Round 18 v Sydney University

Round 18 v Sydney University

This match was the last in a relatively disappointing season for the Two Blues, and the last in a 10 year career in first Grade for Andrew Cox.

The team, although trying hard, seemed a little flat in the first half. As the half progressed, lack of ball control presented Uni with many attacking opportunities which they grabbed hold of with glee. Uni scored six tries, only one unconverted, with Parramatta’s only score coming from a now characteristic slashing 1 metre try from Andrew Cox in the 35th minute. The half time score was Uni 40, Parramatta 5.

The half time talk by the coaches seemed to have some positive effect on the Parramatta play. The two Blues started out with somewhat better ball control, but a turnover eventually stopped some good attacking play. After about 5 minutes Andrew Cox scored another characteristic 1 metre try after good work by the forwards. This was converted by Hayden Cole to take the score to Uni 40 – Parramatta 12.

From the restart there was some really good work by Hayden Cole and replacement hooker Sefo Setefano, but as so frequently happens, this was nullified by a turnover.

Uni scored another length of the field try from two toed-through kicks and this was converted from the sideline to take the score to Uni 47 – Parramatta 12.

Two parramatta penalties and the binning of a Uni player for a high tackle, then led to a Robert Duff try in the corner after a terrific pass by David Lolohea. This was converted by Hayden Cole to bring the score to Uni 47 Parramatta 19.

Halfway through the half Uni again scored a converted try after a Parramatta turnover. Uni 54 – Parramatta 19.

An attacking raid saw Parramatta knock on over the Uni line, but the referee was playing a penalty advantage , and from the restart Sefo Setefano scored a good try which was converted by Hayden Cole Uni 54 – Parramatta 26.

Four more Uni tries were scored after scrappy Parramatta play to take the score to Uni 82 – Parramatta 26 on the verge of full time.

In one last hurrah by Parramatta, Hayden Cole scored a fine try in the corner after the bell to take the score to Parramatta 31 Uni 82. The conversion attempt by that well known kicker, Andrew Cox, saw the ball just shave the posts (that’s Andrew’s story, and he is sticking to it !).

The results for the day saw Uni retain the Club Championship, which was well deserved. The only Parramatta winner was the young  Third Grade Colts team who managed to knock off the front running Uni team to make it into the playoffs (vs Uni again) next week at Foreshaw Rugby Park. Parramatta supporters should turn up in droves to support this team which will hopefully provide many players in Parramatta’s future successes.

I am sure Andrew would have liked to go out with a better result, but can look back with some satisfaction at a ten year career in First Grade, and a total 21 year career with Parramatta in juniors colts and grade.

Report by The Thommo Phantom.

Round 17 V Eastern Suburbs

Round 17 V Eastern Suburbs

This match was played at McKay Oval in Centennial Park due to upgrading work at Easts home ground. Luckily it was a beautiful afternoon, but even so the spectator facilities at the ground soon had many of the onlookers wishing longingly for the lush facilities of Merrylands RSL Rugby Park!  We hope for the sake of Easts, that the work on Woolarah Oval will soon be completed. The hard central cricket pitch area, had one old Parramatta forward who shall remain nameless (but who normally writes match reports), reminiscing about smashing opposition (and in turn being smashed) on cricket pitch centre fields all over Sydney.

Parramatta took the early lead in the match due to a Haden Cole penalty. Unfortunately this did not last, with Easts scoring in the 5th and 10th minutes to take the score to Easts 10 Parramatta 3.

In the 22nd minute David Lolohea scored after Parramatta controlled the ball for 16 phases – yes, (this is not a typo) 16 phases. The conversion by Hayden Cole levelled the scores. In the 28th minute, from a scrum inside the Parramatta half Jaline Graham pushed off an Easts defender, making a break down the right hand side of the field. His pass found the flying Hayden Cole who scored in the right hand corner. Unfortunately Hayden’s conversion from near the sideline hit the post, leaving the score at Parramatta 15 – Easts 10. This try has since appeared on Facebook as a nomination for try of the year.

In the next eight minutes Parramatta had a deal of luck as Easts missed scoring two tries due to firstly a knock on and then a forward pass.

Waldo Wessels made a terrific 35m break late in the half, but unfortunately, due to several turnovers, Easts found themselves camped on the Parramatta line on halftime. The game extended 5 minutes or so due to a series of Easts penalties from a repeatedly reset scrum. Easts were eventually awarded a penalty try taking the half time score to Easts 17 Parramatta 15.  During the half, Parramatta were heavily penalised in comparison to Easts, and this combined with a general failure to control possession, led to a heavy defensive workload.

The second half saw Easts score after 4 minutes after a Parramatta turnover. A Hayden Cole penalty in the 8th minute saw the score go to Easts 24 Parramatta 18.  Another good break by Jaline Graham a few minutes later was looking promising until a knock on inside the Easts quarter ended the raid.

Another try to Easts following several Parramatta turnovers took the score to Easts 38 Parramatta 18 and the match was starting to have a familiar look. In about the 25th minute Parramatta received a penalty when an Easts player was binned for a high tackle.  From the resulting play, Waldo Wessels almost scored before the scraps were picked up by Andrew Cox who scored near the right hand corner. This was to be Parramatta’s last score for the match. Easts 38 Parramatta 23.

Several more Easts tries resulted in the final score being Easts 52 Parramatta 23.

Once again, nobody could question the effort of any of the Parramatta players. Both props had strong games and all of the forwards played their hearts out. Jaline Graham, Waldo Wessels,  and Hayden Cole made good breaks and Waldo gave smart service to his backline who all played enthusiastically.

Overall, Easts scored most of their tries from broken play when Parramatta did not have their defence set. Better control of possession would have minimised this broken field play and restricted East’s scoring, as well as minimise Parramatta exhaustion from defending. Ironically, a count of Parramatta possession reveals that over all they did a better job of holding the ball in the second half than the first, but the consequences of a turnover in the second half had greater scoreboard repercussions.

The current first grade team is relatively inexperienced, so hopefully if they can stay together and keep their enthusiasm better ball control and more wins will come with greater experience.

Congratulations to the third Grade Colts team who have already made the playoffs, and who will fly the Two Blues flag proudly in the men’s competition.

Finally, good luck to Thommo who is off exploring the Queensland outback and Uluru. I guess we will see him again before the wet season sets in.

The Thommo Phantom


Round 16 v Northern Suburbs

Round 16 v Northern Suburbs

Parramatta  v Northern Suburbs, 22nd July, 2017, Merrylands RSL Rugby Park.

Today Parramatta and Norths play for the Rod Phelps Cup. Rod played for both clubs in the 1960s and 70s. He was also captain coach of Norths and Parramatta. Rod is true believer of the Shute shield having won 2 premierships at Sydney University and a premiership with Northern Suburbs.  Rod coached Parramatta to 2 premiership grand finals in 1974 and 1975. The Parramatta team going down to Northern Suburbs 1975, 9-6 in a penalty only game.  Rod a played 6 years for Norths and then 6 years for Parramatta. It was Rod, along with Club patron Eric Tweedale, who initiated the Parramatta Juniors and put Parramatta on its course to its first premiership in 1977 coached by Peter “Fab” Fenton. Rod played 22 tests for Australia. Rod is a true gentleman of the game of rugby and refused to be lured by the professional code.

The match starts. Norths are running north and take the kick. Parra kick through and Norths quickly return the kick to our fly half Puka Malo who puts up a mid-field bomb and chases. Puka nearly regathers but the Norths number 8 virtually snatches the ball out of Puka’s hands. Norths spread right and score after 2 minutes in the north eastern corner. Norths 5, Parra 0. The conversion is unsuccessful. The kick restart witnesses Robert Duff taking the high ball and running it up to Norths. Robert is still driving forward when he is penalised for not releasing. First penalty to Norths. Norths’ kick for the line and from the lineout take the ball forward. Centre Sam Hayward is penalised for a high tackle. It looked alright to me. The player still had his head and he was tackled around the shoulders. Maybe it was the facial he received. Norths take the penalty conversion. Norths 8, Parra 0.

The kick return, and Norths take the ball and bring it forward. Coxie takes the man as he bounces off he is deflected into a lazy arm tackle from prop Nigel Vaifale. It is a nothing and Nigel receives a yellow card. Amazing! We can’t get the rub of the green. Norths kick deep and Parra are defending well as Norths spread the ball left with wide passes. In the final pass is given wing Josh Tupuola puts is hand out and knocks the ball forward. The ref awards a penalty and yellow cards Josh for a deliberate knock down. Come on ref, at worst it’s a penalty. Talk about giving Norths a leg up. Where are Norths coming ? Fourth or something and we are 11th? Give us a break! Thirteen men against 15. Real fair! After 9 minutes of play. From the penalty line out Norths spread left and Parra hold the man up. It should be a penalty to us. Use or lose it! The ref awards a Norths’ scrum. Prop Brendan Crosilla replaces Riley Jacobsen while Nigel is in the bin. From the scrum Norths spread left and nearly fall over while scoring the try next to the posts. Norths convert. Norths 15, Parra 0.

From the restart Norths take the ball forward then spread left with wide passes. We have only 13 men as Norths run the down the sideline. I believe there is a hint of a forward pass as the left winger races down and cuts in passing to the North’s half. The conversion is successful. Norths 22, Parra 0 after13 minutes of play.

The restart kick witnesses Norths’ flanker penalised for offside. Parra kick to the eastern sideline for a lineout. Nigel and Dan Tamone are back. Parra turns the ball over after 5 phases of play. Norths kick deep to Parra’s 22 metre. Parra ball as half Waldo Wessels does a box kick. Norths run the ball back left and then the Norths’ fly half puts in a chip kick. The ball finds the Norths number 8 who scores.  Unbelievable! If we kicked we would be punished with a try. North’s are running with confidence and it is all coming off. The conversion is successful. North’s 29, Parra 0 after 20 minutes of play.

Parra from the kick restart are dominating and complete 6 phases of play until centre Sam is caught at the bottom of the ruck. We are penalised for not releasing the ball. Norths are killing the ruck and we are penalised as we go forward! Norths kick to our 22 on the western side. Norths are just playing touch football with us as they move the ball both right and left before they score. Too easy, nobody to blame here. The conversion is unsuccessful. Norths 34, Parra 0.

Norths’ next try is just about sustained pressure and backing up. Parra held the ball for at least 10 phases of play before we kick.  Fortunately Parra follows through and we able to force a turnover. Half Waldo grubber kicks to the western side line to find touch. Unfortunately the ball didn’t go out allowing Norths to mount a counter attack. Norths’ number 8 is able to break our line with a good run. Parra don’t number up and Norths play touch football until they score. Norths converts. Norths 41, Parra 0. From the kick return Parra are penalised again for offside. Nothing is going our way. Norths never released the ball or rolled away. The next penalty Nick Blacklock takes the ball forward through the ruck and puts the ball between his legs. Parra again is penalised for not releasing. Parra defend valiantly but the weight of possession by Norths eventually means  Norths are able score again through very good line speed. The conversion is unsuccessful. North’s 46, Parra 0 with 2 minutes to go to half time

The kick return witnesses Norths’ controlling the ball really well and being able to change the direction of attack from one side to the other. Parra are eventually outnumbered again and Norths score out wide in the north eastern corner Norths are unsuccessful with the conversion. Norths 51, Parra 0.  The half time score, signals it’s going to be a long day at the office. The rub of the green has not gone with us and Norths’ line speed is ripping us apart. Everything they do sticks and makes us look pedestrian. It is going to be a cricket score if we don’t muscle up. Hooker Nick Blacklock has been replaced by Brendan Crosilla.

Second half, and Parra kick off north and we are all over Norths like a rash with some very good play. Parra swing the ball both left and right driving to North’s line. Parra are awarded the first penalty of the second half for Norths being offside.  Parra attacks the line through prop Nigel Vaifale. We swing the ball left and the boy’s efforts are awarded with another penalty.  Norths were offside 5 metres out on the left of the goal posts. Parra take the scrum. Half Waldo goes left and passes to fly half Puka Malo who darts forward passing to centre Robert Duff who powers to the try line. Great work boys! Great try! Fullback Hayden Cole converts with his lucky white sock. North’s 51, Parra 7.

From the kick return Parra display enterprising football trying to get out of our own 22.  Eventually Parra is able kick deep into touch on the eastern touch line. However, Parra do not chase the ball. The Norths’ winger throws in a quick ball and Norths run back at us down the short side scoring in the south eastern corner. Unbelievable! Norths have so much confidence in running the ball. Norths convert. Norths 58, Parra 7. The restart of play witnesses Parra camp in Norths 22 for 12 phases of football. Great work as we finally turn the ball over Norths kick into our 22. Parra is then able force its own turnover and kick deep. Parra are applying the pressure however, we knock on for Norths’ scrum on North’s 10 metre. Hooker Sefo Setefano replaces Bredan Crosilla. Parra are penalised for offside play and North’s kick to the eastern touch.  It is caught by wing Josh Tupuola on the full and brought back. North are penalised for a high tackle on lock Michael Ross. Parra win the penalty lineout and charge Norths’ line with some very good play. Fullback Hayden puts in a grubber kick with Norths forcing the ball for a 22 kick. Parra bring the ball back through the forwards with hooker Sefo making some good gains as the forwards hit the ball up through the centre of the field. Full back Hayden Cole is standing shallow of the back of the ruck as half Waldo gives Hayden a short ball.  Hayden accelerates through the centre of Norths team and scores under the posts. Hayden converts his own try. North’s 58, Parra 14 with 20 minutes of play left. Well done boys a great try. Both our tries have been very good.

Norths kick out on the full for a Parra scrum on half way. Parra takes on Norths with great recycled ball. We then turn the ball over with a stab kick to the in goal. Parra are penalised for offside for a Norths lineout on half way. Norths come back left and are very good at setting up the inside man when they get to the fringes. Norths then set and go again. Parra force the turn over and take the ball back at Norths.  Parra kick through again and Norths are given the ball which is then followed by a penalty for Parra being offside. There is 15 minutes of play left. Norths take the scrum 5 metres out. Norths kick through into the in goal and the ball is grounded by flanker Dan Tamone.  Parra kick out from the 22 and Norths run it back us as prop Nick Blacklock makes a great tackle. I can’t work out what Nick has done. It didn’t look high but the Ref pulls out a yellow card. This is our third innocuous card. Nick hobbles off with a hamstring injury. Norths kick for touch 5 metres out on the western sideline. From the lineout Norths spread wide and scores in the eastern corner. The conversion is unsuccessful. Norths 63, Parra 14 with 10 minutes to go.

From the kick return Parra force a turn over and replacement Amos Viiga takes the ball forward towards Norths’ goal posts. Parra are working hard with the pick and drive and are putting Norths under immense pressure. As the ball spreads left Norths replacement player knocks Dan Tamone’s pass down.  Wing Joey got marched for this. What’s the difference? Parra are awarded a penalty. Parra scrum 5 metres out. Parra then pick and drive across the field both left and right. Finally Hooker Sefo flips a beautiful pass to Captain Andrew Cox who scores in the north west corner untouched. Liam Tully has replaced Hayden Cole as the kicker and takes the kick 22 metres out. Liam is as cool as ice and quietly coverts a difficult kick. Norths 63, Parra 21

The restart witnesses Norths kick out on the full for a Parra scrum on half way. Norths wheel the scrum and Parra are penalised. Norths kick to our 5 metre for a penalty lineout. Parra are again penalised on the line for not rolling away on our line. Norths don’t need this type of help. I am feeling a little frustrated. I need counselling. Norths kick to our 5 metres in the south west corner. Norths take the ball down into a rolling maul and score.  The Norths kicker doesn’t make any mistakes and rubs salt into our wounds. The final whistle sound full time. Norths 70, Parra 21.  Well boys you came back winning the second half with scoring 3 good tries 21 to 19.

Congratulations Northern Suburbs for your great win and retaining the Rod Phelps Cup. It was very good to see both teams pose arm in arm for a group photo with the cup at the end of the game. Rod would be very pleased as rugby was the winner and game was played in the right spirit.

New stadium slated for Granville Park

New stadium slated for Granville Park

If Cumberland Council Administrator Viv May gets his way a new Cumberland Oval may rise from the ashes in Granville Park next year.

The existing sporting facilities at Granville Park would become unrecognisable under a bold plan to replace the outdated structure along Montrose Avenue with a new, state-of-the art pavilion including major upgrades to the playing fields estimated to cost $9 million.

Former Cumberland Oval was burnt down following Parramatta League’s first premiership victory in 1981. It is now the site of the new Western Sydney Stadium.

To recognise the new local government area Mr May has asked the General Manager to liaise with the appropriate authorities to have Granville Park renamed Cumberland Oval.

Mr May said he was disappointed that he was not in a position to approve the project prior to the caretaker period a month out of the September election.

“I am not in the practice of raising community expectation with financial fantasy but I had to wait for the Council’s resource plan which was approved at the last meeting. The plan clearly shows the project is affordable,” Mr May said.

Council has released early concept work that shows a modern facility boasting ample elevated seating for a better crowd experience, four change rooms for male and female athletes, strength and conditioning gym and separate rooms for time keepers and referees.

“Western Sydney routinely produces world class athletes. Unfortunately the stadiums and grounds they train on and compete on are rarely of the same calibre,” Mr May said.

“There are too many past their use by date and women’s participation in organised sport has been neglected.

“Council has commenced an audit of what it has, but also, more importantly, what it needs. It will be up to the incoming councillors to set the priority.

“Hopefully the days of its not what you know but who you know are gone.”

The proposal has found an enthusiastic backer in the resident Two Blues Rugby Union Club. Craig Morgan, General Manager of the Two Blues, agrees something

“A new facility would be absolutely huge for us. Our current one just isn’t up to scratch for a premier level club,” Mr Morgan said.

“Our existing facilities make it hard for us to attract and retain players. The Shute Shield is televised on 7TWO but we lose out on potential sponsorship and promotional opportunities because the producers won’t film our home games.

“A great facility is not only good for us. It will lift the reputation of the whole area. At the moment when we host a visiting club, our facilities don’t reflect well on us or our local community.

“We see ourselves as representatives of Western Sydney. We don’t want people looking down at us. We want to break the stereotypes.”

Vale Faye Selby

Vale Faye Selby

It is with great sadness the Two Blues advise of the passing of avid club supporter Faye Selby.

Faye is the mother of club legend Brad Selby and wife of Alan (passed).

We send our condolences to the Selby family at this sad time.

A Service is being held 10.30am, Thursday 3rd August at Guardian Funerals First Avenue, Blacktown.