Ned­lands lose nail-biter

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Looklocalwa.com.au - Erin Bunn

A MUDDY bat­tle at the Fore­shore on Satur­day re­sulted in Kala­munda steal­ing the Rug­bywa Cup from Ned­lands by just one point in a thriller, thanks to a penalty off the boot of Aidan Shorthall in the dy­ing stages.

Kala­munda coach Grant Oak­ley said he was proud of the way his play­ers looked af­ter each other on the field and be­lieved per­for­mances like that meant they could do some dam­age later in the year.

“It was a hard game, but the boys dug deep and what we did out there ended up pay­ing off,” Oak­ley said.

Kala­munda got an early break with a try from Ul­rich En­gels. Ai­den Shor­tall made the con­ver­sion, tak­ing the score to 0-7 in the first five min­utes.

Kala’s No. 8 Leo Au­vaa set up the next try for the Bulls with a set of play straight out of the books, pass­ing off to Shor­tall who handed off to No.14 Ker­rod HignettStephens, who touched down for the vis­i­tors’ sec­ond of the con­test.

Shorthall failed to con­vert, to leave the score 0-12.

Kala played with ag­gres­sion, push­ing a re­silient Ned­lands de­fence closer to the line.

An off­side penalty al­lowed Kala­munda to take a kick in front of goals, but Shorthall failed to make the an­gle, leav­ing the score 0-12 at the 20-minute mark.

Des­per­ate to re­spond, Ned­dies man­aged to get the ball into the 22, push­ing through a strong Kala de­fence to take the ball over the line, only for the ref­eree to rule the ball had been held up.

The Bulls lead by 12 points at half-time.

Ned­lands came out swing­ing in the sec­ond half, with Stephen Reams­bot­tom scor­ing be­fore Terangi Fraser con­verted, re­duc­ing the mar­gin to five points.

With their con­fi­dence boosted, Ned­lands went search­ing for more points and found them when back­rower Shane Hemi forced, and the suc­cess­ful con­ver­sion put the hosts in front for the first time in the match, 14-12 af­ter 50 min­utes.

A strong play off the li­ne­out al­lowed Kala­munda to re­gain the as­cen­dancy, with En­gels storm­ing across the line and the con­ver­sion push­ing Kala ahead 14-19, with 20 min­utes to play.

Con­tin­u­ing the back-and-forth sec­ond half, Ned­lands prop Ken­neth Ma­caulay used his size and strength to bar­rel his way over the line from close range to set up a nail-bit­ing fin­ish as Ned­lands took the lead 21-19 with less than 10 min­utes on the clock.

A penalty to Kala­munda at the death set up a grand­stand fin­ish, with Shorthall lin­ing up the posts for a po­ten­tial match- win­ning strike.

True to form, Shorthall spilt the mid­dle to put the Bulls ahead 21-22 in the shad­ows of full­time.

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