reversal decision finally put out our fire of resistance against the defending premiers.
2nd Grade again managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory against the undefeated Gordon team. It’s very frustrating as this team should be the one undefeated this season with just an ounce of luck. Warning - don’t stand next to any of them in a thunder storm at the moment!
All these famous victories and painful losses will be covered in our Coaches Corner – with insightful match reports from weekend's games from the coaches or approved reps.
Thanks to Jo, Richard, Sebastian and all the team at Maloney’s Grocers who were our game day sponsor last Saturday and for donating such great prizes to raffle, with all proceeds going to our injured players. Let me tell you there are many in the MASH ward at present and this dreaded list was added to on Saturday. Ironically our club doctor Paul Raftos won one of the raffle prizes!
In Round 7 we take on Penrith up at the mountains in 1st Grade, 1st and 2nd Colts – the only teams they are able to field in the competition. Count to 10 Mark count to 10! The remainder of our male teams are either down at Woollahra ticking over against Easts in non-competition jousts, at Daceyville where our 4th Colts/UNSW boys take on Hills or have the day off.
Our Magic girls also return against Gordon on Saturday night at Latham Park.
This week we celebrate National Volunteer Week and boy (and girl….) doesn’t this club run on the proverbial sheep’s back in this area. We have some amazing folks who contribute so much across our entire operations from coaches, managers, ball boys, linesmen, medical staff, photographers and the like. Even the board members, do an absolute power of work behind the scenes to keep this club functioning operationally and financially. Apparently, I have their full support! DOH!!
Then there are those treasures and the absolute true believers of the club who are constantly giving. People like Dr Paul Raftos, Ric Mclallen, Peter Meagher, Dan Dowe, Mick Smith, Clarissa Luxford, Ray Jennings, Chris Fraser, Dr Adrian Cohen, Gina & Paul Whitehouse. Even a youngster like Caliian Porter. I don’t even have to ask – they just do it!
Not only it is confined to the senior club, but the whole spirit of giving is ingrained across our junior community via the district juniors committee led by Arthur Spellson and all the village clubs and their network of generous people. Thanks to one and all for what you do and the time you give – rugby couldn’t be what it is without it.
In that vein, hearing of our injury concerns last week we had a few ex-players reach out to come to training and cook a BBQ for our players to lift spirits. Driven by the great Kevin ‘KAPPY’ Phibbs (214 Games) he dragged along Tom Evans (256 games), Warwick Wheeler (232 games), his much-loved son and long-term manager Matthew. Then throw in Geoff James Jnr who has provided decades of service to this club and in surf lifesaving.
Plus, would you like an Ella with that? Yes sure – why not have two when you add in club legends like Glen and Gary Ella who happily come along to help and flip a sausage or 300. I’m sure many of our younger players didn't fully appreciate the rarefied company they were keeping. Their parents would have though!
That is the reason why this is the club beats the way it does and why we are so unique.
Our next home game at Coogee Oval is on Saturday May 29 vs Southern Districts and tickets are on sale now – click here to order yours. Joe Hayes and the crew at Wexted Advisors will be our match day sponsors for this important clash.
Plus, on that day there will be a 50 year reunion of our 1970-71 Colts players, which produced a couple of handy graduates such as John Maxwell and Pat Slyney. If you are of that vintage and would like to go, check out our Community Corner section for full details.
Again, plenty for your reading and viewing pleasure in this edition – so enjoy.
Up the Wicks!
Saturday was tough for our group, whilst we worked hard during the week, had identified and knew the strengths and opportunities the reigning premiers Gordon would present us, we were frustratingly unable to execute and compete for long enough periods of the game and ultimately fell short.
It was a topsy turvy affair early with both sides scoring points with relative ease, Randwick winning the lineout battle whilst Gordon were winning the scrum battle. A yellow card in the first half (an average refereeing decision in review...) to fullback Blaise Barnes and Gordon took full advantage with 2 converted tries in the 10-minute period.
However, we fought back and showed some glimpses of intelligent and exciting football, Tries to Mitch Short a double to Jackson Mohi and a tough maul try to Dave Vea were all positives on the day. With 15 minutes to play we wrestled some momentum and Jackson Mohi thought he had scored a hat trick, for it only to be disallowed and brought back for an off-ball incident 4 phases earlier in which Dave Vea and a Gordon player were shown yellow cards and we were penalised, a momentum halting moment in which the mental impact was clearly visible in our body language.
The last 12 minutes we faded poorly with no possession compounded by numerous scrum penalties, ultimately resulting in 2 late tries to Gordon blowing the score out to 47-27.
A long injury list meant multiple new faces in the change rooms and numerous starting debuts, congratulations must go to Blaise Barnes, Max Moore and Danny Allende for donning the famous 1st grade Myrtle Green jersey. We also had Oli Barden and Alex Hills play 1st grade again for the first time this year. It was also great to welcome back our Waratah Will Harrison for a 25 minute cameo on his return from injury and for the first time since the Argentina game in 2019.
The effort cannot be faulted, the boys are giving it a fair crack – but unfortunately a lot of our younger group are learning first hand that effort alone, does not get it done at this level.
The quality of our decision making in key moments, the connection in our defence and the accuracy of our tackling were not at the standard to win 1st grade matches and in order to improve these facets we will need to dig deeper and work harder.
As a coaching and playing group we can’t get bored of improving the basics, because being brilliant at the basics will get us back to winning. Up the Wicks!
1st Grade Head Coach
Gordon left Coogee Oval with 5 competition points effectively handed to them, after a poor day at the office set-piece wise and late-game management errors resulted in a 30-27 loss.
The first half saw some brilliant attacking footy from our back-line, with tries to Liam O'Connell, Henrik Anthony and Ben Duckworth. However, repeated poor discipline on the stroke of halftime gifted the Highlanders a free pass to march down the field and score, shifting the momentum of the game. At oranges, the score was 20-13 to the good guys.
Unfortunately, the second half saw a continuation of our poor discipline and unreliable set-piece, along with some soft defence. Despite a gutsy Wicks fightback that looked to have sealed the win, a knock-on 5m from the Gordon try-line 2 minutes from the final whistle turned into a length of the field turnover try, rubbing salt into the wounds.
Despite the frustration and disappointment of losing another winnable game, we remain in 5th spot on the ladder. Valuable lessons need to be quickly learnt for the group to realise their full potential.
With Penrith unable to field a 2nd-grade side, we'll enjoy the weekend off before facing Southern Districts at Coogee Oval in round 8.
Up the Wicks!
2nd Grade Head Coach
3rd Grade continued on our winning way with a comprehensive 29-14 win over a previously undefeated Gordon on Saturday.
The first half was close to our best of the season as we ran in 4 tries to nil. The backline clicked into gear with centres Lachie Day and Matt Stead laying the platform. Stead collected the first after Day made a clean break, followed by tries to wingers Bailey Collins and Hamish McDonald and the ever-present Ellis Hawker.
Ethan Cutler was superb in defence as well as being involved in our only second half try after running onto an off load from Kyle Harris and putting Hawker away for his second.
Unfortunately, our discipline fell away in the second half and Gordon attacked our scrum. After a couple of yellow cards, we allowed Gordon to restore some dignity with 2 late tries.
Plenty to work on but a good day at the office. Up the Wicks!
3rd Grade Head Coach
It was an early start on a great day at Coogee Oval, as we took on the Highlanders in the much-awaited Grand Final replay. We had to defend our line early, then with a turnover and some good straight hard carries and a break out wide saw us attacking 10 metres out. We forced them to sin and Kalan Talefunua kicked a penalty goal to draw first blood.
A great run down the touch line and some good attack up the middle had us poised to strike. Dave Tejcek swung the ball from one side to the other, stretching the defence, before Nic Andrews with eyes only for the ball, half-volleyed a pass off his toes, punch through the gap and scored wide out.
Our set pieces were solid all day and late in the half after some great carries and solid defence across the field, saw us with a lineout 10 metres out. A good throw, catch and maul structure saw our pack drive over Gordon, resulting in Jum Woodhill scoring with ease and sending the engine room expert coaches Joe and Tom into a frenzy of joy. (editor’s note … it’s a secret men's forward business thingo!)
We continued to apply the pressure up the middle, which saw Sam Connor scoot away from the back of maul for another try and we went to the demountables up 20-nil.
Gordon, not to be denied came out firing after the break and scored a try, but normal transmission soon resumed after some fresh reserves took the field and we amped up the pressure. Again, solid forward work was finished off with a bullocking run by Tim Reeves, on his long-awaited return from injury, to score wide out.
Then a final attacking onslaught saw Alex Harrod put ‘mighty mouse’ Sam Connor into space and under the sticks for his second try of the morning, which Kalan duly converted.
Gordon scored a consolation try after the bell had sounded, but we had already clocked off to go to the press conference to dissect the GF replay and our dominant 32-10 victory.
A very pleasing performance and well done to the boys and coaches. Up the Wicks!
4th Grade Director of Communications
1st Colts produced their best performance of the season, to overcome a highly regarded Gordon team by a 60-7 margin. It was a complete and dominant showing from the kick-off, with our guys controlling all areas of the game in the opening 15 minutes, and showing great patience to break down a stubborn Gordon defence.
Large stretches of possession led to penalties, earned penalties led to advantageous field position, and this field position ultimately led to tries.
Try sneak Lou Robinson scored our first try of the match, and another in the 16th minute, both off the back of very strong and positive forward play. At 19-0 Gordon were hanging on and remaining competitive, when the match was swung quickly by halfback Ky Willoughby, who set up two quick tries to build a game-winning margin. An excellent solo try to James Hendren before halftime gave us a 36-0 lead, capping our best 40 minutes of the season.
Injuries and subs disrupted our momentum in the second half, but we managed four further tries. The Gage Phillips show was spectacular, scoring twice himself and adding a try assist. James Hendren looked very comfortable as the starting 10, before leaving the field shortly after halftime with a leg injury. Ky Willoughby had his best game in a Randwick jersey, and all the forwards performed strongly at set piece and around the ground.
The coaches were all extremely proud of the performance, while acknowledging room for growth and improvement over the coming rounds – commencing with Penrith this week!
Up the Wicks!
1st Colts Head Coach
The coaching staff made good use of the bye week, using the time to study footage of Gordon which helped with preparations for the 2nd Colts match of the round at Latham.
Early pressure applied to the Gordon defensive line saw our hooker Barnaby Bickmore-Hutt force his way over for an unconverted try in the 7th min. More pressure from our pack laid the platform for repeated phases which saw winger Dom Moretti cross over again and we were up 10-0 after 18 minutes.
Moments later and again after many quick phases and recycled ball, busy tight head prop Will Smith scored and was converted by half Hugh Johnson.
Gordon eventually managed to get their hands on the ball but made the mistake of turning it over just outside our 22, where energetic number 8 Luke O’Shannessy busted some weak defence and galloped away, before popping the ball up to Pat Gooley to score the try of the match. Just before oranges, fullback Jake Jorgensen - who has a real habit of finding the line – did so again which saw us up a healthy 29-0 at the break.
Gordon hit back immediately on resumption scoring their first of the day, courtesy of some pretty poor Randwick defence. A few stern words from skipper Paddy Turnbull saw momentum swing back our way and our reserves brought fresh legs and real energy to our game. This was clearly shown, when Lachie Sarr burst his way through four Gordon players to score under the posts.
A momentary lapse in concentration saw Gordon pick up their 2nd try of the day, before
Sam Ridley making his 2nd's Colts debut, found himself on the end of some fantastic attacking play to rush over into the corner which was converted again by Johnson.
In the end a 43-12 win was good team performance against a much bigger and well coached side. We still have a few kinks to iron out before we take on Penrith, but we are pleased at how our season is progressing. Up the Wicks!
2nd Colts Co-Coach
3rd Colts had won 2 from 2 this season and with Gordon also holding the same record, a very tight tussle was expected. We started on the front foot and a couple of offside penalties against Gordon gave us an opportunity from a line-out 5 metres out. A well-executed maul saw that renowned try scoring machine Leeroy Davis pounce, to cross yet again, for the first points of the morning.
We continued to have the ascendency, but against the run of play, Gordon intercepted a long pass and scored under the posts. Then in the spirit of it never rains but it pours, they soon scored again, after exerting much pressure on our try line and diving on a loose ball at the back of our scrum to cross and lead 12-7 at the break. The momentum had completely swung after the that intercept and we never really recovered.
After the break Gordon continued their dominance and executed 8 turnovers in total and completely nullified our attack. Gordon took their opportunity with a quick turnover try midway through the half, but we lifted the tempo in response and our captain Lachie Sarr scored from a powerful pick and drive movement to get the score back to 23-12.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t maintain the rage and Gordon crossed once again close to full-time to run out deserved winners 30-12. We will need to dust this off and bounce back when we take on Easts at Woollahra. Up the Wicks!
3rd Colts Co-Coach
Check out our huge range of season merchandise at our online store The Wicks Shop.
Here you will find all the fabulous Wick’s supporter gear you need at your fingertips – from retro jerseys, jackets, hoodies, beanies, caps and a whole lot more. This now includes our retro corduroy caps which is the hottest selling item at the moment.
The Wicks Shop is open 24/7 online, plus we will also have all this merchandise available for sale at our next game at Coogee Oval on Saturday, May 29 vs Southern Districts.
Check out The Wicks Shop by clicking here.