Cottesloe premier grade built on their tremendous start to the season with a second win over a very competitive Coastal Cavaliers side over the weekend. In their inaugural season in 2018, the Coastal Cavaliers struggled to be competitive against many of the sides in the competition including Cottesloe, but it was apparent from how their lower grades performed and how the first five minutes of the premier grade match panned out, that they have massively improved. The score line ran out to 35-10 at its finish but it didn’t do justice to the fight put up by the home side from the south coast, nor the physical energy our men in blue had to expend to see the back of them.
The first half began in a cagey manner with Cottesloe looking to move it wider, whilst the Cavaliers looked to bludgeon their way through the middle using their big men. The swirling unpredictability of the wind neutered some of the Cottesloe attack as the ball constantly got held up in the breeze when passing was required over a distance larger than a few meters. This forced Cottesloe, who have been training and playing in pristine conditions so far this year, to try and adapt and go to plan B as it were and attempt to go more direct. Sasha Holloway, Lafa Ikenasio and Ethan Cayless had to carry thankless ball into heavy traffic for little reward and number 10 Ben Meredith was forced to take it into contact himself more than he would like. A fairly harsh yellow card on tight forward Ivan Fepule’ai allowed the Cavaliers to maintain the majority of possession for a sustained period in the middle of the first half and it was them who surprisingly struck first with a try. This shocked Cottesloe into a response and Simi Verata and Ivan (returning from his yellow card) struck back, using their power and pace to good effect. Cottesloe went into the break 14-7 ahead.
The second half began with ex-Cottesloe half back Charl Niewenhuis landing a colossal penalty from inside his own half and this brought the score to 14 points to 10, but this was as close as it got for the Coastal Cavaliers. As the second half wore on, Cottesloe became more and more accustomed to the conditions and were forcing the Cavaliers to make a lot of tackles. Josh Tuialii, a returning Ben Grant and introduced legend Kaisa Reidy started asking huge questions of the Cavaliers defence with ball in hand and the Cavaliers began to break physically and mentally, having to make so many tackles. This dominance allowed Ben Meredith to start bringing Nili Filea and Tamba Lebbie into the game and gaps began to appear. For the second week in a row, Cottesloe’s fitness proved the bane of their opponent. Cottesloe outscored their opponents by three tries to zero in the last twenty minutes through Zu Abrahams, French Enzo and a scrum try when Cottesloe’s front row obliterated the Cavaliers equivalent. A reasonably competitive and physically tough game turned into a rout and the beleaguered Cavaliers looked relieved when the final whistle was blown.
There were yet again a number of standout performances for Cottesloe in conditions that were not conducive to the way our men want to play. Debutant Josh Tuialii ran his heart out. Ethan Cayless proved to be an absolute pest and a menace at the breakdown. Tamba Lebbie, Sasha Holloway and captain Gafa S’ua carried loads of thankless ball into the Cavaliers defensive line. For this writer though, the player of the day was sprung from the bench when the score was 14-10, with 25 minutes to go. When he left the field after the final whistle, it was 35-10. This player was Kaisa Reidy. He played a substantial part in all three matches played over the day, thirds, ressies and prems and every time he appeared he made an impact. When he came on at premier grade he single-handedly demolished the Cavaliers front row at scrum time and absolutely evaporated some of their bigger ball carriers that came his way in defence. On his day there is no doubt in this writer’s mind, that Kaisa Reidy is in the argument for best player in the club.
This week the lads welcome newly made premier grade club Curtin University to the nest. They have endured a torrid start to the year and suffered some heavy defeats. The mantra spoken about in the senior squad during the pre season has been the concept of “ruthlessness” and there is no doubt that the boys in two blue will be looking to personify that attitude this weekend.