Skip to main content

Season 2024

Merrylands vs Hawkesbury Valley 13/7/24


2nd grade

Merrylands 2nd grade have only lost twice this year. Once to Sydney Irish and once to today’s opponent, Hawkesbury Valley. In fact, the Wolves first loss of the season came at the hands of Hawkesbury Valley. That day, Valley played tough, suffocating rugby and the Wolves 2’s couldn’t handle it.

That meant, coming in to today’s game, everyone in a Wolves 2nd grade jersey was prepared for a hard game. Everyone was hoping for a little revenge.

Hawkesbury Valley, on the other hand, well, they kind of forgot to show up at all. Well, they showed up, but that’s about it. Sure, in the opening 10 or so minutes Hawkesbury did a god job of controlling the ball. They managed to suck a few penalties out of Merrylands and get inside the Wolves 22.

But a fired-up Wolf forward pack turned them away and soon, after some massive runs from Ray Meafua and Tasi Tualonia, inside centre Chris Ioane sped over to open the scoring for the Wolves. Once the flood gates were open, the points just kept on coming. In fact, in a 70-minute game, the Wolves managed to cross for a fairly staggering 53 points, causing most fans that were aware of the match between these two sides earlier in the year to wonder what the hell had happened that day.

Pretty much every player that ran on for the Wolves today, had a great game (except Ben Davis who limped of crying about a sore ankle). Right across the park the Wolves dominated. Weather it was at set piece or out wide or in close or chasing kicks, the Wolves outplayed Hawkesbury in every facet of the game. In games like these, it can be hard to nominate anyone player that shone, but today, there were a few Wolves who earned themselves a special mention.

Tasi Tualonia is in his first year for the Wolves. Tasi is one of those players that, when you first look at him, its difficult to know what to expect. He could be a hooker but he could just as easily be a centre or even a winger. This year, Tasi has been the Wolves Mr Fix-It in the forwards. If Coach Hendry needed a 2nd rower, Tasi would step in. If the Wolves 2’s need a flanker, Tasi would do it. If 2nd grade needed a number 8, Tasi gave it a go.  Today Tasi shone. He seemed to be half a yard ahead of the other forwards and was constantly involved.

Chris Ioane has been a rock for the Wolves since he started playing for the club 3 years ago. Chris is willing and able to play most positions across the backline. In his first year at the club, he played half back. Last year he shifted to inside centre and this year Chris has spent most of his time on the wing. Today, Chris started at 12 and was one of the Wolves best.

Alofa Sao should be playing rugby in more important places then Merrylands 2nd grade. Today he cut Hawkesbury to shreds with and without the ball.

Masi Panapa is a bully. A big fast bully. Today Masi ruined Hawkesbury. He was easily the best player on the field…..Merrylands 53 – Hawkesbury Valley 5


1st grade

Today’s first grade game felt like it might be a bit tricky.

Hawkesbury Valley aren’t having a great year, sitting down in 6th spot. But they’re still hard to beat. The last time the Wolves and Hawkesbury played it was long, grinding kind of game with Hawkesbury forcing Merrylands to play the game at the speed and style that most suited Hawkesbury. In the end the end, The Wolves prevailed but it was no walk on the park.

On top of that, the Wolves were without several key players. Dan Lelevaga was out through suspension, Jordan Taanoa was out due to injury while MJ Malo and Josh Kuluega were both selected in 2nd grade. This meant coach Hendry had to select a bit of a new look Wolves backline.

Junior Vunidakua took over half back duties from MJ. Deon Amosa pulled on the number 10 jersey outside Junior. While Deon is a familiar face in the Wolves 1st grade team, he has played in a variety of position during 2024 and is, by no means, the Wolves “regular” fly half.

In the centres, regular 12/13 Saufoi Tagiilima was partnered by Autiko “Bula” Nainima. Autiko usually plays wing but was tasked with the 13 jumper by Coach Hendry for today’s game. On the wings, Coach Hendry choose to use Maea Popese and Malo Nona. Both players are very capable but have spent the bulk of the season in 2’s. Finaly, at fullback, Coach Hendry selected Jo Seru. Like several other players in today’s back line, Jo was playing out of position, usually preferring the wing.

So, with all those changes and folks playing out of position and a tricky, tough opponent, would the Wolves prevail?

Yes, they did.

Quite easily actually. Not as easily as 2nd grade, but they jogged it in none the less.

The Wolves were far too skilled and ferocious in the forwards and much too quick in the backs. Hawkesbury weren’t hapless, they just didn’t offer any real threat which meant, that as the game wore on, the Wolves became more and more daring. And a confident, daring Wolves 1st grade is not something many teams can handle in 2024.

Probably the most impressive thing to come out of todays clash was Coach Hendry’s coaching. Hendry pulled and pushed and manipulated the team and got a fantastic performance out of them. Hendry has a real knack for getting consistent, strong performances out of the Wolves, weather they have their best 15 or not. Which, with the finals just around the corner is a great thing. Should the Wolves loose an MJ or Dan or Sun or even Luke, they can be fairly sure Hendry will have a plan and the plan will work……Merrylands 43 – Hawkesbury Valley 5

Sydney Harbour Oysters vs Merrylands 6/7/24

So, Oysters forfeited 2nd grade. Which is rubbish behaviour. Especially from a club that considers itself to be, as Ron Burgundy once said, a pretty big deal around here. Oysters claim to have been short of players due to some tough luck with injuries. That may well be the case but, the truth is, Oysters are far more likely to put up a fight in 1st grade if none of their bench had already played 2’s.

Anyway, today’s game was a pretty awesome game of rugby. Both sides seemed to feel like it was an important game and both sides came at it with a high level of intensity. The Wolves were able to name a fairly settled side, with probably the Wolves strongest backline of Mj, Deon, Saufoi, Masi, Tico, Josevata and Dan all running on.

The belief inside the Wolves camp was that Oysters were a bit of a wounded animal, that they were probably lacking in confidence. They were a good rugby team and capable of beating anyone in this comp, but they’d suffered a few loses this season, including a heavyish one to the Wolves, and that, if they were put under pressure early, they’d probably fall apart.

Coach Hendry told his chargers to start fast. He told them to prioritise scoring early and not to try and simply work their way into the match. The Wolves did just as they were asked. In fact, within the first 10 minutes, the Wolves made a half break out wide, through some classy running from Tico Nainima, and found themselves on the edge of the Oysters 22. From there, the Wolves forwards went on a series of relentless chargers at the Oysters line. Eventually, possible forward of the Sun Ulula crashed over to give Coach Hendry the fast start he was looking for.

Except, instead of the Wolves fast start sucking all the confidence out of Oysters, it kind of just made them angry. In fact, from that point, Oysters managed to score three unanswered tries before half time. Put simply, Oysters were just out running the Wolves. Time and time again they kept on catching Merrylands one or two defender short out on the extreme edges.

Coach Hendry could see what was happening and made a move. He took off his 3 of his bigger, less mobile forwards in Tali Leavasa, Sam Atonio and Pati Semisi and replaced them with Ame “I’m back” Smith, BJ Tuaopepe and Benjamin “What happened to 2’s?” Davis. The injection of fresh legs had an immediate effect. Ame Smith was able to force a penalty for holding on out of the Oysters forwards and Deon Amosa sent the ball into the Oysters 22. The Wolves forwards went on the attack again, sending wave after wave of runners crashing into the Oysters line. Eventually, big Junior Faamasuli pushed his way over the line but was held up. From the ensuing goal line drop out, Benjamin Davis wound back the clock, making an awesome, full throttle charge into the Oysters defence. The old bull made a good 15 meters post contact and got the Wolves to within less then 10 meters of the Oysters line.

This time, junior Faamasuli got it right. He timed his run to perfection, gliding through a half gap and crashing over to give the Wolves a much needed, pre-half time boost.

During the break, Coach Hendry laid out in clear but forceful terms, exactly what was going wrong. He told the Wolves forwards they had to keep their eyes up and adjust faster and Coach Hendry told the backline they had to play it more direct and to keep us in the Oysters half.

The second half was a real tit for tat affair. Essentially, both sides seemed unable to halt the other once they got rolling. For Merrylands, anytime their forwards got going, Oysters struggled to rain them in. Oysters, on the other hand, were consistently able to catch the Wolves short out wide. Both sides crossed for two tries in the 2nd 40 but the Wolves, through the boot of Dan Lelevaga, were able to bridge the gap opened up in the first half.

With only 10 to go MJ Malo through a cheeky dummy from the base of a ruck and scooted over the line to make the scores 27 all.

The Wolves worked hard, they wrestled the ball off Oyster and made their way into the Oysters half. The with only 2 minutes to minutes to go, after yet another string carry from Masi Panap, The Oysters forwards panicked and committed a pretty silly ruck infringement. It wouldn’t be easy, but it was within kicking range.

Dan stepped up. But missed.

And so, the game remained as a 27 all draw.

Walking in to the sheds, Benjamin Davis commented to Tali Leavasa that he surprised Dan missed it. Tali replied “I would’ve kicked that. Easy”

Merrylands vs Barker Old Boys 29/6/24

Today the Wolves travelled over to St Ives to take on Barker Old Boys (BOB’s)

It’s been a long time since these two clubs have met. The first time these two clubs were meant to square off at the start of this season, Barker had some issues with injuries and their hearts and so forfeited both grades.

Before that, the two sides hadn’t met in regular competition since 2002!

In that time, it’s fair to say, Barker became a rather big club. BOB’s climbed all the way up to 1st and 2nd division and enjoyed a fair amount of success while up there. Merrylands, on the other hand, has spent the majority of those 22 years in lower divisions. Sure, the Wolves have had plenty of success, but, of the two clubs, Barker would be considered by most to be the bigger of the two set ups.

However, coming in to today’s fixture, that history has been reversed. In 2024, it is Merrylands that is flying high and Barker who are struggling for wins. In 1st grade, the Wolves have only lost one game and are well truly top of the table while the Wolves 2’s have lost two but also sit top of the table. Barker, on the other hand, are 2nd from the bottom in both grades and only have 3 victories between both grades.

The story of both of today’s games was quite similar. In both games, Merrylands opened the scoring fairly early and looked to be on their way to a biggish win. But in both games, Barker was able to control territory and possession for large portions of play and, at times, seemed to frustrate the Wolves. At no point did it ever look like the Wolves might loose either fixture, but both grades for Barker are clearly smart footy teams and they know how to play to their strengths.

In both grades today it was clearly the Wolves backs that won the day. Whilst the Wolves forwards were effective in both fixtures, it was Merrylands ability to spin the ball and counter attack from kicks that surprised Barker and was, eventually, the north sure lads un-doing.

Taumaloto Nati has been one of the best players for the Wolves 2’s for a couple of years. Tau is incredibly versatile, having slotted in on the wing, at inside and outside centre, at fly half and, in 1’s, at flanker. Probably Tau’s best position though, is fullback. For today’s fixture, Coach Hendry had Tau playing fullback and he had a killer of a game. He returned kicks with venom and power, cleaned up Barkers kicks with ease and finished off some wonderful backline moves.

Jordan Taanoa has locked down the Wolves 1st grade fullback jersey. Since kick off in the first round of the season Jordan has probably been the Wolves 1st grades best player. Jordan is a very smart player. He knows when to run and when to kick and has an incredible ability to see space that other don’t. Jordan’s ability to light up the attack from fullback has allowed the Wolves inside backs, like Dan Lelevaga and Saufoi Tagiilima, to have time and space by forcing oppositions to worry about more then just the Wolves regular full-frontal assault.

The Wolves look to be building something special as the finals approach…..1st grade – Merrylands 27 Barker 12……. 2nd grade  Merrylands 24 – Barker 12


Merrylands vs Lane Cove/Old Ignatians 22/6/24

For those of you that may be unaware, Lane Cove/Old Ignatians forfeited 2nd grade today. Lane Cove turned up to Merrylands home ground today with 21 players. That’s enough for two grades. It’s a weak option to forfeited 2nd grade.

Anyway, due to the wet weather this was always going to be a messy game.

With the conditions being what they were and the Wolves expected to win this game easily, senior Wolves players were keen to stress pre-game that patience is key and that points and the win will come.

The Wolves were also very excited to welcome back Ame Smith who led out the Wolves today.

The Wolves dominated possession early and after some great backline play between Dion and Saufoi, the man mountain Saufoi went over for an early try.

Following that there was a period of your typical ugly wet weather forward play. That knock on, scrum, knock on, scrum stuff. The Wolves blew a few chances, some sue to the weather and handling but some due to discipline, but did manage some more classy backline play. MJ Malo, who started at wing and not his usual position of halfback, crossed over for a try.

Shortly afterwards the Wolves kept battering Covies defence with great runs from Taua Togagae and Ben Tuaopepe. After a few pick-n-drives on Laner Coves line Tuanofoaga-AritanaLeuluaialii crashed over for another try.

Lane Cove despite not having a great season, turned up today ready to test the wolves. They proved that fitness and speed are vital in the competition. They caught the wolves sleeping at the ruck and took advantage of slippery conditions and managed to make a lot breaks from quick pick and drives.

For the rest of the half lane cove controlled most of the possession and crossed over for two tries.

Joshua Kuluega defence in today game was outstanding and saved a few tries.

The second half was just more of ugly wet weather rugby but with a few classy backlines plays that saw Joshua Kuluega pick up a hat trick and was well deserved man of the match…Merrylands 36 – Old Ignatians 24

Merrylands vs Sydney Irish 15/6/24

2nd grade

Today the Wolves 2’s were completely outclassed.

In almost every facet of the game (with scrums being the exception) the Wolves were chewed up and spat out by their hosts, Sydney Irish. Irish were faster, smarter, tougher, more disciplined and far more determined.

The Wolves forwards are used to over powering teams. They’re used to running hard and breaking tackles and getting on the front foot. Today, however, Irish were easily up to the task of dealing with the Wolves full frontal assault. Irish tackled low and kept their defensive line in good order. When pure strength or ability can’t get you results, you need to reply on your form, on your game plan.

Today, the Wolves threw the game plan out the window. When it became evident that bash and crash wasn’t going to work the Wolves, well, just did more bash and crash.

The Wolves forwards made no adjustments. They didn’t alter their tactics. They simply gave Irish more of what Irish had already proved they had no problem handling. That meant, that as the game went on, Irish became more and more confident as they realised they probably had nothing to worry about. While the Wolves forwards became more and more desperate.

When a team becomes desperate, they often and end up doing stupid stuff. Today, the Wolves 2’s done some really really stupid stuff. Like, legendarily stupid. In fact, in just the second half, Sone Key, Benjamin Davis, Junior Faamasuli and Fono were all yellow carded!

At one point, the Wolves only had 5 forwards on the field!

The backs, for their part, probably didn’t commit as many crimes as the forward pack. But they also didn’t help. They kicked poorly, attempted impossible off-loads, ran the ball from inside their own 22 and were pretty much completely ineffective with ball in hand.

The sad truth is, for a 1st v 2nd contest, there really was no contest.

So where to now for the Wolves 2nd grade?

Well, the good news is, the Wolves have at least 6 more game before a likely finals showdown with Irish. That means the Wolves have plenty of time to take a look in the mirror and do better……Merrylands 12 – Sydney Irish 42


1st grade

Today was a big game for the Wolves 1’s. It was first place (Merrylands) vs second place (Irish).

It was a replay of last year’s grand final, with no fewer than 12 players from that Wolves team that went down to Irish in the last play of the grand final, taking the field again today.

Also, the Wolves 1’s have only lost one game this year. That was to Irish in the opening round of the season.

Today’s first grade game was pretty much the exact opposite of today’s second grade game. Where the Wolves 2’s were ill-disciplined and cranky, the Wolves 1’s stayed aggressive but kept their heads well and truly screwed on.

Where the Wolves 2’s attack was sloppy and predictable, the Wolves 1’s were fast, creative and bruising.

Where the Wolves 2’s defended like they’d never seen a rugby ball before, the Wolves first grade shut the door on Irish all day, holding the defending champs to their lowest score of the season.

What has been most impressive about the 2024 Wolves 1st grade is that they seem to be learning and growing.

The Wolves have played Irish plenty of times over the last year or so. The Wolves know how Irish play and they turned up to Latham Park with a plan. The Wolves shut down Irish’s wide style of play by fanning out, making their first up tackles count and picking their chances to put pressure on the ball.  The result was, across the 80 minutes of play, Irish were never really able to put pressure on the Wolves or make Merrylands panic. Sure, there were times Irish got down in to the Wolves 22 and made Merrylands pay, but they were more a result of dumb luck and 50/50 ref calls then Irish breaking the Wolves down or stretching Merrylands.

But it was with ball in hand that Merrylands were the most impressive. Merrylands have a forward pack full of big, hard runners. On occasions, the Wolves can be guilty of playing too direct, getting sucked into believing their big scarry pack will just run over whatever is in front of them. Against average teams, this style works. But against champion teams like Irish, playing too direct can be, not just ineffective, but it can also cost you points.

Today, the Wolves forwards, being guided around by the masterful MJ Malo at half back, found the right mix of big and scarry and tricky and elusive. All day, runners like Alofa Sao and Sun Ulula made crushing runs into the teeth of the Irish defence, while faster guys like Sam Tuigamala and Pati Samisi found space around the ruck and got the Wolves cruising on the front foot.

In the 2023 GF, the Wolves backs were probably out shinned by Irish. Today, however, the Wolves backs systematically pulled Irish apart. The Wolves kicked well and chased hard and forced Irish into trying to attack from deeper than they wanted to. When the Wolves decided to run it, they did so with brains and pressions. Masi Panapa and Saufoi Tagiiliama, playing side by side in the centres, had an almost faultless game. They menaced Irish with hard lines and heavy shoulders but also picked the right time to feed the Wolves wingers, Taua Togagae and Jose Seru.

All in all, it was a supreme performance from the Wolves 1st grade. Far from perfect, but very impressive none the less. The Wolves travelled across town to play an undefeated team at their own ground. They coped with windy conditions and a thinner than usual bench and came up with a fairly comfortable win….Merrylands 26 – Irish 14

Merrylands vs Knox 1/6/24

To the best of anyone’s memory, this is the first time the Wolves have ever played Knox (in regular season footy) and certainly the first time Merrylands have ever hosted the private school lads.

Which isn’t surprising, Knox and Merrylands are from two very different worlds. Knox is an expensive private school full of privileged kids and well-to-do parents who live in and around the leafy northern suburbs of Sydney. Merrylands is a violence and crime riddled hell hole full of ethnic tension, drive-by shootings and general urban decay.

That sounds like a stereotyped, over exaggerated simplification (and it probably is) but, as is often the case, stereotypes usually exist for a reason. They usually take root because, like it or not, they reflect some kind of truth.

If the average rugby fan were to guess at the way Knox play rugby without knowing anything about them, other then the fact Knox is an expensive private school with a rich history of rugby, they’d likely guess they play a territory/pressure type game. Most folks would assume Knox like to kick to the corners and win lineouts and, once in position, they play “round-the-corner” type rugby that looks to find space out wide.

Guess what?

They’d be correct!

If the average rugby fan were to guess at the way Merrylands play rugby without knowing anything about them, other than the fact Merrylands is a working-class, ethnically diverse suburb in the western half of Sydney, they’d likely guess Merrylands play straight forward, hard running rugby that centers around physically dominating an opposition and running though, not necessarily around, the opponents.

Gues what?

They’d be correct!

So, what happens when these two styles, these two worlds collide?

Well, today anyway, the result was Merrylands won both 1st and 2nd grade and won quite handsomely. That’s not to say either victory was easy or that Knox didn’t play well. Knox enjoyed long periods of territorial dominance and had patches where they put the Wolves under loads of pressure. But in both grades, Knox just could never quite land a shot. Not enough shots anyway.

And part of that is, while Merrylands seem big and tough and stupid, the Wolves are actually quite smart and are super confident, across both grades. The Wolves know what teams like Knox are going to throw at them and they’re prepared to soak it up. The Wolves know they’re occasionally going to need to defend their line, they know they’re going to need to chase back and they are confident they have the tools to deal with it.

More to the point, Merrylands know that, once they get the ball in their own hands, they’re very hard to stop. The Wolves know that stopping Merrylands forwards chargers or their backs hard running, its going to take a lot out of you.  The Wolves know that, over the course of a 70- or 80-minute game, that stopping the Wolves over and over again will, eventually, break most teams. A

At half time in both games today, it looked like a fairly even contest. The scores in 1’s and 2’s at the break were close and Knox could have been forgiven for thinking they were going to go on with it. However, the Wolves have seen this movie before. Merrylands know if they paly well and keep running hard and keep hitting like rockets, the tries will come and they’ll get the win. And that’s exactly what happened in both grades today. In the dying stages of both grades, Merrylands were full of running and well ahead while Knox had lost their shape, lost their plan and had been battered into submission….2’s Merrylands 25 – Knox 7      1’s Merrylands 43 – Knox 7

Merrylands vs Sydney Harlequins 25/5/24

2nd Grade

Personalities and dynamics of a first-grade team are fairly simple. Well, what you want is fairly simple. You want as many intense hard-working players as you can find. You want as many guys as you can get that want to be first grade, want to train hard and want to win.

Second grade, on the other hand, can be a little more tricky. There are lots of kinds of players that go into making up a good second grade team.

You need some guys who are first grade quality and really want to push into first grade. They push the team to get better and they make sure that, should anyone in first grade go down, there’s someone to take their place.

You also want a few guys who are first grade quality but are happy to kind of take it easy in 2’s. They make 2nd grade better and take the pressure of finding a place for everyone off the coaches’ shoulders

You want some guys who are probably genuine second grade quality players and know it and are happy to be in 2’s. These guys are usually reliable and often make sitting around and watching 1’s good fun.

Hell, it’s even good to have a few guys who are definitely second grade quality but think they’re David Pocock or Brian Lima. Yes, these guys can be annoying, but they’re often quite positive fellas so if the team is struggling, they can keep everyone’s head up.

They also often give everyone a good laugh.


The really important thing is, you don’t want to have too many of any one of the different kinds of second grade player. It can upset the mood and temperament of a team and make the second-grade team hard to manage.

For instance, if you have too many genuine first grade quality players playing second grade, then it becomes hard to keep these guys happy. If first grade are going well and aren’t suffering too many injuries, then sometimes really good players can get the shits with playing in 2’s. Sometimes they start to whisper and often this leads to people getting the shits with the coach.

If you have too many guys that are just flat out genuine second graders then, chances are, the second-grade team won’t be very good and they won’t win too many games. Sometimes a lack of wins can see guys fall away from training, which makes the whole situation worse. Especially if you need to call any of the second graders up to 1st grade.


But easily the worst thing you can have been too many guys in 2nd grade that are rubbish players but think they’re s@#t hot. Guys that think they’re a Ferrari but play like a Datsun. Too many Datuns usually means the team is crap but, because they think they’re great, they blame everyone but themselves. The ref, the coaches, the bus driver, they’ll point at anyone but the guy looking back at them in the dressing shed mirror.


These teams are usually quite easy to pick out. You hear them shouting out brain dead stuff like “undeniable” or “they keep flopping on the ruck” and they do silly stuff like punch people in the back or spend 15 minutes parked on the opposition try line but fail to get the ball over the line. They’ll often cry foul to the ref about completely made-up rubbish or complain about someone bumping into them in a ruck but don’t ever actually look at the scoreboard and realise they’ve gone 70 minutes without scoring a point……Merrylands 18 – Harlequins 0


1st grade


Today’s first grade game was one of the toughest matches of the year for Merrylands. Even taking into consideration the Wolves first grades one and only loss of the season, to Irish, this was probably the hardest game so far in 2024.

Not necessarily because Harlequins are a particularly tough side or because Harlequins ask a lot of questions. It’s just that, for reasons only the god of rugby knows, The Wolves and Harlequins don’t like each other.

They never really have.

Seething animosity can have a leveling effect. It makes the better team, in this case, Merrylands, loose their heads a little and make decisions based on passion and not smarts. Seething animosity makes the lesser team, in this case, Harlequins, play up, play tougher and dig in a little harder than they would otherwise be capable of.


The Wolves named a full-strength side, had worked hard at training and everyone was fired up for the game. However, seething animosity has a way of ruining even the best laid plans.

The Wolves struck early, crossing for a try in the opening 10 minutes after a well

worked backline move saw Masi “Theres Only One” Panapa glide over for a try. The Wolves were probably guilty of enjoying the moment a little too much as Harlequins, pretty much off the re-start, regained possession and set up camp on the Wolves 22. After only a few minutes of pressure, The Harlequins 12 brushed off a tackle or two and then sent his winger over for a try.

The shock of conceding points so soon after scoring got to the Wolves usually unflappable #10, Dan Lelevaga. Dan gave the Harlequins 12 a bit of a “yea whatever fool” and the Harlequins 12 responded with a “bring it on twit”

Before anyone could tell Dan to calm down the two players were adjusting each other’s collars and questioning each other’s masculinity. The ref, not without reason, blamed Dan for the whole affair and sent the Wolves #10 to the bin for10 minutes.


Now, Coach Hendry and Coach Steve have a policy that, should a player be binned for foul play, they will not let the player back on the field. That meant that, not only did the Wolves have to endure 10 minutes with only 14 on the field, they also had to get by without their influential fly half, Dan Lelevaga.

The Wolves did pretty good over the 10-minute bin period, only conceding a penalty goal. Once the 10 minutes was up, Coach Dan moved fullback Dion “Keep Smiling” Amosa to fly half, pushed winger Jordan Taanoa to fullback and out Jo Seru on the wing.

For a short while, the multiple changes caused the Wolves backs to trip up a little. Sensing what was happening, and seeing that his pack was getting over their Harlequins counterparts, half back MJ “Smooth Criminal” Malo organised his forwards and made them take plenty of carries.

The quick thinking worked. The Wolves began to dominate territory and possession and, by mid-way through the second half, Harlequins were struggling to hold on. With about 15 minutes to go, Pati Semisi made an awesome run straight through the middle of the Harlequins defence. His run was followed by solid carries from Alofa Sau and Sun Ulula. Harlequins were shot. Dion spun the ball wide and replacement winger Tico Nanima brushed off a couple of tackles and crashed over out wide.

However, in his final dash for the line, Tico had sent his opposite number, the Harlequins winger, spinning out of the tackle. Most onlookers thought it was a straight up miss but as the bodies cleared and people cheered the try, the Harlequins winger stayed down. He stayed down because his foot was facing the wrong way!




Anyone familiar with Subbies rugby knows what that means.

There was a 20-minute delay as an ambulance was called and play was forced to haul while all waited its arrival.

As the minutes ticked by, most Merrylands faithful became worried. This sort of delay often sees players relax to much which means they lose intensity. Right or wrong, the Wolves are fuelled by intensity.

There was a genuine concern that play would re-start and the Wolves would be too lost in la la land to defend their lead.

Alas, the worry was for nothing. Impressively, the Wolves forwards picked up right where they had left off, running riot over the opposition pack and giving Dion and his backline all the room they need to cross, not once, but twice and give the Wolves a comfortable victory.

Several players deserve a special mention today.

The entire Wolves pack played awesome. They completely dominated the Harlequins and were consistently able to get over the advantage line and crush Harlequins when they tried to do the same. Of all the forwards, Epati Semisi and Alofa Sau were probably the most impressive, runs and shooting guns.

MJ Malo has been the Wolves first choice halfback for a couple of years now. MJ is pure class. His service is fast and accurate, he tackles like a #7 and almost never makes the wrong call. MJ had an absolute blinder today. Easily the best player on the field…..Merrylands 24 – Harlequins 13



Merrylands vs Oysters 4/5/24

2nd grade

2nd Grade

Today’s opponents in 2nd grade were having an identity crisis. On paper, the Wolves were supposedly playing Syndey Oysters. But the team that ran out to face the Wolves weren’t wearing the Oysters usual, quite fetching, pink and blue blouses. Instead, they were clothed in, what the logo on the breast said, were Alexandria Dukes” jerseys. When quizzed on what was going on several of the Oysters players assured the Merrylands players that they were indeed The Sydney Oysters. And yet, during the game, the players could clearly be heard referring to themselves as “Dukes”?

Any way, the 2nd grade team that Coach Hendry was able to name for todays clash was impressive. The front row, in particular, was monstrous. Junior Fa’amasili, BJ Taupepe and Captain Ray Meafua are just about as big as a front row gets at this level. And their locks weren’t a long way behind them, with Benjamin “Yesterday” Davis and Sam “2nd row?” Atonio rounding out the tight five. The backrow Coach Henry named consisted of Titi Penieli at 8, Gody Schuster at 6 and Peter “I’m a fullback” Smith as flanker.

The backline was, man for man, just as impressive as the forward pack but was somewhat new and even a little experimental. Some of the more interesting selections included Taumaloto “5 tries in a GF” Nati at 13, Masi “there’s only one” Panapa at fullback and Chris Ioane on the wing.

When a backline is untested or hasn’t played a lot of rugby together the attack can still function ok (which is what happened today) but, often, the defense can struggle. Defense is all about trust and communication. New backlines often just don’t have those. Attack, however, is a little more instinctual. If a team has enough talent in the backline than often that talent can still shine.

This is what happened for the Wolves first try, which came after less than 10 minutes.

The Oyster Dukes kicked the ball long and it was caught on the full by Masi “I’m Taua’s brother” Panapa who looked to attack down the left. At first, Masi didn’t really put the foot down and as such, Oyster Dukes probably didn’t expect much and, so, were slow to react. Masi managed to fend and bump off the first three defenders before he threw a classy dummy and took off down the touchline. Finaly, Oyster Dukes panicked and tried to scramble but, by than, it was too late. The rest of the Wolves backline had swung in in support of Masi and Dukes were massively outnumbered. Before they knew it, Masi had feigned to pass a couple more times before eventually running the ball around under the posts and giving the Wolves the lead.

Only a few minutes later the Wolves were over again. This time the Wolves won a penalty just behind the halfway and kicked the ball down into the Oyster Dukes 22. From the lineout, fly half George”Wes” Vehikite  called the much practiced but never before successfully executed Coach Steve “42” move.

And wouldn’t you know it, it worked!

Pete “Lineouts? Please!” Smith won the ball and sent it off the top to half back Junior who sent the ball sailing out to Sammy in midfield. Sammy and crashed the ball up, making good ground. Benjmain ”Old News” Davis, Titi “8 or prop”  Peniieli and Pete “Fly half? Please!” Smith had swung around to the far side of the ruck and soon had pulled off the all important “42” pivot. As the ball was recycled to the second pod, Benjamin ran the decoy and Pete sent a long pass out the back to Tico Nainma. From there, the ball simply passed through two more sets of hands before Chris Ioana dived over the line untouched.

Champagne rugby!

However, soon the Wolves backs unfamiliarity made the Champagne stop flowing.

Oyster Dukes had a scrum 15 in from touch and a good 50 or so meters from the try line. No one in Wolves colors was at all concerned. Dukes passed the ball out across the backline and their 13 ran a simple unders line. No big deal. But somehow, the Wolves backs completely messed it up. One center went flying forward, another held back while the Wolves winger simply wandered out into no-mans-land. Oyster Dukes could scarcely believe their luck as their winger ran out into clear open space and got the visitors on the scoreboard.

Wolves brushed off the set back and went straight back at Oyster Dukes. And soon, had scored again. But than, the Wolves backs decided to defend like they’d never seen a rugby ball before and the Oysters backs crossed for another try.

At half time, Coach Steve simply told the Wolves do to “42” as many times as they could.

Coach Hendry, on the other hand, had a plan. He accepted that the Merrylands backs were doing their best but told his players they had to play to their strengths. Hendry had noted, as had everyone else present, that the Wolves forwards were completely dominating their Oyster Dukes counter parts in both defense and attack. He there for told his halves that they should play down the Oyster Dukes end of the field and use the Wolves forwards as much as possible.

Problem was, the Oyster Dukes had seen the exact same stuff the Wolves coaches had. They knew they had no chance going toe-to-toe with the Wolves forwards and could tell the Wolves backline, though passionate, were a little disorganized. And so, the Dukes clearly decided to spin the ball wide as much as possible.

The second half was basically 35 minutes of the Wolves forwards crashing and rolling over the Oyster Dukes forwards and then the Oyster Dukes backs running though gaping holes in the Wolves backline. In the end, the 2 competition points would go to the team that managed to catch a bit of luck and put a couple of tries together and break out of the tit-for-tat.

Lucky for the Merrylands faithful, it was the Wolves who managed to  break out, but not until the last 5 or so minutes.

Big ups today must go out to the Wolves forwards. They won all their own scrum and lineout ball and were consistently able to better the Oyster Dukes.

In particular, Pete Smith had a blinder. It was Pete’s first game being a regular lineout option and he did his job without fault. On top of that, Pete offered the Wolves forwards a real point of difference. Pete talked and organized the pack and often played as a pseudo fly half, distributing to his forwards and calling it for the backs when it was on.

Today was one of Ray Meafua’s first games as captain and Ray stood up. He dominated scrums, lifted  well in lineouts, punished people in defense and ran like a crazed bull. If this is the kind of performance Ray puts in with a “C” next to his name, than long shall he keep that “C”……..Wolves 39 – Oysters 31

1st Grade

Let’s not beat around the bush, this was a massive game for Merrylands 1st grade. Sydney Harbour Oysters entered the Sydney Subbies competition in 2020. That means that this season, 2024, is Oysters 4th season.

In that time, Sydney Harbour Oysters 1st grade has lost 1 game.

That’s correct, one game. And that was a mid-season game away at Beecroft. They only lost by 2 points.

In their 3 seasons in Subbies rugby, oysters have won the first-grade premiership 3 times.

That’s correct, 3 times. They have a 100% success rate in 1st grade.

Merrylands Wolves 1st grade has played Oysters 4 times over the years and have never beaten them.

Never. The closest the Wolves have gotten was the first game ever between the two clubs back in 2020. At half time in that game, the score was 10 – 7 to Oysters. The Wolves had scored a fairly impressive, 60 meters try just before half time and the Wolves were thinking “these new kids aren’t that good”

The final score 38 – 12.


It must be said that, coming into today’s game, there was a mixed mood around the team. Some folks seemed up for it, ready for the challenge. Others though, thought maybe the Wolves weren’t quite ready. The team has been a little unsettled this year and some Merrylands faithful thought Oysters might be a bridge too far.


The early stages were a classic feeling out period. Oysters jabbed and parried but never swung for the rafters, seemingly content to play for territory, something Oysters do particularly well. Merrylands got about their usual direct, brutal rugby but, like Oysters, seemed a little cagey, unwilling to run from deep or push the ball too far.

The cagey play begun to slowly drift away half way through the first half. The Wolves were beginning to dominate in the forwards and with that domination came plenty of possession and a few lucky calls from the ref. The Wolves were in possession of the ball just outside the Oysters 22 when Dan “I’m back” Lelevaga sent a clever cross field kick out to a flying P.J Alalatoa. P.J took the kick clean as you like and dotted down in the corner to give the Wolves the early lead.

However, like the champions they are, Oysters hit back not too long after, scoring a well worked try down the middle of the field.


At half time, Coach Hendry told his troops that they were well and truly in the fight and that this was their best chance in a long time to topple the Titans. He reminded his players that the Wolves had a well-stocked bench so the lads should go out there and rip in.

Coach Steve told the boys to call a “42”


In the second half, The Wolves seemed to be playing with a growing sense of confidence. Oysters never seemed to move on from playing for territory, despite the fact it wasn’t really working. The longer the game went on, the more obvious Oysters tactics became and the more comfortable the Wolves 3 were with dealing with it. The Wolves back three of PJ Alalatoa, Josh Kuluega and Jordan Taanoa begun to regularly find gaps in the Oysters kick defence and, mid-way through the second half, turned those gaps into points. A brilliant run down the left touchline on counter by PJ Alalatoa got the Wolves within a few meters of the line and nice off-load from Tali “3 Points” Leavasa had Josh Kuluega crossing to give the Wolves a two try lead.


With that score and the Wolves forwards enjoying a real sense of dominance, Oysters seemed to fall away. They were spreading the ball wide without going forward and were struggling to win their own lienout and scrum ball. 10 or so minutes before full time, the Wolves struck the killer blow with a spectacular 80 meters try.

Oysters had won a penalty and were attacking the Wolves line 20 meters out. However, the Oysters forwards were getting battered and couldn’t seem to make any head way. Soon, under pressure, Oysters coughed the ball up. The loose pill was scooped up by reserve half back John “the Bull” Taanoa who passed to reserve prop Tevesi “Taniela” Faanunu. Tevesi bumped the first defender, palmed the second, stepped around the third and then, like a gazelle gliding across the savannah, took off down field. Tevesi carried the ball up over the half way, palming off a half-hearted effort from the Oysters fullback, before off-loading to reserve prop Gody “Uncontested” Schuster. Gody, unaccustomed to being so much space, looked around for someone else to give the ball to before realising he should probably out the foot down. Gody managed to make it to within 20 or so meters from the line before finding a flying Semi Tuigamala who, with fist raised to the sky, crossed the line under the posts and give the Wolves their first ever win over Oysters.

It should be noted that the above mentioned try covered over 80 meters and went from prop to prop to hooker. Marvelous.

Several players today deserve a special mention.

Alofa Sao is playing his first season for the Wolves. Alofa is one of the classiest props you’re ever likely to see. Aside from all the usual prop stuff like lifting and bashing and smashing, Alofa can pass and catch like a fly half. Alofa had an amazing game today, combining with Semi Tuigamala to give the Wolves forward pack the edge over Oysters in mobility and fitness.

Dan Lelevaga, like Alofa, is a class act. Dan probably had his best game in a Wolves jersey this season.

This year, the Wolves back three of PJ, Jordan and Josh have been getting better each week. Today, they were probably the difference between the two teams. Oysters rely on their kicking game to put pressure on the opposition but today, with the combination of counter attack and kick return PJ, Josh and Jordan proved too good for Oysters…..Merrylands 36 – Oysters 17




Season 2023


2nd Grade – Merrylands vs Rockdale

When most people day dream about the grand final they see scenes of last-minute heroics, of the ref calling “last play” or of impossible sideline conversions slotted over the black dot. When that stuff happens, provided the good luck falls your way, it can be epic. The sort of stuff you bring up during boozy evenings for the rest of your life.

But, truth be told, at the time, as those kinds of last-ditch chances are unfolding, they actually kind of suck. Fans on the sideline feel sick, coaches can barely watch what is happening and good players feel an unholy weight of pressure.

What’s far more enjoyable is to turn up on grand final day and put in your best performance of the year, blow the opposition off the park. Putting your grand final opponents to the sword with plenty of time to spare means coaches can empty the bench and get everyone game time. Winning easily allows fans to enjoy the moment and relax. They can go get the kids some chips or take them to the loo without fear of missing THE decisive moment. It also allows players to fully appreciate what they have achieved. They can embrace each other during the game, they can have a chat and a laugh in breaks of play and it allows players the luxury of knowing they and they alone deserved to win the trophy.

For the first time in living Merrylands Rugby memory, the Wolves 2nd grade took the second option and absolutely blew Rockdale away. The Wolves crossed for their first try after only 12 minutes and that was as close as Rockdale ever got. In all most every facet of rugby imaginable, the Wolves were significantly better than their rivals. The Wolves battered the Rockdale scrum, they stole more than half of Rockdale’s lineout ball, the Wolves forwards consistently made meters with the ball in hand and stopped the big Rockdale pack in its tracks.

And then there was the backline.

Today, the Wolves backline absolutely tore shreds off Rockdale. The Wolves backs ran around them, they ran through them and even kicked over their heads and beat Rockdale in the chase for the ball.

Put simply, this very good Wolves 2nd  laid on their best performance of the year in the biggest game of the year. In fact, it worth asking the question, is this the best Wolves 2nd grade ever?

There were a lot of players that put in wonderful performances today. In fact, there was barely a player that didn’t have a good game, that didn’t contribute in a meaningful way.

Jack Malietoa is a big powerful man. If the Wolves were going to stop Rockdale’s monstrous pack, they were going to need Jack to rip and fell some big timber. And boy, did Jack provide. To be specific, Rockdale had a prop that would’ve been at least 6’3 and would’ve tipped the scales in excess of 150kg. On numerous occasions the big man got a big run up and made a big charge straight at the Wolves line. And every time he did, Jack was there to whack him.

Semi Tuigamala is probably the quickest forward in the competition, he is probably quicker than most forwards in the 1st grade comp too. And Semi knows how to use it. Today Semi scored a try, from about 30 meters out, that any winger would’ve been proud of. On top of that, Semi, playing in his now usual hooking position, never lost a scrum and threw lineouts like a laser beam.

Issac Tia has become a special player to Merrylands. Issac begun playing for the Wolves back in 2015. Issac was a flanker then and, truth be told, never seemed that committed to the Merrylands cause. These days, Issac is a tight head prop and is one of the most passionate Wolves you’re likely to find. Today, Issac did all the tough stuff. He tackled the big men, ran the ball into traffic, held up the scrum and even slotted into hooker when The Doctor got sin binned.

Arana Rissetto and Captain Benjamin Davis have been playing together in the second row for the Wolves since 2003! In that time, the pals have more than half a dozen grand finals. And that’s not a co-incidence. Arana and Ben are very similar players, they do the kind of work most guys can’t be bothered doing. They chase breaks, clear rucks, counter opposition ball jump in lineouts and make cover tackles. Today was no exception.

Lucus Leutele-Malasia only started playing for the Wolves around half way through the season. At first, he told everyone he was a prop. In a world first occurrence, Coach Hendry moved Lucus from the front row to the backrow! It must be said, more than a few Wolves had raised eyebrows at the idea but Coach Hendry is smart man. He could see that Lucus was quick for his size and added the kind of oomph the Wolves need in the back row. Today Lucus ripped into the giant Rockdale forwards and made a barnstorming 40-meter run, straight through the heart of the Rockdale defence, to set up the Wolves backs for an easy try.

Tafesilafai “Sam” Atonio is a wonderful rugby player. He is strong and smart and always seems to have a smile on his face. Today, like most days Sam takes the field for the Wolves, Sam was close to the best player on the pitch. He ran smartly, tackled well and linked with the backline like he had 10 on his back.

It must be said, Fraser Leavasa probably wasn’t the player most people thought Coach Hendry would pick at 8 for the grand final. Fraser has missed a few games this year and maybe some folks thought Fraser wouldn’t quite have the legs for the big game. But they were wrong, very wrong. Fraser was easily the best ball carrying forward on the field today. On two or three occasions Fraser took tough carries and absolutely blitzed the Rockdale defence. Fraser palmed them away, stepped around them and even burnt a couple for speed. If this is Fraser at 42 years of age, heaven knows how good he was at 22.

Niko Poto. A true legend in every sense of the word. Niko had a ripper of a game today, as he almost always does. His service was perfect and he organised both forwards and backs with calm and wisdom. Oh and Niko runs the ball like Gord Tallis.

Dion Amosa came to the club 3 or 4 games into the season. Dion’s arrival was perfectly timed. For the first few games of the season, the Wolves 2’s had been using Etuale Pitone at 10 and Joe Ngawini at 12. But Joe and Etu had other commitments and the Wolves were looking for someone to fill their shoes. When he first started, it must be said, Dion was, well, probably a little, well, overweight. Especially for a 10. But within a few games Dion got match fit and, once he was, he showed a surprising turn of speed to go with his top shelf kicking game and his smart passing. Dion played a near perfect fly half game today. He fed the likes of Taumaloto and Pete Smith early, just the way they like it, and he kicked Rockdale to death, constantly forcing their big men to go the length of the field, something they never managed to do.

Last year, Chris Ioane was the 1st grade half back. This year, quite early in the season, Coach Hendry picked Chris at inside centre. More than a few people thought maybe Coach Hendry had lost what marbles he had left. But, as has been said more than a few times in this review, Coach Hendry knew exactly what he was doing. Chris is a no-nonsense type of inside centre. If you give him the ball, he’ll run really straight and really hard. If players run at him, he’ll cut them down. Today, as he has done all year, Chris no nonsense style worked perfectly with the more creative guys outside him. He worried and drew in Rockdale with his hard running and straight lines and gave the likes of Pete Smith and Malo Nona all the space they needed.

Taumaloto Nati has been close the best player in 2’s all year. Today, Taumaloto was the best player on the field. He scored 5 tries for Christ sake! He scored one off a chip and chase, he scored by running over people, he scored be throwing out a big fend and then gassing everyone to the line. Today, Taumaloto was amazing.

Pete Smith and Malo Nona have settled on to the Wolves 2’s wings. One, Malo, is a classic winger. He fields kicks and stays out wide and knows exactly when to come in and when to burn people and he scores plenty of tries. He even got one today. Pete Smith is a little more creative. Sometimes, Pete’s creativity gets the Wolves in trouble. Sometimes, Pete’s tricks come off and he carves up. Today, Pete carved up.

Casey Viane only came back to the Wolves for the last half dozen games of the season. Lord only knows where Casey had been but lord also knows we needed him. Casey is a wonderful fullback. His positional play is near faultless and he knows just when to run and just when to send the ball back down field. Like all the other 2nd grade backs today, Casey had a blinder of a game. He made almost no mistakes and punished Rockdale with running game all day long.

Faatali Leavasa – Today, Tali did what all bench forwards are supposed to do, he came on and made an impact. He made several bruising tackles and made multiple defence busting runs, just like his uncle had in the first half.

Ratu Ganilau – Ratu has been at the Wolves for 3 seasons now and is one of the most well-liked players in the club. Today Ratu came on early in the second half and, like Faatali, he did exactly what Coach Hendry requested. Ratu came on and put Rockdale to sleep.

Jordan Sega – Jordan is a one in a million guy. He is funny and positive and has lost lots of weight over the last few months and now is almost as handsome as Saufoi.

Tuafale Meni – Tualfale is another player that only came into the 2nd grade squad toward the end of the season. Tua had a knee injury half way through 2023 but managed to make a come back and play a big role in today’s GF. Especially in defence, where he sent a few Rockdale forwards away sick and sorry.

John Silva – Johnny is quick, really quick. Johnny is elusive, really elusive. John came on today with about 20 minutes to go and set up a try with just about his first touch of the ball. John is a gun and all Wolf fans hope he comes back for more next year.

Ray Meafua – Ray is big and strong and capable of playing almost every position in the forward pack. Today, Ray came on and played front row and he did an awesome job, as he has done all year.

Taulelei Kirisome – Taulelei is what you see when you close your eyes and imagine a prop. He is a quality player and more then did his job today.

Uiese “The Doctor” Samu – The Doctor didn’t have the greatest game today. He’d only been on the field for a few minutes when The Doctor made a high, but pretty soft tackle. The ref however, decided The Doctor needed to pay for the rest of the Wolves sins and so sent The Doctor to the bin for 10 minutes. By the time the Doctor got back on, there was only a few minutes left of the game and The Doctor never really had a chance to shine. Still, the Doctor is everyone favourite player.

1st Grade – Merrylands vs Sydney Irish

Let’s start by ripping off the band aid: The Wolves 1st grade lost the grand final today.

And that really sucks, for lots of reasons.

Mostly because, if any team in Wolf history deserved the top prize, it was this one. The 2023 Wolves first grade has been one of the most committed, most hard working, most willing to learn and adapt kind of squads ever witnessed at Merrylands. The squad trained two days a week and regularly got 30 to 40 players at training both nights.

And they trained hard.

Whatever coach Hendry and Coach Musty threw at them they ate it up. Weather it was extended sessions of one touch or running coat hangers or one hundred pass drills or video sessions, the squad happily did what they were asked to do.

Often in rugby, and in life in general, people say stuff like  “if you put in the work, the rewards will come” or “you’ve just to work hard”

Well, sometimes, that’s bullshit.

It was a close game, really bloody close. In fact, with the ref having called “last play”, the scores were locked at 22 all!

But alas, at that point, Irish had the ball. Irish also had the territory, and, most importantly, Irish had the momentum. Sydney Irish swung the ball wide to the left and, heartbreakingly, found the Wolves just one man short. The Irish winger squeezed into the corner and dotted the ball down. The dream was over.

When all is said and done, Irish simply played better on the day. They were more consistent and seemed to stick to the game plan a little better than the Wolves did. The Wolves had plenty of chances to win it, and they really bloody tried to get it done, but in the end it was probably just a case of one too many mistakes at moments that were a little too important.

Almost every man that pulled on a Wolves jersey in 1st grade today deserves special mention, not just for their efforts today, but for their efforts throughout 2023. Considering this is the last review of 2023, every 1st grade Merrylands Wolf is going to get a special mention, starting at the top.

James Macklin – Its pretty safe to say that, if you had said to any long term Wolf fan, say, 5 years ago, that James Macklin would one day play in a first grade grand final as the Wolves starting tighhead prop, they would’ve told you you were bonkers. But such is the development and improvement in the Polar Bear, that come grand final day today, absolutely no one was surprised Jim started the game and no one was surprised he put in one of his best ever performances.

Fatu “Heart” Sekati – Fatu is an impressive rugby player. If he was, say, a flanker, you’d be impressed with his skills and speed. But the fact he is a hooker is mind blowing. Fatu had a fantastic game today. His lineout throws were spot on, he never lost a scrum and he even managed to cross for a try.

Gody Schuster – In the current Merrylands playing group, there are about 4 players that have played for Merrylands for more then 10 years. Joe Ngawini, James Macklin, Luke Schofield and Benjamin Davis. All of them agree, Gody is one of the best front rowers they’ve ever seen pull on a Wolves jersey. Gody is the complete player. He is smart, tough, skillful and he hits like a freight train. And not just sometimes. Gody whacks people pretty much every time he makes a tackle. After the game several Merrylands committee members were chatting with Sydney Irish’s management team. The Irish president was over heard saying “that number 3 of yours, he broke half a dozen of our forwards”

Luke Schofield – today, Luke played the way Luke always plays.  Desperate, committed, skillful and smart. He was close to the best forward on the field.

Ben Stokes – Ben didn’t really commit to the team till about the midway point of the 2023 season, but when he did, he was pushed straight into the 1st grade side. Ben is the perfect modern lock. He is tall and just slender enough to make him easy to lift in lineouts. He also tough and fit. Ben tried his guts out toady and tackled like a man possessed.

Ame Smith – Ame is one of a kind. Everyone that plays with Ame will always remember Ame and everyone that plays with Ame enjoys playing with him. Ame is capable of things that, quite simply, almost no other player is. It’s a cliché to say “oh he gave it everything he had”, but with Ame, its pretty much always true. And today was no different. Ame ran hard and made a few clean busts and, like he is most weeks, Ame was the heart and soul of the team. Always passionate and always trying to drag the rest of the team with him.

Ite Tia – Ite played the bulk of the season in 2’s but, closing in on the finals, Coach Hendry decided that he needed more speed in his backrow and so Ite was brought up to 1st grade. Ite never let first grade down. Today, Ite’s biggest value was in his cover defense. Time and time again Ite found himself out wide, needing to make difficult tackles on fast moving Irish backs, and pretty much every time Ite made it stick. Ite has played with the Wolves for many years, and everyone from Wolf town hopes Ite plays for the Wolves for many more.

Sio “Fono” Faanati – Today, Fono was outstanding. He made about a million tackles and put his hand up time and time again to make hard runs into the teeth of the Irish defense. The Wolves spent most of the game chasing Irish and were usually behind on the scoreboard. But it never seemed to phase Fono, he kept playing tough aggressive football and almost made the difference.

MJ Malo – MJ is the perfect half back for this Wolves backline. See, this Wolves 1st grade backline is packed full of attacking, creative players. Right from fly half out to fullback, just about every Wolf back is capable of doing the unexpected and making it work. MJ is the glue that binds them. MJ plays fast, no mucking around rugby. His service is direct and slick. Today, if the Wolves were going to go with Irish, they needed to play fast. MJ put in a wonderful shift that allowed the Wolves to do just that.

Talitiga “Dan” Lelevaga – Dan is probably the most gifted rugby player you are ever likely to see in Subbies Rugby. All year, Dan has pulled off plays that are, frankly, ridiculous. He is the complete player. Today, Dan was the best player on the pitch. He sparked almost all of the Wolves attack and scored a scorching 5 pointer himself. And he kicked liked Johnny Wilkinson if Johnny Wilkinson was having a good day.

Saufoi Tagiilima – Saufoi is very handsome. He is also a good rugby player

AJ Mohr – AJ is handsome too, just not as handsome as Saufoi. When you look at AJ, it can be easy to under estimate him. He looks a little short and maybe a little too heavy to play 13. But AJ is bloody, is crazy strong and has a wicked step. Today AJ shone in defense. His thigh height, driving tackles, done at full speed, were something special.

Vavao Vaafusuaga – Vavao played the full season on the wing in first grade. During the season Vavao had Tui, Masi, PJ and Jay all gunning for his spot. But he never gave it up. In today’s GF, Vavao showed why Coach Hendry has always kept the faith in Vavao. He defended like a champ and clattered into the Irish line like his own safety didn’t matter to him.

Mike Poto – Mike is a phenomenon. He does absolutely everything at 100km/h and is afraid of nothing. Mike has been playing for the Wolves since 2015 and he has literally never had a bad game. Mike had a lot of work to do today. Irish kicked to him a lot and Mike often had to make last-man-standing tackles on run away Irish forwards. On one such occasion, late in the match with the Wolves trailing by 7, Mike not only managed to bring down the run away Irish forward, but he absolutely belted him. Mike, please never change.

Junior Faamausili – Junior came on today just after half time and played a great subs game. He picked up the pace and made a difference every time he was anywhere near the ball. Junior is a fun guy to be around and pleasure to play rugby with. He also wears lots of really cool Wallabies gear.

Kirimasi Panapa – Masi is a gun. Whether he is playing 12 or 13 or wing or fullback, Masi always quality. Today, Masi came on the field and almost immediately made an incredible 60 meter run that put the Wolves back down the right end  of the pitch and back on attack.

Tui Maalaelu – Tui, like AJ, is trick. Tui doesn’t all that skillful and it doesn’t seem like he has jets in his shoes. But he does. He really does.

2nd Grade Semi-Final: Merrylands vs Redfield 19/8/23

And so here we are, the qualifying semi-final. Win this one and you’re through to the big dance.

The Wolves 2’s turned up to today’s fixture at Mittgar reserve (Raptors home ground) in the best shape they could possibly be in. They’d only played 1 game in 3 weeks and so were well rested and pretty much completely injury free. Other than the handful of players Coach Hendry wanted to keep fresh for the 1st grade bench, this was the best team the Wolves 2’s could put on the pitch.

The tight five were mostly full of familiar faces. Jack Malietoa, Sam Tuigamala, Issac Tia and Benjamin Davis all took up their usual positions. The only surprise was Arana “One More Time” Rissetto who started the game in the second row along with Captain Ben. Arana has a high work rate and is a capable lineout jumper, attributes Coach Hendry decided were important to win today’s contest against the young and fast Redfield.

The Wolves backrow was a little more experimental. Sam Atonio took up the #7 jersey usually worn by Tia Salima who had been called up to the Wolves 1st grade. The #8 jersey was re-claimed by Faatali Leavasa. Faatali sustained a shoulder strain a few weeks back so, with an eye to the finals and given the Wolves position at the top of the table, Coach Hendry had decided to rest Faatali until today. The blind side flanker spot was taken by Lucus Leutele-Malasia. Lucus is more solid than the average flanker (he occasionally plays prop!) and is a damaging runner. Coach Hendry believed that the Wolves 2’s needed to buy what Lucus was selling.

The Wolves backline was all class. Niko Poto, Dion Amosa, Chris Ioane, Tau Nati, Malo Nona, Casey Viane and Peter Smith. These 7 players have played the bulk of the season for the Wolves 2’s. They started the season has a good backline and have gotten better and better every week. Truth be told, the Wolves 2nd grade backline would probably cut holes in the majority of 1st grade teams the Wolves have faced this year.

Today’s game was a classic clash of styles. Merrylands play direct, hard-hitting rugby and have a solid set piece. Redfield are a fit, pattern style of rugby team. They try to avoid set pieces and like to play fast and keep the ball in play. The team that was able to impart their way of playing on the other would surely walk away with the win.

In the early running, it was Merrylands that was the most successful at forcing themselves upon their opposition. The Wolves managed to turn the ball over midfield, maybe 10 minutes into the game. Half back Niko Poto called his forwards onto the ball and sent three runners barging into the Redfield defence. Jack Malitoa, Sam “I’m not playing second row” Atonio and Faatali “go the Rabbittos” Leavasa all made good ground with ball in hand. Niko than sent the ball wide where Chris Ioane made good meters, breaking a couple of tackles and getting to within 10 of the line. From there, Niko Poto sent the ball the same way, catching Redfield desperately short of numbers. The Redfield winger saw the danger and tried to rush Tau Nati but he simply swatted the attempted tackle away and gave the Wolves the opening points of the game.

After the re-start, the game fell into a bit of a back-and-forth kicking affair, with both teams unwilling to play in their own half. During this period, Redfield managed to jag a penalty goal and reduce the deficient to 4. However, the close score didn’t last long.

The Wolves forwards were beginning to get on top of their Redfield rivals. The Wolves were dominating in the tackle, often keeping Redfield well behind the gain line, and were counter rucking the Redfield ruck to pieces. One such counter saw the Wolves turn over possession just inside the Redfield half. The Wolves sent the ball wide where Malo Nona broke loose, running the ball into the Redfield 22. From there, with the Redfield d-line in tatters, it was only a matter of time before the Wolves broke through. And it was Niko “forever young” Poto that took the hours, throwing a little dummy and barging over to push the Wolves lead out to 11 and give the Wolves a healthy glow going into half time.

From there, it must be said, Redfield kind of gave up. Sure, they kept running the ball and making tackles, they kept trying. But they weren’t desperate. They lacked a sense if urgency and determination. The kind of things Merrylands had in spades.

In the second half, Merrylands didn’t tear Redfield apart or make them look silly, but the Wolves took almost every chance the Wolves got. When ever the Wolves got into the Redfield 22, they scored. When ever Redfield failed to chase one of their many many kicks, Merrylands made them pay, running the ball back deep into Redfield’s half. Whenever Redfield gave away a penalty, the Wolves took full advantage, making good ground on the kick, winning their lineout and rolling over Redfield.

There were plenty of big performances from the Wolves today.

Sam Atonio was given man of the match honours by the Wolves coaching staff. He ran hard and often and played the full 80 minutes in various positions.

Casey Viane had an absolute ripper of a game at fullback. Redfield kick the ball a hell of a lot so Casey had plenty of work to do today and he did it all with speed and accuracy. He also kicked like a weapon, slotting multiple sideline conversion attempts.

The Wolves 2’s have used a lot of front row combinations this year. Today’s combo of Issac Tia, Sam Tuigamala and Jack Malitoa, is close to the bets front row the Wolves 2’s have had in 2023. Today, all three stood up. All three crushed Redfield in scrums, executed lineouts like pros, defended like Trojans and ran like men possessed. If you swapped the two front rows around today, it may well have been a different result.

Ratu Ganilau has had an up and down season. Ratu started the season at 13 for the 2’s before playing a couple of games at 6. Ratu than missed a whole bunch of games due to work commitments but came back to the Wolves a month or so ago and has been playing better and better each week. Today, coming off the bench, Ratu had a blinder. He played exactly how a coach dreams a bench player will play. Ratu came on, took a load of runs, chased back hard in defence and used his extra energy to beat everyone to rucks and secure the Wolves the ball…..Merrylands 38 – Redfield 22.

1st Grade Semi Final: Merrylands vs Rockdale 19/8/23

Like the Wolves 2’s, the Wolves top grade fielded an outstanding team, easily their strongest for 2023. The Wolves 1’s really had no injuries and were even able to name several high quality, fully fresh players on the bench including Masi Panapa and Richard Dandahdwa.

Todays 1st grade game was pretty much over after 30 minutes.

The Wolves were first on the board, scoring a fairly easy try to Mike Poto after Dan Lelevaga had danced past 4 or 5 Rockdale players and put Mike away under the posts. From the re-start, Rockdale were able to gain possession and begun sending their big forwards on charges into the Wolves line. But they weren’t really going anywhere. Time after time the Wolves turned up in numbers, giving up little if any ground to Rockdale. The thing was though, time after time, Rockdale were given 2nd chances. Sometimes it came from poor handling from the Wolves and sometimes from the refs whistle, but over and over again the Wolves failed to get away from their won try line.

In fact, for a period of at least 20 minutes, Rockdale never got any further than about 15 meters from the Wolves try line. Rockdale’s attack was relentless. Wave after wave of big, heavy hitting runners bashed into the Wolves from scrums, from tap penalties and from lineouts

And the Wolves kept getting in their way. Merrylands kept on putting their bodies on the line, turning Rockdale away again and again. Finally, after the Wolves were reduced to 14 men with James “Bad Boy 4 Life” Macklin sent to the bin, Rockdale managed to cross the Wolves line, but only just.

It was an exhausting period of play for both teams but, clearly, more exhausting for Rockdale. Sure, they’d scored, but it had taken so much of their energy and effort that they were clearly unable to play much rugby in the immediate aftermath. And the Wolves were good enough to take full advantage. Dan Lelevaga kicked the Wolves into good field position and, after only a few forward charges and a simple spread across the backline, Saufoi Tagilima broke through. Saufoi then drew in the fullback before passing to Aj Mohr for the Wolves 2nd try of the game.

It was a heart breaker for Rockdale. It had taken them 20 minutes of gut busting effort to score, but it had only taken the Wolves a minute or two of good territory and fast hands and the Wolves were back in the lead. It was pretty clear to everyone watching, and to Rockdale themselves, that they simply couldn’t keep up with the Wolves. Like Redfield before them, Rockdale kept playing, kept going through the motions, but the spark had gone out of them and Merrylands knew it.

The Wolves, on the other hand, grew into the game. They became more brave, more willing to chance their arm and more confident they were going to execute the longer the game went on. And with confidence, came points, lots of points. In fact, when the final whistle was blown, the Wolves enjoyed a comfortable win and a glorious path to the GF…..Merrylands 34 – Rockdale 14


Merrylands vs Macquarie Uni 5/8/23

So Merrylands won both grades today. 2nd grade by forfeit and 1st grade by a big big score, 85 points in fact. There was lots of great play and the Wolves scored lots of great tries.

But today, there were two heroes.

One was Macquarie Uni and the other was James Macklin.

It’s fairly safe to say that Mac Uni aren’t having a great season. In fact, they’re having a bit horror. They’ve forfeited a bunch of games in 2’s and have only managed to win 3 games in 1st grade. Today, going into their last game of the season, Mac Uni were drastically short of players. They had forfeited 2nd grade and, 10 minutes before kick off in the top grade, there were only 13 players with Mac Uni jerseys on.

In contrast, Merrylands were a picture of settled strength. The Wolves were coming off a 3 game winning streak had, what looked like, 273 players warming up on the sideline.

Truth be told, Mac Uni had every right to throw up the white flag and call it all off. In reality, what did they have to gain from walking on to Holroyd Sports Ground, undermanned and in poor form, and copping a flogging.

But Mac Uni didn’t. They strode on to Holroyd Sports Ground and played their guts out. They played right through the full 80 minutes and never stopped putting in. They refused to give up and take the easy option and, in doing so, they won the respect of all of the gathered Merrylands faithful.

It is worth noting that clubs and players like Mac Uni have been in short supply in 2023. Several clubs in Div 4 have been happy to give up on playing. The likes of Northern Saits, Chatswood, Lane Cove and Renegades have all been keen to roll over and play dead despite, seemingly, being in a better position playerwise, then Mac Uni were today.

As Ali G once said “Respect”

James Macklin begun playing for Merrylands in 2003, that’s 20 years ago. In that time, James has experienced the highest of highs (captaining 2nd grade to back to back grand final wins, being a committee member, playing #8 in the 2014 1st grade grand final team) and the lowest of lows (being kicked out in 2012, being kicked out in 2015, seeing the club house burnt down, having to play a season for Briars). But the Jim Dog Millionaire has always kept going, he ash always kept showing up.

And today, on the 5th day of the 8th month of the year of our lord, 2023, James Macklin played his 200th game for the Merrylands Wolves. James, you’re, the most beautiful prop in the village, maybe the world.

Merrylands vs Wakehurst 29/7/23

1st grade

Wakehurst are a pretty good team. They’re fast and brave and they move the ball well. They probably just luck a cutting edge in attack and/or an ability to punish people in defence.

Merrylands are a very good team. They’re fast and brave, they move the ball well, they have plenty of players that can cut you with ball in hand and more then a few of their defenders are capable of making you pay a heavy price for a bad carry.

That is kind of the story of the day.

Both sides had chances to score, but Merrylands just had a little more cut and so converted their chances more often. Both sides had periods of dominance, but Merrylands were able to muster a little more venom, a little more pressure in defence and so see off Wakehurts’ threats more often than not.

The other big telling factor was the bench. Merrylands have enjoyed the benefit of a great bench in 2023. There are always plenty of players that are keen to back up for 1’s and there are often a few fresh guys on the bench. Also, Merrylands always seem to have plenty of variety on the bench. That is, if a half back goes down, there’s usually a half back waiting to go on. If a prop is looking a little tired, usually Coach Hendry can turn to a fresh prop to come off the bench. The effect is that, when Merrylands need to make changes, they don’t seem to slow down too much or lose their way.

Today, the Merrylands bench shone. Ame Smith, Benjamin Davis, Sam Tuigamala, John Silva and Chris Ioane all came off the bench and all of them had an impact. Ame gave the Wolves forwards a bit of bang just as they were fading before half time. Sam Tuigamala added some speed to the front row. Benjamin Davis added a steady hand when the Wolves looked to be losing the ascendancy and Chris Ioane sparked the backs and ensured they finished the job off with room to move….Merrylands 32 – Wakehurst 19

2nd grade

Last away game of the season. Plenty of players a little injured. Coach Hendry and Coach Musty are away. Wakehurst, todays opponent, were having their Old Boys Day. This was always gong to be a tricky day of rugby for the Wolves.

Stand in Coach Benjamin was able to name a pretty settled, pretty strong Wolves 2nd grade line up.

The forwards were full of regular faces like Tia “just the 1st half” Salima, Gody “They drink like children” Schuster, Issac Tia, Benjamin “what are you asking me for” Davis and Ratu “I’m still a back” Ganilau.

In the backs, the only selections of note were Pj Smith shifting to 13 with John “Twinkle Toes” Silva moving out to the wing and Casey Viane continuing his come back at 15.

Early on, Merrylands were simply be too big and too polished for their smaller, faster Wakehurst counterparts and it took no time at all for the Wolves to start building a lead. In fact, within the first 15 minutes of the game, fly half Tau Nati and flanker Ratu Ganilau both crossed for converted 5-pointers. To most of the Wolves present, it felt like Merrylands were going to put on a pretty big score.

But that’s not how it panned out.

Wakehurst, perhaps driven on by their big Old Boys Day crowd, rallied. Merrylands made another serge for the try line but Wakehurst managed to win back possession close tot heir own line. Then Wakehurst managed to hold onto that possession for an extended period of time. Then Wakehurst managed to shift the ball, quite quickly, into the wide channels. Then Wakehurst managed to find some space. Then Wakehurst, with only 5 or so minutes of the first half remaining, managed to send their #13 over for a try.

Merrylands weren’t rattled or worried. Stand-in-Coach Benjamin and backline conductor Niko Poto told their troops this was all pretty predictable. Wakehurst were fired up and had plenty of players so they were always going to comeback into the game at some point. Stand-in-Coach Benjamin assured his players that the Wolves were simply too good, had too much quality for Wakehurst. He told the lads they just needed to do their jobs and be patient and the points would start flowing for the Wolves sooner or later.

Ben was right, except it was later and not sooner. Much later. In fact, it was so late, that by the time the Wolves crossed for what was the math winning try, Wakehurst had already managed to bag a penalty try and so spent the final 15 or so minutes of the half on level points with the Wolves.

However, it must be said, the Wolves handled the situation like pros while Wakehurst kind of let the moment get to them. Tau Nati and Chris Ioane kept their backline calm and resisted the urge to launch long range attacks. The Wolves backline played for territory, chased kicks and looked to strangle their excited Wakehurst opponents. The Wolves forwards fed of their backs and played it simple. They ran hard and concentrated on maintaining possession. With full time approaching, Wakehurst got excited and tried to run the ball from deep. They coughed up possession just outside their own 22.

This was the Wolves chance and they didn’t stuff it up. Big charges from Ratu Ganilau and Fono Faanati gave Tau Nati the room he need to break a few tackles and dot down under the posts.

It wasn’t pretty, but it was a win….Merrylands 21 – Wakehurst 14

Merrylands vs Western Raptors 15/7/23

Merrylands vs Western Raptors

NOTE: was unable to attend todays matches. There for, is unable to bring you the usual exciting, blow by blow review of the days games. Instead, has managed to secure interviews with a Wolves 2’s and a Wolves 1 player.

From the 2’s we have the one and only Ite “I was a winger” Tia and from 1st grade we have the Worlds Crankiest human, Luke Schofield.


2nd Grade

MerrylandsRugby – Hi Ite, how’s things?

Ite Tia – Yea, good.


MR – Before we get into the todays 2nd grade game between Wolves and Raptors, maybe we’d like to learn a bit about Ite Tia and his time playing for Merrylands. You’ve had quite an interesting career at Merrylands, when did you first play for the Wolves?

IT – I played a few games for the Wolves in 2017 but started playing proper in 2018. I was a winger back then. Coach Steve was even trying to build me into a fullback!


MR – No way?!?

IT – Yea, I was quick and had grown up playing out wide in league. Any way, it’s kind of boring out there. Sometimes you don’t see much of the ball so one day we were short of flankers so I asked if I could give playing in the forwards ago. It was tough but we more fun than hanging out on the wing and just waiting around for the ball.


MR – How did you enjoy those early years?

IT – When I started in 2018 the Wolves were pretty good. Really good actually. We won the 2nd grade Grand Final and 1st grade got knocked out in the major semi. The following year, however, was tough. Just about as tough as I’ve ever seen any club. Merrylands were pushed up to 3rd division but we really only had, say, 25 committed players but we were supposed to be fielding 3 grades! We had to forfeit a few games that year. It sucked.


MR – Mate, Merrylands Rugby thanks you for hanging in there through he tough times. So, on to todays game. Last time we played the Raptors we won pretty easy. This time it was much closer. What do you think happened?

IT – we played s@#t


MR – Oh. Do you think it had anything to do with Benjamin Davis not being there this time around.

IT – No.


MR – OK. What, in particular, do you think we did s@#t?

IT – defense and communication.


MR – Fair enough. Any players stand out and have a good game?

IT – You’ll have to ask the coach that.


MR – You can’t give us just one name?

IT – Benjamin Davis did us all a favor by not being there.


Merrylands 34 – Raptors 21



1st Grade – Hi Luke, its great to see you and even better to get a chance to talk rugby with you.

Luke Schofield – why can’t you just watch the game on Clutch and then do a review?


MR – Oh and interview is fun and its always good to mix it up a bit.

LS – get on with it.


MR – So, your thoughts on the game?

LS – we played a bit s@#t. What probably saved us in the end was Raptors lacked numbers. They had a bunch of player back up from 2’s and they ran out of puff.


MR – Oh yea, anyone in particular have a good game?

LS – yea, the Raptors #15. He was probably the best player on the pitch. His kick returns damaged us all day and he turned us around with his own kicks all day long. Without him we probably would’ve put a cricket score on them.


MR – I meant from our team you twit.

LS – Oh. Gody Schuster was amazing. He started the game at flanker and then switched to prop just before half time. He was full of energy. He led the kick chase and was always there to clean up our rucks and mauls. From the start of the game to the finish. A.J, Dan and Ame all had really good games. It great when your best players stand up.


MR – we scored a bunch of tries. Any particular you thought deserve a mention?

LS – last play of the game Dion made a bit of a break and chipped the ball through. Tui came flying through and caught the ball and crashed over the line. It was ripper. Also Ame finished off an awesome try with a big fend and a long run down the sideline. It looked like he was going to score one of the pretest tries you’ll ever see but he tripped over his own legs 5 meters from the line and fell over. He still got there. But he looked like a goose.

Merrylands vs Sydney Irish 8/7/23

Merrylands vs Sydney Irish

2nd grade

This is 2nd grade, 4th division subbies. There isn’t some nerd sitting in a box high above the ground collecting accurate match statistics. But if there was, almost certainly those stats would paint a pretty very even picture. They would likely say possession was 550/50 and time in oppositions 22 was pretty roughly equal. They would probably say the Wolves enjoyed more line breaks but Irish evened that out with a dominant kicking display.

Most importantly however, where the two teams did differ and where Irish enjoyed a big advantage, was on the score board.

Put simply, Irish put away most of their chances while the Wolves blew most of theirs. The Wolves really had no trouble making ground, moving the ball around or finding holes. But time and time again, with the try line begging to be crossed, the Wolves 2’s simply muffed the last pass or took the wrong option. Players you’d usually bank on making the right moves, guys like Joh Silva, Chris Ioane, Niko Poto and Benjamin Davis, got greedy or tried to be too cute or simply weren’t paying attention.

In the end, Irish enjoyed a fairly comfortable win.

Post game, the Wolves 2’s were fairly despondent. They knew they had every chance to win but simply weren’t good enough on the day. Will this loss simply serve as a vital lesson on the Wolves 2’s way to lifting the premiership trophy?

Or will this loss plant a seed of doubt the Wolves 2’s struggle to throw off?

Only time, and about 5 more games, will tell….Merrylands 19 – Irish 29


1st Grade

Today’s game was a table topping battle of the titans.

It was a clash of cultures.

It was a clash of styles.

It was a game both teams really really really wanted to win. But, like Conor MacLeod says, there can be only one.

And today, that was Irish.


Still, it was a very close game and, for long periods, Merrylands were very much the better team. In fact, when the Wolves really decided to tear into Irish, the potato eaters really had no way of stopping the Wolves. Problem was, the Wolves weren’t aways in the mood to rip in. Sometimes the Wolves wanted to get into kicking duals, other times they wanted to play hair-em-scare-em type rugby and at other times the Wolves simply didn’t know what they wanted.

It was during those non-wolf rugby times that Irish managed to put points on the board.
The Wolves play a very straight forward style of rugby. They send big powerful forward runners crashing into people and then send the ball wide to hard running backs. Irish play a far less combative, less collision-based game. The Irish’s forwards very rarely string together more than a couple of phases of play before the backs take the ball off them and try and get it wide. This style works great if your opposition let you have the ball and don’t challenge your ruck and maul.

It’s a bit of a trick playing teams like Irish. They spread the ball wide early and seem to be able to create numbers. Most player when faced with this kind of attack think “oh boy I better fan out and create more numbers in the defensive line”

But really, what you should be doing (most of the time) is thinking “they’ve got a lot of numbers out wide, that means there’s no on in close. Let’s attack their ruck while they’re weak”

At times today, the Wolves attacked Irish’s ruck and played tight and forced Irish out of their comfort zone and, when they did, the Wolves rolled right over Irish. But too many times today the Wolves got sucked into playing Irish’s style of rugby, or at least letting Irish dictate how the game would be played.

These two teams will very likely face each other in a very big game later in the season. If the Wolves want the result to flip, all they have to do is look in the mirror and remember who they are…..Merrylands 29 – Irish 34

Merrylands vs Chatswood 1/7/23

Merrylands vs Chatswood.

2nd grade

Actually, there’s no review for the 2nd grade game because there was no 2nd grade game because Chatswood or Lane Cove or Chatswood/Lane Cove or what ever the hopeless mutant calls itself, forfeited.

Sometimes, the chips are down and players can’t be found and a club just has to make the regrettable decision to forfeit. Throughout its proud history, Merrylands has always made forfeiting the very last resort. In the past, the Wolves have scrapped and begged and borrowed and, on plenty of occasions, too many to name in fact, asked its players to play multiple games in a day. Heck, sometimes 3 or 4 games in a day!

Forfeiting is really just giving up and the Wolves, as well as plenty of other clubs, simply won’t give up, at least not until every last possibility has been explored to its absolute limit.

But not Chatswood. Chatswood forfeited the game on Wednesday afternoon and then proceeded to turn up to Holroyd Sports ground with 22 players!

Some folks just don’t get it.


1st grade

Chatswood currently sit a long way down the ladder. At the very bottom in fact. Which is surprising, because they aren’t a completely rubbish team. They’re certainly a lot less rubbish than some of the teams that sit even 3 or 4 spots above them. They have a quality scrum, a functioning lineout, a good kicking game and decent close in defense.

Merrylands came into today’s game off their first loss of the season and, as you could imagine, the Wolves were crazy keen to post a big score and feel good about themselves again. The Wolves were looking to completely blow Chatswood off the park.

But that simply never happened.

See, Chatswood were very good at holding on to the ball. Chatswood seemed to be able to recycle possession fairly easily while not really making any forward progress. In the early stages, the Wolves were happy enough with the tackle practice, but as the match went on the Wolves got frustrated. Merrylands desperately wanted to post a big score and every ruck or maul Chatswood won seemed to aggravate the Wolves more and more.

Merrylands started sticking their hands into unwinnable rucks and aimlessly going off their feet in an attempt to wrestle back possession. But all this silliness did was ensure Chatswood held in to the ball a little longer while the Wolves got a little more pissed off.

Then, when Merrylands did get their hands on the ball, they got more excited than Mick P at a burger drive-through. Instead of just settling into their game, the Wolves attempted to launch one long range audacious attack after another. Some of them worked (meaning the Wolves were always ahead on the scoreboard) but a lot of them didn’t. But when it didn’t work forwards would mumble “for f@#k sake catch the ball backs” or backs would grumble “get out of the way forwards”

In the end the Wolves won pretty comfortably, but it was far from the polished, dominant display the Wolves have been using to posting and it did nothing to ease the pain of last weeks first defeat of the season.

Still, a win is a win and, as they say, sometimes its good to win ugly…..Merrylands 57 – Chatswood 24

Merrylands vs Rockdale 24/6/23

2nd grade

Rockdale are a good side. They’re big and powerful.

Merrylands is also a good side. They’re also big and powerful and they are also smart and fast.

Coach Hendry informed his 2nd graders today that, like the description above, winning todays game should be that simple. He told his troops that both if both teams are big and powerful than the Wolves just relying on being big and powerful would be silly and would likely result in a close, tense, tough game.

Instead, Coach Hendry told 2’s that the way to win was to use the skills they have that Rockdale don’t, that is, being smart and fast.

And, like the table topping soon-to-be minor champs that the Wolves 2’s are, they listened to their coach. They met Rockdales physical challenge with courage and style, but when the Wolves 2’s got the ball, they switched to speed and smarts.

And it didn’t take long for the tactic to start paying off.  10 minutes into the game, Rockdale managed to win themselves a sustained period of possession. Rockdale through phase after phase of forward charges at the Wolves 2nd grade defenders. A few of these runs made good ground or resulted in quality off-loads, but, for the most part, Rockdale weren’t making a lot of ground. In a frustrated effort to break out, their #8 threw a very iffy flick pass. The pass missed the mark and went to ground. Wolves half back Niko “The Eternal” Poto scooped the ball up and immediately shifted it wide. The ball got out to outside centre “Long” John Silva who easily got on to the outside of the Rockdale defence and he raced away. From there, a simple draw and pass of the fullback saw Duke Malo race untouched over the line and open the scoring in favour of the Wolves.

And that is pretty much how the rest of the game went. Rockdale would get the ball and grit their teeth and make some fierce charges at the Wolves. Sometimes they would be effective, resulting in a couple of tries, but for the most part they simply weren’t enough. They didn’t take enough energy out of the Wolves and they certainly didn’t put the Wolves in anywhere near enough danger.

On the other hand, the Wolves were far smarter with their ball. Sure, the Wolves forwards ripped into their Rockdale counterparts, giving Rochdale a taste of their own medicine, but the Wolves 2’s knew where the pot of gold was. It wasn’t straight up the middle of the park. It was at eh end of the backline. So that’s where the Wolves went. Over and over and over again.

In fact, they went there so many times and had so much success that, when the ref blew the full-time whistle, the score board said that the Wolves had am impressive, comfortable victory……..Merrylands 41 – Rockdale 17


1st Grade.

This will be brief.

As was the case in the 2nd grade game, Rockdale’s 1’s are a good side. They’re big and powerful.

As was the case in the 2nd grade game, Merrylands are also a good side. They too are big and powerful and, like the Wolves 2’s, they’re also smart and fast.

Coach Hendry, just like he gave his victorious 2nd grade side, gave his 1st grade side a clear easy plan. Go out there and use your fast and smart.

But, unlike the Wolves 2’s, the Wolves 1st grade didn’t listen. Well, they didn’t listen enough.

The Wolves kept getting sucked into playing rugby the way Rockdale wanted to play rugby, tough and brutal, instead of the way Coach Hendry had told his boys to play, fast and smart. And although the Wolves are very capable of playing tough brutal rugby, they’re not sufficiently better at it than Rockdale.

So instead of today’s 1st grade game being like the 2’s game, a tough but comfortable win for Merrylands, it turned into a close, tit-for-tat frustrating affair that neither team could put to sleep.

In the end, the Wolves 2’s paid for their lack of discipline and were pipped in the dying moments of the game by a Rockdale team the Wolves will surely meet again….Rockdale 14 – Merrylands 10

Merrylands vs Redfield Old Boys 17/7/23

2nd Grade

Redfield Old Boys. Damn Redfield Old Boys.

As much as a lot of Merrylands players, both now and in the past, might not like to admit it, the name Redfield Old Boys strikes, well, fear, in to the hearts of many Merrylands Wolves. Maybe not quite fear, but certainly, say, dread.

See, like the mighty elephant that is afraid of the little mouse, the mighty Wolves often felt their size and strength advantage drain away from them whenever they took the field against little old Redfield. See, the men from out Dural way, don’t play rugby the way most Merrylands players are brought up to play rugby. Redfield don’t try to run over you when they have the ball or rip you in half with every tackle, the way Merrylands do. Instead, they shift the ball to where there is space and they do it quickly and if you run at them, they simply chop your legs out, nice and easy like. Redfield make you get up off the ground. Again and again and again. And try as they might, the Wolves always seemed to struggle to get Redfield to stop playing their damned pattern pansy rugby and just play rugby the way men are supposed to play rugby. Hard and straight.

The Wolves always struggled with Redfield, until today.

Today, the Wolves 2’s, through a combination of rugby smarts, fitness and luck, managed to score 5 tries against the boogieman that is Redfield Old Boys and, even more impressively, The Wolves stopped Redfield from scoring any tries of their own. All this despite, at times, being down to just 13 men. And what’s even more impressive is that the Wolves did it with a team that was missing a number of its stars.

In the forwards, there was no Jack Mailetoa, Uese “the Doctor” Samu or Jordan Sega. Issac Tia stepped into the Doctors vacant hooking role, James “chasing 200” Macklin held up the scrum in place of Jack while Alosio Falavau made his run on debut for 2023 in place of the missing Jordan.

In the backs, Dion Amosa’s #10 jersey was worn by Lene Mailo, Eric Maaufu’s 12 jersey was taken by John Silva while Tau Nati shifted to 15.

In the first half, Redfield dominated possession. They also dominated territory. In fact, Redfield consistently managed to stretch Merrylands down to their last defender. But the Wolves were ready for it, they came prepared. Coach Hendry told his men that, early on, your lungs will burn and your legs will feel like jelly. But Hendry assured the Wolves that all the fitness they’d done on those long cold Tuesday and Thursday nights would pay off. Coach Hendry promised that if the Wolves 2’s forced Redfield to push in scrums and lift in lineouts and, most importantly, forced Redfield to fight for every breakdown that, sooner or later, Redfield would get sick of the physical stuff and they’d start taking short cuts. And when they did, the Wolves had the firepower out wide to make them pay.

And that’s pretty much exactly what happened. Sure, it took a little longer than everyone was hoping for (it took till 10 minutes into the second half) and there were a few heart attacks along the way (like when the Wolves had two players binned for repeat infringements close to the line) but in the end, the Wolves 2’s combination of brains and brawn did the trick.

The first Wolf to benefit with a 5 pointer was Tau Nati. In fact, Tau scored two tries in fairly quick order. Tau’s tries were followed by a classic long range team effort finished off by Chris Ioane. From there, some 18 points in front, you could see the wind going out of Redfield’s sails. Coach Hendry took the chance to push the dagger in a little further. He swapped out Niko “who me?” Poto, Benjamin “The old grey mare” Davis and Issac “I used to be an 8” Tia and sent in Joe “is Joe coming?” Ngawini, Fraser Leavasa and Ratu “is Ratu coming” Ganilau.

With the addition of the new players the Wolves turned up the heat on Redfield and the boys from Dural wilted and fell apart with the Wolves running in two more tries, one to Fraser and another to Chris Ioane.

Today was a truly impressive display from the Wolves and one that should leave them confident of their chances for the rest of the season.

Players that deserve a special mention?

Tau Nati has been the Wolves best player since making a latish start to the season. He has filled in at 10 and 12 and 15 and today caused Redfield headaches every time he was near the ball. In fact, in the early stages of the game, when Redfield were looking dangerous, it was Tau that broke Redfield up and begun putting them to sleep.

Chris Ioane played the bulk of last season as the 1st grade half back. This year, Hendry has picked him, almost every week, to start 2’s at inside center. Plenty of Wolves fans thought Hendry had gone mad picking a half back at inside center. But it has worked and worked incredibly well. Chris is an intense guy and has given every team the Wolves 2’s have played nightmares with his hard line running.

Ray Meafua is a big unit. He plays rugby just like a big unit should. He doesn’t try to make every ruck or maul or chase down every break. But he makes sure that, should the ball come his way, he uses his monster frame to make a monster difference. Today Ray ran hard, busted Redfield up and even managed to steal several lineouts simply by jumping on his own…..Merrylands 29 – Redfield 3


1st Grade

To point it in simply, this game meant a lot to the Wolves 1’s.

Redfield knocked the Wolves 1st grade out of the finals last year. And they didn’t just knock them out quietly, they embarrassed them. Redfield amassed almost 50 points to easily walk past a shell-shocked Wolves 1’s. What made the loss really hard to take was, truth be told, the Wolves 1st grade probably saw it coming. Maybe not quite 50 points, but the Wolves 1’s kind of knew that, somewhere just after mid-season, they had lost their intensity. They had stopped growing and working and had kind of been trading off the idea that Merrylands are big and scarry and that should get them over the line.

But somewhere in the deep dark corners of the Wolves minds, there lurked a nightmare. A nightmare that had the big strong Wolves being torn apart by a pack of kids that were just too fast and too smart.

If you lose a game of rugby to a team that is just plain better than you, it doesn’t hurt that much. But when you lose a game of rugby, especially a big game, like a semifinal, to a team you should beat, it stings. Last year, the Wolves knew what Redfield were going to bring and they knew what had to be done to stop them. But the Wolves just didn’t do the work. So they got hammered and it hurt.

Awful loses like that happen to everyone. You shouldn’t be judged too harsh for coping one. What you can be judged for is what you do after it happens.

If you change nothing and carry on as you were, then you’re stupid.

If you run away and give up, pretend like its all too hard, then you are a coward.

If you let it tare you and your team apart than, really, you were a bunch of fakes.

So, roughly 9 months after the 2022 semi-finals route, on a sunny Saturday afternoon down at Holroyd Sports Ground, what would the Merrylands Wolves 1’s choose to be?

Would they choose to be stupid or cowards or fakes or would they let the 2022 semifinal loss fuel a fire? A fire so big, it would melt the demons away and leave Redfield 1’s a smoldering ruin of ashes on the ground?

As Sweet Brown once said “Oh lord Jesus there’s a fire!”

Today, the Wolves 1’s played an almost perfect game of rugby. They matched and then out did Redfield in almost every facet of rugby. There were the elements you’d expect the Wolves to win at, like in physicality and set play, but the Wolves also out shone Redfield at, well, the Redfield type stuff. The Wolves kicked and chased like men possessed, they dominated territory like Germans in 1940, they showed discipline like a soldier and they routinely burnt Redfield for speed and numbers in such a way that Redfield thought they were stuck in some kind of Bizarro World.

Pretty much every player that pulled on a Wolves 1’s jersey today completely outshone their Redfield counterpart.

Upfront, James Macklin dominated the Redfield scrum, turning over several feeds and providing a perfect, still platform for his backs. Gody Schuster, in his own seemingly tired and “over it” Gody Schuster way, combined with Semi Tuigamala to play like an extra pair of loose forwards. Gody made long runs out wide and put life ending shots on Redfield outside backs while Semi showed the Redfield centers what quick feet really look like. Todays Wolves backrow of Fono Faanati, Sam Atonio and Ame Smith is probably one of the best backrows the Wolves have put on the field, maybe ever? And they didn’t disappoint. The three combined to provide the Wolves with the perfect balance of on-ball pressure, back line link play and brutal front on defense.

In the backs, Talitiga “I’m a Redfield Boy” Lelevaga kicked Redfield to death, consistently finding grass with the kind of kicks Redfield usually chase after, not run back to clean up.

Today’s Wolves 1st grade center pairing, like their backrow colleagues, could make a decent argument for being one of the best combos getting around. Masi Panapa and AJ Mohr are both big and fast and smart. After today’s game, while the Wolves Club Captain, Benjamin Davis, was chatting with his Redfield counterpart. Ben commiserated with him saying “tough game today mate”

The Redfield Captain replied “You guys were just relentless. We couldn’t get a break. And those centers. I mean, we knew they’d be bigger & stronger than us, but they just moved the ball so well, they were so fast. It was just too hard to stop”


But biggest Big Up’s of the day probably got to a few individuals.

Luke Schofield is the rock upon which the rest of the Wolves build their game. Luke drags down big forwards up front, makes cover tackles on run away backs, wins all his, plus a few of their, lineouts and keeps his players from loosing their cool. Luke is a gun.

Half back MJ Malo, like Luke Schofield, is a rock upon which an empire is being built. The beauty of MJ is that he is understated. MJ passes well, tackles like a flanker and provides quality communication between his backs and forwards. But that’s kind of it. He doesn’t try and steal the limelight or make big runs or grab games by the scruff of the neck. MJ is the perfect #9 for the 2023 Wolves 1st grade.

Mike Poto has been playing for the Wolves for 8 years. Since the first time he pulled on a Wolves jersey he has been proven himself to be one of the most dangerous, intelligent and down right crazy players to walk onto Holroyd Sports Field. And today was no exception. Today Mike provided the Wolves with spark every time he touched the ball and defused loads of Redfield chances be either returning kicks with venom or by demolishing his opposite winger with tackles Gody would be proud of ….Merrylands 62 – Redfield 5

Merrylands vs Renegades 3/6/23

2nd grade

There seemed to be a lot of tension pre-game for today’s fixture. The Wolves definitely felt it and Renegades seemed to feel it too. There wasn’t really any reason for it. The last time the two teams played, in round one, the match went down without any real incident and it wasn’t really a close game either, not close at all. In fact, Merrylands won the game by 40 points.

But the feeling that this game meant something was definitely there.

The Wolves side that took the field for the match was kind of settled and kind of not. The forwards were very settled, with plenty of regular starters in Tia “stuff cricket” Salima, Tali “I can jump” Leavasa, Benjamin “The touch judge” Davis  and Uiese “the Doctor” Samu

But in the backs, there were plenty of changes. Regular fly half Dion Amosa had been called up to first grade, so his place was taken by Tuafale “I’m back” Meni while John Silva and PJ Alalatoa made their run-on debuts at wing and centre respectively.

For their part, the Renegades side that took the field today was very different to the one the Wolves faced in round one. It was bigger, a little faster and seemed to have a bit more of a rugby brain.

And for the first half, Renegades used those attributes to stay in touch with Merrylands. They didn’t actually score a try, they didn’t score any points at all, but they managed to maintain possession for long periods and even got themselves into scoring positions.

However, the Wolves just never let up on their western Sydney rivals. Merrylands chased every kick, hard. They scrapped for every loose ball with real venom and they worked hard to make up for any mistakes they might have made. The result of this was, at half time, Merrylands seemed like they had played within themselves and still had more to give while the Raptors looked like they needed a break.

At half time, Coach Hendry told his charges to keep doing what they were doing and sooner or later, Renegades would start to cave in.

The lads took on Hendry’s words and went after Renegades straight off the kick off. They won the ball back off the kick off and begun throwing themselves at the Rouse Hill team, and, quite simply, Rouse Hill couldn’t take it. Whether it was forward charges from Tali Leavasa and Junior Faamasuli or hot stepping backline stuff from John Silva and Christian Ioane, the Wolves were simply too much for Renegades and were soon slipping well away from Renegades on the scoreboard.

Renegades tried to respond by bringing on some fresh legs, but whatever impact these players might have had, was soon cancelled out by Coach Hendry’s own raft of high-quality subs. Joe Ngawini and Masi Panapa were brought into the centres while Sa Maiava and Ray Meafua came on to add some intensity to the pack. The new players did exactly what all coaches want from subs, they picked up the base and started tearing Renegades apart.

The final 10 or so minutes was a try fest for the Wolves, while Renegades, couldn’t manage any points at all.

Big ups today go out to several players that play well week in and week out but probably don’t get the claps they deserve.

Niko Poto is the glue that holds the Merrylands 2’s together. He talks and organises both the pack and the backs and he defends like and extra flanker. One day, Niko will get old to play rugby good anymore, but that day wasn’t today.

Junior Faamasuli is a beast. Sometimes its easy to think “oh he’s just big and strong” but Junior is a far smarter footballer then that. Junior runs lines and re-loads quickly in defence and knows exactly when to inject himself and when to let smaller, fitter guys go to work….Merrylands 36 – Renegades 0

1st Grade

There was a rumour swirling around Renegade land that Merrylands were vulnerable. Word on the street was that the Wolves had some kind of important celebration to go to straight after today’s game. The mail was that a bunch of Wolves players weren’t going to be available for today’s game and those that were playing would likely be very distracted.

The Renegades smelt blood. They believed today just might mark a turning point in the Div 4 comp. Renegades believed today they would mark themselves as genuine premiership threats and that they would deal the Wolves their first loss of the 2023 season.

In some ways, Renegades were right. The Wolves were without several key players including Jack Mailetoa, Peter Smith and Tafesilafai “Sam” Atonio.

But in most ways, Renegades were wrong. Very wrong.

Today, the Wolves 1’s were the opposite of distracted. They were fired up and intense. Rather than letting the Samoan Independence Day Ball distract them, the Wolves used the event as motivation. The Wolves were determined to go to the ball as winners. Tonight, was a big night and the Wolves weren’t going to let thoughts of what might have been from the day’s rugby ruin their good time.

Right across the board, the Wolves put in solid shifts. Whether it was digging in in the front row, running hard in mid field or chancing their arm out wide, the Wolves gave every play everything they had and proved to be way too much for Renegades.

There was a brief period part way into the second half where Renegades looked like they just might make a game of it. Renegades had been awarded 3 or 4 penalties in a row and managed to score a try. From the kick off, Renegades ran hard and passed well and soon were right back on the Wolves try line. But in true champion fashion, the Wolves didn’t panic. They tackled well and stayed positive and when the chance came, a loose pass from Renegades out on the right wing, the Wolves were good enough to take advantage. Mike “Good to Be Back” Poto scooped up the way wood pass, stepped his opposite number then raced 80 meters to score in the corner and visably break the Renegades hearts.

Bug ups for today?

Dion Amosa was in his first run on start for the Wolves 1st grade, playing at 15 to cover for Pete Smith. Pre-game, there were concerns that no Pete Smit might be a real problem for the Wolves, but Dion out everyone’s minds at ease with an outstanding performance. Dion kicked well, ran hard and tackled without fault. It will be difficult for Hendry to push Dion back down to 2’s next week.

Masi Panapa and Joe Ngawini would walk into the starting side of just about every team in the comp. But today Coach Hendry had the join of being able to being the two axe murders off the bench. And when he did, they tore Renegades apart. In fact, the introduction of Masi and Joe was probably the most telling factor, other than Mike Poto’s length of the field try, in killing off any chance that Renegades had.

Ame and AJ are weapons.

Merrylands 39 – Renegades 7



Merrylands vs Northern Saints 27/5/23

1st grade

Let’s get straight to the point: this was a rubbish game of rugby.

There seemed to be a penalty or a scrum or a lineout every few seconds. Neither team really built pressure or worked space or crafted a try. Instead, they simply took the piggy backs offered by the ref and scored or they just burst through to score run away tries.

Well, actually, to be honest, it was really only Merrylands that burst through or took advantage of refs decisions. Because, in reality, Merrylands are, at the moment, a far superior team to Northern Saints. They’re faster, smarter and more skilful, right across the park.

You would expect, with those kinds of advantages, the Wolves should have blown Saints away and notched up yet another big win. Like what happened last time these two teams played. But not this time. This time, Saints somehow managed to keep the score mildly respectable.

Sure, some of that is down to, well, umm, good play from Saints. But mostly it was down to Merrylands being disciplined and patient in every facet of the game except when attacking with ball in hand.

When the Wolves were defending, they kept their tackles hard and legal and were never really caught short or panicked. When the Wolves were exiting their own 22, they played straight, kicked long and hard and chased like grey hounds. When the Wolves turned up to set play, they won all their own ball and messed up plenty of the Saints ball and when the Wolves found themselves on the end of a confusing penalty, they didn’t get cranky or point fingers (much) they just marched back and got ready.

But when Merrylands finally got their hands on the ball, they got more excited than Captain Luke on International “Let’s Be Negative” Day. The Wolves threw long balls (yes! Long balls!) tried chip and chases and attempted the kind of offloads SBW would consider a bit too unlikely. So, instead of soaking up the Saints pressure than running over them at the end of the game, the Wolves just soaked up Saints pressure, turned the ball back over to Saints, then went about soaking up more pressure.

Still, there were some positives to take from the game. The Wolves got through the game with no injuries or cards, they managed to blood a few 2nd grade players the Wolves 1’s will need later in the season, like The Doctor and Dion Amosa, and they got their first really crap performance of the season out of their system….Merrylands 43 – Saints 5

Merrylands vs Mac Uni 20/5/23

20/5/23 Merrylands vs Mac Uni

1st and 2nd grade.

Let’s not beat around the bush, today, across both grades, Merrylands scored a lot of points and Mac Uni didn’t score many. In fact, in 2’s, Mac Unit didn’t score any points at all and in 1st grade, Mac Uni only managed to score 10.

When the games are this one sided it isn’t much use doing a blow by blow of each try or trying to build up any tension or drama around the ebb and flow of the game. Because there really wasn’t any. In both grades, Merrylands started strong, were strong through the middle of the game and ended the game well on top of their student rivals.

In 2’s, Merrylands scored at a healthy and consistent rate throughout the game. They scored out wide through the likes of Romani Uili and Mike Poto, they scored through forward charges led by Jack Malietoa and Junior Faamausili, they cut Uni up in the middle of the park courtesy of some excellent line running from Christian Ioane and Tau Nati and they scored on the counter with a couple of magic efforts from deep being finished off by Dion Amosa and Uiese “the Doctor” Samu.

In 1’s, to be fair to Mac Uni, the tries did dry up for a little while just before half time. Mac Uni begun spreading the ball early, rather then attempting to run forward plays, and Uni managed to catch Merrylands out on at least two occasions. The breaks granted Mac Uni some much needed territory and after toiling away for what seemed like an eternity, the students managed to bag themselves a couple of 5 pointers. At that point it looked like, with a little luck, Mac Uni might be able to make a game of it. But it proved to be only a short reprieve as Merrylands big guns combined to steady the ship. Ame Smith made a cutting run through the middle of Mac Uni’s ruck before Dan Lelevaga ran onto a long ball from half back MJ Malo and dotted down to put the come back to bed.

Several boys deserve a special mention for their efforts today.

Gody Schuster played big minutes in both grades today. In 2’s, Gody played his usual prop roll while in 1’s, he pulled on the number 6. He was awesome in both games.

Taulelei Kirisome played almost a full game in 1’s today and was a real stand out in the tight stuff.

But man of the match honors, once again, went to Ame Smith. Ame is a unique player. He brilliant at simply playing what is in front of him and today Mac Uni just couldn’t handle him.

In 2’s, probably the two biggest stand outs were Romani Uili and Usese “The Doctor Samu”. Romani was playing on the right wing in the first half and was way to classy for his Mac Uni opposite while the Doctor, at the ripe old age of 51, ran hard, tackled well and managed to finish of a 70 meter counter attacking try.

2nd grade: Merrylands 70 – Mac Uni 0.

1st grade: Merrylands 72 – Mac Uni 10

Merrylands vs Wakehurst 6/5/23

Today, instead of the usual boring match reveiws, we have interviews with leading players from both the Wolves 1st and 2nd grade. From 1’s, we have tighhead prop James “Gimmie Long Hammer” Macklin and from 2’s we have the one and only Niko Poto.

2nd grade

Merrylands Rugby – Hi Niko, it’s great to see you again

Niko Poto – yea, I’m sure it is.


MR – We were worried you might not be playing this year as this is the first game you’ve played, what’s been going on?

NP – mate, just stuff to do, you know. You got a problem with that?


MR – no, not at all. Just curious.

NP – hey, well don’t be curious.


MR – any comments on today’s game?

NP – yea the boys played good, decent win against a decent team. We played well in the 2nd half. Crap in the first half.


MR – do you think that’s just a matter of wearing Wakehurst down early or is there another reason?

NP – I came on at half time. I’d say that’s a pretty good reason we played better.


MR – there are a few new faces in the Wolves 2’s this year. Any of them standout for you?

NP – It’s great that Ben guy isn’t here anymore, that stood out.


MR – 2’s are undefeated so far and looking pretty sharp. Do you think they can go all the way this year and where do you think they can improve to make sure that happens?

NP – I’m back so almost certainly we can go all the way. The biggest improvement we can make is to get Finchy back. I like that guy. He’s fat but he’s good. Plus, I don’t like being the biggest half back around.


MR – by “Finchy” do you mean “Frenchy”?

NP – What did I say?


MR – You said “Finchy”

NP – than that’s what I meant to say. Are you OK?


MR – Ahh, yea sorry. Joe Ngawini is back in Wolves colours and playing great. How is it to play along side Big Joe?

NP – Yea I’m happy for Joe. I’m sure it’s always been a bit of a dream of his to play outside me. If he keeps playing well and locks in that #13 jumper, he’ll get a full season of dreams.


MR – Benjmain Davis was away today, how do you think the team handled his absence?

NP – Who?


MR – Benjamin Davis. Captain Ben.

NP – can’t say I’ve met him.


MR – really? You’ve played with him every year since 2015. Tallish, handsome guy of Mediterranean decent?

NP – Mediterranean? Oh, you mean that overweight, grey haired, wog bloke that won’t bugger off? Yea, we did fine without him. Probably better.


MR – Thanks for you time today Niko

NP – don’t call me again.

1st grade

Merrylands Rugby: Thoughts on the game vs Wakehurst?

James Macklin: I thought todays game displayed greatly improved patience and maturity from the wolves. It was clear 15 to 20 mins into the game Wakehurst didn’t have the ability to match us in strength, speed and most importantly fitness. Wakehurst didn’t have any lineout jumpers didn’t really offer much resistance at the scrums or breakdown.

The Wolves had majority of possession in the first half in Wakehust’s half. We rushed a few opportunities and turned the ball over 3 or 4 times when we could have scored. In years gone past in a similar situation I’ve seen the wolves begin to crumble from a few of these simple errors.

But the wolves forwards and backs kept our composure and reminded each other to be patient and it will come. Not long after that Ame was quick at the breakdown for a pick and drive and ran roughly 15 meters to score basically untouched.


MR: The Wolves played a trial match vs Wakehurst this year. They were pretty tough in that trial. Were you surprised by the scoreline in today’s match?

JM: Quite surprised, going into todays game I was expecting a tough battle. But shortly into the game they didn’t feel anywhere near as tough as they did in the trial. There were a few players backing up from 2nd grade and they ‘enforcers’ they had in the trial were real quiet today.

I started to feel a little bad for Wakehurst, especially early in the second half when Saufoi Tagiilima absolutely hammered one of their big forwards.


MR: There were a few changes to the 1st grade side for today’s game, most notably in the forward pack. Sam Atonio has been devastating in 2nd grade this year and got his first shot at starting in the top grade for 2023. Your thoughts on Sam’s performance?

JM: There was a few changes, but a lot of the pack has been training together all season so we are all familiar with each other’s game. And as Merrylands greatest ever tighthead prop I’m happy to be there!

Sam was solid today, really impressive in his first start for 1sts. He runs hard, hits hard, he’s fast to the breakdown and talks constantly. I’m not sure what else you would want from an openside.


MR: Like Sam, Ben Stokes made his come back to the starting 1’s team today. Given the fact you’ve mentioned on numerous occasions that you think Ben is a bit of a “weak gutted dog” and an “overrated cat”, how do you think Ben went today and do you still think he is a cat and a dog?

JM: I can’t believe I used those harsh words to describe Big Ben, it’s honestly been awhile since I’ve seen him play that I forgot just how good he is.

I’ve never seen someone besides Ben Davis being that tall and pull over cover tackles that well.

Also, like Ben Davis, Ben Stokes loves to have a beer and a chat while we shower, which is very important to me.

Ben is also at least 10kgs lighter this season, so he can actually jump in the lineout now.


MR: The Wolves backline has been on fire this season. How’d they go today?

JM: As mentioned before after a shaky and feeling out first 20 mins our backs showed incredible patients and maturity, found their rhythm and what felt like to me they were basically scoring at will.

It also helps having so many of the lads wanting to back up from 2’s that guys like Etuale, Tui and Ratu can jump right in not skip a beat.

Ratu got on and scored a great try pretty much straight away.


MR: There were some raised eyebrows at the start of the season when Coach Hendry and Coach Musty made it clear they intended to play Dan at 10 and Pete at fullback. How do you think those selections have gone so far?

JM: It clearly paying off, the class and leadership Pete brings is invaluable. His ability to get behind the boys during the game and at training with the whole playing group and lift them up is incredible. I don’t know the first thing about how to play in the backline but I can only guess having someone like Pete with his experience at the back watching over everything is the right move.

As for Dan at 10, I can see a lot of success with him there. Is kicking game is so good that I forget he’s great at running the ball as well. He’s young but he’s maturity and enthusiasm really stands out for me.

The past two he’s basically taken out the opposition from his kicks alone. As a constantly tired prop seeing him keeping the ball down their end is a great relief.


MR: Captain Luke has been his usual work horse self so far this season. Why do you think he is always cranky?

JM: Remember years ago we said all of Luke’s eating uncanny amounts of food would catch up to him and he’ll be fat and slow like the rest of us? It doesn’t look like it’s going to happen.

He’s cranky because of the price hike at the Coolibah Bistro.


MR: Ame Smith has been an absolute stand out for 1’s this year. Who do you think is more cranky, Luke or Ame?

JM: Ame has been killing it this year, he’s got great instincts for the game. He’s extremely quick to the breakdown and adds another option for the lineout.

Midway through the first half when we were making mistakes we were on the back foot a bit. They had an overlap and were looking to like they would go over. Ame got to the breakdown for a steal and we got the penalty. I believe off the back of Dan booting it down field he scored from a quick pick and drive.

If you don’t do your job both Luke and Ame will be equally cranky with you.


MR: Who do you miss the most, Tupe Mosegi, Sone Key or Coach Dave?

JM: Miss them all equally for different reasons. Tupe because he was my frontrow partner and he’s Tupe so you never know what’s hes going to do. Sone because he would come off the bench and whack someone and rev the boys up. And Coach Dave because I am his favorite and always has a big hug for me.


MR: There are a bunch of new players in 1’s this year like Jay Samau, Semi Tuigamala, Mika and MJ. Who do you think has been the most impressive and why?

JM: Hard to pick there. They are all great young and really tough players. Our wingers Jay and Dallin are solid, Semi is great tackler, Mika runs like a truck and MJ is great at controlling the forwards. I hope they re long stays at the wolves.


Next time can you ask some more questions about how good of a prop I am? Thanks



Merrylands vs Raptors 29/4/23

2nd grade.

Wolves v Raptors, while not quite a grudge match, has a bit more meaning than your average, regular season game. For starters, the two teams are pretty much neighbors. Sure, Blacktown Warriors are kind of in between Merrylands and Raptors, but nobody really likes Blacktown and Blacktown think they’re better than all the other Western Suburbs teams (despite actually being a bit crap) so Blacktown doesn’t really count.

The two clubs, Merrylands and Raptors, have a very similar playing group and a very similar way of playing the game.

Also, George Ford, the Raptors head coach, use to coach at Merrylands. In fact, George was the head coach at the Wolves through what, undoubtedly, was Merrylands most successful period. George coached the Wolves from 2006 to 2010. In that time, the Wolves won 9 Grand Finals, with 2 of them being 1st grade premierships.

So, with all of the above considered, when these two teams meet, there’s a little extra in every run and tackle.

The Wolves 2’s have changed a little bit since the start of the season. There are plenty of regulars, like Benjamin “The Ghost” Davis, Sio “Fono” Faanati, Jordan “the Mercenary” Sega and Duke Nona, but there are also a few new players in some pretty important positions. Dion Amosa is playing his second game at #10 and seems to have locked the position in. Dion is a smart player. He has a big, smart boot and knows when to pass. Just one position outside Dion is Eric Meafou. Eric is big and strong and runs hard, like all good 12’s should. Also, making his long awaited come back in the backs today on the right wing, is last year’s 2’s than 1’s fly half, Taumaloto Nati.

In the forwards, big Ray Meafua is into his second game for the Wolves. Ray is a coach’s dream. Big but fit for his size and capable of playing lock, flanker and number 8.

The Raptors team that lined up against the Wolves 2’s today certainly didn’t look rubbish. They were big, with pretty much their entire forward pack tipping the scales well in excess of 100kg’s while their backs seemed to have a decent mix of sizes across the park.

The first half of today’s game was a pretty close-run contest. The Wolves got out to a quick start, with Fono making the most of some power running by Ray and Mika to punch through a weakened Raptors line and cross under the posts. But from the kick off, Raptors displayed a solid ability to keep hold of possession. They sent wave after wave of big runners at the Wolves and while Raptors weren’t able to break through, they certainly didn’t lose the ball and looked to be soaking up plenty of the Wolves energy.

Eventually, the pressure told. The Wolves prop, Edward Lui, got a case of the panics and decided the Wolves just had to get the ball back. Edward illegally stuck his big mitts in the Raptors ruck and the Ref, having warned Captain Ben he’d had enough of the Wolves infringing, sent Edward to the bin for 10 minutes.

With a one-man advantage, Raptors went hard for points and eventually found the Wolves ruck defense wanting and crossed for a 5 pointer. After 3 games, this was the first try any team had scored against the Wolves 2’s. And it rattled them. There were some terse words between players in the in-goal but Captain Ben and half back Lene Mailo soon had the boys calmed and focused. Captain Ben told them they weren’t doing a lot wrong and that there was no need to panic. Lene gave the boys a clear plan. He said fly half Dion and himself were going to kick the ball deep into Raptors territory all day long and all the Wolves forwards needed to do was chase hard and win their own set play. Lene assured the lads that, given enough territory, there was no way Raptors could hold the Wolves back.

So, that’s exactly what the Wolves did. And it worked. Dion’s boot was especially effective. With what remained of the 1st half, Dion kept turning the Raptors big forwards around and sending them chasing the ball into their own 22. When the Raptors 10 tried to kick them out of trouble, he either stuffed it or put the ball into touch where Captain Ben, with the help of his lifters Ray and Mika, simply won all the lineouts and made the Raptors keep working.

As predicted by half back Lene, the territory and possession were too much for Raptors. The Raptors line gave way twice before the half was over, with one try going to Ray Meafua and another to Eric Meafou. The Wolves went into the break calm and in control.

That calm control carried on into the second half. At least for the first 15 or so minutes. The Wolves, through set play dominance and quality kicking, spent all their time in the Raptors half, and the territory told, with Fono and Eric crossing for two more tries each!

It looked like the Wolves might well kick on and put a big score on the boys from Hassel Grove. But alas, the Wolves decided to challenge themselves and play silly, undisciplined rugby for 20 minutes and piggy back Raptors into great territory.

Raptors were nowhere near as clinical close to the line as the Wolves but they did mange to sneak a couple of tries and they did seem to be getting a roll on. Coach Hendry and Coach Lee are men of action, they aren’t going to sit around and watch a good thing die. They took Captain Ben, Edward Lui, Coach Lee and Mika off and replaced them with Tia Salima, Ben “I’m Back” Stokes, Miracle Siaosi and Tau Kirisome.

The new men had an immediate effect. They sped up the Wolves forward play and started punishing the Raptors runners. The added zing saw the Wolves wrestle back more of the possession and soon Dion Amosa combined with Joe “The Māori Benjamin Button” Ngawini to cut the Raptors open and send Tau Nati over for a game clinching Wolves try.

A few big ups going out today.

Tau Nati played his first game for the Wolves since last years 1st grade semi and all though he was out of position on the wing, he was immense. He made all the right decisions and ruined the Raptors kicking game with perfect positioning.

Joe Ngawini is a freak. He is 40 years old and still had the explosive power of a man half his age.

Sio Faanati was easily man of the match today. He scored 3 tries, set up two more, stole the ball off Raptors all day and made about a thousand tackles. He won’t be hanging around in 2’s for long……Merrylands 34 – Raptors 19


1st Grade

Today’s performance by the Wolves 1st team was as close to perfect as you’re ever likely to see at this level of Subbies rugby. It wasn’t a crazy big win, in fact, the Wolves put more points on last week’s opponents, Northern Saints. But Northern Saints, no disrespect to them, are, well, a bit rubbish right now. Northern Saints are small and slow and, at times, played pretty silly rugby.

Raptors, on the other hand, are none of those things. Sure, they aren’t the Brumbies, but they have had a couple of wins of their own this year and have a lot going for them. Raptors are big, really big. In fact, in the forwards, bigger man for man than the Wolves. And their backs had some real strike. Their fullback was quick and skilled and their inside centre was incredibly hard to bring down. Plus, early on, Raptors were very good at working to their strengths. They played tight in the forwards and used their hard running 12 slightly wider than the normal channel you’d expect to see an inside centre running.

But all of that counted for nothing today because the Wolves, put simply, were ON.

Right across the park the Wolves out played and out thought their Raptors counter parts. What was most impressive was the calm, patient way in which the Wolves did it. The Wolves didn’t try to score off every play or get excited and speed things up to such an extent that they made mistakes.

In the forwards, the Wolves tight 5 squeezed and pressured the Raptors at set play. The Wolves back row, in particular Ame Smith, got over the Raptors ball at almost every ruck and forced the boys from Hassel Grove to throw numbers into every breakdown. And the whole wolf pack ran at Raptors. In numbers and with force. The overall effect was that, from almost the opening whistle, the Raptors forwards started teetering. Swaying. Struggling.

In the backs, it was a very similar story. Right across the backline, the Wolves played a class above the Raptors. They ran when there was space, kicked when they needed territory and defended almost faultlessly. The Wolves backs gave Raptors nowhere to hide, no well to drink from.

In fact, the Wolves backline put on one of the most impressive and yet subtly brilliant displays a Wolves backline has out on in a few years. Kirisimasi “There’s only one Masi Panapa” Panapa is a powerful yet agile runner and is deceptively fast. For the first 40 minutes Masi got plenty of front foot ball. He probably had every right to tuck the ball under his arm and try and run through the Raptors. But he didn’t. Instead, he varied his game. Sometimes he off-loaded. Sometimes he charged and sometimes he put in tricky, deft grubbers and chips that forced the Raptors backs to turn around and try and clean up difficult ball while the Wolves backs were breathing down their necks.

Jay Samau is a winger and has spent a bit of time in 2’s and a bit of time in 1’s this year. If you’d never seen Jay play and you came down and watched today’s game and someone told you “Jay is usually in 2nd grade” you’d just about crap yourself. You’d have to wonder “Jeees I’d like to see the bloke that is keeping him out of 1st grade”

Today, Jay was deadly. He ran with real force and illusiveness. He seemed supremely confident that he would beat the first man every time he touched the ball. And he pretty much did. He communicated well with the men inside him and was always in the perfect position to chase after kicks and force results for the Wolves.

Last year, Pete Smith was the Wolves #12 and Talitiga “Dan” Lelevaga was the Wolves #15. During this year’s trials, Coach Hendry played Pete at fullback and Dan at 10. More then a few Wolves supporters thought Coach Hendry had lost his marbles.

But today, Pete and Dan proved Coach Hendry is a genius.

Peter played an almost perfect game, especially in attack. All day, Peter made the right call between returning kicks and running the ball back. And when he did run the ball back, he cut Raptors to pieces. Pete beat the first wave of defenders almost every time and had an almost supernatural ability to find and link up with his wingers. Peter is a very classy player and today he showed every inch of that class.

But today’s man of the match was almost certainly Talitiga “Dan” Lelevaga. Dan played an incredibly patient, supremely skilful game. Dan is a very good ball runner, one of the best in the team. But Dan played the long game today. He kicked the bejesus out of the ball for the first 60 or so minutes, forcing Raptors to use a ton of energy while he, and the rest of the Wolves backs, saved theirs. Then, with pin point timing, Dan unleashed his running game. Just when Raptors has decided Dan was just a big boot, Dan started stepping and palming and steamrolling over Raptors defenders. He caught the Raptors tired and unawares and piles late points on the Raptors. It was truly one of the best fly half displays seen at this level of rugby for a long time…..Merrylands 43 – Raptors 0

Merrylands vs Renegades 15/4/23


Season 2023 begins!

There has been a mountain of stuff going down in Wolf town over the off season, like revolutionary levels of stuff. Here is a quick catch up for those of you that need it.

Coaching Director Steve Sale is still the sheriff in town.

Coach Dave has ridden off into the sunset. To walk dogs, apparently.

Coach Hendry has been promoted to 1st grade head coach and has lassoed in a bit of help. Leaoto will be forwards coach and Musty Schuster will be backs coach.

But that is just the beginning. In the off season, President Greg Cummings and a team of eager offsiders, including Dave Cummings, Trevor Boswell and Steve Sale have managed to get Merrylands Juniors back up and on the field!

Truly amazing and inspiring stuff.

As of the time of writing this, the Wolves Juniors are fielding 4 teams! Wonderous.

But wait, there’s more!

In 2023, not only will there be two packs of senior male Wolves and 4 packs of junior Wolves terrorizing greater Sydney, but there will also be a pack of She-Wolves getting about the place! That’s right, for the first time since the late noughties, the Wolves have a lady’s team!

And this time, rather than the team being a transplanted team of unwanted Two Blue’s (as was the case way back when) the She-Wolves are pure bread Merrylands stock. The side started as an idea of Director Steve Sale’s, that then turned into a tentative nod from a group of 3 ladies which has ended up with, at present, an ethnically and age diverse squad of some 20 odd players!

Truly fantastic stuff.

There will be a review posted here of every woman’s fixture. The review will be written by the ladies, for the ladies.


But for now, let’s get back to the senior men’s teams.

And, more specifically, the 2nd grade game.

Today, for the first game of the season, the Wolves took on their closest rival, Rouse Hill Renegades. Just a note, for some reason, Renegades themselves don’t like to be referred to as “Rouse Hill”. Only “Renegades” themselves could tell you why. There are a few rumors floating around as to the reason. One is that they consider themselves a large and important club and that they don’t want to limit their potential to just the people of Rouse Hill and so chose to call themselves “Renegades” as if this will somehow attract a fan base from other parts of the city, maybe other parts of the world. The other rumor is that they have had a good look around Rouse Hill and have realized it is, well, a soulless dump and don’t really want to be associated with the joint.

Either way, as a sign of respect, will refer to them as “Renegades” from now on.

So, to the 2nd grade team for today’s match.

Much of the 2022 squad has returned for another shot at the title in 2023. In fact, there were only 5 new faces in the run-on side for today’s game. They were loosehead prop Mika Hunt, flanker Sale Kolia, half back Lene Mailo, winger Romani Uili and fullback Jay Samau.

So, considering the Wolves were, within reason, fielding a fairly settled team, it should come as no surprise that Merrylands came out of the gates far faster than Renegades. The Wolves managed to gain some early field position after a clever kick from fly half Etu Pitone was chased down by the Wolves forwards. The pack then clinically strung together several phases before half back Lene “I’m like a skinnier, slightly younger version of Niko” Mailo threw a peach of a pass that sent little Jack Mailetoa over next to the post.

From the re-start, Renegades earned themselves a penalty and soon begun employing an old-fashioned pick and drive attack system. As anyone with a bit of rugby smarts will tell you, pick and drive is great in moderation. It’s good for holding onto the ball, but it doesn’t often get you on the front foot and if the opposition are patient and don’t give away penalties, it can lead to the attacking team kind of bashing their heads against a brick wall. Which is precisely what happened. The problem for Renegades was that the Wolves brick wall was, man for man, stronger and fitter and faster than the Renegades. This meant, that despite enjoying a fairly impressive amount of possession, Renegades never really looked like scoring. They really only looked like running out of puff.

And, just before half time, that’s exactly what happened. After 5 or 6 phases of bashing themselves against the Wolves defense, Renegades coughed up the ball. It was quickly swept up by fly half Etu Pitone and sent flying out across the backline. #13 Tui Maalaelu got the ball and found himself with plenty of room, about 50 meters to run and only really the fullback in front of him. Tui simply drew the Renegades #15 in, passed to Malo Nona and the solid little winger raced away to dot down beside the posts.

At half time, with the Wolves having use of a full bench of fresh players and being 12 points ahead, the instructions from Coach Leato were simple. He told his players to keep up the perfect defense and to remain patient, ensuring 2’s that, sooner or later, the flood gates would open and the Wolves would run away with it.

And, what do you know, that exactly what happened. In fact, final blow put was probably a little bigger than most spectators would’ve expected. Renegades weren’t a crap team. They were winning all their own set piece and were capable of holding the ball for long periods. They just had no cutting edge. The Wolves on the other hand, were more and more ruthless as the game went on. In particular, halves Lene and Etu did a brilliant job at deciding where the ball should go and when, feeding the likes of Tui and Malo and fullback Jay “Jake” Samau plenty of quality ball that the Wolves wide men did not waste. In the end it was enjoyable, comfortable, cardless win for the black and yellows.

There were plenty of great performances today. Pretty much every new player shone.

Fullback Jay Samau is a rough diamond. He is fast, strong and aggressive and gave Renegades a load of headaches.

The two new loose forwards, Sale Kolia and Aga Pepa are just the right blend of power and skill, with both forwards often combing well with the outside backs, like all good flankers should.

Joe Ngawini, making his first appearance back in Wolves colors since “legends round” last year, was awesome. He ran like he was 25 again and communicated perfectly with his halves.

But the two biggest pats on the back go to Lene Mailo and Etu Pitone. This is the first time these two have played in the halves together, but you never would’ve known. They talked and fed and worked with each other like they were blood brothers and were the backbone for the Wolves forward domination…..Merrylands 43 – Renegades 3


1st grade

As Gus Gould often says “wow wow wow wow wow”

The Wolves team that Coach Hendry and his assistants, Coach Musty and Coach Leato, were able to name for today’s game was very impressive. Big, strong, fast and rugby smart. Take the backline for instance. Chris Ioane at 9, Talitiga “Dan” Lelevaga at 10, Masi Panapa and AJ Mohr in the centers, Dalin Samau and Vavao Vaafusuaga on the wings with Pete Smith at fullback. Wooooooo!

Over the last few years, today’s opponent, Renegades, hasn’t fielded particularly strong 1st grade teams. Today, while much improved on last year, especially in the backs, they were really no match for the Wolves. The secret to today’s first up victory was consistency. The Wolves were able to keep the scoreboard ticking over for the vast majority of the match and in plenty of different ways.

The Wolves first try went to flanker Giles Funnell after Merrylands swept the play up field through a 5-phase raid that had Funnell the young waltzing over untouched.

The Wolves second try came after Renegades had attempted to clear the ball from their own 22. Talitiga “Dan” Lelevaga fielded the ball and immediately shot back down the short side. A couple of linking passes with his wing and 13 later and Dan was running the ball in to put the Wolves 14 in front.

The Wolves 3rd try came from a scintillating counter attack after Renegades themselves had come close to scoring. AJ “the New Luke” Mohr pulled off a stunning, text book tackle on the Renegades winger who, shocked by the quality of the defense, dropped the ball. It was scooped up by Pete “All Class” Smith who beat several players before offloading to Vavao Vaafusuaga who crashed over 2 Renegades to score his first try in Wolves colors.

And that’s pretty much the story of the game, Renegades would throw a thousand shots at Merrylands and come up with nothing while Merrylands would get one shot and ice it. Well, it was the story until about the 65th minute. Then the Wolves out the que in the rack and the ref gave Renegades a little pity and the boys from the outer Hills district were able to cross for a couple of late consolation tries.

But it didn’t matter. The Wolves came away with a bonus point win to add to 2nd grades bonus point win and all were happy.

Luke Schofield probably wasn’t at his best toward the end of last season. His dodgy back was giving him a little grief and he was a little off the pace. But toady Luke was back to his best. He made 120,000 tackles and even blew a certain try.

New Merrylands winger Vavao Vaafusuaga is a class act. He just seems to do everything right. He steps in off his wing at the right time, keeps his body in the right position, off loads at the right time and picks just the right angles to take. He gave his opposite number and awful day at the office today.

AJ Mohr doesn’t look like your average outside center. He is a little too short and a little too solid. He also doesn’t have much of a rugby pedigree. Apparently, he has only ever played league and has never played the 15-man game. But, today, AJ was outstanding. He was immense in defense. It didn’t matter if they were big forwards running straight at him or speedy outside back trying to leave him for dead, AJ pulled them all down with absolute ease. He can run with the ball too. Well…..Merrylands 36 – Renegades 14

Season 2022

Semi Finals 20/8/22
Review by Giles Funnel

It’s the first time in 4/5 years since the club has fielded two sides, so it was a very different dynamic heading into this years season of Subbies rugby.
The wolves 2nd XV side started off the 4 game day at Holroyd Sports Ground, a 12:15pm kickoff against rivals Chatswood Rugby Club who have proven throughout the regular season to be a difficult team to beat.
A slow grinding start to the game saw the first points come 20 minutes after kickoff with Chatswood getting the first 7 points on the board. The Wolves swiftly responded 5 minutes later with a 7 pointer of their own putting the game out to even margins. A cheeky drop goal by the Wolves put the game out to 10 – 7 at halftime.
Second half started off with a different momentum shown by the home side, getting the ball shifted smoothly around the field and some hard work put in by the forwards. It was only a matter of time before Chatswood started to give way, a 3 try dominant display by the Wolves saw the game end 27 – 10.
The 1st XV Wolves kicked off after an hours break against evenly placed Redfield Old Boys, a side who always show up and play a swift controlled game of rugby. The Wolves knew it would be no easy task.
Redfield started the game in smart fashion, dominating the rucks and getting the ball around the field successfully stretching the Wolves defense to get quick points up on the board. A couple tough calls going the wrong way and miscommunication from the Wolves, saw themselves concede 44 unanswered points. A tough one to finish the season but overall a very strong season for the club, who had a big intake of new players and staff to try gel together over the last 12 or so games.
Next week the 2nd’s are back at home to face off against Sydney Harbour in the semi final of the Grose Cup in Division 4.

Merrylands Epping 13/8/22

There is a short version and a long version to every story.
The short version of what happened to the Wolves today is, they lost an important game.
The long version is that the Wolves failed to train and prepare adequately in the weeks leading up to the final round of the season and, in the end, both grades got what they deserved, a loss.

There are also a few different viewpoints to take on today’s games and season 2022 in general.
The hard-nosed end of the debate will probably say that today was a test and the Wolves failed that test. The Wolves were up against probably the strongest club in the comp, and they knew it. The Wolves also knew that they had the skills and the manpower to take Epping down if only they had grasped the urgency of the situation. As Rick Flair famously said “to be the man, you’ve got to beat the man”
A hard-edged observer may end their analyses of the games with “if this is the way you’re going to prepare for big games then you can kiss any silverware you’re dreaming of good bye”
A sympathetic view of all this would be something like, in the end, this is amateur community sport. All the Wolves players have wives and children and jobs and all bills to pay and sometimes those things need to get in the way of winning silly games of bish bosh bash. On the day, the Wolves gave it their all and that’s really all that you can ask.
There is also a view that sits somewhere in the middle of these two philosophies.
At the start of 2022, the Wolves coaches and committee all agreed that a successful season would be to have both grades playing semifinals. The Wolves very much achieved that. The club should take a moment to pat themselves on the back for that because making the semis in two grades is no easy task, especially not for a club starting the season in the position the Wolves did. The Wolves came into the year with a completely new coaching staff and a mostly new playing group. This is also the first time the Wolves have fielded multiple grades since 2018 so Merrylands were going to have to build a 2nd grade completely from scratch. And they did that and did that very well.
There are a whole load of clubs, some very big and famous like Canterbury and Mac Uni, that would kill to be in the situation the Wolves are in. But there are also big, well-established clubs like Redfield and Epping that, like it or not, have set a bench mark for playing in this division. As a club, the Wolves were able to step up to the mark that Redfield set, but fell short of the mark Epping set.
The Merrylands Wolves should and will learn from season 2022. The Wolves should also march into next week’s finals with their heads held high

Merrylands vs Manly 23/6/22

2nd grade
Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda.
The Wolves 2’s coulda won today’s match, they woulda won today’s match. They shoudla won todays match, if only they kept their heads screwed down a little tighter.
Everyone involved in today’s 2nd grade game knew that, despite it having little effect on the ladder or where the two clubs will sit come the very close-by finals, this game meant something. Both sides know that, should they harbor dreams of holding a loft the champions trophy come the end of the year, they will likely need to go through one another to get it.
Merrylands certainly knew this game meant something. All the pre-game chatter was making this one count. Captain Ben, Coach Hendry and backs leader Niko “We’ll take the points but don’t listen to me he’s the captain” Poto spent the warm up running out phrases like “send the comp a message” and “show these fools they may as well just accept 2nd place” and “teach them a lesson”.
Come kick off time, the Wolves 2’s very much made good on all the above-mentioned friendly advice. Within the first 20 minutes the Wolves had managed to barge and pass their way over for two 7 pointers, one to Junior Faamausili and one to the Italian Stallion, Arana Rissetto. To be honest, the Wolves were doing it pretty easy. And the side Coach Hendry ran out, without meaning a slight against any of the Wolves players, was a pretty long way from the Wolves 2’s best side. 2nd grade were without Gody Schuster, Jack Mailetoa, Stu Higham and Giles Funnel.
Then, just as the Wolves looked like they would secure a competition defining, demoralizing win over a championship pretender, disaster struck!
Willie Fuataga was in only his 2nd game for the Wolves today and so was pretty keen to show the lads what he could do. Early in the game, while the Wolves were attacking the Manly line, Willie ran a hard line into the teeth of the Manly defense and got hit with what everyone watching thought was a shoulder charge to the face (he actually came out of the tackle with a bloody nose). Except the ref didn’t see it, he was simply unsighted. A bunch of other players in black and yellow were quite aggrieved at the situation but Willie took it well. He noted the guy that didn’t it smiled and then nodded when Captain Ben told him “just get him back in a good tackle later”
Unfortunately for Willie, and the Wolves 2’s, when “later” came Willie wasn’t really ready. Willie saw the Manly Shoulder Charger getting ready to take a run but Willie was a little rushed and a little off balance and, instead of gaining his revenge by hammering into the Manly Shoulder Chargers ribs, he slid up and hit the Manly player in the head and neck. Immediately after the hit Willie knew he’d f@3ked up. He didn’t hoot or holler or carry on, he simply begun walking toward the ref, who had just blown his whistle. Except, on the way to the ref, some Manly show pony (the Manly #12) decided he’d be a hero, collaring Willie and giving Willie a profanity laden rant about how upset he was at Willie’s hit. Once again, Willie was calm and simply shook his head at the Manly #12. But a bunch of other players, mostly Manly ones, didn’t keep their calm. A few guys came running in to try and look tough. In the ensuing mele, Willie got pushed a shoved quite a few times and though he himself never lost his cool, Merrylands prop Tau Kirisome did.
Tau felt like the Manly #12 had had a little too much fun and Tau had had enough of his attitude toward Willie and so, well, punched the Manly #12. As soon as the punch landed pretty much everyone backed away (including the Manly #12 who was unhurt) and the ref was free to make his decisions. That said, there was no real decision to make. He red carded Willie for the high shot, he yellow carded the Manly #12 for starting the mele and he red carded Tau for the punch.
From that point on, despite an incredibly brave and clever performance, the Merrylands 2’s were doomed. Loosing 2 front rowers meant the Wolves set piece was suddenly not functioning. Loosing two players meant that the Wolves were constantly short of numbers and, slowly but surely, as the game dragged on, Manly got on top and begun dominating possession and territory. By the end of the game, had taken a lead over the Wolves on the scoreboard.
Plenty of Wolves player stood up today. Niko Poto is a legend in every sense of the word, He is tough, clever brave and talented. Today, when the Wolves went down to 13, Niko stood up. He controlled the Wolves forwards and made plenty of good decisions.
Casey Viane missed a few game through the middle of the season due to injury. Since coming back, Casey has shown he is the real deal and very much the answer to the Wolves 2’s fullback question. Today Casey played like a soldier, trying every trick he could to keep the Wolves in the fight.
Ame Smith is a very very talented player. He is big, strong, fast and clever. Today Ame was easily the best player on the field. He ran for a thousand meters, made several steals and never gave up. In fact Ame was pretty pissed off that he couldn’t drag the Wolves to the W…..Merrylands 20 – Manly 28

1st Grade
Todays first grade game was a very similar scenario to the 2nd grade game. Both Manly and the Wolves were inside the top 4 and both sides knew that, very likely, they will come across each other again in the semi finals. That meant both sides were keen to land a blow on each other and hopefully take home the W.
Before the game, it must be said, the Wolves 1’s weren’t feeling super confident. They were missing a few players and hadn’t really been performing to their best over the last few weeks. Tauleile Leavasa, Eli Gooding, Reupena Togi, Leoo Malaefono, Kirimasi Panapa and Tupe Mosegi were all missing. Despite their places being taken be very capable guys like Stu Higham, Nathan Athvle, Chris Ioane and Sau Tagiilima, the team itself as well as most educated onlookers couldn’t help but feel the Wolves were a little under done.
But in true Wolves fashion the Wolves 1’s met this uncertainty with fire. Rather then go into their shells or get stuck over thinking things, the Wolves 1st grade simply came out and played simple yet brutal rugby. The like of Tani Heather, Tau Nati and Stu Higham shook Manly up with a series of full blooded runs that got he Wolves to within striking distance. A few quick passes and soon the Wolves winger, Tia Salima, crossed over to give the Wolves an early lead. Soon after the Wolves managed to jag a penalty goal and it seemed, despite the pre-game nerves, the Wolves might be able to walk over their Savers opponents.
But alas, like the earlier 2nd grade fixture, the ref and his pocket of cards would soon see the Wolves loose momentum and their way. Late in the 2nd half, Manly had gotten a few penalties and were attacking the Wolves line. Despite a brave effort, Manly didn’t really look like they were going to get through the Wolves. Captain Luke managed to effect a turn over and fullback Mike Poto hacked the ball downfield. For some reason the Manly prop was back there, he caught the ball and, like the brave sole he is, aimed straight at the smallest guy on the park, Mike Poto.
Mike Squared up to the guys and looked like he was going to take him down but at the last 2nd Mike tried to change his angles, got all tangled up, and ended up kind of falling into the guy. He didn’t wrap is arms. The ref saw this, and cared Mike. Manly took a tap from the ensuing penalty and, in a valiant attempt to stem the tide, Trau Nati tried to effect a counter ruck but instead, ended up kind of lifting the Manly player and dumping him on his side. Most folks watching didn’t think much of it but, unfortunate for the Wolves, the ref did. He carded Tau. And so, just like that, the Wolves 1’s were down to 13 and were missing their 10 and there 15. Offff.
It must be said, Manly took full advantage of the Wolves misfortune. They kicked it long and well into the Wolves 22. They chased hard and pinned the Wolves down. Without their 10 and 15 it was always going to be hard for the Wolves to get themselves out of trouble and soon, Manly had possession to add to their other two advantages of territory and numbers.
By the time Tau and Mike had severed their 10 minutes in the bin, the Wolves were behind on the score board by 4 points.
It would be great to say that, once the game was back to 15 on 15 again, that the Wolves kicked back into gear and ran over Manly. But alas, that wasn’t how it went down. Instead, the Wolves got desperate. Sure, Merrylands played with fire and passion, but it was kind of misdirected. As so often happens when teams play on emotion, every good run was countered by an overzealous tackle or a fool hardy attempt at a turn over.
In the end, the Wolves 1’s fell a short but, like the Wolves 2’s earlier in the day, they were brave in defeat and probably learnt a bunch of things from the game. They learned that, should they keep their heads, they can easily account for Manly. They learnt that, even with almost 10 starting players out, they are still able to travel across town and put on a show against one of the best teams in the comp. Maybe, in some strange way, today was a turning point for the Wolves 1’s……Manly 34 – Merrylands 22

Merrylands vs Mac Uni 2/7/22

2nd grade
Merrylands vs Mac Uni has become a bit of a grudge match. Not because of anything the players have done, not at all, in fact, judging by the two teams actions after the game, there is a healthy respect between the two squads.
No, the grudge match status comes as a result of the history of the Merrylands Coaching Brains Trust, Coach Dave and Director Steve. For those of you that have been living under a rock, Director Steve is Coach Dave’s dad. Director Steve and Coach Dave have been a part of Merrylands Rugby Club since time begun. Dave, and his brother Chris (Chris is no longer involved in any kind of rugby. He is a soulless git) were both born and raised in Merrylands and played all of their junior rugby for the Wolves. During their junior rugby careers, Director Steve (or “Dad” as Coach Dave and Soulless Chris called him) was almost always their coach. Once Coach Dave and Soulless Chris had graduated to senior rugby, Director Steve decided the lads owe it to themselves to give rugby a real crack, so Director Steve, Coach Dave and Soulless Chris took themselves off to the West Harbor Pirates to see how far they could take the game of rugby. After a few years of nobly flailing themselves on the alter of professional rugby, Director Steve, Coach Dave and soulless Chris decided to come back to the Wolves.
See, it was 2017 and the Wolves were in a little strife. The Wolves were very much in need of the steady hand of Director Steve and the hard running of Coach Dave (who was actually a quality #8 back then). Merrylands could very much have done without soulless Chris but it was a 3 for one deal and the Wolves really had no choice. After two very successful seasons at the Wolves, one where first grade won their first title in 3 year, and another where second grade won their first title in almost a decade, Director Steve and Coach Dave decided they in fact weren’t done with chasing something bigger in the game of rugby and so took themselves off to Macquarie Uni.
Yes, you read right, Macquarie Uni.
No one other then themselves can quite explain the logic of this leap, but after only two seasons with the students, Director Steve and Coach Dave both decided they’d had enough and, upon being asked to come back to the Wolves mid-2021 when former coach James “the new Jason Gillespie” McLennan decided he wanted to pretend he was a farmer and buggered off back to Orange, stepped lovingly back into the warm embrace that is Merrylands Rugby Club.
And thus, the grudge was born.
So how did the grudge play out in today’s second grade game? Not very well for Mac Uni. They got hammered, run over, stood on, bumped off and basically made fools of for 70 minutes as the Wolves 2’s cruised to yet another victory. A blow by blow of todays game would probably be a little long and a little pointless (much like Benjamin Davis and his rugby career) so instead, this review will point out a few interesting player coming’s and going’s from the Wolves 2’s and how things are shaping up for the rest of the 2022 season.
In the forwards, regular starting props Gody Schuster and Tau Kirisome have been joined by Jack Malietoa and Richard Dahndawa. The result, quite obviously, is fantastic depth and real versatility that Coach Hendry can use to patch any holes young whipper snapper teams like Oysters or Epping might think they can exploit.
In the backs, regular 5/8 Tau Nati has been selected in 1st grade to cover a few regular 1’s that are injured. Usually, his place would have been filled by Rilley Funnel, however, Rilley was missing today and so Coach Hendry handed the play making role to Pena Togi and the experienced campaigner did a sterling job. He under played his hand to perfection, feeding plenty of clean, early ball to Leoo Malaefono and Masi Panapa who caused Mac Uni no end of grief. Things go on looking quite rosy for the Wolves 2’s……Merrylands 31 – Mac Uni 3

1st grade
No doubt about it, it was a tough day at the office for the Wolves 1’s. Mac Uni was a team all involved with 1’s, that is, players, coaches and managers, thought we would beat. That’s not to say anyone took the game lightly, not at all, it just seemed, going off previous results and the way the Wolves have been playing the last week or so, that we’d likely have too much for Mac Uni.
The Wolves trained well and were able to welcome a couple of first grade regulars, Masi Panapa and Sio Faanati, back into the team so all were pretty confident the Wolves would be able to notch up another win and keep pace with fellow front runners Oysters, Epping and Manly but, alas, it was not too be.
The basic, wide view of the game is that the Wolves gave Mac Uni too much of a start and didn’t decide to start chasing till it was too late. Mac Uni scored a couple of early, counter attack tries then managed to jagg an intercept try just before half time. That meant the Wolves went into the break 21- 0 down.
At half time, Coach Dave told the boys they probably hadn’t played all that poorly, given the atrocious conditions, but that they needed to go back to basics and stop trying to chase the game. He told the lads to hang on to possession and play rugby down Mac Uni’s end of the park. And the Wolves pretty much did just that, but, for reasons no one present could really put their foot on, the Wolves just seemed to lack that final pass, that finishing touch, that cool head to put the chances they were creating on the scoreboard. Merrylands managed to get to within one converted try of Mac Uni but, truth be told, it all ways looked like a bridge too far.
In the end, Mac Uni scored a late try and sealed their 5ht victory of the season, condemning the Wolves to their 3rd loss of the campaign. The Wolves were pretty down after the game. Not in a “we’re shit and everyone hates us and why did I even bother being born” type way. More like “hmmm, that’s frustrating. What do we do now?”
The answer to that question is simple: just keep going.
Any idiot that has watched a few Merrylands games this year will tell you all the raw ingredients are there. Power, speed, skill, smarts. It’s just that the Wolves 1’s, despite posting 6 wins this year, haven’t every really put it all together. Some of the blame for that lies with the fact it’s a pretty new squad, some of the blame for that lies with the fact it’s a new coach and some of the blame for that lies with the weather being so shit for so long. Was today’s loss the boot up the bum the Wolves needed to start putting all those excuses aside and begin to rip the competition a new one? Time will tell……Merrylands 12 – Mac Uni 26

Merrylands vs Renegades 25/6/22

1st and 2nd grade
Today’s opponents, Renegades, are, geographically, probably the Wolves nearest rivals. In fact, Renegades are a lot like Merrylands in many ways. For instance, both clubs go through ups and downs on the field. Some years Renegades, like Merrylands, have loads of high-quality players and trophies seem within reach. Other years Renegades have just enough to get by and the focus is more on fun. But, just like Merrylands have done in the resent past, some years Renegades struggle. Some times there aren’t enough players willing to pulling on a Renegades jersey and, what players they do have, aren’t of a very high quality.
This year is one of those years for Renegades.
There probably isn’t a lot to take from today’s win, other then the 5 competition points both grades get from a 5 try victory. There was, however, plenty to take from what went on off the field today.
Today was the Wolves “Back to Merrylands Day” and it was, almost universally, declared to be the best “Back to Day” ever. There was a seriously large, seriously rowdy crowd on hand to see the Wolves stroll to victory and lurking in the crowd was a veritable who’s who of Merrylands rugby. Names like John “JL” Loveridge, Mick Bonnici, Mat Branscomb, Steve Bedingfield, Joel Parsons, Nash “you are s@#t” Steward, Mick Parker, Todd Parsons, Jerry Keen, Joe “yea Brothers” Ngawini, Mark Milner, Jason Fulwood and Benjamin Davis were all on hand to celebrate everything Merrylands.
And what could be more Merrylands than Luke Schofield and his 200th game of rugby for the Yellow and Black wolfpack!
Luke has been an incredible servant for Merrylands Rugby Club, an absolute pillar of strength on and off the field. Today the Wolve celebrated his fine achievement in style, drinking, laughing and loving into the wee hours of the night. Long may the big goose remain.

Merrylands vs Sydney Oysters 18/6/22

2nd grade
So officially the Wolves are playing Sydney Harbor Oysters today. In reality, Sydney Harbor Oysters don’t have a second grade. Instead, the Oysters second grade team is played by Eastern Suburbs 5th grade. It’s a silly, confusing situation but its what the powers that be have deemed is in everyone’s best interest, so the Wolves 2’s have to deal with it.
And deal with them they did.
Sure, the final score line might suggest the Wolves 2’s struggled to cope with the Easts threat, but in reality, Merrylands always looked like winning today. More to the point, they always looked like winning in, what is fast becoming, typical Wolves 2’s fashion. And that is probably the most impressive, most dangerous thing the Wolves 2’s have managed to achieve this year. They have found their style, the pattern that suits them and they’re honing it, getting it more precise each and every week.
In simple terms, the Wolves 2nd grade play direct, brutal rugby and they’re ruthless when they get within striking distance. But in reality, it’s a lot smarter and more subtle then that. Sure they have big running forwards that run at you hard, hard. But that’s nothing new. Just tackle them around the legs and pressure the ball on the ground. They’ll run out of puff, right?
Wrong. The Wolves forwards have a deceivingly effective ability to shift the ball away from where you think they’re going to go. Half back Niko Poto and 2nd row Captain Ben, have been around a long time. They know teams will see them coming and they know how to use that against them.
The Wolves 2’s backs are big & physical. They have hard running 10’s and centers in Ratu Ganilau, Tau Nati, Leo Malefono and Koolio Eteaki, and they create space for the men outside them. But, like the previously mentioned forward pack, that’s nothing new. Any half decent team would have multiple plans and plays to nullify that threat, right?
Wrong. The Wolves backs seem to have an ability to keep opposition defenses guessing. Whether that be chip and chases from 5/8 Tau Nati or tricky lines from Ratu and Leo or surprising speed from Koolio, the 2’s backs are hard to figure out and, there for, hard to stop.
On top of al that the Wolves have plenty on the bench. Most weeks there is nearly half a side sitting waiting for their go and the majority of those guys are at least equal to the guys that they’re replacing. When most oppositions see the 2022 Wolves 2nd grade they likely think “big guys. Run them around and they’ll die” but you can’t easily kill a beast that has two head…..Merrylands 49 – Renegades 7

1st Grade
Today was a top of the table clash. 1st v 2nd. Oysters are the form team in the comp and have been for, well, several years. The Wolves are on the up, they spent the early part of the season getting a hold on what their squad could do and have, since about round 3, begun to click into gear.
So today was a big test for the Wolves, a chance to see if the whispers swirling around the club house are true. Could the Wolves 1st grade go all the way this year?
Well, on todays result, you’d have to say a very solid “no”. The Wolves were outclassed and out pointed, quiet comfortably, by their cross city rivals. Oysters enjoyed mountains of possession and were able to keep the scoreboard ticking over for the full 80 minutes of the clash. The Wolves, on the other hand, struggled to get going and never really looked like worrying the Oysters, certainly not on the score board.
So is all lost? Should the 1’s all start trying to get dropped to 2’s if they want to win a trophy this year.
Hell no.
It’s going to be a challenge and it’s going to take some guts, but there are clear, easily drivable roads the Wolves could drive down to put themselves back where they want to be.
The biggest and most obvious change the Wolves need to make is to how and how often they compete for opposition ball. Today, the Wolves forwards got stuck ball watching at the breakdown way too much. The Wolves seemed more worried about what was coming next then what they themselves could do right now. If and when the two sides meet again, Merrylands need to make it really bloody hard for Oysters to get their own ball back. The Wolves need to counter ruck, almost constantly, and make Oysters ball watch their own ball.
Discipline was also an issue for the Wolves top grade today. Oysters posses a couple of quality kickers and giving them a penalty every few minutes is going to result in the Wolves trying to play from deep in their own territory. Not a good idea.
But is isn’t all doom and gloom. There were more then a few positives the Wolves can take out of todays game.
First of all the Wolves 1 on 1 defense was immense. None of Oysters tries came from simply breaking tackles and running through to score. The Wolves aimed up, hard, and forced Oysters to get their space by being patient and going wide. And this bothered Oysters, they clearly were not comfortable with getting rocked throughout the game. If there is a Wolves v Oysters round 2, you can be sure the Oysters will know they’re in for a hurtful day.
Also, even with limited possession and field position, the Wolves were able to create at least half a dozen chances that went begging. The Wolves outside men in Dan Ah-Chong and Mike Poto caused Oysters plenty of headaches and the Wolves forwards were regularly able to blast their way over the advantage line.
Make no mistake, todays loss stung. But sometimes, a sting is what a team needs to get their mind on what needs to be done….Oysters 34 – Wolves 10

Merrylands vs Redfield 4/6/22

1st grade
If a coach or “director of coaching” where to write a review about today’s 1st grade game they’d likely talk about, well, negative stuff.
If the coach was of the Merrylands persuasion, they’d likely point out how the Wolves lost the plot for longish periods of play and how they got sucked into playing Redfield’s kick-chase-territory kind of game. They may get all cranky about how Merrylands let Redfield stay in the fight by giving away stupid penalties for things like head-highs and hands in the ruck. They’d 100% for sure tell Merrylands they need to be more clinical when they get into the oppositions 22. A coach would likely end their review with a stark warning like “if you play like this against teams like Oysters and Epping then you’re going to get your backside handed to you”
If the coach was from over Redfield way (is Redfield a place?) then he/she would probably echo the Wolves coaches point about being more clinical and taking your chances. He’d probably give them a half assed back hand compliment like “Merrylands are a good team, we could’ve beaten them”. Or maybe he’d tell them how he loved the keenness of their chase, especially late in the game, but that, if there are only minutes to go and you’re chasing points, maybe put the kick away and run at them a little.
But this is not a coaches’ forum. This is a match review. And so, let’s just review the match.
Today’s 1st grade game was incredible. It was one of the most intense, see-sawing matches you’re likely to see on a rugby pitch. At times, watching form the sidelines, it was hard to believe this was Holroyd Sports ground and not Ballymore or Eden Park, such was the ferocity and willingness of both sides.
It is an odd quirk of modern rugby that, when you really break it down, most teams, weather they be a high-flying Oysters or a winless Renegades, are all using the same basic tactics. That is, get the forwards to stand in a triangle shape wide of the ruck and run in a pod. Do that 2, maybe 3, times, then fling it out to the backs and encourage them to play heads up rugby. Given pretty much all teams play the same, most the results simply come down to which team has the most talented players or, if you’re lucky, one or two players will have a blinder and steal the game for their side.
But that wasn’t the case today. Today’s game was a clash of styles, more a UFC 1 then UFC 271, and it was exciting from start to finish. In simple terms, Redfield’s kicking game and discipline saw them enjoy the bulk of territory and possession but they were unable to convert all that in to points in any where near enough points. On the other hand, though they enjoyed only a meagre share of the possession, Merrylands were far more ruthless and were able to land enough blows to keep themselves in the game.
In the end, as has been the case in at least 4 of the Wolves 6 games, the Wolves did enough with the ball and defended with enough mungrel to walk away with the victory. The Wolves 1’s now sit in second place on the ladder and, as yet, haven’t really put anything nearing their best performance on the field. Things are looking good down in Wolftown.
Special mention today goes out to several players. The Wolves outside back saw a lot of action today, thanks to Redfield’s constant kicking. The heavy load meant several outside backs for the Wolves were feeling less then perfect when the longer the game went on. Masi Panapa was hobbling most of the game, with what looked like a calf complaint, but he never asked to come off. In fact, he never even hopefully glance at the bench, instead, he just played tough and stood up when it counted.
Wolves winger, Mike Poto, was in the same book as Masi. Mike was carrying what seemed to be a knee injury mid-way through the first half. Mike actually got word to Coach Dave that he probably needed to come off, but just as Dave was making preparations to do so, fullback Dan AH-Chong got yellow carded for a reasonably soft tackle. Mike looked over at the bench, realised the Wolves probably didn’t have an experienced fullback waiting to come on, and so waved away his replacement and took up Dan’s spot at the back. Awesome……Merrylands 22 – Redfield 20

2nd Grade
The most basic tactic in rugby, indeed in any sport really, is to play to your strengths. If you can manage it, you should also try and take away your opponents’ strengths. The most basic review of todays 2nd grade game is that the Merrylands 2’s, tactically, played to their strengths and they didn’t let Redfield use theirs.
Redfield are a smaller, faster and more nimble team. They want to play quick pattern rugby, they want to get the ball out of the ruck, through their pods and into the wide channels. There is a tendency when you’re playing fast teams that are good at finding space, like Redfield are, to think “we need as many people in the defensive line as possible so they can’t run around us”. But this is silly, it’s fool’s gold. It is saying to the opposition “go ahead, do your best and we’ll see if we can react to you”
Any time you allow a good team to do what they do best, they’re eventually going to put it together and put points on you and, when they do, your confidence will fall apart and the game will get away from you. It is far smarter to say “we’re going to play rugby the way we want to. You dickheads see if you can stop us”
Coach Hendrie is too smart to go looking for fools gold. He is too smart to look at his big, strong, aggressive 2nd grade side and think “yea, lets try and out run these young Redfield lads”. Instead, Coach Hendrie told his chargers that when they had the ball, the forwards were to run in groups, run close to the ruck and run like the Redfield defenders had personally insulted their children and hit on their wives. He told his backs to be patient when they had the ball and to make sure they only chanced their arm when they were within striking distance.
Most folks reading this are probably thinking “that plan is, well, pretty obvious, not particularly brilliant” But it was Coach Hendrie’s defensive plan that was truly genius and, in the end, earned the Wolves the victory. Hendrie told his forwards to molest the Redfield ruck at every opportunity. He told the Wolves forwards to keep pilfering attempts to a minimum and, instead, to counter ruck like their lives depended on it. He ordered his big pack to charge at the Redfield ruck and maul all day, to hell with what numbers they might have out wide. He demanded that the Wolves forwards give the the Redfield halfback a horrendous case of PTSD!
And that is exactly what the Wolves did, and within reason, they did it almost perfectly.
All day, forwards like Gody “Take it Easy” Schuster, Tali “I can slot them from 60” Leavasa and Jordan “I am number 7” Sega broke holes up the guts of the Redfield defense and all day the likes of Nathan “Lightening” Athvle and Benjamin “pick me pick me” Davis rolled forward of the back of their hard work. And as Coach Hendrie predicted, Redfield didn’t challenge Merrylands’ ball or trouble their ruck, they simply fanned out and got ready to cover. And all day this tactic meant Merrylands could be economical with how many blokes they needed to win rucks and it also meant Merrylands could load up and wind up on every charge. This made the forward battle about size and mongrel and willingness, a battle Merrylands were always going to win.
At half time Merrylands were in front by 19 points to zero. The “zero” next to Redfield’s name was due to the fact they refused to meet the Wolves challenge at rucks. Time and time again, Redfield would secure possession, run a pod or two, but then suddenly find themselves getting battered at the ruck and, ultimately, loosing possession. The situation was clearly frustrating Redfield but they were unable to adjust their game to suit.
It was very telling that, after the game while having a beer or two, the Redfield Captain commented to Captain Benjamin that he felt Redfield “had been a little flat today, just couldn’t get into our grove”
Captain Benjamin wanted to reply “no, we just battered your ruck and completely threw your pattern out the window” but he thought better of it. No need to give all the Wolves secrets away.
Big ups for todays game go out to one forward and one back. Nathan Athavle is in his first season with the Wolves. Until today, more then a few long time Wolves thought Nathan was just a good lineout thrower and not much more. Today Nathan ran hard, scrambled like a pro and pulled off a few front on hits that left the Redfield forwards wondering “well if I can’t run at the pretty white guy, who the hell can I run at?!?!”
Taumaloto Nati was in his first game for the Wolves today. Tau has trained all week in the centres. But on game day the Wolves regular 2nd grade 10, Riley Funnell, walked in limping and so Coach Hendrie moved Tau to fly half. Tau had an absolute blinder. He defended like a flanker and ran like a number 8. Most impressive was Tau’s decision making. He kicked just the way Coach Hendrie had asked him to and fed his big centers, Jayden and Ratu, when ever the right opportunity presented itself. Tau was easily the best player on the pitch…..Merrylands 24 – Redfiled 12

Merrylands vs Norther Saints 21/5/22

1st Grade
So folks might be wondering why there is only a game review for 1st grade this week and nothing for 2’s. The answer is, Northern Saints couldn’t muster enough players for two grades and so have pulled out of the second grade fixture. Good on them! Yay!
Any way, on to todays game. The Merrylands side that took the field today was missing a few regulars but, given the fact 2’s weren’t playing, Coach Dave was still able to field a crazy strong side. There were a few guys that made their Merrylands 1st grade debuts today, they included Sone Key who pulled on the #1 jersey, Etuale Pitone who played 13 for the working man Masi Panapa, and Sanele Alatoa who moved on to the right wing.
While not an easy win, todays result was never in doubt. Northern Saints aren’t a terrible team, at all. They kick well, they scrum and lineout well, they are very well organized and they are reasonably good defenders. But they lack any real threat in attack. Ther forwards are a touch clumsy and lack confidence running with the ball and their backs only real weapon is a little speed out wide.
So while Merrylands found it a little tricky to break Northern Saints down, the lack of any real consequence for missing an opportunity meant that the Wolves could afford to take their time to get it right. And the Wolves did eventually get it right.
However, before they got it right, they also got it wrong. Just a bit. Well, not so much wrong, more greedy. Like all good subbies teams are a bit prone to doing, when the Wolves forwards realized that they could quiet easily brutalize their Saints counter parts, they all seemed to catch a little White Line fever. This greediness, as is so often the case, meant a load of easy chances that presented themselves two or three passes from the ruck simply weren’t taken. Instead, the Wolves forwards kept going a few steps too many and kept loosing the ball. Sometimes they stuffed up an offload, sometimes they got pilfered and sometimes they simply dropped it, but either way, they lost chances and kept Saints in the game longer then they should’ve been.
To their credit, the Wolves did eventually figure it out and not long after half time, begun putting a bunch of tries on the Saints and, in the end. Ran out comfortable winners.
Several players deserve a special mention for todays game.
Peter Smith is new to the club this year. Other then the opening game of the season, he has started first grade every week. Pete is a very classy player. He is one of those guys that seems to have plenty of time when he has the ball and always seem to make the right decision. He also very much has the skills to make those right decisions work. Today, Pete was probably the best player on the field, certainly the best back.
Tani Heather is a gun. Well, usually he is. Truth be told, Tani probably hasn’t been playing his best so far this season. But today, Tani was on fire. The Saints forwards simply couldn’t deal with his combination of speed, brutality and utter refusal to be tackled.
Reece Waipuri has made the #10 jersey his own this year. Every week Reece seems to get a little better. He is beginning to gel with his half and centers and is running the ball well. Let’s hope Reece stays on this trajectory……Merrylands 36 – Saints 3

Merrylands vs Manly Savers 17/5/22

1st Grade
What. A. Game!So folks might be wondering why there is only a game review for 1st grade this week and nothing for 2’s. The answer is, in simple terms, that todays opponents, Northern Saints, have no heart, no backbone, no intestinal fortitude. They claim that they couldn’t muster enough players for two grades and so have pulled out of the second grade fixture, but that doesn’t really make sense. See, at least 20 Northern Saints players showed up to Holroyd Sports ground today. 20!
Any rugby player that has spent a few years playing subbies knows that there are going to be days when you’ve got to pull on your boots and be prepared to play multiple games in day. Good lord, some players revel in this exact environment! For the love of Bill, in years gone Merrylands have famously played 3 grades with only 20 players! And these guys couldn’t muster two games with 20 odd blokes. YUK!
Any way, on to todays game. The Merrylands side that took the field today was missing a few regulars but, given the fact 2’s weren’t playing, Coach Dave was still able to field a crazy strong side. There were a few guys that made their Merrylands 1st grade debuts today, they included Sone Key who pulled on the #1 jersey, Etuale Pitone who played 13 for the working man Masi Panapa, and Sanele Alatoa who moved on to the right wing.
While not an easy win, todays result was never in doubt. Northern Saints aren’t a terrible team, at all. They kick well, they scrum and lineout well, they are very well organized and they are reasonably good defenders. But they lack any real threat in attack. Ther forwards are a touch clumsy and lack confidence running with the ball and their backs only real weapon is a little speed out wide.
So while Merrylands found it a little tricky to break Northern Saints down, the lack of any real consequence for missing an opportunity meant that the Wolves could afford to take their time to get it right. And the Wolves did eventually get it right.
However, before they got it right, they also got it wrong. Just a bit. Well, not so much wrong, more greedy. Like all good subbies teams are a bit prone to doing, when the Wolves forwards realized that they could quiet easily brutalize their Saints counter parts, they all seemed to catch a little White Line fever. This greediness, as is so often the case, meant a load of easy chances that presented themselves two or three passes from the ruck simply weren’t taken. Instead, the Wolves forwards kept going a few steps too many and kept loosing the ball. Sometimes they stuffed up an offload, sometimes they got pilfered and sometimes they simply dropped it, but either way, they lost chances and kept Saints in the game longer then they should’ve been.
To their credit, the Wolves did eventually figure it out and not long after half time, begun putting a bunch of tries on the Saints and, in the end. Ran out comfortable winners.
Several players deserve a special mention for todays game.
Peter Smith is new to the club this year. Other then the opening game of the season, he has started first grade every week. Pete is a very classy player. He is one of those guys that seems to have plenty of time when he has the ball and always seem to make the right decision. He also very much has the skills to make those right decisions work. Today, Pete was probably the best player on the field, certainly the best back.
Tani Heather is a gun. Well, usually he is. Truth be told, Tani probably hasn’t been playing his best so far this season. But today, Tani was on fire. The Saints forwards simply couldn’t deal with his combination of speed, brutality and utter refusal to be tackled.
Reece Waipuri has made the #10 jersey his own this year. Every week Reece seems to get a little better. He is beginning to gel with his half and centers and is running the ball well. Let’s hope Reece stays on this trajectory……Merrylands 36 – Saints 3

What a performance by the Wolves 1’s.
For so many reasons.
Today, in their first home game of the season, the Wolves 1st grade showed passion, determination, discipline (sometimes) and real grit. There were plenty of Wolves Old Boys on the sideline today and all of them were mighty impressed with what the Wolves top grade achieved in this afternoons contest.
Manly are a good team, a very good team. They made it deep into the finals of this competition last year and the squad that took the field for the Savers today was very simmiler to the one that contested the major semi final in this division last year. The Wolves, by contrast, are a very new side. In fact, 10 or the starting 15 are in their first year of rugby for the Wolves.
The match was a classic ding dong battle, a real tit for tat affair. Every time the Wolves would get clean turn over or a well earned ruck penalty, Savers would reply with a good hit or a solid scrum and take the ball back off the Wolves. The Wolves opened the scoring with a penalty to new fullback Dan Ah Chong, but this was quickly rubbed out when Savers got a 3 pointer of their own.
Manly scored a well worked try toward the end of the first half and looked to be taking a lead into the break. But then a solid hit from new second rower Sio Faanati won the ball back for the Wolves which saw Merrylands race down field and to within only 10 or so meters fo the Manly line. Reece “Phillidelphia” Waipuri threw a long ball to #13 Kirimasi “Masi” Panapa who stepped off his left three time to dot down under the posts and wrestle the lead back for the Wolves.
The game went on like this till about the 65th minute. The Wolves were holding on to a fragile 7 point lead when, the usually very reliable, Tani “White Sox” Heather, inexplicably put a late and slightly high shot on the Savers 5/8. The ref saw it and carded Tani. Red carded in fact.
The Wolves got a little hot under the collar following the incident and probably went recklessly into a few tackles. New prop Ben Tuaopepe collected a Manly player above the collar close to the line and Manly were awarded a penalty. Savers tapped and went and, from the following tackle, replacement hooker Aritana Leuluaialii dropped the Manly winger with a classic seat-belt tackle. The tackle itself wouldn’t have warranted a card under normal circumstances but, given the ref had just warned Captain Luke that the Wolves needed to pull their heads in, the ref was forced to take action. Aritana was yellow carded and the Wolves were down to just 13 on the field.
And Manly had possession only 5 meters from the line.
Dark days indeed.
But this was the moment the Wolves really shone. This was the moment when every Wolf on the field told Manly “No, not today”
Manly took a scrum and threw everything at the Wolves line. First, the Savers #8 tried to crash over, but he was turned away by #9 Chris Ioane and flanker Amelika Smith. Manly than threw 3 or 4 pods at the Wolves but were turned away every time. Finaly, Manly realized the Wolves were short out wide and slung the ball out to the left. But they were denied again. With a two man overlap Manly looked sure to cross but Magic Mike Poto, Mighty Masi Panapa and Devestating Dan Ah Chong dived, ankle tapped and scrapped and managed to some how turn Manly away.
In the end, Manly eventually crossed for a 5 pointer but they were forced to do it close to the left side touchline which meant their kicker was unable to slot the conversion. On top of this, the effort it took to score took a heap out of the beach boys, both physically and mentally, and gave the Wolves a real boost and a real sense of determination.
From the kick off after the try, Coach Dave could see the Wolves needed fresh legs and so made several replcments, with Romani Uili, Faatali Leavasa and Benjamin “Old Man River” Davis taking the field and looking to see the Wolves home.
With only a few minutes left, the plan was simple: get down Manly’s end of the field, get hold of the ball and don’t let it go. And that’s what the Wolves did. Captain Luke managed to win the ball back off the kick off and the Wolves proceeded to send wave after wave of Wolf attack crashing into Manly. It looked like Manly were going to be strangled out of the game as the Wolves expertly kept hold of the ball, but then, more drama.
The ref gave Manly a dubious scrum penalty and told Savers “last play”. Savers proceed to put in a massive kick that got them well inside the Wolves half. But the Wolves didn’t panic. Walking to the lineout, Captain Luke told Benjamin “Time is against me now” Davis that he had to jump, that the Wolves had to either steal the ball or dirty up Manly’s. But As Ben turned to see who could lift his 120kg frame, he realized the rest of the Wolves pack were only looking at breaking early and defending. With no one to lift him, Ben turned back to Luke to tell him it was a no go, but then he noticed Eli “Hello Sailor” Gooding. Old Man River grabbed Eli by the back of the shorts and, with Luke lifting from the front, they threw the mighty midget 6 and a half foot into the air. As the ball sailed toward the Manly jumper, Eli suddenly appeared and stole the ball away, with the very tips of his fingers. Eli brought the ball to ground and was immediately surrounded by Wolves forwards who transferred the ball to the back of the maul where it was sent sailing over the fence and into Merrylands Forrest, never to be seen again!
Loads and loads of Merrylands players deserve special mention today. Eli Gooding has only played 3 games for the Wolves so far but is already being touted as, possibly, one of the best to pull on the black and yellow. Biggest ups today go out to the Wolves wide men, Dan Ah Chong, Mike Poto, Sau Tagiilima and Masi Panapa. Under intense pressure and well down on numbers, they showed some truly heroic defense that, in reality, won the game for the Wolves……Merrylands 17 – Savers 15

2nd Grade
There have been a lot of changes at the Wolves over the off season, and today was the first day the wolves have had a chance to show the Merrylands home crowd what’s shaking in 2022.
First of all, the Wolves are back up in a two-team comp and, dare it be said, looking like they belong there. There are plenty of players showing up to training and games so, at least for the time being, things look positive.
First grade will be coached by former 1st grade premiership winning number 8, qualified personal trainer and all-round nice guy David Mafi. Second grade will be co-coached by former first grade and multiple premierships winning second rower, 270 gamer, former Vice President and total has been Benjamin Davis and new guy Hendry Lees. Hendry has spent the last few years playing and coaching at Oatley. Hendry recently moved to the area and decided to try a club a little closer to home. Hendry is a vastly experienced rugby coach and player and has been working wonderfully well with Benjamin, which isn’t easy to do.
So, to today’s second grade team.
The were a few familiar faces in the 2’s line up. Bayden “9 tries” Sullivan and Ite “Say Yes to Training” Tia packed down in the front row, Captain Ben slotted in behind them at #4 and Giles “I have footage” Funnel played 6. In the backs Riley “the Socials” Funnel played 10, Jayden Waipuri and Ratu “Junior” Ganilau teamed up in the centres while Monty Siaosi made his come back on the wing.
The rest of the team was filled with new faces that most Wolves fans would not have heard of. Some names to remember included half back Jerry “Junior” Faatuiese, fullback Casey Viane and Jason “the new old Luke” Haywood.
Today’s opponents, Manly Savers, are good. Coming into today’s match Manly were unbeaten. And in the early exchanges, it was evident. Manly were moving the ball about quickly, setting up pods wide of the 5/8 and making the Merrylands defence chase them. The Wolves were keen for the fight but they were struggling to keep up with the pace Manly were setting. After not too long, Manly caught the Wolves short a few defenders out wide and they capitalised, sending their #13 on a run down the sideline that got them to within 20 meters of the Wolves line. A few quick recycles and the Manly #7 jogged over the line almost untouched.
Things looked a little worrying. Manly jogged back to half way full of energy and it seemed, for all money, that the Wolves just weren’t going to be fit enough or fast enough to keep up with the beach boys.
But the Wolves had a plan. Coach Hendry told his chargers there was no point trying to fling the ball around and beat Manly at their own game, there was no point spreading out the Wolves defence and trying to cover the fast-moving Manly attackers. Instead, Merrylands had to suck the Savers into the rucks and mauls, suck them into the break downs and force Manly to fight and scrap. Basically, the Wolves had to force the Savers into playing Merrylands Rugby.
And they did. And it worked. Well!
In fact, Manly’s fast flowing early try was the only time that the boys form the beaches would hold the lead. The Wolves employed a simply possession game, meaning, once the Wolves had the ball, they didn’t let it go. The Wolves sent wave after wave of forward chargers crashing into the Manly defence. At times, Manly could handle it, soaking up the onslaught and pressuring the Wolves ruck. But at other times, Manly would fall of the odd tackle and let the Wolves runners into the backfield and, when they did, Manly would often compound the break by panicking and giving away easy penalties. It took a little while but soon enough, the pressure told and the Wolves sent their own flanker, Giles “Say Cheese” Funnel gliding over to even the scores.
At half time Merrylands were confident. They knew Manly didn’t like the tough stuff and they knew that the Wolves had a big fresh bench that was keen to come on and carry on dishing up the bruising style of rugby that had seen the Wolves pull level with Manly.
Early in the second half, the Wolves fresh legs took their first victim. Sone “Like Fine Wine” Key took advantage of some slowing Manly defenders and stole 30 or so meters on a cheeky run down the middle of the ruck. From that front foot ball, the Wolves went left then back to the right where #13 Jayden “The Younger” Waipuri, sucked in the last two defenders and gave the runaway freight train that is Monty Siaosi a clear run over the try line.
And then the Wolves did it again.
The Wolves forwards, this time through Jack “Size 48 thanks” Malietoa and Tafe Antonio, busted holes up the middle of the park, eating up meters and sucking in defenders. The Wolves backs then sent it clean and easy through Niko “I’m the biggest #9” Poto, Riley “PDA” Funnel and Junior Ganilau out to Jayden Waipuri who, just like last time, sucked in a few defenders before releasing Monty Siaosi who crashed through a couple to score under the posts and give the Wolves a 12-point lead.
The Wolves went to sleep in the final few minutes and allowed Manly to get within striking distance but, in reality, the Wolves were always in control and when the fulltime whistle blew the Wolves 2’s had notched up their first win of the 2022 season.
Special mentions for today’s game go out, mostly, to new players. Tafe Antonio had an awesome game at #8. He ran hard and tackled hard and, during the first half, was probably the biggest reason the Wolves were able to turn the match around and stop Manly from running away with it.
Sone Key was awesome when he came on. He did what all good subs are supposed to do, he picked up the pace and injected life into the Wolves attack.
In the backline, Casey Viane had a near faultless game at fullback. He covered well and was always in the right position, denying Manly any chance they might have had to kick their way back into the match.
Jayden Waipuri was probably the best back on the field today. He ran crazy hard and perfectly straight when he was called upon and iced every chance the Wolves got when they were within striking distance……Wolves 17 – Manly 15

Menai v Merrylands 5/6/21

As Jordan Sega’s girlfriend often says “well that was disappointing”

Today’s game was a top of the table clash. One v Two. Wolves v Warriors.

The Wolves knew today’s game would be tough but most players and staff were confident of a win. Most Wolves thought Menai would go with Merrylands early but, given time, the Wolves fitness and class would eventually shine through and the lads from Merrylands would run away with it.

In the end, the exact opposite happened. It was Menai that set the pace early with the Wolves desperately trying to stay in touch. It was Menai who, with maybe 20 to go, put their foot on the accelerator and left and the Wolves for dead.

It’s hard to know exactly what went wrong today. There were a few personnel changes, mostly in the forwards, but the replacements were very capable players and certainly don’t account for the almost 30 points that Merrylands fell short.

Yes, the Wolves were confident but that confidence never really strayed into complacency or arrogance.

Some part of todays loss can probably put down to an understandable lack of preparedness. The Menai team the Wolves faced today was almost completely different to the one the Wolves faced in round one. It was a little less massive and a little more polished. But it wasn’t unstoppable and it certainly didn’t throw up a completely different challenge to the what the Wolves were expecting. So, yea, the Wolves could be forgiven for starting slowly but not for falling away like they did.

Probably the most accurate thing that can be said of the Wolves performance and, hence, the reason they suffered their second loss for the 2021 season, is that Merrylands were far too passive. Especially in the forwards. And especially in defence.

Too often the Wolves sat back and let Menai play, let them get to the advantage line without being challenged, let them win their own scrum without trying to throw them off. And as is always true at this level of rugby, if you let the better teams play, they will, eventually, put it together and pull you apart. You need to impose your game, your plan, your rugby on them and let them try and cope with it.

The Wolves very much did that with ball in hand, as can be seen from the fact the Wolves managed to score 5 tries. When the Wolves got the ball, they played fast and shifted the ball accurately between forwards and backs and Menai struggled to cope with it. This should give the Wolves plenty of hope if (when) they meet Menai at the business end of the season. The Wolves know they can score points, and plenty of them, against Menai. They just need to get on the front foot in defence and make Menai think twice about which way to go.

The Wolves also need to really press hard in the areas they know they have an advantage, most notably at set piece time. The Wolves scrum is undoubtably better than Menai’s. The Wolves should be looking to mess up Menai’s ball and secure points and penalties when the Wolves have the feed.  The Wolves lineout should be very capable of wrecking Menai’s one-jumper option. The Wolves have at least 3 jumpers and should be able to demoralise Menai.

There were a few players that deserve special mention for their efforts today.

Luke Schofield tackled like an absolute soldier today and did everything he could do make up for the lack of ompf some of his fellow pack members were putting in. Tim French played bloody brave today. He put his body in front of players that really should have crushed him and managed to bring them down pretty much every time. He also kicked like a machine and was a big reason the Wolves kept in touch with Menai. Tuafale “Vai” Menai has become, probably, THE leader in the Wolves backline and today he was the Wolves finest player. He caused Menai no end of headaches when he had the ball and defended like he might be able to single headedly stop the Menai onslaught.

Menai 55 – Wolves 26

29/5/21 Merrylands vs Balmain

A long time ago (roughly 2010) on a rugby field far far away, there was a wolf. A Merrylands Wolf. In fact, there was a pack of Merrylands Wolves.

And these Wolves, despite a fierce and legendary desire (and ability) to win, believed in the true spirit of rugby. They believed in a fair fight, they believed in a laugh after (and sometimes during) a game. They believed in beer. They believed you had good years and you had bad years, good games and bad games.

But most of all they believed that if you kept the true spirit of rugby beating in your wild heart, that you could live forever. They believed that, come what may, there would always be a place in the jungle for those that kept the true spirit of rugby alive.

But not all clubs were as pure of heart as the Wolves.

See back then, back around 2010, there were a number of clubs that got fed up with, well, being s@#t. They got sick of never really having a shot at the title. So, they decided to take a short cut. They sold their souls to the devil. They started paying players.

Paying players to play NSW subbies wasn’t against the rules but it was against the spirit of the game. In a big way. And as far as anyone could remember, it had never really been done. At least not in any meaningful way. And certainly not down in div 3, 4, 5 and 6, down where the Wolves lived, because, after all, who really cares? This level of rugby is almost completely anonymous. There is no glory to be had down here. You can pull off one of the greatest feats of rugby heroics ever witnessed and yet the second you walk away from that oval nobody knows or cares. If you’re playing rugby down in the lower divisions then you’re doing it for the pure love of the game.

And paying guys to play destroys, not only ones own pure love of the game, but the love of those clubs you come up against. Those clubs that are struggling, with all their bleeding hearts, to keep the love alive.

The Wolves never ever paid players. The Wolves love for the game was never tarnished.

But the same can not be said for today’s opponents, Balmain.

In fact, Balmain was one of the biggest perpetrators. Throughout the decade of the 2010’s, Balmain contracted any and every gun for hire they could lay their hands on. Along with Brothers, Balmain brought in ex-Shute shield players, ex-ITM cup players, former super rugby players, current international 7’s players and current serving Wallabies and French national players!

And their efforts cost numerous pure-of-soul teams potential premierships. One of the clubs that got robbed was the Wolves.
At the time, there was very little the Wolves or their pure-souled brothers could do except shake their heads in disgust and mutter under their breath “one day the money will dry up, one day the field will be even again, and when that day comes, we will have our revenge! And it will be glorious”

Ladies and gentlemen, today was that day.

See in 2018 NSW Suburban Rugby banned the practise of playing players. And it had an immediate effect on the clubs that had lost their souls and paid players. The likes of Balmain and Brothers and St Pats all free-fell down the divisions. Free fell to the point where Balmain went from div 1 to div 6 in just 3 years.

And so today Balmain travelled out to Holroyd Sports Ground and got battered. They got battered in every conceivable way. They got battered on the score board, they got physically battered making tackles, they got physical battered being tackled and, to top it all off, they got flogged in the after-match boat race.

Most Wolves that pulled on a jersey today are unaware of this history. But there are two who are aware. They are very aware. There were two who have physically and mentally carried the scares of the havoc that soulless clubs like Balmain and Brothers wreaked all those years ago. And today special mention must go to them

Luke Schofield and Benjamin Davis were starting second row partners in the Merrylands Wolves 1st grade side that were hammered by a stacked Balmain side in 2010. Luke Schofield and Benjamin Davis were starting second row partners in the Merrylands Wolves 1st grade side that lost the 2011 grand finale to a ridiculously stacked Brothers side.

Today Luke and Ben took their revenge.

Luke played the entirety of todays game. He savagely whacked several of Balmain’s hapless forwards, he had a hand in setting up at least three tries and score two of his own.

But even more poetic was Benjamin Davis’ day.

Ben was captain of the Wolves 1st grade from 2006 to 2013. Ben was the captain of the Wolves 1st grade team when they suffered at the hands of those that would kill the game we love.  Today Ben scored the final try of the game, a try that took the Wolves to an enormous 84-point win. And Ben’s try wasn’t just a barge-over-from-5-out job.

Ben had the indescribable pleasure of being passed the ball with 20 meters to run and no defenders in front of him. On his run to the line, Ben was able to look around, take in the sight of completely demoralised Balmain players strewn all over the pitch, the view of numerous Wolves with smiles stretched across their faces, the sound of the Wolves faithful rejoicing in the beauty of the moment and, before he actually touched the ball down, Ben was able to raise one clenched fist to the heavens and know that one of rugby’s most evil monsters, had been vanquished.

Merrylands 89 – Balmain 5


22/5/21 Merrylands vs Alexandria Dukes

The Wolves travelled into town today for their round 6 clash against Dukes. The Wolves were flying high, sitting atop the Jeffrey Cup ladder while Dukes were languishing at the bottom. The very bottom. Coach James was expecting a win but knew this sort of opposition can sometimes prove tricky.

The Wolves travelled over to Alexandria with a very strong team. Regular front rowers Tom “the Ghost” Greville and Jim “Permission Denied” Macklin both succumbed to a heartlidge tear. Their places were taken (and arguably improved) by Tim “the New Jerry” French and Benjamin “I thought I didn’t have to play tighthead anymore” Davis. In the backrow Tani Heather, one of the Wolves best over the last 2 or so years, was missing with an ankle injury. Jordan Sega shifted from 6 to 8 to cover for Tani with Neil “Trevor 2.0” Boswell taking Jordans 6 jersey.

Despite being top of the table, Coach James has yet to hit upon his best backline, regularly tinkering with combos and positions trying to find the Wolves sweet spot. Today the Wolves ran with Riley Funnel and Shayne Kilmister in the halves with the Maori Connection, Joe Ngawini and Reece Waipouri, slotting in to the centres. Out wide Jammie Varoy was back from holiday and back in his #14 shirt while Vai Meni moved from 13 to 15 to cover for the missing Ite Tia. The ever-improving Ryan “Hello Darkness” Keen kept the other wing spot.

Considering the two teams in today’s game and the position they sit on the ladder, most folks thought this would be a walk in the park for the Wolves. But it wasn’t. Dukes are a pretty good team, they certainly defend well, they compete hard at rucks and they have a fantastic kicking game. But they just don’t have many points in them. Outside of one fast winger, the rest of the team really never looked like troubling the Wolves.

The game was tight until half time, with Dukes taking a 6 – 3 lead into the break. But as fatigue set in and the Wolves begun to understand what Dukes were about and where they were weakest, Merrylands were able to capitalise on more opportunities. Early in the second half the Wolves worked the ball to within only a few meters of the line where Bayden “golden boot” Sullivan, did what he does bets and crashed over for the first try of the game.

Straight off the kick off the Wolves went at Dukes again, ripping a hole in their defence in the middle of the filed. With front foot ball Shayne “On Fire” Kilmister let the ball float out to Wise Turgawai who skipped inside 3 flailing defenders to dot down next to the posts.

And that kind of was the end of the game. It was certainly the end of any resistance Dukes put up. The boys in black and white were dreaming of an upset and thought perhaps today was their day but the two quick 5 pointers seemed to break their spirits and while they didn’t completely throw the towel in, they did stop putting in those little 1% efforts that make such a big difference. They stopped competing at the ruck and instead just fanned out. They stopped charging a few phases into the wolves and instead kicked the ball away as soon as they got possession and they stopped competing at lineout and scrum time.

All of these things meant the Wolves simply had the ball in their hands way more often and were able to hold it with way less effort. And that was never going to work out well for Dukes.

There were a few special efforts in today’s game. Neil Boswell started today’s game in place of the injured Tani Heather and put in a solid shift. Benjamin “prop again?” Davis made his comeback after a few weeks out and was able to maintain the Wolvers tight five dominance. Emanuel Siaosi came to the club this year and has been close to the Wolves best attacking player. He is fast, aggressive and smart and today was a big reason the Wolves were able to pull away form Dukes in the second half.

Merrylands 27 – Dukes 6


24/4/21 Merrylands V Burraneer

This was a big game for the Wolves. A test. A chance for the Wolves to see where they’re really at. They’ve started the season with two from two wins. But were those wins down to a hot Wolves team or was the opposition a little crappy?

Today should have gone a long way to answering that question. See Burner are a quality, bench mark side. They were grand finalists last year and have been at or very close to the top of this division for a number of years. A win by the Wolves and they could consider themselves contenders, a loss and it’s back to the drawing board for Coach James.

But in reality todays result, a two point loss for the Wolves, kind of threw up as many questions as it answered. On one hand the Wolves managed to hold Burner to only 17 points, which is the least they’ve scored in a few years. You might be tempted to say that bodes well for the Wolves defense. But does it?

The Wolves failed to put any real pressure on Burraneers attack, allowing Burner to recycle possession fairly easily. Sure the Wolves did a good job of scrambling and Burner never really cut the Wolves up but can you really have faith in a defense that give a team that many bites of the cherry?

In attack the Wolves looked dangerous. They scored one try from long range, roughly 50 meters out, and the other after sustained pressure very close to the Burner line. That shows variety and ability to score in multiple ways right?

Yea sure maybe, but the Wolves were kind of forced to attack from range as they consistently failed to hold onto possession for any more than a few phases and, more importantly, the Wolves kicking game was either non-existent or rubbish.

So what to make of this loss?

In the end it is probably mostly positive. The Wolves learned a lot about Burner and know, even when the Wolves aren’t playing very well, that they’re capable of restricting Burner and getting under their skin. The loss also kind of takes the spot light off the Wolves a little. Going into week 4 undefeated would have the rest of the comp thinking “jees, Merrylands must be pretty good”

Burner will get better, but how much better? They seem to have a fairly settled squad and, other than a little polish, what else is there to add? The Wolves on the other hand have a load of room for improvement.

For starters the front row. Issac, Ben and Frenchy were brave but they’re a rubbish front row. Hopefully with the likes of Tom Greville and James Mac coming back that problem should be fixed. Tuafale “Vai” Meni started today at 13 and shone. With Junior Ganilau coming back into the centers next week, there is awesome potential for the Wolves midfield to get deadly.

But bigger than that is time. Coach James in a young coach with a private school rugby pedigree. He is aiming to have the Wolves playing a style of rugby they’re a little unfamiliar with. This will take time but surely, as the season goes on, things will start clicking and the Wolves, hopefully, won’t taste defeat very often at all.

Burner 17 – Maryland’s 15


17/4/2021 Merrylands vs Sydney Combined Forces

So, the Wolves travelled over to Rockdale to take on Sydney Combined Forces today. For those that don’t know Forces are a new club, only coming into existence in 2020. They’re supposed to be a club for gentlemen that are in the army or navy or air force and are based in Sydney. Folks that are in the armed forces can be moved around the country when ever their bosses feel the need to do so. As a consequence, their rugby team can be a little inconsistent.

Today, it’s safe to say, the Wolves faced a Forces team very short of consistency. And talent. And size. And speed. And pretty much every attribute it takes to be a half decent rugby team.

The Wolves, on the other hand, fielded a near full strength team with a full 8 man bench. The only notable players absent were Issac Tia and Tia Salima. Their places were taken by Neil Boswell and TJ Mokocianavanua. Hardly big steps back.

The Wolves scored a bucket load of points today, 87 in fact. Forces only scored 15. Its hard to take too much from games like this or read anything meaningful into performances. One could get cranky at the Wolves for allowing Forces to score 3 tries or even berate the Wolves for letting the fire go out in the last, say, 20 minutes, and not getting to 100.

But if one did then one would be acting a little unrealistic. The Wolves players aren’t professionals. They are IT consultants, forklift drivers, stone masons, labourers, washing machine repairmen etc. They work hard all week then come to rugby to have fun. If you’ve put 50 on a team by half time, having a little fun late in the game is pretty understandable, maybe even healthy?

Wolves 87 – Forces 15


Merrylands vs Menai 10/4/2021

And so another season begins. The Wolves come into the first game of the season with a mixed bag of results/efforts during the pre-season.

Positives: James MacLennan has been installed as sole head coach and won’t share the role with anyone else. This should allow the young go getter to have a clear run at moulding the team into what he thinks it should be. There are a bunch of new players like Moses Tabakau, Ratu Ganilu & Ben Stokes. The Wolves had a solid pre-season hit out at the Orange City 10’s, finishing runner up in the bowl final.

Negatives: Training has been patchy, the draw came out very late which created a little uncertainty around the club and the Wolves are at this point, a little short on decent front rowers.

Anyway, onto today’s game. Menai are a bit of an unknown quantity. They were only formed as a club 4 years ago, in 2017.  They won the title in 2017, 2018 and 2019 but then last year they disappeared. Will this side be anything like the old one?

Fortunately for the Wolves today’s game was at home and so Wolves were able to field a pretty strong team.  New guy Big Ben Stokes started in the second row next to Captain Luke while the backrow was fast, strong and experienced with Tani “This lounge room floor looks cosy” Heather, Dylan “I’ll be fine to drive” Hodgson and Jordan “I used to have friends” Sega.

In the backs Tuafale “Vai” Meni and Joe Ngawini formed a formidable half pairing while Reece “I can’t play anymore” Waipouri and Ratu “Junior” Ganilu teamed up for the first time ever in the centres.

True to form Menai fielded a physically large team with 6 of their 8 forwards tipping the scales well in excess of 130kg’s and several of the backs giving those XXXL sized forwards are run for their money. This really made Coach James’ job of coming up with a winning plan pretty easy: Play fast.

The early stages were pretty ferocious with both backs going at it full throttle. A few unnecessary penalties by the Wolves saw Menai gain possession within 20 meters of the Wolves line. With a pack the size of Menai’s, their plan was obvious. They simply threw large lumps of human at the Wolves defence and waited till the Wolves cracked. It worked. Menai crossed for the opening score of 2021 but it clearly took way more effort than the lads from southern Sydney thought it would or were used to. It took maybe 20 phases and in the end the effort seemed to take a lot more out of Menai the it took out of Merrylands.

Coach James encouraged his team to strike straight back, he told them to move the ball around and shift it out to Wise and Junior, out where Menai looked shaky. And the Wolves did just that.

Dylan Hodgson scooped up some quick ruck ball, pushed in behind the defence and managed to get a lovely off load away to Wise who shot off down field. He was eventually pulled down a few meters short but Menai had completely failed to get back behind the ball and Tani Heather strolled over for the Wolves opening try of the 2021 season.

Not long later the Wolves executed the game plan again and found plenty of open space. This time it was Jordan Sega that got the ball rolling. The big kiwi kicked clear of some flailing Menai defence and got some quick ruck ball. Vai threw the ball wide and found a fast-moving Wise who glided through a hole and raced down field to put the Wolves two scores in front.

Menai managed to hang around and bother the Wolves for most of the game but to most educated on-lookers the result was never really in doubt.  The big Menai lads looked scarry but in reality, they were pretty toothless so long as they were kept at least, say, 30 meters form the try line. They simply didn’t have the wheels or the fitness to break the Wolves open or offer a consistent threat. The Wolves did occasionally give Menai piggie backs down the field by giving away stupid penalties and those few occasions meant it took till about the 65th minute mark for the Wolves to really put Menai to bed.

In the end the kill shot was finally delivered by Tim “the Hooker” French. The Wolves put on an awesome full team move that saw Ben Stokes, Reece Waipouri, Wise, Moses and Joe Ngawini all combine to send the French dog over untouched next to the post.

From the kick off the Wolves hacked the ball down field where new guy Chris “Jammie?” Varoy piled pressure on the Menai fullback, dirtying up their ball and forcing Menai into trying to pick and drive their way out of trouble. But it didn’t work for Menai. Their fitness let them down and they failed to get enough guys behind the ball which resulted in one of their big runners getting isolated and loosing possession to Dylan Hodgson. The Wolves quickly switched form defence to attack and after just a couple of accurate passes Jordan Sega ran onto the ball and crashed over the line to put the Wolves out of reach and deliver a successful on field start to 2021.

Big ups today go out to all the new guys who ALL produced the goods. Ratu Ganilu ran well and caused havoc in mid field, Jammie Varoy gave the Wolves some much needed wheels while Ben Stokes and Moses Tabakau slotted into the Wolves forwards like a dream

Merrylands 25 – Menai 19




Season 2019

29/6/19 Merrylands vs Sydney Irish

So the Wolves management committee has been forced to make a difficult, desperate decision.

The Wolves have simply have had barely enough players showing up on a Saturday to field one team, never mind two.

The players that have been committed (Sonny, Willie, Junior, John Manu, Ben, Luke, John Segi, Jacob, Victor, Ese, Issac, Tia and Vai) have been willing to play all the rugby needed to get the club through but in the end their herculean effort wasn’t really getting the club anywhere. The players were getting hammered on the scoreboard and all their extra excursion was resulting in way too many injuries.

So President Bart and Vice President Ross have made the decision to forfeit all remaining 2nd grade matches and only compete in the 1st grade comp.

It a sad eventuation and something everyone involved with the club struggled with all their might to avoid.

But in the end the decision had to be made.

And so today’s game against Sydney Irish is the Wolves first hit out only fielding one grade.

And while it didn’t go well on the scorecard, there were plenty of positives to take away from the game.

First off all numbers. The Wolves had 18 players make the long trip over to Coogee for the game. That may not seem all that great but having 3 fresh reserves is not a luxury Coach Jerry or Coach Ben have had the pleasure of enjoying in 2019.

In the game itself Irish blew the Wolves away in the opening 20 or so minutes, crossing for 4 tries and leaving what had been a rather hopeful Wolves outfit reeling.

But at half time the 2 coaches broke the game down for the Wolves, gave them a simple plan and sent them back out full of beans.

And it worked!

The Wolves maintained possession much more effectively, allowing them a far greater share of territory than they had managed in the first half. In defence the Wolves were able to shut down Irish’s wide attack much more efficiently with Joe “The 5/8” Ngawini and Sonny in particular putting on some heavy shots.

In the end the 2nd half was a much closer affair with both sides only managing to score the 1 try each.

Sure the score looked a little like a blow out, but considering the Wolves were able to rally and adapt showed there is still some life left in the 2019 season. Go Wolves……Irish 41 – Merrylands 7


22/6/19 Merrylands vs Harlequins

This is a dark, horrible time for the Wolves.

We can all only hope that the weak effort the club managed to put up today is simply the dark before the dawn.

One thing is for certain, things can’t get a whole lot worse.


15/6/19 Merrylands vs Canterbury

Well it was a pretty awful day for Merrylands rugby.

In fact one of the worst for quite a long time.

The Wolves only had 15 players for 2’s. Those 15 brave souls threw everything they had at the table topping Canterbury but came up short.

When kick off was called for 1’s not a single new player had arrived.

That meant the same 15 guys had to head back out again. Amazingly the same 15 guys put up a pretty good effort, scoring a couple of tries and staying in touch with Canterbury.

But unfortunately injuries took their toll and by half time only 12 guys were fit enough to take the field.

Coach Ben and Coach Jerry made the awful decision to forfeit the rest of the match.

Sad times for the once mighty Merrylands Wolves. Sad times indeed.


1/6/19 Merrylands vs Briars

It was a mixed bag of results today.

Coach Jerry and Coach Ben were very optimistic about the Wolves chances in today’s games. Briars are sitting in a very similar position on the ladder in both grades so hopes were high the Wolves could pull off their first 2 from 2 round.

But unfortunately 1st grade couldn’t manage to hold up their end of the bargain. 2’s did, in fine fashion, but 1’s just couldn’t match Briars intensity for the full 80 minutes.

And that’s kinda been the story of the year for the Wolves 1’s. They can mix it with the best of them for 60 or so minutes but then have a horrible habit of dropping away. The will is definitely there, most notably from players like Captain Luke, Tuafale “The Mouth” Meni and VJ Tataia who consistently fight with everything they have right to the final bell. But the lack of any kind of decent training is killing the Wolves.

In rugby, as in any sport, there will come a time when fatigue sets in and the average player’s brain stops ticking. When this happens players and teams need to run on instinct, they need to be able to fall back on the plans and patterns that they put together at training.

And this is something the 2019 Wolves 1st grade have not been able to do. The majority of the teams in this division are simply too well prepared for the Wolves and their casual style of rugby.

When all is said and done the Wolves 1’s need to have a long hard look at themselves and several players probably need to go take their heads for a shit.

Any way the 2’s had a good win.

The Wolves 2’s play a straight forward power game. If little teams like Briars are going to trouble the Wolves 2’sd than they need to keep the ball away from them. But Briars couldn’t manage that today.

Instead they tried to fan out and smother the Wolves 2’s attack and tried to kick themselves into the right territory. But both tactics backfired. They simply gave possession back to the boys in black and yellow and they took it and ran right over Briars.

1’s – Briars 43 dft Merrylands 17

2’s – Merrylands 45 dft Briars 17


25/5/19 Merrylands vs Macquarie Uni

2nd Grade

So for those you of that don’t know there is now a little bit of tension, a bit of rivalry between the Merrylands Wolves and Mac Uni.

Steve Sale had been involved with Merrylands Rugby for a long time. Most of his time was spent coaching juniors but after some years away Steve came back and coached the Wolves senior teams. He managed to lead them to a glorious grand final victory in 2017 and a commendable semi-final loss last year.

This year, pretty late in the piece, Steve Sale defected to Mac Uni. He took both his sons (Dave and Chris) and the Wolves first choice hooker Tom Greville with him.

It was a shocking loss for Merrylands Rugby.

Lots of Merrylands faithful believed Steve was the man to coach the club for many many years. Lots of people believed Tom Greville had the potential to be one of the best tight forwards the club has seen.

People didn’t think that much of Dave and Chris.

But clubs like Merrylands can always do with a few extra sets of hands around the place to keep match balls pumped up and the change rooms clean.

So all of that is too say both grades from both clubs wanted to win today. Bad.

Today’s 2nd grade squad was strong. Very strong. Pretty much the strongest 2’s have fielded all year.

In the forwards there was plenty of size and experience with Junior Tautupu, Issac Tia, Benjamin Davis and Amo Segi all taking up their regular positions.

The Wolves backs were big. In fact the 9, 10, 12 and 13 all tipped tipped the scales in excess of 100kg’s. Niko Fagalilo, Big John Segi, Jacob Tautupu and IJ is not a midfield most sane players would like to come up against.

And that can absolutely be said for the Mac Uni 2nd grade backs. Right from the start of the game the Uni fellas looked a little unwilling trying to contain the Wolves backs. Jacob Tautupu in particular was slamming holes in the Uni defence all over the place. And as you would expect the result was quick lead for the Wolves that only got bigger and bigger as the game went on.

The Wolves forwards found the going a little tougher, needing to muscle up in defence a little more than their backline colleagues. The Uni pack keen to have a go at Merrylands however their keenness didn’t result in much, not as far as the scoreboard was concerned any way. The likes of Junior, Ipella and Niko consistently turned the “Warriors” attack around and greatly limited any chance Uni had of scoring points.

In the end it was a comprehensive win for the Wolves 2’s who gained a much needed bonus point victory and kept Mac Uni to just a couple of late consolation tries.

Several players deserve a special mention for their performances today.

Ipella is the father of Isaac and Tia. Today he played his first game of rugby in a long long time. He did pretty well.

Junior is a beast. Somehow the big guy keeps getting better. Today not only did Junior make loads of meters with the ball in hand he also pulled off a couple of stunning cover tackles. What a weapon.

Jacob Tautupu was the main difference between the two sides. Mac Uni simply had no answer for his earth shaking runs.

Niko Falaligo has started playing flanker this year. Today was one of his best performances. He hit crazy hard in close to the ruck and ran with real venom…..Merrylands 42 – Mac Uni 12


1st grade

So really, this was the big one. This is the team that Steve really coaches and this is the team that had Chris Sale and Tom Grevillie in it and this is the team that Coach Ben, Coach Jerry, Captain Luke and all the boys really wanted to beat.

But they didn’t.

In fact the Wolves were beaten rather comfortably.

And the bulk of the blame must rest with the Wolves players themselves. Man for man they were more than up to the task and for large portions of the game the Wolves dominated possession and territory. But as is so often the case in rugby the Wolves failed time and time again to convert their good work into points while Mac Uni were able to take even the slightest opportunity and make good with it.

And Uni got plenty of opportunity’s with a lot of them being gifted to them by Merrylands themselves. On one occasion the Wolves committed a simple knock on and then went to sleep, waiting for the ref to blow his whistle. Instead Mac Uni took the offered advantage and ran away and scored. On another Merrylands got stuck trying to be too tricky too close to their own goal line, coughed up the all and Mac Uni dived on it to score.


The Wolves 1’s are fast slipping behind the pack and need to get a move on if they want to make semis…..Mac Uni 40 – Merrylands 19


18/5/19 Merrylands vs Northern Saints

The guys at Northern Saints feel like a name can constrict you, they feel like it can hold you back.

Telling everyone you’re from Merrylands or Manly or, in their case, St Ives, gives people an impression of who you are, of what you should be. This makes it hard to express your true self, to live out your dreams. To be what YOU want to be and not what daddy always expected you to be.

So like the artist formally known as Prince, the Wolves opponents for today have now chose to change their name to “Northern Saints formally known as St Ives”


Any way a few unusual things happened in the lead up to today’s game that probably need to be explained.

The Wolves have gotten a lot of cards in 2nd grade this year, 6 in fact. With the Wolves recent history it seemed very apparent to the entire Merrylands management committee that something drastic needed to be done. To continue on as if everything is fine would surely spell doom for the Merrylands Wolves.

So the Wolves management committee decided to forfeit 2nd grade for the week.

The Wolves management committee believe that forfeiting today’s 2nd grade game would achieve a lot. It would send a message to the entire 2nd grade squad that their behaviour is simply no acceptable. It would send a message to the entire competition that the Wolves accept full blame for their actions and understand that they cannot continue down this road. It also allows the Wolves playing squad a bit of a break and gives a multitude of players that have been carrying injuries a chance to get themselves back to 100%.

As you would expect the playing squad was deeply disappointed that a chance to start climbing back up the ladder had to be given away. But the playing squad universally accepted that the decision to forfeit was the right thing to do and that if they were looking for someone to blame than they only needed to look in the mirror.

Any way onto today’s game….

Going off results St Ives seemed to be of similar quality to Merrylands so Coach Ben and Coach Jerry knew if the Wolves played to the best of their ability they should have a good chance of winning today’s game. Given that, there was some real concern from Coach Jerry and Coach Ben as to what kind of side the Wolves would be able to run out today. With 2’s not playing there were some questions over which regular 2nd graders would bother showing up. On top of that there were several, high quality 1st graders (like Tani, Pue and Sonny) that were unavailable for today.

In the end Jerry and Ben need not have been concerned as plenty of players, both1’s and 2’s, made the long trip and turned up ready to rock and roll. In fact today’s squad was probably the best side the Wolves 1’s have put out all year.

Regular 2’s like Junior, Jacob, IJ, Jordan, Reece and Tia were joined by the likes Joe “the Second Row” Ngawini, Tama “Viva La Mexico” TeRito, Vai and VJ.

Looking at the two teams it seemed obvious that the Wolves main advantage over Saints was size. Coach Ben and Coach Jerry told their team that given the Wolves were fielding a team that was a little unfamiliar to each other than the easiest and most effective way of getting on top today was to sue their size and keep the game simple.

Backs Coach Ben told his troops to get early ball and take their opposites on while forward Coach Jerry simply asked his troops to run hard, run straight and run often.

And they did.

And they blew Saints away.

The Wolves forwards were running free, breaking tackles and making meters while the likes of Jacob, Vai and VJ were crossing the line almost at will. In fact by half time the game was effectively over. Saints did enjoy some possession toward the end of each half but in the end it was way too little and way too late.

Big ups for today’s game need to go out in lots of different directions.

Jordan and Reece only came to the club this year. They’re both young, versatile and high quality players. Today they both carved up. Especially Reece. Saints basically didn’t want to know him.

Junior is a big man. He also is getting on in years. Nobody would blame the guy if he only wanted to play a half of 2’s and then take it easy. But Junior loves it. He made himself available for the entire game today and was keen as mustard to get on the field. Legend.

Joe Ngawini is a Merrylands legend. Pretty much 100% of guys that have played more than a couple of seasons with the guy consider him to be, far and away, the best player to ever pull on the black and yellow. Over the last few years Joe has gotten fat and slow. SO he has moved into the forward. He played #8 today and he carved up. Probably the best player on the field.

VJ is a great 5/8. Today he played the perfect, subtle game the troops around him demanded. Well done VJ. Oh actually VJ you suck. VJ had 8 shots at goal today and only got one. Idiot….Merrylands 42 – Saints 12


11/5/19 Merrylands vs Oatley

2nd Grade

It’s been a long time since these two clubs met in regular competition.

In that time a lot has changed.

Oatley have scaled the highest hights, spending several seasons in div 1 & 2 before coming down to the smaller divisions over the last few years.

The Wolves have been hovering around div 5 and 6 and are looking to cement their place as a multi-team club.

However today sees both clubs struggling a little, especially when it comes to player numbers.

Today the Wolves had 23 players for both grades.

That doesn’t mean they had 23 guys for 1’s and another 23 guys for 2’s.

That means they had the same 23 guys for both teams.

Across the 23 there was a fairly even mix of players that would usually be called 2nd graders and guys that would usually call 1’s home.

The forwards were populated with 1st grade names like Captain Luke, Coach Ben, Joe “the Hooker” Ngawini and Elias Rutene as well as a few 2’s like Junior, Key and Issac.

In the backs the pattern was repeated with VJ Tiatia and Sonny Samuelu coming down from 1’s to help out the likes of Jacob Tautupu and Tia Salima.

Despite having the use of plenty of 1’s and clearly being far more capable rugby players across the board then there Oatley counterparts, the Wolves were unable to get the win in 2’s toady.

In a nutshell the Wolves 2’s played stupid, frustrated rugby. They gifted Oatley possession on far too many occasions, were unable to hold their nerve when good chances came their way and, most importantly, had terrible discipline.

Sure it’s only 3 games into the season and there is plenty of rugby still to come but the Wolves 2’s are in desperate need of a lift. They are struggling to cope with the higher level of rugby present in div 2. The Wolves 2’s need to get serious or they may simply end up blown away……Oatley 21 – Merrylands 12.

1st Grade

Before the game the situation for Coach Ben and Coach Jerry looked pretty grim. There were only 3 players that hadn’t already played 2’s and even with the bulk of 2’s hanging in for another 80 minutes the Wolves were still a few players short of a full 15.

Coach Ben and Coach Jerry were ready to make an awful, tough decision when Big Olive Peia and new guy Willie Malungahu turned up literally seconds before kick-off. They quickly whipped their gear on and the Wolves stumbled onto the field.

It really did seem like a horrible hiding was on the cards. The Wolves ran out almost the same squad that had just lost in a pretty bad way to Oatley’s 2nd grade and here they were, tired and dishevelled facing a fresh Oatley 1’s. There was almost no conceivable way that this was going to end well for the Wolves.

Almost no conceivable way.

Enter Iole “IJ” Tanielu.

IJ came to the club last year. He played a handful of games at flanker and was a pretty good player. Good, but not great.

IJ saw the panic and exacerbation on Jerry and Ben’s face and in a moment of weakness said that despite the fact he’d sworn never to play again, he would put his hand up to play today. But only on the wing.

Mere minutes into the game the ball came flying out to IJ’s wing. Miraculously IJ played his cards perfectly. He held the ball in front of him in two hands, ran straight, drew in 3 or 4 defenders than threw a perfect pass to Key who ran the ball over the line untouched.

The Wolves were stoked but realistic. There was a long way to go and it was after all only one try.

So IJ repeated the performance.

Minutes after the try Oatley got the ball wide to IJ’s side and decided to try and kick the ball down field. IJ pressured the kicker hard, got a charge down, regathered the ball, drew in a few players and once again offloaded to Key who ran untouched to the line for his second try.

And then again!

This time Vai, maybe stung by being out shone by IJ, scooped the ball up from an Oatley clearing kick, beat a few defenders and carried the ball to just outside the Oatley 22. From there the Wolves forwards swung into action with Joe “Number 8” Ngawini and Jordan Sega combining to put the Wolves 3 tries to the good.

Coach Jerry and Coach Ben could hardly believe their eyes.

Where on earth did this come from?

Where on earth had IJ been all year?

After the awesome start the rest of the game was a bit of a see-sawing affair. Oatley and the Wolves traded tries right up until full time but the barnstorming opening 15 or so minutes meant the Wolves were always comfortably in front.

Finally, after a tough opening to the 2019 season, the Wolves 1’s had their first win……Merrylands 45 – Oatley 31



27/4/19 Merrylands vs Sydney Harlequins

So a quick catch up for those of you not in know.

The Wolves have gone up to 4th division. In this comp clubs field 3 grades each week.

The Wolves really only have players for two grades.

However in 2019 NSW Subbies have been unable to secure enough clubs willing to field to grades and so were unable to put a 2 grade/5th division together.

This left the Wolves a tricky spot. The Wolves either had to tell a whole bunch of players that they probably weren’t going to be playing much rugby this year or the Wolves would have to step up to a higher division and play against bigger stronger clubs.

NSW Subbies were keen to have the Wolves up in div 4 and so offered them a spot in the higher division without having to field a 3rd grade.

After much debate within the Wolves management committee it was decided the best way was up!


And so this week the Wolves played their first proper comp game in division 4 since 2015. Back in 2015 the Wolves had a decent season as far as results go but a horrible season when it came to discipline. The Wolves received a staggering 7 red cards and were ultimately kicked out of the comp. It was a shattering blow for all concerned with the club and ultimately saw Merrylands Rugby unable to take the field in 2016 (though we did go on an End of Season Trip)


With the memory of that season still vivid in Coach Ben and Coach Jerry’s mind the Wolves lined up for the opening round of 2019.

And it couldn’t have gotten any tougher. The Wolves were away, a long long way away, in Woolloomooloo, and up against last year’s div 4 premiers Sydney Harlequins.


So how did it go?


Well to be brutally honest, poorly, quite poorly. The Wolves were a few players short of two full squads and so were forced to use several players across both grades. This combined with a general unfamiliarity in many key positions and a squad wide lack of fitness saw Harlequins completely outclass Merrylands.

Put simply Harlequins were too fast, too smart and too fit for Merrylands and ran out winners in both grades.

There were a few positives to take out of the match. First of all the Wolves discipline was good. The boys were under the pump all day but never got frustrated or did anything too silly.

Also there was a very Merrylands like keenness from all players to fill in whenever and where ever coach Jerry asked.

On top of that there were several quality displays from new players.

Sonny Samuelu played started at fullback for the Wolves 1’s and was probably the Wolves best players. Sonny attacked at every opportunity and was a rock in defence.

Ioane “John” Faafua slotted into the 2nd row for his first appearance Wolves colours and didn’t let the team down.


Season 2018

1st Grade Major Semi – Merrylands vs Many Savers

The Wolves lost today and it sucks. In a big way. They should’ve won by plenty. is not going to mention this game or any details from this game ever again……Merrylands 24 – Manly 36


4/8/18 2nd Grade Grand Final – Merrylands vs Lane Cove

The big dance.

The big show.

The big kahuna.

The GF.

So it has come to this. The Wolves Mighty Undefeated 2’s square off against 2nd placed Lane Cove to decide on who is the Noice Cup Champions for 2018.

About the only positions the Wolves had been unable to cement a name into throughout 2018 were the halves. And today was no exception. Half back and 5/8 Tim French has probably spent the most time in the 9 and 10 jerseys. Unfortunately Tim is an overweight red headed goose and forgot to tell his boss it was the GF this week and so had to work. Second to Tim, Siaosi “George” Palelei has probably been the Wolves most reliable play maker. But Sia, like Tim, had other plans.

So Coach Steve shuffled some cattle around and came up with a very experienced halves combo. Jerry “I used to be a fighter” Keen pushed back from his regular hooking duties and played 9 while veteran Justin Nio pulled on the #10 to try and guide this young Wolves backline around the park.

Other than those couple of changes the Wolves were at full strength.

The front row was big. Real big. Like Junior Tatupu, Mike Zelinski and Uati Toafa big. Isaac Tia and Nemeea “Lima” Musese played 4 and 5 while Chris “Guts” Sale, Elias Rutene and Big John Segi made up the backrow.

Beyond the before mentioned Tim and Justin the backline had a very familiar look with Jacob Tatupu, Ese Aufai, Andrew Hammond, Tia Salima and Hosea Leuea all starting in their regular positions.

As most of the Wolves Brains Trust (Steve and Pirate Captain Ben) had suspected the Lane Cove team the Wolves faced last week was very very different to the one the Wolves ran out against this week. The Lane Cove GF squad seemed a lot bigger, a lot younger and a lot fresher.

Still the Wolves game plan wouldn’t change. All 2018 the Wolves haven’t kicked for territory. They haven’t played rush defence/pressure type rugby. They haven’t attempted to maintain possession and build scoreboard pressure. All the Wolves 2’s have done in 2018 is run the ball. From 10, 50 or 100 meters out once the Wolves got the ball in 2018 they ran it. If they didn’t have the ball they simply tried to hammer teams into the dark ages.


And today that’s just what the Wolves would try to do again.

And jeee whiz Chuck did they do it!


The opening few minutes probably went Lane Cove’s way. They enjoyed the better share of territory and possession and seemed to be intent on playing an up tempo style of rugby that was troubling the Wolves. Lane Cove got to within maybe 10 meters of the Wolves line and were looking good but coughed up a knock on after Isaac Tia put a good shot on a Lane Cove runner. Most teams in this position would take the scrum and try and boot themselves out of trouble. But the Wolves 2’s, like always, thought they’d have a crack at Lane Cove first. And like always they found joy!

Uati Toafa bent the Covies lie back before Super 9 Jerry Keen fed a flying John Segi. Big John crashed through the line and out into the open. A few off loads later and Hosea “Baby Face” Leuea glided over the try line to open the scoring for the Wolves.

After the re-start Lane Cove where at it again, dominating territory and possession and asking plenty of questions of the Wolves defence. Especially their outside backs. But once again the Wolves were up to it. They turned Lane Cove away when it matter most despite the North Shore boys enjoying the healthier portion of 50/50 penalty calls.

After a solid 10 minutes of defence without getting over the chalk Lane Cove took the “smart” option and slotted a penalty goal to put the scores at 5 – 3, the Wolves way, roughly half way through the opening half.

Almost straight after the penalty goal the Wolves roared back at Lane Cove. Jacob Tatupu and Hosea combined to run the Wolves deep into Lane Cove territory. Once close to the line Captain Jerry played his bets hand & sent wave after wave of forward runners crashing into the Covies defence. And it wasn’t long until one of those waves, in the impressive form of Junior Tatutpu, went crashing over the defence. With the screams of support coming from his family ringing in his ears, Junior posted the Wolves second 5 pointer of the game.

It had been a good 15 or so minutes between Wolves tries but that would be the longest the Merrylands faithful would have to wait between celebrations. For rest of the game the Wolves consistently crossed the try line, scoring try after try and slowly snuffing out any hope Lane Cove had of an upset.

And the tries came from players all over the field. If it wasn’t Jacob or Hosea running away with it, than it was Drew screaming down the side-line or it was Uati slamming up the middle or it was Tia dancing around them.

The Wolves had weaponry all over the pitch and they were using them.

There was one 10 minute period mid-way through the 2nd half when Lane Cove finally started to make their superior fitness show. They pinned the Wolves on their own line and hammered away at them for a lung smashingly long period. Every time it looked like the Wolves would be able to get away the Ref would find a reason to give possession back to Lane Cove and they’d be at it again.

But like Davey Crocket at the Alamo the Wolves just kept turning up for one another. Every time it looked like Merrylands had finally run out of runners, someone would pop up and throw their body in the way.

Truth be told the Wolves probably could’ve given away a try and really not suffered much but so determined were they, so full of heart and desire that, to a man, every Wolf toed the line like their life depended on it.

Awesome stuff.

In the end Lave Cove scored a late try or two but by then it was all too late. The damage was done and the celebrations were under way!


If Coach Steve was to write how he thought the game would need to go for the Wolves to win it he probably would’ve written something like “get out to an early lead and then keep putting points on them and when they do mount a comeback make it as difficult as you possibly can”

And that’s exactly how the game went.

All most every player out there had his best game of the year. That said there are a few players that deserve special praise for their efforts today.

Junior Tatupu is a prop and a very big man. Logic would say that Junior should maybe play 20 minutes or so and then be replaced. But today Junior played the entire game (except for a 10 minute period he spent in the bin after a professional foul) and made a difference whenever he got near the ball. He scored a try, talked hard and made every kg of his impressive frame count.

Uati Toafa is a class player. He is big, strong and smart. Today, just when the Wolves looked like letting Lane Cove into the game, Uati used all 3 of those attributes and came to the Wolves rescue. Covies were getting close to the line. They looked to give it to their best forward runner, their #3. Uati saw it coming, got up quick and absolutely crushed the guy in one of the biggest hits since Michael Jacksons Thriller.

Tia Salima is a small guy. Fast and brave. Today Tia got very few chances with the ball in hand but was dynamo in defence. Whenever the ball was loose, whenever Lane Cove made a break, whenever it looked like Covies would break away, Tia would turn up to put an end to the danger.

Most impressive though were the Wolves big guns. John Segi, Jacob Tatupu and Hosea Leuea have been the Wolves best players all year. Today, all three men, somehow found another gear and showed just what it takes to be the best.

A special congrats should go to Justin Nio and Captain Jerry. It’s the first time the two have played in the halves together ever but somehow they made the Wolves run like a well-oiled machine. They kept it simple, communicated well and barely put a foot wrong. Well done lads.

Lastly a massive “yea yea” to the Segi and Tatupu families (I think that’s who they were) they showed up today and absolutely screamed the house down. There was an awesome atmosphere for the 2’s game and the bulk of the thanks for that lies with the Tatupu clan…..Merrylands 41 – Lane Cove 17

1st Grade Merrylands vs Menai

The Wolves 1’s faced up against top of table Menai today. Menai won. The Wolves didn’t play too well. They let the occasion get to them a bit and allowed Menai to play the game the way they wanted to. Never mind. There is alwasy next week.

Merrylands 24 – Menai 43


28/7/18 Merrylands vs Lane Cove

2nd grade


So it was decided by NSW Subbies that, given the fact few clubs have consistently fielded a 2’s each week, that there would be no semi-finals for the Noice Cup. Instead there would be a one game, winner takes all throw down between the top two teams in the comp, Merrylands and Lane Cove.

It has also been decided that it will be NEXT WEEK!

So today’s game has been transformed from a run of the mill, dead rubber type fixture to one filled with plenty of intrigue and deception. A real cloak and dagger type affair.

Both teams know they will see each other next week in the big dance. Both teams know that this week’s result will, in all likelihood, fade from memory faster than the NZ Warriors premiership hopes.

So how do you approach this match?

Do you try and spring a trap by sending out a B-Team this week and an A-Team in the big one?

Do you try and inflict a mortal psychological wound by going out there this week, all guns blazing, and blow the opposition away?

Or do you find something in between?

For Lane Cove it seems the surprise option was the way to go. The Lower North Shore boys named what seemed to be a fairly depleted line up. In fact at the very first breakdown Lane Cove called uncontested scrums and were seemingly happy to opt to play the rest of the game a man short.

For the Wolves Coach Steve had other ideas. He was painfully aware that, given the stop-start nature of tis years comp, his big forward pack was well short of a gallop. Especially when it comes to playing the proper 35 minute halves the lads would need to cope with in the GF. So Coach Steve simply sent his best and fairest out there and told them to run until they puked.

Also the Wolves only had 3 guys on the bench so there weren’t a lot of places to hide big guns like John Segi, Junior and Jacob Tatupu and Hosea “the baby faced assassin” Leuea.

So come kick off time it was a screaming “CHARGE!” from the Wolves and a nervy “halt?” from Covies.

So what happened?!?!

The Wolves absolutely ran over & destroyed Lane Cove, leaving a only a stinky, smouldering ruin in their wake. The Wolves forwards crushed their counterparts while Merrylands fleet footed backs Upese, Drew, Hosea and Tia left an endless stream of clutching defenders flailing behind them.

Will the Covies by able to shake it off and mount a counter attack next week or will the boys in black and yellow simply turn around and do it all again?…..Merrylands 66 – Lane Cove 14


1st grade


The Wolves have locked down 2nd place. They can’t catch front runners Menai and they can’t be caught by today’s opponents and 3rd placed Lane Cove. Lane Cove can’t be caught by 4th placed Manly Savers.

But there was still a fair amount of meaning in today’s game.

For Lane Cove they know that if they want to win the comp (which you’d assume they would, though their preference for sending out b-teams and especially throwing matches would have you assume otherwise) they’ll need, at some point, to beat the Wolves. It may be in the GF or it may be in the major semi but at some point the puppies in white, blue and yellow are going to need to march through the Wolves in black and yellow.

Merrylands are a pack of mongrels and want to win every game no matter what.

For all the intrigue and talking points that abound before the kick off, the game it’s self went all most exactly how any educated pundit would’ve predicted. The Wolves racked up tries at a fairly consistent rate for the first 60 odd minutes before putting their cue in the rack and allowing Lane Cove to put on a couple of late 5 pointers and make the score somewhat more respectable. A tough coach would probably chastise the Wolves for not going on with it.

But Coach Steve was having none of that. He congratulated his lads on a game well won on their calm and cool under the pressure of a niggly team and an unforgiving ref and, most of all, on another very winning season.

Several players deserve a big up for today’s performance.

Vai is a classy player and has been one of the Wolves best for the past two seasons. Today he was a little too fast and a little too clever for the Lane Cove backs.

Mike Poto is a machine. If he doesn’t win player of the year this year than who ever does will be living a lie.

Siaosi Palelei, Nemeea Musese and Chris Sale all back up form 2’s today. Word.

SO did Uati Toafa, infact Uati played all bar the opening 20 minutes of today’s 1st grade game. Word……Merrylands 40 – Lane Cove 30


2/6/18 Merrylands vs Menai

Todays game shoudl’ve been a monster but unfortunately tradgedy struck. Early in the 2nd half, long time Wolves 1st grader Benjamin “egg shells” Davis dislocated his ankle and broke his lower leg in 2 places. An ambulance was called adn the game was called off. Menai were in front at the time so they were awarded the victory. Bugger.


26/5/18 Merrylands vs Lane Cove

2nd grade


Today was a great result for the Wolves 2’s. Lane Cove are a good team that play the kind of patient, disciplined, structured rugby that can bring attacky flairy teams like Merrylands unstuck.

But today the Wolves were ready.

They knew they might need to go for long stretches without getting their hands on the ball. They knew they would need to spend more time than usual close to their own line. And they knew, most importantly, that they would need to be super clinical when they did get their chances because the best way to bring a structured team unstuck is to keeping putting points on them and let the scoreboard bump them out of their comfort zone.

The day started a bit iffy. As has become a rather annoying habit for the 2’s, the bulk of the team turned up quite late. Coaching Assistant Ben spent the warm up stressing out and fielding very bloody persistent questions from just about every fool within a 5km radius as to who was playing where and why.

For future reference it’s probably worth keeping in mind that Coaching Assistant Ben knows what he is doing and you all should just get about your own business and let Ben handle it.

Any way with the late arrivals the team for the big Ms P Day clash was a little mixed about. There were plenty of usual faces like Ese, Junior, Isaac, Parker, Jerry, Jacob, Drew, Jack and Peni but there were a few very interesting ones as well. Wolf Legends Exham Brown and Richie Ngawini shared the #10 roll throughout the day while Ex’s brother and one of the greatest drinkers that ever pulled on the black and yellow, Mr Con Brown, took over hooking duties 15 minutes into the match. But probably the most anticipated return to Wolf colours was the one and only Usa Vulimeibau. Usa is a 300 game multiple premiership winning legend and with plenty of old boys on hand for MS P Day there was plenty of buzz around the ground about the old Bulla booting up.

It was truly dominant display from the Wolves today. The Wolves played an almost perfect game in the opening half. They defended with poise and purpose and exploded all over Lane Coves pretty faces whenever they got the ball. Excellent work in defence from the likes of Isaac and IJ was backed up by irresistible running from Junior, John and Jacob.

As was predicted before the game Lane Cove eventually got their possession game going and executed it well, spending long (boring) periods of play parked in the Wolves 22. Yet despite giving away a few too many penalties the Wolves played exactly as Coach Steve had asked. They offered up a brick wall in defence and never allowed themselves to get frustrated. In fact there were times when it seemed the Wolves were enjoying burying their Lane Cove rivals.

Other than the awesome raddness of seeing Ex, Con, Richie and Usa back in Wolves colours their were a few players this week that deserve a special mention.

Peni came down and watched a lot of games last year but never played. This year, with a 2’s team available, Peni put up his hand for a run. Peni isn’t the biggest or the fastest guy you’ll ever see but he’s brave and today Peni literally ran himself into the ground. He chased every kick, covered every break and went digging into every maul.

John Segi is a beast. He is probably the best player in this grade throughout the entire division. Today John was at his best……Merrylands 36 – Lane Cove 7


1st Grade


There a whole bunch of really old kind of boring sayings you could utter about today’s game. “A win is a win” or “it shows you’re a good team if you can play badly and still win” or “it wasn’t pretty but sometimes you’ve just gotta win ugly”

All that may be true of the Wolves performance today and some of those sayings may give some Wolves faithful comfort.

But the truth is the Wolves haven’t played really well since the 2nd half against Maccabi and while today wasn’t as horrible as the loss to Convicts, there really wasn’t many positives to take away from today’s game. Other than the fact the Merrylands 1’s rose to the occasion of Ms P Day and absolutely refused to die, they played terrible rugby from go to woe.

With all that in mind this review won’t take up too much time. Nobody wants to waste there hard earned gigabits on reading about a horror show.

Lane Cove played all over the Wolves in the first half, going into the break 15 points up. Merrylands struck back not long after half time but then Lane Cove did the same. It wasn’t until perhaps the final 10 minutes when for some reason unknown to Coach Steve the Wolves decided to turn it on. The Wolves did what they should’ve been doing all game, they ran straight, hard and in numbers and predictably Lane Cove folded under the onslaught. The Wolves laid on two quick converted tries (one try to Vai with less than a minute to go) and gave the masses that had assembled for Ms P Day the victory they’ve become accustomed to.

About the only guy the deserves a thumbs up for today’s performance was new guy Labereto Tauoqooqo. Lab had already played 40 minutes of rugby in 2’s but came on to replace Mat Sheck with 15 to go and blew Lane Cove away. Lab was full of energy, running hard and talking with venom. It’s pretty safe to say to say that without Lab the Wolves would’ve suffered back to back defeats…..Merrylands 28 – Lane Cove 22

19/5/18 Merrylands vs Convicts

2nd Grade

So today had the Wolves traveling all the way over to Woolahra Oval #2 for the second week in a row, this time to take on Convicts for what is only the 3nd proper comp game for the Wolves 2’s this year.

At the start of today’s game the Wolves were sitting in 2nd while Convicts were in 5th place.

Though numbers at training have been a little thin, the Wolves 2’s have had the pleasure have being able to name a pretty consistent team over the last few weeks.

In fact this week almost the entire forward pack was “regular”. The likes of Junior Tatupu, Ese, Jerry “Treadmill” Keen, Kenni, Iole, Peni, Micky P and John “Mr Wonderful” Segi all took up their usual positions.

In the backs there were a couple of new faces with Neemia “you thought Niko and French were big for half backs” Muese and Siaosi Palelei combining in the halves for the first time. Else were there were a few positional changes but the usual crew of Tia, Tuii, Jack, Drew and James Ioasa all started for the Wolves 2’s

On first inspection the two teams physically seemed pretty evenly matched. Sure on average the Wolves were probably slightly heavier than their Convict rivals but what Convicts lacked in size they made up for with numbers as Convicts seemed to have 53 spare players on the bench.

With that in mind Coach Steve told his troops they must start fast. In fact they must start much faster than their rivals as it was inevitable that the Wolves big pack would slow down while Convicts would be able to push a higher tempo the longer the game went on.

“You gotta blow them away early, kill any hope they’ve got of a comeback” Coach Steve ordered

But that’s not really what the Wolves went out and did. They tried. They tried really hard. In fact they were dominating Convicts in the early stages. The Wolves were executing their simple game plan well, that is, 2 or 3 big forward charges, an off load or two, than send it wide for the wheels of Tia or Drew or Tuii to finish it off. But for one reason or another when it came to the final pass or the last defender the Wolves kept coming up short.

Probably the biggest criticism any educated rugby observer could level at the Wolves 2’s this year has been their lack of composure when they get into scoring positions. All too often a runner goes a little too far and isolates his support or makes that final pass a little too hard and the Wolves get bundled into touch or make a handling error.

In the early stages the Wolves were guilty of this in spades.

In fact it was this kind of sin that saw t Convicts strike the first blow of the game.

The Wolves were well inside the Convicts half and coming on strong. Ese made a solid run and offloaded to Iole who made a few more meters before being dragged down. With the Wolves well on the front foot and acres of space available out wide, it seemed like a quick shift across the Wolves backline was about to result in an easy 5 pointer. But alas an over eager Wolves forward got in the way & fumbled the ball. The very speedy Convicts flaker scooped up the loose ball, offloaded to his fullback who scooted off down field to give Convicts the early lead.

Stung by the set back the Wolves ripped in even harder and were, in very quick time, rewarded for their efforts. A quick one, two, three, four, five by the Wolves forwards saw almost the entire Convicts squad left strewn on the turf, giving big Jacob Tatupu a reasonably easy stroll over the line to put the Wolves level.

So was Jacobs try the signal for the Wolves to, as Maximus Decimus Meridius would say, unleash hell?

No. No it was not. It was actually the signal for the Wolves to repeat exactly what had happened in the opening exchanges over again.

That is, the Wolves 2’s gathered up the re-start, bulldozed their way into a scoring position, pushed a very difficult pass, spilled the pill and watched as Convicts scooped up the ball and ran 60 odd meters to score.

But as was becoming customary in this game, the Wolves simply went back to work, fixed their early failings and scored their 2nd try.

With the ref blowing for half time the scores were all tied up.

Coach Steve didn’t tear into the lads too much. He simply informed them they were by far the better team and simply needed to make smarter decisions.

And in the second half that is exactly what the Wolves did. And did well. So well that it was roundly agreed that today’s second half performance was probably the best the 2’s have put together. They continued to dominate through the middle with hard running from Lima, Big John and Junior but were also capable of timing their passes well and giving the likes of Drew Hammond and Tia plenty of time and space with ball in hand to do what they do best. Score tires!

There are a few players that rate a special mention for today’s game. Big John Segi is in his first year with the Wolves and today had an absolute scorcher of a game. He destroyed Convicts with the ball in hand, kept the team up and focused whenever Convicts managed to snatch a lucky break and even kicked the bulk of the Wolves conversions. In fact John managed to outscore the entire Convicts team put together!

Jacob Tatupu is clearly a quality player. He is strong and brave and quite quick for a man of his size. Early on today Jacob was a little guilty of trying to do too much on his own. But Jacob pulled it together in the second half and was probably the Wolves best back today.

Junior Tatupu is a big man. Junior knows that if you’re gunna be a big man and not cover much ground in open play, than you need to use your size to be super effective when you do get near the ball. And today that is exactly what Junior did. Whenever he got near the ruck he put his hand up for a run and when he ran he made plenty of meters. When a Convict was silly enough to run near him they felt bad, really bad. Most impressive however was Junior’s work around the ruck, clearing out multiple bodies and making sure Convicts had to work very hard to keep their own pill. Oh and Junior scored a try today…….Merrylands 38 – Convicts 17


1st Grade


Rubbish. That’s what the Wolves 1’s dished up today.


The more than 12 month winning streak the Wolves top grade has put together came to a limp and disappointing end today.

It would be kind of OK if the Wolves played a really great team, threw everything they had at them, but came up short. After all there is no shame in being beaten by a better team. Just ask Savers.

But that isn’t what happened.

Today they Wolves came up against a good team but they only managed to throw petulance, frustration and stupidity at them and so predictably came up short.

After a slow start that saw Convicts take an early penalty goal lead, there was a brief time in the middle of the first half when it looked like the Wolves were at their best and would dispose of Convicts with ease.

But a lack of composure and an amazing ability to consistently take the wrong option saw the Wolves hopes of an undefeated season slide slowly out of view.

Other than perhaps Joe Ngawini and maybe Mike Poto, almost every Wolf player had a bad game. Or at least periods of play where they did really stupid s@#t. There were simple kicks being dropped, hands going into what were clearly lost rucks, off-loads thrown from silly positions, petulant attitudes shown to officials and each other and absolute sitter tackles being unexplainably missed.

With all due respect to Convicts, the most annoying thing about the performance was just how close the Wolves come to snatching a win.

The Wolves were without 5 of their usual starting 15, they read the game like 10 year old morons, they let the ref’s unique bedside manner get the better of them and they played as one out individuals time and time again and yet despite all that the Wolves only went down, to the team now in equal second place, by 8 points. And it wasn’t until the final 5 minutes that Convicts actually scored the final try to put themselves out of reach.

So were to from here?

The Wolves really need to just forget this game ever happened and move on……Convicts 20 – Merrylands 12


12/5/18 Merrylands vs Maccabi vs Colleagues

2nd grade

So today marked the biggest challenge of the Wolves 2’s season. It was their longest away trip so far and it was another Halligans game which meant that, deep down inside, it could potentially be a little hard to get up for.

With those two points weighing on their minds and the knowledge that there was a pretty poor turnout to training on Thursday night, Merrylands management was a little worried today would turn out to be a tough day.

So it’s easy to imagine Coach Steve and Secretary Laura’s pleasant state of surprise when they arrived half an hour before the game to see a full run on team and 4 reserves ready to go. In fact, on paper, it was close to the best team the Wolves 2’s have managed to put out this year.

In the forwards the Wolves ran with the super formidable front row of Ese, Jerry Keen & Uati Toafa while John Segi joined the back of the scrum at #8, giving the Wolves plenty of size and running up front.

In the backs the reliable Tim “I know you’re only 200 meters away but I still want it delivered” French was joined by Matt Sheck in the halves while Matt “Big Salvo” Taatia started the match at fullback.

Today’s game was, to use an overused footy cliché, an arm wrestle. A real back-and-forth affair. Merrylands seemed to be the more dangerous team, with several players including Elias Rutene, John Segi and John Tatupu regularly cutting Colleagues open. Colleagues on the other hand seemed the more organised, the better structured team. Colleagues used the breeze and their superior lineout to pin the Wolves ion their own half for long periods of the game.

The first half saw the Colleagues score a 7 pointer about midway through with the Wolves managing to answer with a 7 pointer of their own just before the break. Coach Steve told his men that if they played a little smarter, were a little more patient with the ball and kept running at Colleagues than eventually the tries would come. However Coach Steve hadn’t counted on Colleagues having a very long bench. In fact the eastern suburbs boys were eventually capable of replacing their entire forward pack.

This meant that any damage that the hard running Wolves could inflict wasn’t ever going to grind Colleagues into submission.

In fact just the opposite was occurring. With every hard run, with every extra effort the Wolves put into breaking the deadlock, Colleagues just got stronger as they rolled on sub after sub after sub, slowly accelerating away from the tiring Wolves.

In the final 15 or so minutes of the game the Wolves barely got out of their own 22. The pressure eventually told on the boys in yellow and black and Colleagues found loads of space way out on the left flank and crossed for their second try of the game. And from there it was a bridge too far for the Wolves 2’s as they suffered their first defeat of the 2018 season.

But all is not lost. As mentioned before today’s game was a Halligans fixture and so doesn’t count toward the regular competition and so, arguably, the Wolves 2’s can still claim to be undefeated in regular competition.

But more than the effort should give the Wolves 2’s plenty of confidence for the rest of the season. They got big numbers to a long away game and showed bucket loads of guts against an opposition that simply beat them with numbers……Merrylands 7 – Colleagues 17


1st Grade

The feeling within the Wolves coaching staff and leadership group before todays 1’s fixture was much the same as that for the above mentioned 2’s game. A bit nervous.

There were several very important players Coach Steve knew were unavailable. Niko “Taxi” Poto, Joe Ngawini, Tama “What time do we kick off” TeRito and Neemia “Lima” Musese were all out of action for one reason or another. Add to those sweeping changes that it was a long road trip out to Rose Bay and the fact the Wolves are notorious for playing shitty after a bye weekend and Coach Steve was more than a little worried this week may spell the end of his undefeated season dream.

The starting team had Benjamin “Honest it’s just across the road” Davis moving up to tight head to join Fabian Dudley and Tom “sandals and socks at training” Greville in the front row. Mani Pei and Captain Luke locked the scrum while usual back rowers Tani Heather and Apaola Tea were joined by the prodigal son himself Dave Mafi.

It was in the backs that Coach Steve was forced to make the most changes. Regular #13 Tuafale “Vai” Meni moved into #9 to partner VJ in the halves. The centres were an entirely new combination with Matt Sheck and Elias Rutene teaming up for the first time in a 1’s fixture. Out wide Mad Mike Poto and Salvo took up their usual positions while Matt “Salvo the Younger” Taatia started his first game for the Wolves top team.

And for the bulk of the first half it looked like Coach Steve’s worst nightmares may well be realised. Despite sitting several places outside the top four Maccabi came out all guns blazing and really rattled the Wolves. They pressured the Merrylands scrum, attacked their lineout and on several occasion stole seemingly safe Wolves ruck ball. And for all their good work Maccabi enjoyed the vast bulk of possession and territory.

Maccabi seemed like a far superior team than what their position on the ladder suggested they may be.

In fact it was Maccabi that drew first blood.

The eastern suburbs boys had the Wolves pinned down in their own 22 for more than 10 minutes and went super close to crossing on several occasions. Most notably when they won a lineout and drove the ensuring maul to within inches of the Wolves try line. On that occasion a solid hit by Former Captain Benjamin managed to turn Maccabi away but the boys in blue were not to be denied. They threw the ball out wide and managed to find enough room for their fleet footed #13 to crash over 10 or so meters from the side-line.

The setback shocked the Wolves into action. Merrylands threw everything at their opponents from the kick off and Maccabi struggled to respond. Tani Heather regained possession for the black and yellow and made an awesome run, getting the Wolves to less than 10 meters from the Maccabi line. A dropped ball saw the Wolves momentum momentarily halted but soon a clean steal from Apaola had the Wolves back in action. A few crashed from Fabian and Elias soon saw stand in half back Vai given way to much time and space and soon the Wolves speedster crossed under the posts to put the Wolves back on even footing.

But not for long.

Maccabi were keen to play a territory based game and so often out boot to ball. Matt Taatia made his debut on the wing today and with Maccabi kicking so much possession the young Samoan flyer spent a bit of time racing back to clean up the ball. On one such occasion the 20 year old winger sent the ball back down field with high, looping kick. Matt did what all winger should do a chased hard after his kick.

But his youthful exuberance got the better of him. The Maccabi winger playing opposite Matt was perhaps not Matts athletic equal. The Maccabi #14 caught the ball fine but didn’t have the skills to beat the fast arriving Younger Taatia. Matt knew this was a great chance to show he has what it takes to walk in Salvo’s footsteps and flew in to tackle. Unfortunately for Matt and Coach Steve and the rest of the Wolves Matts tackle saw the Maccabi winger get airborne and a little too horizontal, landing with an awkward thud.

Matt was shown a yellow card

With Maccabi a man up and the Wolves struggling to find their rhythm, Coach Steve called from the side-lines for his troops to hang in and play tough. Maccabi still hadn’t been able to cut the Wolves open and had only managed to score points by strangling the Wolves with kicking and set plays. Coach Steve knew (or rather hoped) that eventually the cream would rise to the top and the Wolves would start rolling over Maccabi.

And so the Wolves did as they were asked and they were rewarded. Matt Taatia came back on with only a few minutes till the break. Captain Luke asked for his boys to use the boost of his return to try and strike a blow before half time and take a lead into the break. And so the forward pack obliged him. Tom Greville and Dave Mafi both made strong runs before Tani Heather flew onto a well-timed VJ short ball and burst through the Maccabi line, dotting down a couple of meters to the left of the uprights.

The short version of what Coach Steve said to his troop at half time is this: stop playing bad and start playing good.

The short version of what happened in the second half is this: the Wolves absolutely blew Maccabi off the park.

The long version is that Maccabi managed a penalty and an awesome long range solo try in the opening 5 or so minutes but the Wolves simply brushed off the set back and slammed their foot on the accelerator and tore the eastern suburbs lads apart in every way conceivable on a rugby pitch.

The Wolves terrorised Maccabi’s lineout and made mincemeat of their scrum. But it was with ball in had that the Wolves were most impressive. They attacked Maccabi with such speed, aggression and, most impressively, variety that Maccabi simply had no answer. Merrylands scored with chip kicks and grubbers, they rolled mauls over Maccabi and slammed through them with forward charges. The Wolves outpaced them out wide, out stepped them in close and bamboozled Maccabi with off loads and quick ruck speed.

All things considered it was one of the best half of rugby the Wolves have posted in 2018 and culminated in a very very pleasing victory for Coach Steve.

Big ups today must go out to all the lads that backed up from 2’s. Matt Sheck, Elias Rutene, Matt Taatia, James Ioasa, Drew Hammond and, most memorably, Jerry Keen.

Tani Heather was one of the Wolves best players last year but, it must be said, he has been a little quite this year. Today Tani threw off the shackles and tore Maccabi apart.

The same can probably be said for Fabian Dudley.

VJ had easily his best game of 2018 today. He kicked well, tackled hard, passed without fault and ran like we know he can……Wolves 57 – Maccabi 20


Merrylands vs Blacktown vs Alexandria 28/4/18

2nd Grade

Alexandria Dukes pulled out of today’s second grade reasonably late so Wolf management was forced to look beyond the usual stand-in opponents like Mosman 5’s or Colleagues’ 6’s. But luckily it just so happened that Merrylands nearest fellow rugby club, Blacktown Warriors, didn’t have a game for 2 weeks. So Wolf Management asked if the Warriors would be keen to come on over to Holroyd Sports ground and have a run against our 2’s.

And they said yes!

As joyous as it was be able to get 2nd grade a game there was also a little worry about how our 2’s may fair against an opposition like Blacktown. See the Warriors are a division above the Wolves and it would, in theory, be there whole club taking on the Wolves 2’s. That is, when Merrylands play Mosman or Colleagues the Wolves usually just face their 5th or 6th grade. But today Blacktown were looking to ensure their entire playing roster stayed in good touch over the extended break and so would be running players from 1st grade down to 3rd grade.

In short today was easily the Wolves 2’s biggest challenge so far in 2018.

And the team that took the field was a little green, a little out of practice. Usual props Sunny, Ese and Uati were all missing, as were several loos forwards including Jordan and Alex. In the backs Flinchy, Elias, Hosea and Drew took up their usual positions but were surrounded by players yet to pull on a yellow and black jersey.

Still, you wouldn’t have guessed it from the opening few minutes. The Wolves received the kick off and ran straight at Blacktown. Big John Segi, Mana and Jerry “Harpoon Master” Keen made light work of the Blacktown forward pack, marching down the field and giving Captain Flinchy all the time any half back could want.

It looked like, given the ball a couple more times, the forwards could go all the way themselves, but Captain Finchy and his halves partner Big Elias figured they should probably try and impress Coach Steve a little and so sent the ball wide. The quality possession found its way into the hands of young speedster Hosea and in no time the Wolves 2’s were in front.

There was a little bit of back and forth from the restart but before too long the Wolves took possession of the pill and sent the big men forward again. This time Junior got in on the action, running and bumping the Wolves onto the front foot. Once again the Wolves halves did the right thing and got the ball wide where new guy Jacob made light work of the back peddling Btown defence and got the Wolves to within a few meters of the line. Boom boom boom went the Wolves forwards and up up up went the score!

It seemed like the tough hit-out the Wolves 2’s were expecting wasn’t to be. The forwards were going forward and the backs were all too slick for the Warriors. But Blacktown are a proud club and weren’t’ going down that easy. They gave themselves a talking to and marched back to half way, kick off, and promptly got the ball back. With ball in hand Blacktown played a loossish style of footy. They preferred to send their big forwards up, try and get an off load and then play at what they hoped was a disjointed defence.

And it worked. Well kind of.

Blacktown were able to put a little pressure on the Wolves and soon had a try of their own. But unfortunately they couldn’t consistently produce the result and would often drop off-loads or simply get a little too far away from their support. The Wolves on the other hand, had no such problem. In fact almost every time Merrylands got possession of the ball they made plenty of meters. And those meters often resulted in the Wolves scoring 5 pointers. Weather it was Matt Taatia or Hosea lighting up the sideline or Big John and Meni ploughing straight through the middle of the ruck, Merrylands were consistently able to turn good possession into points while Btown, despite enjoying more than enough territory and possession, simply couldn’t get the show on the road often enough.

In the end it was solid, confidence building win for the Wolves 2’s. Knowing they are capable of beating a quality opposition like Blacktown should mean the likes of Lane Cove, Colleagues or Convicts should conjure no fear for the Black and Yellow.

Special mention today goes out to a few players.

Big John Segi is in his first year for the Wolves. Today the veteran was without some of his usual partners in crime in Sunny and Alex, but Big John took the game by the scruff of the neck right from the start. He ran hard and talked loud and proud in defence.

Hosea is a superstar. He is fast, elusive and, above all, a pretty smart player. Here’s hoping he shows his head a training a little more often and gives 1st grade a crack.

Like Big John, Big Elias is in his first year of rugby for the Wolves. So far Elias has been a rock, not just for 2’s, but for the whole club. He’s arrived bright and bubbly at all the away games and has martialled his troops from his preferred 5/8 position with brains and brawn. Elias was probably the biggest difference between the two teams today……Merrylands 48 – Blacktown 17


1st Grade


Well there is no point getting cute with this one. No point trying to build suspense or talk about how the Wolves were nervous or thought today may well spell the end of their near 12 month unbeaten run.

The Wolves were pretty confident they would win and win handsomely today. And that they did. In fact as far as anyone can remember (and there were players and officials present today whose history with the club stretches back near on 40 years) it is the biggest win in Wolves history.

109 to nil!

It’s tempting to put it down to the fact that today’s opponents, Alexandria Dukes, were simply terrible (and they were) but there was far more to today’s victory than just a questionable opposition.

Today the Wolves were ruthless and clinical. As anyone knows, when you are winning by 50 or 60 points, it’s pretty tempting for players to try and pour a little glory on themselves. Players look up and see two or three defenders (the kind of defensive line that most folks would usually simply try and maintain possession against) and think “oh yea I’ll get through there” and end up losing possession or at the very least momentum.

But not today.

Today the Wolves forwards set up their truck and trailers like it was the GF. They ran hard and tried to beat anybody thrown in front of them, but they almost never went too far, always stayed near support and always listened to the team mates around them. They won all their own scrums and lineouts and always stayed energetic on Dukes set pieces.

The biggest killer today though was the backline. They played an almost perfect game. They listened to Niko and VJ and never got carried away or ahead of themselves. If Niko wanted to go blind no over excited centres tried to overrule him. If VJ called a move no ambitious wingers tried to slot in a little closer to the action and have a rip themselves. Instead they simply did what they were asked to do and did it with teeth and caws.

As way of proof the Wolves backs scored tries in almost every conceivable fashion.

They scored tries from inside Dukes 22, they scored tries from up near the half way and they scored tries from right on their own goal line. They scored by crashing the likes of Joe “Wanna Have a Sleep Over Tama?” Ngawini and James Ioasa straight up the guts and they scored by going wide quick and sending Salvo and Hosea scorching up the side-line. Sometimes Vai and Mad Mike Poto would dance around Dukes or weave moves that had their city based rivals grasping at shadows and on other occasions they simply kicked over their heads and beat them to the ball.

As far as individual performances go it’s pretty hard to single out any one player for special mention. Nobody had a bad game or was quiet. Everyone had moments were they tore Dukes apart. With that in mind special mention this week will go to the Wolves bench.

James Ioasa, Matt “A Little Salvation” Taatia, Meni Pei and Chris Sale all played a pretty tough game in 2’s before today’s 1st grade fixture. But all came on today and slotted in perfectly. Not once did one of Coach Steve’s replacements see the Wolves momentum slow down at all. Awesome……Merrylands 109 – Alexandria 0



Merrylands vs Rouse Hill 21/4/18

2nd Grade

So today was the Wolves first proper second grade game. That is, their first game for comp points in 2018. With points on offer Coach Steve wanted to field as strong a 2’s team as he could. And god damn was it strong.

In the forwards, the size and strength of Uati “the Big Knee” Toafa, Alex “Shirts Off” Williams, Sunny Wilson and Isaac Tia was complimented by the speed and cunning of Jerry “try a game” Keen, Micky Parker and Chris Sale.

In the backs regular stalwarts Tim “Single and ready to mingle” French, Drew Hammond, Jack Boswell and Titiatu Fiaalii were joined by new guys Hosea Leuea, Tia Salima and Byron Talagi.

Almost from the kick off the Wolves got on top of their opponents. Some surprisingly fleet running from big Uati got the Wolves on the front foot. Half back Captain Tim put the ball to good use sending two more runners crashing into the Rouse Hill defence, first Alex Williams than Sunny Wilson. With time and space a plenty 5/8 Byron sent the ball sailing out wide were Hosea made light work of the back peddling Rouse Hill, racing off into open space and touching down next to the posts.

The recipe was repeated only a few minutes after the kick off. This time Sunny Wilson, starting his first game at prop, took a smart off load from Isaac Tia and carried the ball well into Rouse Hill’s half. The forwards recycled the ball quick and Captain Tim was able to fling the ball clean and fast to #12 Titi. Titi played a big part in the 2017 premiership winning side, spending time in the centres and on the wing. Titi is a very classy player and on this occasion it was all a little too easy for the Samoan speedster. He shot off into the backfield and drew the Rouse Hill fullback before offloading to Tia who waltzed over untouched for the Wolves second try of the game.

Rouse Hill were brave and kept turning up for each other but, at this level, the Wolves combination of big forwards and superfast backs, was always going to be a little too hot to handle. By the time the whistle blew for the break the Wolves had posted 4 tries while the Renegades were without a point.

Coach Steve had a full bench that was populated by mostly new players. With the game seemingly safe Coach Steve made 6 changes in an effort to give as many guys as much time as possible. Ese moved into tight head for Uati (who by that point of the game was probably man of the match). Jordan and Keni replaced Micky P and James Stanley while John Segi and Peni Pulafiti moved into the back row for Alex Wilson and Chris Sale. In the backs, Ezra took over from his brother Hosea at fullback while Byron Talagi was replaced by Matt Sheck.

Rouse Hill also used the break to bring on several new players and it was the Renegades that made the faster start in the second period. Perhaps it was the new players or perhaps the Wolves got a little excited by the score line but before they knew it Rouse Hill had posted 2 unanswered tries and the Wolves seemed a little vulnerable.

Captain Tim knew his troops were superior to that of Rouse Hill and that the Wolves had just lost their way. Tim combined with new 5/8 Matt and kicked the Wolves into better field position. With Rouse Hill chasing a big shoreline Tim knew the Renegades would probably try and run themselves out of trouble and that all the Wolves had to do was turn up in defence and they would likely gain possession with not far to run.

And that’s exactly what happened.

One of the big Renegades forwards got himself isolated and evergreen Jerry Keen was quick to get over the ball and win the Wolves a penalty. The Wolves lineout worked like a well-oiled machine and soon the Wolves were throwing everything at the Rouse Hill line. And it wasn’t long before they broke through. This time it was Drew Hammond that enjoyed the spoils, dotting down for his first 5 pointer of the year.

From there the game see-sawed back and forth a little but Rouse Hill couldn’t never again quite capture the momentum they enjoyed in the opening exchanges of the second half while the Wolves had just enough class in players like Matt Sheck, Keni Pasu and Ese to keep posting points. In the end it was a convincing and very pleasing win for the Wolves 2’s. There’s plenty of work to do for this team but there is clearly enough quality to go a long way in this comp.

Jerry Keen deserves a special mention for today’s performance. He was probably the best player on the field, he was consistently effective at the breakdown, in both attack and defences, and was always backing up when the Wolves made a break. In fact Jerry scored one of the longest range tries you are ever likely to see at this level, taking an offload from almost 50 meters out that saw the little guy get a clear run at the line. He almost didn’t get there and at times looked like he may not survive the effort, but he got there for his 2nd try of the game.

There were several new players that really impressed today. Most notably Matt Sheck at 5/8 and Hosea Leuea at 15. Matt Sheck is a smart, calm classy player and seemed to be a move or two ahead of all the players around him while Hosea is far too fast and elusive for the majority of players he’ll face at this level……Merrylands 48 – Rouse 17

1st grade

Today the Wolves 1’s hammered Rouse Hill. By a lot.

The Wolves were able to field what was pretty much their best side. They even had a full bench with several fresh high quality subs including Mani Pei, Jose Frias and Matt Taatia. Rouse Hill on the other hand had at least half their squad backing up from 2’s. That said it’s difficult to imagine Rouse Hill would’ve gotten close to the Wolves even if they enjoyed the services of a fresh team.

The 2018 Wolves seem like a team on a mission. To a man they realise they’ve got the squad to go back to back this year and there seems to be a serious edge to their preparation and play.

A harsh critic could argue the Wolves should’ve put a few more tries on Rouse Hill today and there were definitely moments were Merrylands 1’s got a little too clever or perhaps lost a little intensity but they never lost focus and all their important elements remained intact. The Wolves scrum and lineout were super solid and the Wolves communication, especially in defences, remained an n outstanding feature of their play.

In games like this it’s hard to single out individual players for special mention. When you put 60+ on a team pretty much everyone has their moments. That said several players enjoyed periods of real prominence.

Coach Steve made the decision to move Apaola Tea on to the flank this year. Some people (including Ex-Captain Ben) thought Steve had lost his marbles. But he hadn’t. And in fact Apaola has been probably the standout player of the opening few rounds. He is fast, aggressive, skilful and, above all, a very smart player. Today, in the opening 20 or so minutes, Apaola was easily the best player on the pitch. At one point, after Apaola had stolen possession, offloaded to a flying Lima, than packed up for the return pass before racing away to score under the posts, the Rouse Hill captain asked the ref “is that guy human?”

Big Joe Ngawini came back to the Wolves this year after several season playing league (what an idiot) the first half of today’s game was probably Joe’s best since making his comeback. He was at his fast, destructive best. Big Joe scored the opening try of the game, taking possession some 50 meters out before going on a very Joe like run, beating 5 or 6 players before racing away to score under the posts.

Speaking of racing away to score Benjamin Davis scored a rippa of a try today. He is a real rippa of a player……Merrylands 66 – Rouse Hill 7


Merrylands vs Mosman vs Manly Savers 14/4/18

2nd grade

So an explanation.

This year, in an effort to get 5th division (two team comp) back up and running NSW Subbies has changed a few of the regular rules. Usually if a club puts it’s hand up to be in a division and then don’t have enough players to fill all the grades they get punished. There are fines and stern emails and awkward meetings and all manner of horrible stuff coming your way if you forfeit too many games.

For one reason or another over the last few years there hasn’t quite been enough clubs with two grades to run 5th division. Some clubs, like Lane Cove and Convicts, have plenty of numbers and are keen as punch for two grades. But others, like Dukes, can often rustle up enough players for two grades when at home but struggle on long away trips to far flung places like Merrylands.

This year Subbies have said that div 5 clubs can forfeit 2nd grade games and there will be no punishment. That’s great for clubs that numbers come and go week to week. It allows them to play it by ear while hopefully building enough of a player base to guarantee a full complement of grades in the future.

For clubs like Merrylands, who this year have loads of players, it’s a little frustrating. Nobody wants to see guys come to training and turn up on Saturday only to be left without a game.

Sooooo it an effort to ensure the Wolves 2’s get all the rugby their cute little heart’s desire, Wolf Management had locked in several games with other (much bigger) clubs that have plenty of left over players.

Today the Wolves 2’s played their first game since 2015, travelling over to the north shore to take on Mosman 5’s. And the Wolves 2’s had a pretty awesome line up. Especially if you’re a long term fan/player. Several truly mythical Wolves players took the field today. The youngest player to ever make 300 games, Micky Parker, started at flanker. 200 game hooker/half back Jerry Keen pulled on the #2. The try scoring machine Drew Hammond stepped back on to the wing after several years away. Former President and End of Season dummying spitting pie dropper Jason Fulwood made his mandatory annual appearance. Recently divorced Tim French played 9.

This has been a long review already and not a single piece of actual play has been mentioned.

The Wolves 2’s won today. And won pretty handsomely. Considering how many new players took the field and how many guys pulled on jerseys that were well and truly out of practice, it was a pretty tidy display. Half back Tim “I’m No Sugar Daddy” French had an awesome game. He talked plenty and directed the team around the paddock well. It appears a fat gut doesn’t affect your ability to tell others what to do.

Jerry Keen, after spending the last few years playing flanker over at Hawkesbury Agg, was full of energy while the reborn Micky Parker also showed glimpses of his once sparkling abilities. The two little men got about the field faster than most, allowing the Wolves to enjoy much more than their fair share of possession.

There were also several new players who pulled on Wolves Jerseys for the first time. By far the most impressive though were Elias Rutene and Khalid “Ese” Auleua. Ese play tight head for the entire match and did everything tight head props are supposed to do. He ran hard, tackled with power and dominated his opposite in the set piece.

Elias looks more like a #8 or a second rower. He is, however, an inside back. A 10 or 12. Surrounded by unfamiliar payers it would’ve been completely understandable if Elias was a little rusty. Instead the big guy was probably the best player on the field. Elias played 10 today. He made all the right decisions both in the defence and attack and was full of positive energy and encouraging words…..Merrylands 31 – Mosman 15

1st Grade

On paper this game was a big one. The grand final reply. A chance for Manly to extract a little revenge and an opportunity for the Wolves to prove to Manly that last year’s GF was no fluke. On the day however, it must me said, the match was a bit of a fizzer. Not because the two teams weren’t willing or because the match wasn’t exciting as a contest.

It was a fizzer because, sadly, Savers aren’t quite the team they were last year. The Wolves, with a squad that was a fair way below its best, won the match reasonably comfortably. On paper Savers were only a try away from victory. But much like the 2017 GF, on the day the Wolves were obviously the dominant team and Savers were always trying to catch them.

When the Wolves kept the ball in hand and ran at Savers they looked super dangerous but all too often, maybe due to lack of practice or maybe due to the largish number of new guys or guys playing out of position, the Wolves made stupid decision and allowed Manly to stay in the hunt. The two yellow cards handed to the Wolves (both for neck rolling) didn’t help either.

It is a bit of a cliché in rugby but it is a sign of a good team when you have the ability to win ugly. And when you need to win ugly it is often your best players, your superstars, that dig you out of your hole. And today that is exactly what happened to the Wolves.

In the forwards Mani Pei was probably the standout, especially in the 1st half. Mani ran loads and always made plenty of meters and took plenty of players with him. He even managed to score a try. Lima too showed there is still plenty of venom and the old tree trunks, ably getting the Wolves on the front foot whenever things seemed a little lost. However sadly for Lima he also gifted Manly one of the funniest and easiest tries you’ll ever see. It was probably the sort of fluke that you needed to see to appreciate but the short version is Manly had as kick for gaol. Their kicker completely shanked the attempt and the ball shot off the side of his boot and hit Lima in the face. The ball ricocheted into Joe Ngawini’s now ample gut and rolled over the try line where the oncoming Manly chasers simply dotted the ball down.

The best two performances today probably came from the backs. New guy Elias was a force for good in the middle of the pitch. He ran hard and straight and at times seemed to suck in every Manly player within a 5km. With a little more time in a Wolves jersey it’s pretty obvious Elias will be one of the yellow and blacks best.

Niko Poto had a blinder. Yea sure he was yellow carded but his work before and after (especially when he accidently ran into the ref, gave him the shits and forced him to call the game a little early) was clearly the difference between the two teams. Will he ever slow down?…….Merrylands 19 – Manly 15



Merrylands vs Menai 7/4/18

It was a special day in Wolf town today.

Today’s game  marked the beginning of the Wolves climb back up the divisions, with the Wolves moving from a successful, premiership winning year in Div 6, up to (hopefully) a successful year in div 5. And with the promise of a two team club plenty of old and very welcome faces made their return to Holroyd Sports Ground. Jerry Keen, Exham and Con Brown, Mick Parker, Joe and Richie Ngawini (and their mum Mary) and Big Tim French all showed their faces for the first game of 2018. And all have committed to pull on the black and yellow for the coming year.

On the field it was also a big day. The Wolves, reigning div 6 champs, were up against Menai, reigning div 5 champs. As the two teams warmed up it was abundantly clear that Menai were, well, big. Really big. In fact they were probably the biggest team most onlookers had seen at this level. Ever. Just about every member of the forward pack was over 120kgs. The 5/8 would’ve tipped the scales in excess of 140kgs!

Despite seeing this Coach Steve was confident. He had the bulk of his 2017 champs available plus several new, exciting faces and, with the temp in the mid 30’s, he knew the kind of bulk Menai were carrying around couldn’t keep moving for too long.

Close to kick off Coach Steve was forced to make several changes to his run on team. In the forwards new comer Alex was held up at work and so his place was taken by super sub Mani Pei. Tane Heather was a late withdrawal due to injury and so his place was taken by another new comer, Sunny. Aware todays opposition were, well, fat, Coach Steve decided to inject some pace into the forwards and so put Bola (usually a centre or winger) at #7 and moved Captain Luke into the second row.

In the backs the usual faces of Niko, VJ, Vai, Kenny and Mike were joined by the legend himself Big Joe Ngawini and new comer Chris.

Coach Steve may well have been confident in his chosen troops but from the outset in looked like his confidence was poorly placed. The Wolves conceded a soft penalty and from it Menai took play into the Wolves 22. Off the back of their first lineout Menai ran a simple move through the middle of the pitch and found way too much space. The Menai 13 strolled over the line, under the posts and the reigning chaps were off to the perfect start.

The Wolves realised they were in for a battle.

In fact \from the kick off though the Wolves were back in trouble.

Menai sent wave after wave of big men their way and, despite aiming up in defence, the Wolves were surely being pushed back. The Wolves found themselves under pressure deep in their own half but Benjamin “The Ball Chucker” Davis came to the Wolves rescue. He effected an iffy turn over and managed to get the ball back to his half back Niko. Menai were clearly unprepared for the turn over and so offered up loads of time and space for the likes of Vai and Bola. And soon the two Wolf speedsters combined, exchanging a couple of passes before racing 70 meters put the scores level.

While walking back to halfway for the re-start Coach Steve sent an urgent messaged out to his players. He told the Wolves that running at the Menai gorillas was almost useless and that the best way to combat their size was to kick the ball over their heads and make them chase it.

And for the rest of the half that’s exactly what the Wolves did. And guess what?

It worked!

Time and time again the likes of Mad Mike Poto, Tuafale “Yea for Volleyball” Meni and Kenny Mildwater proved too quick for their Menai counterparts. The Wolves chip kicked, grubber and crossfield kicked the ball past Menai and every time beat their southern Sydney rivals to the pill, finding plenty of open pastures and, consequently, the try line. On 5 occasions in the first half!

The Wolves went into the break smiling, back slapping and 20 points in front. Too easy.

So easy in fact that the Wolves clocked off and spent the almost the entire 2nd half simply relaxing in the sun. Menai, on the other hand, decided they weren’t gunna be played for fools and went about running down the Wolves 3 try lead. And with only 10 minutes to go they crossed for the 3rd time in the half and were now back in front for the first time since the 4 minute mark.

Finally the Wolves decided it was time to play rugby. They put the chip kicks and grubbers away and begun running at the tired Menai defenders. But each moment that it looked like the Wolves would break away and get back in front Menai (or the ref) would find a way to stop them. Dropped balls, turn overs in rucks, way wood lineouts, it seemed like all would be lost.

With less than 2 minutes to go the Wolves won a penalty some 30 meters out from Menai’s line. VJ kicked the ball to the corner and the Wolves had their golden opportunity to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. On the walk to the lineout Benny the Ball Chucker quietly told his troops the simple plan. Tom “huh?” Grieville was to throw the ball to Captain Luke in the middle of the lineout. Luke would win the ball uncontested and the Wolves would drive the ruck over the line.

“These guys are too fat and too tired to push, we’ll walk it over easy” Ben chirped.

And like he had a crystal ball, it all seemed to be going to plan. The Wolves pulled a little trickery in the lineout before throwing Luke up into the clouds. Menai seemed utterly confused and simply stayed rooted to the ground. With Luke’s big hands out in front and no Menai paws anywhere near him the target was close and big, no way could Tom stuff it.

But he did.

Instead of throwing the ball to an unmarked Luke, Tom tried to get cute and throw the ball to Jose as he swept around the front of the lineout. Unsurprisingly the unsuspecting, heavily marked Jose couldn’t hold onto the pill and spilled it. Menai were awarded a scrum and the ref uttered the dreaded words “last play”

All seemed lost.

Despite the mistake clearly being the fault of someone else, Jose felt the weight of the team upon him and decided he needed to do something about it. As he packed in in his regular hooking position, he knew the only thing he could do was try and win the scrum against the feed. A feet almost everyone present would’ve deemed impossible. Menai had, as has been mentioned, a very large pack and when it came to scrums the Wolves had been unable to move Menai all day.

Jose didn’t care. As the ball was easily hooked by the Menai #2 in under his second rows feet, Jose casually stuck out his right foot, grabbed the ball with his big toe, all rolled the pill back to the Wolves side of the scrum.

From there it all seemed pretty straight forward. Half Niko had a charge at the line, followed quickly by Sunny who came up inches short. Niko than reached into the melee and sent the ball out to his backs. VJ caught it clean, threw a flat pass past Elie and into the hands of Mr Fast Feet himself, Tuafale “Vai” Meni. Vai simply shuffled a little to the right, stepped back to the left and waltzed over the line without being touched to give the Wolves the perfect start to the season.

So big ups for today’s game….

Big Joe is back! For those of you unfamiliar with the older Ngawini he is widely considered to be one of, if not the best players to ever pull on a Wolves jersey. Joe bugged off and played league for a few years but has seen the light and returned to the Wolves Den.

Several new players took the field today. Alex Williams was supposed to start the match today but got caught up at work. He came on in the second half, made one strong carry, than twisted his ankle and had to go off. Bugger.

Sunny Wilson came to the club this year with his mate Alex Williams. Sunny has never played rugby before. Sure he Sunny was a little rusty but he showed no hesitation in the unfamiliar environment, running hard and straight whenever the ball came to him and hitting every player that came his way. Talk around the coaching circles is the Wolves will try to turn him into a prop before he know how horrible propping is.

Billy Bola is a centre or winger. Today Billy played #7 and was universally named as man of the match. Billy was busy, effective and aggressive and, if he isn’t carful, will find himself playing plenty more #7…….Merrylands 38 – Menai 34


Season 2017

The big one. The Grand Final or, as the French say, “le Grand Final”

Merrylands v Manly.

Wolves v Savers.

So far in 2017 these two teams have met 3 times and so far the scoreboard reads 1.5 all.

Both teams have a win, a loss and a draw against each other. That kind of history would have most pundits predicting a tight contest with neither team able to claim favourite or underdog status. But the Wolves were harbouring a dark secret that, if revealed, would surely place them firmly in the underdog basket.

The Wolves would go into the GF without their captain and the best player in the comp, Luke “Pie Flippa” Schofield.

Luke got caught in an awkward position at the bottom of a particularly heavy maul in the semi-final and came off the ground clutching a shoulder. In the week leading up to the GF Luke was diagnosed with severe muscle and nerve damage that would see him sidelined for 6 weeks.

The semi-final against Engadine was one of the toughest games you’re ever likely to see at this level. It was fast paced and see-sawing and the Wolves came out of it fairly well battered and bruised. On top of the devastating loss of Captain Luke the Wolves would be without Jordan Williams and Tama Terito, both due to earlier injuries. Several other front line, first choice players were nursing injuries including Kenny Mildwater, Mike Poto, Benjamin “Early to Bed” Davis, Tane “under 18” Heather and Nemmia “Lima” Musese.

At training the Wolves players were hungry and confident but Coach Steve, Stand-in-Skipper Benjamin Davis and backs leader Niko Poto were all very worried. The Wolves had built a lot of their amazing season on having a strong, skilful bench. Just when oppositions thought the likes of Fabian Dudley, Dave Mafi, Kane Mas or VJ were running out of juice the Wolves would roll on Big Tama, Lima Musese, Mani Pei or Jordan Williams and kick away. However for the GF the Wolves wouldn’t be able to enjoy such luxury.

There was a real fear that a Merrylands that couldn’t call on Tama Te Rito to take over steam rolling duties from Fabian, that a Merrylands that would require Big Dave Mafi to play 80 minutes, that a Merrylands that would need Benjamin Davis to hold up the tight head side of the scrum for more than half the match, simply wouldn’t have enough to keep Manly at bay. Especially if they didn’t have Captain Luke dominating the Wolves own lineout and destroying Manly’s.

So how did the team look for the big one?

The run on forward pack, other than the glaring omission of Schoy, was as its strongest. The young front row of Tom, Kane and Fabian was complimented by the age and experience of Ben and Arana in the second row. The backrow was full of hard hitting and power running with Dave Mafi at number 8 , Tane Heather at 6 and Mani Pei taking Luke’s #7 jersey.

Coach Steve tossed around a few options of how to replace Luke but in the end the decision was pretty easy. Mani hits real bloody hard really bloody often. Coached Steve hoped Mani would belt enough people and make enough Manly folk give up on running the ball that Merrylands wouldn’t miss Luke’s work rate.

In the backs the Wolves were at full strength on paper but were a little short of full pace in a few places. Both Kenny Mildwater, playing 14, and Mike Poto playing 15, were nursing dodgy legs. Other than those two the likes of Niko Poto, Vai, VJ, Pue and Salvo were all ready to rock.

Manly, it seemed, were at full strength.

The Wolves knew that Manly would more than likely finish faster than them. Coach Steve gave the Wolves a simple game plan. With the bench not quite what it used to be and many of the run on side not quite 100%, Steve told the Wolves to go out in the early exchanges and rip into Manly with everything they had. The Wolves had to start putting points on Manly early and hope the ferocious onslaught and the big occasion would force the Savers into their shell. With any luck, Manly wouldn’t wake up until it was all too late.

And so on a very dusty pitch, shrouded in smoke from far off bush fires, the Wolves kicked off and got the final act of 2017 under way. The opening exchanges were intense, if a little nervous. After perhaps 10 minutes a great hit from Mani “the Piledriver” Pei won the Wolves a turn over and VJ sent the ball whistling deep into the Savers corner. The Savers fullback took the safe option and allowed the ball to go out. From the ensuing lineout Manly hit play on their exit strategy, sending two or 3 crash balls into the Wolves defence before slinging the ball to their number 10 to clear them from trouble.

But for reasons unknown to just about any one that has ever played the game of rugby, the Manly 5/8 decided to go for a cross field kick rather than simply send the pill up the closest sideline. The roost failed to find touch and instead was gathered up relatively easily by Kenny “the Drunk” Mildwater. The Savers outside men could clearly see the folly of their 5/8’s option and attempted to rush the Wolves biggest pisshead, but Kenny simply stepped out of their way and threw a simple inside ball to a flying Pue who ran the ball in, untouched, to give the Wolves the perfect start to the game. Kenny slotted the extras

Manly came back at the Wolves hard off the kick off. They hassled the Wolves into a simple handling error and won themselves a scrum. Manly tried their best to run at the Wolves but found the Merrylands defence a little too hurtful. Tane “Chris’s Wardrobe” Heather and Mani “the Chiropractor” Pei particularly put in some eye watering hits.

The lack of go forward for Manly soon had the ball turned back over to the Wolves. With Coach Steve’s advice to go at Manly full speed early still ringing in his ears, Niko pulled the ball out of the ruck and flung it wide. Vai found some space and looked to be in the midst of starting something special when, in desperation, the Savers hooker, having been left grasping at air by Vai’s quick feet, flung a leg out and tripped the Wolves #12.

The Merrylands players and officials cried out in mock disgust and the ref was forced to call the Savers #2 and their captain over for a word. The hooker was shown a yellow card. The Wolves seemed to be on a roll and where now a man up. Coach Steve’s plan seemed to be working.

But alas, The Wolves floppy haired hooker, Tom Greville, had other plans.

Not long after the card was shown Manly got their hands on the ball and were clearly trying their best to simply hold onto possession and eat up time until their hooker was back on the field. Savers half-assed efforts at attack were being easily turned away by the Wolves. One such attack was finished off when Niko tackled the Savers #14 over the sideline. The fiery little winger took offense to being tackled in front of his supporter and shoved Niko in the back.

Despite the ref having clearly seen the incident AND having blown his whistle AND despite the fact Niko is built like a brick shithouse, Tom Greville decided Mr Poto needed protection and gave the Manly #14 and almighty shove. The Savers winger lost his footing and tumbled to the ground. This was followed by some collar grabbing and shirt pulling and general ugliness. In the end the ref judged Tom to have been the catalyst for the whole incident and showed him a yellow card.

Manly had gotten their wish and the teams were now even numbered again.

From the penalty Manly found touch, won the lineout and begun throwing everything at the Wolves. But they were going nowhere. In fact having started their attack 5 meters form the Wolves line, Manly now found themselves pushed all the way back to the 22. Just when it looked like the Wolves had easily seen off the threat, Manly’s #10 found a little space and got in behind the line, though he only got a few meters before being surrounded by yellow and black jerseys. In a desperate effort to make something of the chance he threw a very forward flick pass to his #6. Instead of obeying the golden rule of “play the whistle” the Wolves all immediately stopped and threw their hands in the air. The Manly #6 strolled over the line and looked back at the ref. The ref motioned for Manly to play on and the Savers #6 dotted down next to the post. They then missed the conversion.

For the next 15 or so minute’s momentum shifted back and forth between the two foes. But as the game rolled on Manly begun to realise that without Captain Luke, the Wolves lineout was a shadow of its former self and so Savers begun plugging the corners. One such kick found touch just inside the Wolves 22 and Merrylands were unable to win their own ball back. Manly begun heaping pressure on the Wolves and before long a silly ruck penalty gave the Savers kicker an easy shot at the sticks. He took the chance and Manly had a one point lead.

The penalty goal and success at stealing Wolves lineout ball convinced Savers that a kick based territory game was the way to go.

Soon after the penalty Tom Greville came back on the field and the game was back at 15-a-side.

The return of Mr Greville gave the Wolves a boost. They won a ruck penalty right on half way and an awesome touch finder by VJ had the Wolves just inside Manly’s 22. Throughout 2017 the Wolves have been very successful at converting these sort of chances (when they get very close to the line) into tries. The Wolves know they’ve got plenty of big strong runners and that there is only so long teams can hold out if they execute correctly. Manly valiantly tried to muscle up in defence but the Wolves over whelming forward firepower was all too much for the Savers. Fabian bent the Savers line back. Dave Mafi opened a little crack in it than, with Captain Ben ridding him the whole way, Tane Heather crashed over the try line just to the left of the uprights. Kenny slotted the extras.

It was around this time that Coach Steve decided to give Big Fabian his usual mid-game rest. As was mentioned at the start of this review Tama “the Mexican Maori” Te Rito usually comes on and fills in for Fabian. However with Tama injured backup tight-head duties fell to Captain Ben. Ben played a lot of prop in his junior years but has long since shed his prop body. Instead of the regulation, brick like build of most subbies props Ben is built more like a python. Long, chubby and no shoulders to speak of. Captain Ben is brave and committed but if a halfway decent scrum wants to put heat on the big eared goose there is very little his meagre 105kg frame can do about it.

Unfortunately for the Wolves that exactly what happened.

Manly were awarded a scrum less than 10 meters from the Wolves line after Merrylands failed to clear a kick. Manly put the shove on, hard. For a split second it looked like the Wolves may hold firm but alas the boys in yellow and black took a half shuffle back, followed by a slide to the right and a wheel to the left before the whole Merrylands scrum rolled backwoods and fell over. Manly were awarded a penalty try and so went into the break 1 point up on the Wolves.

It must be said that at this point of the match the score line was an accurate reflection of how the game had gone.

At the break Coach Steve had two main points he needed his troops to understand. The first was that the lack of discipline shown during the Tom Greville send-off ordeal was stupid, uncalled for and out of character for the Wolves. Steve told his men the best chance they had of going with Manly through the second half was to keep penalties to a minimum and not give Savers any piggie backs down the field.

Steve’s second point was that the game, and with it the title, was the Wolves for the taking. Steve ensured the Wolves that if they kept running at Savers, kept playing positive, aggressive rugby, then Manly would have no answer and Merrylands would soon be ridding into the sunset with the premiership trophy in hand.

As was mentioned at the start of this review, most smart pundits that had seen these two teams lock horns during the regular season were predicting that after half time, Manly would accelerate and Merrylands simply wouldn’t have the gas to go with them.

But when it comes to big games like today’s GF, there’s no real way of knowing how men will react under pressure.

Throughout the opening exchanges of the second half, it became evident that Savers seemed to be waiting for something to happen. Their forwards, other than perhaps their #4, had simply given up on running at the Wolves and were waiting for the Wolves to run out of puff. The Savers backline seemed more intent on kicking the ball and hoping the Wolves made a mistake rather than actively trying to cut Merrylands open.

The Wolves on the other hand kept playing rugby the way they had all year. The forwards ran in numbers and tackled with venom. The Merrylands backs were super effective in defence and, with Niko and VJ in the halves pulling all the right strings, were beginning to find room to move.

The contrasting attitudes between the two teams was made abundantly clear some 15 minutes into the second stanza. Manly had possession of the ball around half way and opted to kick the ball into touch just outside the Wolves 22. The entire Savers side seemed very happy with the outcome, exchanging high 5’s and agreeing that it really was a super kick. The ensuing lineout resulted in a slight juggle from the competing Manly jumper and the Wolves were given a scrum 15 meters in from touch.

Unlike Manly, Merrylands decided to have a few shots at breaking through before they put boot to ball and take territory. Number 8 Dave Mafi took the ball from the back of the scrum and went blind. He easily bumped off the Manly #6 and begun to hit full stride. The Manly halfback and chasing #8 were unable to bring the big Man down and he made an awesome run, carrying the Black & Yellow well into the Manly 22.

Wave after wave of Wolf runners than went crashing into the Savers defence. First Tane then Mani than Tommy. But it was Dave’s little brother, Chris Sale, that got the break through. Niko Poto was yelling at his forwards to “hammer hammer hammer” and Chris obliged. He picked the ball up from the base of the ruck, stuck his head into the defensive line, reached out between a few Manly legs and dotted it down for his first and only 5 pointer of the year. Kenny missed the extras.

By Samoan standards, Tuafale “Vai” Meni isn’t a big centre. He’d be under 6ft and probably wouldn’t quite tip the scales over 90kg. But Vai is smart, accurate and hard as a rock. Especially in defence. During the 3 games Manly has played against Merrylands, Vai has caused Savers no end of headaches with his low, harpoon like tackling. Yet, perhaps because of his smallish stature, they still send crash balls his way and will often throw cut out passes just to get the ball in the hands of whoever is running opposite him.

In some ways, it’s understandable. If you were running the ball at Merrylands and you looked up and saw a backline containing Niko, VJ, Vai and Pue than the diminutive Wolves #12 would seem the softest touch (truth be told Niko and VJ could pass for front rowers and Pue is actually a flanker).

Yet today Savers inability to learn from passed games (and passed mistakes) hurt them. And it hurt bad. In fact, all things considered, their inability to take Vai seriously probably caused the biggest turning point of the match.

After Chris’s try Manly got a little desperate. They rolled out a new centre and begun sending loads of traffic Vai’s way. But with Manly’s forwards making almost no ground with the ball ,the Manly 5/8 was forced to go wide from a standing start on many occasions. On one such occasion, the 5/8 received the ball, looked up and saw his best running centre, #13, standing opposite Vai. His instincts took over and he threw a long, flat ball to his #13.

Vai saw it coming.

Mr Meni rushed up and was, at first, intent on burying the Manly centre. But as he got closer to the collision Vai realised the intercept was there for the taking. He quickly changed course, cutting back in against the grain slightly. The ball hit him clean on the chest. Vai grasped it and raced away, one arm in the air, untouched, all the way to the line and dotted down under the posts. Kenny stepped up to slot the extras while Captain Benny treated the Manly 5/8 to a heartfelt rendition of the chorus of “Don’t dream it’s over” while the Manly 10 stood on one knee, head in his hands, regretting his way wood pass.

The Vai try gave Merrylands a 13 point lead. To the average rugby enthusiast, two tries seems like a very bridgeable gap. But the feeling out on the field was that the Vai try broke Manly. There tactic of kicking to the corner and trying to build pressure simply wasn’t yielding fruit fast enough. If they wanted to catch the Wolves they would need to start opening up. It was clear to every Manly player that plan A hadn’t worked and while some Savers were up for the challenge, the majority simply couldn’t muster the required courage to get on with the job.

Manly’s attack, while at times effective, was too disjointed and inconsistent.

Coach Steve sensed the occasion had gotten to Savers and went for the throat. He subbed on several strike players including Titit Leti on the wing, Lima into #8 and Jose Frias into hooker. He also pushed Captain Benjamin back to the second row, gave Arana a well-earned rest and unleashed Fabian Dudley for a second round of chaos.

The subs proved an inspired decision as floundering Manly were continually turned away while Merrylands fresh legs threatened Savers at every turn. Big Lima was crushing folks with his strong carries and Jose used his new found fitness and rugby smarts to good effect.

Fabian’s ball running, after only one year of senior rugby for the Wolves, has become the stuff of legend. And on grand final day he didn’t fail to deliver. Fabian dragged himself up off the ground and found that play had moved 20 or so meters to his right. The only players standing in front of him were outside backs. VJ, standing at 5/8, saw the chance and sent the ball whizzing out to the big #3. The first defender took the stupid option of trying to take Fabian ball-and-all. He was, you’ll be unsurprised to learn, contemptuously thrown to the ground. Fabian than proceeded to bump off 5 players, one after the other, as he made an awesome 40 meter run to carry the Wolves well into the Savers half.

A few rucks later a slight fumble at the back of the Wolves ruck saw possession given back to Manly and they hacked the ball back down field. Mad Mike Poto cleaned it up and ran back at Manly, hard, putting the Wolves firmly on the front foot. The Wolves were intent on starving Manly of possession and so, rather than simply kick themselves out of trouble, had a crack at Savers. After a couple of hit ups from Jose and Chris, the ball floated across the backline to Titti Leti. He found a little space outside his man and took off up the sideline. Titti managed to bump off the first two tacklers, making an enormous 50 meters run and caried possession all the way back to where Manly had kicked it from.

With the Wolves in great field position they got to putting pressure on Manly. Play went back and forth for a few minutes but Manly simply couldn’t find a way through the Wolves. One such fruitless attack ended with Merrylands gaining possession just inside Manly’s half. The Wolves threw themselves at Manly and VJ soon found a little space.

The big 5/8 pushed through some iffy tackling and got an offload to a flying Tane Heather. While Tane carried the ball forward another 10 or so meters, VJ got himself back into first-receiver. Tane recycled possession quickly and substitute halfback, Mick McCorriston, flung the quality front foot ball out to VJ. VJ looked up and saw the Manly defence all at sea.

The fullback and winger were way out of position and there were a bunch of forwards defending in the backline. VJ took the ball up to the line and (much to the horror of Coach Steve and Captain Ben) chipped it over the Manly defence. Salvo and Vai rushed through and got to the ball a fraction of a second before the scrambling Manly #10 could. Vai put his boot to the ball and it shot off into the backfield. It rolled fast into the in-goal and it seemed for all money that the Wolves had stuffed a chance to put the game to bed.

But Super Salvo came to the rescue.

The Samoan Speedster never gave up on the chasce and closed in on the ball with mere millimetres to spare. As Salvo got there the ball bounced up and he realised he didn’t have the room to simply dive on it.

So Salvo took flight.

While flying through the air Salvation grasped the ball in two hands and, with the majority of his body over the dead ball line, reached back into play, still in mid-air, and touched the ball down scoring one of the most brilliant tries you’ll ever see. Anywhere.

There was now less then 15 minutes to go and the Wolves were 3 tries in front. Coach Steve knew, as almost anyone on the sideline or out on the field did, that Manly were dead and buried. He took the opportunity to kill off any hint of a comeback and emptied his bench. Tini Tuitama came in the backline while Jack Boswell gave Super Boot Kenny Midlwater a well-earned early rest.

Manly managed to score a couple of late tries (one right on the bell) to make the score line a little more respectable but even the most one eyed, rude, deliberately ignorant Manly supporter (like maybe there coach?) will tell you the Wolves had switched off and begun celebrating pretty much as soon as the ref awarded Salvation his try.

There was, however, a little worry and confusion after the last try. The ref (understandably) had lost count of the score line and thought the Manly try had them level with the Wolves. Instead of simply blowing a big ceremonial full time spurt on his whistle after the try, he gave a short sharp blast and pointed at the half way. Captain Ben was running alongside him, as was the Manly captain, and Ben asked what the hell was going on. The ref told Captain Ben there would be 15 minutes each way and that we were going back to half way for the toss.

The Manly captain let out an effeminate little “yesss” while Ben, with an equally effeminate rise in intonation at the end of his question, squealed “WHAT?!?!”

“It’s 27 all” the ref replied

“No way, we’re over 30. We’re up by plenty. We’ve scored one more try then them and only missed one conversion. It can’t possibly be even?!?!” Ben complained

One of the touch judges now interjected and politely told the ref he needs to check the scores. While he did so Captain Ben told his men to line up for a kick off and get ready. The ref ran over to the officials table and mumbled at them. He got some mumbles back than spun around and begun marching back to the middle of the field. He then suddenly turned back around and marched back to the officials table and mumbled some more. He got a few head nods and a gruff frown and then once again begun marching back out to the centre of the field. This time, however, he reached the centre, blew his whistle and told the confused captains it was full time. Captain Ben then whinnied at him “who won?”

“You did. Merrylands. Congratulations”


It’s almost impossible to do the scenes of joy and triumph, victory and satisfaction, love and admiration that exploded all over T.G Milner #2 field justice with just words. So many players, so many officials and many of the fans, all in their own way, had reason to find todays victory special. It truly was an awesome moment for the likes of Greg Cummings, Ross Stewart, Steve Beddingfield, Laura Sturrock, Pete Mac, Brian Davis and all the assembled officials and fans. So many Merryladns faithful had come back to the club in it’s hour of need and today represented the perfect payoff for all their love and hard work.

As far as playing on the day goes easily the biggest stand out was Tane Heather. The Cook Island expressed received almost every vote for the players player award post match. Tane did everything humanly possible to win the game today. He ran very very hard and was at his elusive best with ball in hand. He pulled off so many great hits in defence that he almost single handedly made the Savers forwards give up. Tane was the absolute picture of determination.

Niko Poto was at the very centre of everything the Wolves did this year and today was no different. He played with a real aggressive edge in the GF, laying on several bone shaking hits and easily played his younger, faster opposite number off the park. When Tom Greville went off the field, it was Niko that pointed the team in the right direction. When the Wolves were looking tired it was Niko that got the boys back on the front foot. Without Niko’s effort today or throughout the year it’s tough to imagine the Wolves would’ve got as far as they did.

Captain Ben was the leader of first grade from 2006 till 2015. This year Ben gladly handed the captains badge to his former second row partner Luke Schofield. But with Luke being ruled out of the game Coach Steve made the big call of making Ben captain for the GF. And he didn’t disappoint. Along with able help from Niko, Ben kept the lads focused throughout the match and made all the right decisions when it counted. He also took on the mammoth task of playing tight head prop for the middle 40 minutes of the game, a task literally nobody else was willing to do. He couldn’t win a lineout though.

Tuafale “Vai” Meni is clearly a touch too classy for this level of rugby. Today Vai had an absolute ripsnorter of a game. He never missed a tackle, not once, and usually inflicted a good deal of hurt on whomever he pulled down. On top of his match changing intercept try Vai set up another 5 pointer and was a force of positive energy throughout the match.

Despite copping a lot of flak from his fellow players about being the coach’s son and only getting a run because his dad picks him, Dave Mafi has grown into one of the Wolves best runners. As the season progressed and Dave got fitter and fitter he also got better and better and today really was the pinnacle of that improvement. Alongside Tane, Dave was the chief go forward man in the pack and was responsible for one of the best individual runs you’ll see in a GF. He still isn’t a very good fullback though.

Speaking of Coach Steve’s sons, Chris Sale had easily his best game for the Wolves today. He scored a great, if someone short, try and was a real pain in the ass for Manly. Chris made plenty of meters with the ball in hand and  made several effective turnovers during the match.

He may cop s@#t for clearly not being as good as Jordan Williams but Kenny Mildwater had an almost flawless game today. The Clarke Kent look-a-like only missed one shot at goal, made the very most of every chance that came his way and took every ounce of flak the Manly supporters could throw at him without ever looking rattled.

VJ Tiatia also had probably his best game of the year today. VJ may look more like a hooker but he clearly has an educated 5/8’s brain. VJ did all the simple things well today like kicking, passing and tackling, but also managed several solid runs at real crucial times.

Tom Greville had a brain snap today. He’s had them for the Wolves before and he’ll probably have them again. Bu Tom is tough as f@#k and strong as a bull. Tom plays well pretty much every week. Today, after returning to the field from being carded, Tom truly focused and went about making it up to his teammates with everything he had. By the time the full time whistle finally blew it was clear Tom didn’t owe the team anything.

Finally, Coach Steve in his first year of seniors coaching, with two sons and a future son-in-law on the field, was in tears at the end of the game. Coach Steve had gone all in with the team this year and to see it come home in such glorious fashion was all too much for the great man. Some coaches at this level simply organise a team but not Steve. Steve knew the way he wanted the team to play and with a combination of steely discipline and solid rugby smarts, Steve got his men to truly believe in him. Like Niko, it is hard to imagine the team going as far as it did without Steve………….Merrylands 33 – Savers 27


Major Semi – Merrylands vs Engadine 26/8/17

Today was more than just a come-from-behind win.  There was more to it than just the fact the Wolves were fitter than there opposition and came home stronger. Even the old cliché “we just wanted it more” doesn’t really do justice to today’s performance.

Today’s incredible, emotional victory was born of the Wolves absolute and utter refusal to loose. It showed that the 2017 Wolves, like so many Wolves teams before them, never ever give up.

The Wolves started the game at just about full strength. Kenny “Clark Kent” Mildwater was away at a Scientology convention and so Jack Boswell and Salvo Tiatia started on the wings. Neemia “Lima” Musese is still a little short of a gallop and so Tane “I’m Back” Heather was pushed into the forward pack with Lima coming off the bench.

On paper, Engadine’s side was also at full strength.

All week during training the Wolves Brains Trust (Coach Steve, Captain Luke, Niko & Ben) had both mentally and physically prepared the lads for a fast start. The last 3 or 4 games Engadine have played they’ve gotten out to healthy leads and then been run down. Coach Steve thought that if the Wolves could deny the Lions such a lead or, better still, get out to an early lead themselves, it would more than likely put Engadine to sleep.

And on game day the Wolves absolutely delivered on that plan. The Wolves crossed for 3 tries in the first half and used their superior scrum and lineout to heap pressure on Engadine and force them to attack from deep in their own half. As was noted a few weeks back Engadine have some real strike power in their backline and they threw the full weight of it against the Wolves. Despite leaking meters on a few occasions, the Wolves backs defended like Trojans. Salvo Taatia and Tua Meni in particular covered and scrambled brilliantly, denying Engadine’s Fijian connection on more than a few occasions.

But it was with the ball in hand that the Wolves were most impressive. Tane Heather was at his hard running, stiff palming best and created plenty of space for Dave Mafi to cross for the opener. Engadine hit back not long after with a 5 pointer of their own but the Wolves wouldn’t be deterred. Merrylands soaked up pressure in the forwards and used their fast finishing backs to put two more tries on Engadine before the break, going into half time with a 12 point lead.

All the talk at half time was that Engadine’s heads were down and that their rather overweight forward pack was out of juice. One or two more scores by the Wolves and it would be party time. But the party was put on hold (and almost cancelled) when Engadine bucked the trend of the last few weeks and picked up the pace at the start of the first half.

They won a series of penalties inside the Wolves 22 and had soon struck the double blow of scoring a try and having one of the Wolves best, Pue “Flanker?” Aukusitino, yellow carded for a professional foul close to the line.

Coach Steve didn’t panic. He sensed that the momentum was turning and so sent out his replacements to try to hold back the tide. Jordan Williams, Tini Tuitama, Lima and Jose Frias were all sent out to try to stiffen the Wolves backs and it almost worked. Jordan “the New Kenny” Williams put in one of the best touch finders you’ll ever see, putting the Wolves just 5 meters out from Engadine’s line. The Wolves pressured the Lions lineout & Jose Frias reaped the rewards. The super Phillo scored one of the easiest tries you’ll ever see, simply falling on a wayward, dropped pass inside Engadine’s in-goal.

But the relief was short lived. Engadine, despite scoring a try or two less than the Wolves, were never quite out of the game. See the Wolves number 1 goal kicker, Kenny Mildwater, was on holidays with Tom Cruise while the number 2 goal kicker, Neemia Musese, was unable to kick due to a dodgy hammy. This left Tavea “VJ” Tiatia to try to slot the extras but, despite his best effort, he was only able to slot the one conversion. Engadine on the other hand had no such problems, with their #11 successfully guiding every attempt.

With only 15 to go the dark clouds started gathering. The Wolves lost their inspirational captain, Luke Schofield, to a shoulder stinger and, not long after, copped another try/yellow card double blow, this time with Tua Meni getting an unscheduled, unwelcome rest for continued infringements just as Engadine crossed for another.

Than almost straight off the kick off Engadine were at it again. They raced through the Wolves thinning ranks, dotting down under the posts, giving themselves a two-try advantage.

It all seemed lost.

The Wolves only had 14 on the pitch, their captain and go-to lineout guy was off the field, they were well down on the scoreboard and it looked like the wind had gone completely out of their sails.

Cometh the hour, cometh the beast.

Like Godzilla rising out of Tokyo Harbour, like T-800 riding his Harley through the smoking ruins, Fabian Dudley rose up like the juggernaut he is and started the fight back that saved Wolftown.

The Wolves had gotten themselves to within 30 or so meters of the line after some great passing between the backs saw Jordan Williams race down the left flank. The Flash cut back in field and was pulled down just outside the 22. Niko pulled the ball out of the ruck fast but had very few options. Most of his backline was missing in action from the last attack and his forwards were slow arriving. About the only figure that was on hand was Mr F Dudley. Niko threw the big guy the ball, hoping only that he would hold up play long enough for the rest of Merrylands to arrive.

But the rest of Merrylands need not have bothered showing up as Fabian exploded into the Engadine line, smashing past the first two defenders and accelerating into back play. Engadine scrambled to meet the threat but defender after defender could only flail at the feet of the fast moving mountain of a man. Mr Dudley threw a dummy, rolled by another cover tackler and crashed over the line, straight under the black dot.

And not only did the try put the Wolves within a single try of winning, it also earned Merrylands their own try/yellow card double blow, with one of the Engadine defenders being sent to the bin for head highing Fabian on his way to the line.

The Wolves raced back to half way for the re-start. Engadine took their time, trying to soak up as many minutes as they could. But their efforts were all in vain. The Wolves were simply not to be denied. They wanted that rematch with Manly and a shot at the trophy. And they wanted it bad.

Merrylands gathered up the re-start and went to work. First Tini Tuitama, than Captain Ben and finally Tane Heather flew at the tiring Engadine defence and every one of them made healthy meters. Niko pulled the ball out and flung it to replacement 5/8 Mick McCorriston. Mick took a look at his options and burst into a Michael Jackson Thriller kind of evil laugh. There was so much space and so many options he could have closed his eyes and thrown the ball over his head and it probably would’ve worked.

It was Pue who made the initial break. Keen to make up for his earlier binning Pue stepped and fended his way through the line. A few more rucks and lots more running and the Wolves delivered the final blow. Neemia “Lima” Muese strode onto a short pass from Tua Meni and through a yawning gap. From there the big guy only had Engadine’s #11, coming across in cover, to beat. The Engadine speedster threw himself body and soul at Lima to try and save the day for the Lions but he was no match for the big daddy. With a fend the Rock would be proud of, Lima crushed the Engadine 11 and fell over the line, putting Wolves back in front and into the big one.

There were so many special moments, so many special performances today there is barely enough room here to write them all down.

Today the Wolves outside backs showed why they’re the envy of NSW Subbies. They defended like absolute champions, scrambling and covering like men possessed. Engadine may well have scored 50 if it hadn’t been for the super human efforts of Salvo, Mike, Tua and Pue.

Tom Greiville had his best game for the Wolves in a while today. He covered loads of ground, made some telling tackles and was a rock in scrums and lineouts. It seems Tom may have found form at exactly the right time.

Luke Schofield is a soldier. He is far and away the best forward in the comp. He tackles like someone stole his chips, runs without regard for his own body, is a menace at the break down and causes most opposition lineouts to curl into the foetal position and give up. Today the Wolves Captain hurt his shoulder at the start of the second half, and hurt it bad. However he knew the Wolves needed him more than ever and so carried on until, 10 minutes before fulltime, when it became evident he was struggling to make tackles and so took himself off.

All seemed lost at that point but it was not. Despite a moment of blind panic when he saw Luke leave the field, Benjamin “Grandpa” Davis took the Captains badge, gathered his troops, told them he’d do his best Luke impression for the rest of the game and got on with the job. The old guy cleanly won all three lineouts the Wolves had while Luke was off the field and even managed to convince the ref the Engadine #4 need to go to the bin for rucking.

If there was one factor that was more responsible for today’s win than any other it was the bench. Every player that got on for the Wolves made a difference and all at telling times. Tini Tuitama took the field on the flank and injected some real hard running right when the Wolves needed it. Mani Pai came on and rattled some cages. Mick McCorriston only got 10 minutes on the pitch but he made it count, putting Pue into a gap and calming the back line when they seemed at their lowest. Jordan Williams made a long break and put in an awesome touch finder that directly led to another sub, Jose Frias, scoring a try.

Speaking of Jose he pulled out probably the move of the day. With less than a minute to go, Merrylands took the ball into a maul and couldn’t get it out. Just as the maul collapsed and the ref blew his whistle for a scrum the entire Wolves forward pack heard the refs watch go off. “That’s it, time over, game over. Full time” Dave, Ben and Tom cried.

“No, the maul fell before full time so we’re gunna pack the scrum” the ref replied.

Engadine had a forward off the pitch but their formidable backline was still intact. Could this be the Lions moment to roar? A wave of panic swept over Merrylands. However, the Wolves forwards are a cluey lot and they’re well aware of the old adage “prevention is better than cure”. They knew the safest bet was to try and destroy Engadine’s scrum and not give their outside men a chance. With Engadine a man short (and a big man at that) surely the Wolves could at least dirty up Engadine’s ball?

Jose “the Secret Phillo” Frias went one better.

The Engadine hooker got a good strike on the ball and it rolled in under his second rows feet. But then it stopped. The Wolves were turning on the heat and it took all of Engadine’s muscle to stop their scrum from flying backwoods. For a few seconds the ball just sat there as both packs struggled to get momentum. Than Jose slowly stuck out his right foot and dragged the ball all the way back and under his own second rows feet. The shock of the moment stunned Engadine and they suddenly gave way. The ball shot out the back of the Wolves scrum where it was picked up by a jubilant Niko Poto and sent flying into touch. Magic…….Merrylands 41 – Engadine 35


Semi-Final Merrylands vs Manly 19/8/17

What a great big kick in the nether regions.

A draw.

A silly, horrible draw.

For those of you uneducated in the ways of Subbies rugby, there is no extra time or penalty shootout or anything like that in Semi-final rugby. If it’s a draw at full time then the team that finished higher on the ladder advances while the lower finisher does not.

The Wolves finished 2 comp points behind Manly and so Merrylands will need to play again next week to get themselves into the big one.

Today’s match was an absolute classic cliché “game of two halves”

The Wolves were full of running in the first half and had the benefit of a roaring wind. They scored 12 points.

Manly had the wind and all the luck in the second half. They scored 12 points.

The casual onlooker might simply think “oh so it was a 12 point wind”

But that doesn’t really tell the story. The Wolves looked far more dangerous with the ball in hand all game and got their two tries from hard running and good passing. The Wolves scored one try from 40 or so meters out and the other from close range after Titi and Pue had combined to race down the left edge and get the Wolves to within inches of the line.

Manly on the other hand got their two tries from very close range. On both occasions they had gotten close to the line from penalties (some fair, some arguable) and only managed to just get over the line after dozens of attempts.

In short, the Wolves were capable of opening up Manly with skill and power while Savers needed mountains of possession and territory to pose even a minor threat. You may be tempted to ask “well if the Wolves were so good, why did they only manage a draw?”

And the simple answer to that is because they played horribly for the vast majority of the 2nd half and completely failed to adjust their mind set to suit the occasion and/or the conditions. Manly, on the other hand, played conservative, territorial rugby and have reaped the rewards.

The Wolves had dozens of chances throughout the second half to get out of their own territory, get up field and pressure Manly, but at crucial moments some of the Wolves most trusted and accomplished players couldn’t put it together. Benjamin “New Boots” Davis knocked-on on 3 separate occasions in the second half, Tua Meni fumbled the ball with no defence in front of him twice while Dave “Passes like Hayne” Mafi twice attempted to offload the ball while under pressure when close to the Wolves line and ended up spilling the ball on both occasions.

It probably isn’t an exaggeration to say that, if the Wolves could have added just another 5 or so minutes to the mere couple of minutes they spent near Manly’s line then they probably would’ve gotten away with an ugly win.

But when all is said and done, the Wolves have only got themselves to blame. But they’ve also got themselves to thank for the fact they get a second chance. The Wolves have had a great year and by virtue of finishing the season in second place they get one last shot at the big time. With any luck, today’s events will stay fresh in the minds of our Wolf heroes and they will grab the next two games by the jugular and really bite down…

Merrylands 12 – Manly 12


Mrs P’s Day – Merrylands vs Engadine 12/8/17

For all those present today, whether they were the multitudes on the sidelines watching or the players and staff directly involved with the team, this victory will surely go down as one of the greatest regular season victories of all time.

If one was to make up a list of legendary regular season victories over the last 15 or so years it would look something like this:

1. Merrylands vs Sydney Harlequins – Nash Steward kicked a very ugly, very wobbly penalty goal from 45 meters out after the siren and after the lead had changed 3 times in the final 5 minutes to give the Wolves the most improbable 3 grades to none victory over Harlequins despite the Wolves only having 25 players for 3 grades.

2. Merrylands vs Mac Uni – Nash Steward charged down a conversion from right in front of the posts to keep the scores at 7 to 5 and rob Mac Uni of a last second victory, giving the Wolves a 3 grades to none victory for the day.

3. Merrylands vs Hunters Hill – Merrylands were undefeated and so were Hunters Hill. The Wolves gave Hunters Hill a 24 point lead before running them down to win 36 to 24 with the final try of the match one of the greatest you’ll ever see at this level (here is a YouTube clip of the game with the try in question at 7.47)

4. Merrylands vs Briars – The Wolves played two grades with only 22 players while Briars had 132 players. The Briars 1’s hadn’t been beaten for 7 games while their 2’s were coming 2nd on the ladder. The Wolves won both games 27 to 24 and in both games scored tries in the final seconds to put themselves in front.

If you add up all the elements of today’s game then surely it would sit somewhere in the top 3 of this list. It was Mrs P’s Day so there was a big crowd, it was against a powerful opposition who are only one spot behind Merrylands, the final try was an absolute screamer of an individual effort from Salvo Tiatia and the sheer size of the lead the Wolves gave to Engadine before running them down (with points to spare) must surely be some kind of record?

So here is how it went down.

Engadine have a big, capable but somewhat no-frills forward pack, with the standout being their Fijian #8. Half of their backline is middle of the road but the other half is dynamite. In particular they have a big, smart, hard to handle 5/8 and two very creative, very hard to handle, Fijians playing 11 and 13.

The Wolves had pretty much a full strength side with the only real notable omissions being Mike Poto, whose place was taken by Salvo “What are fees?” Tiatia, and Neemia “Lima” Muese. Lima has an iffy hamstring and so started today on the bench with Chris “I wish I could play like my brother” Sale taking his place.

After all the photos and meet and greets for Mrs P’s Day were done, the Wolves took the pitch and were, within minutes, blown off the park. Most sides the Wolves backs have come up against this year tend to play territory and will often wait until they’re within the Wolves 22 to start having a go. Not so Engadine. They ran everything at the Wolves and with a few Fijian hand offs and flick passes the Lions had the Wolves standing behind the posts looking at one another wondering what the hell was going on, whilst the officials on the sidelines shook their heads in disbelief.

And whatever it was that was going on kept going on for the entire first 40 minutes. The Wolves managed a solitary try half way through but by the break it looked like the undefeated Mrs P’s Day record was going to be torn to bits.

The score was 26 to 5…

At half time, Coach Steve was, well, cranky. He explained to the boys that he couldn’t understand why they had chosen to kick possession away aimlessly, fall off one-on-one tackles and let Engadine have their way with the Wolves ruck and maul because he sure as s@#t didn’t train them to play that way. He assured his players that the task ahead of them (score 4 tries without conceding any) was near enough to impossible but that he believed in them.

The fight back wasn’t long in getting started. In fact less than 5 minutes in and the Wolves had a lineout only 10 meters from the Engadine line. The Merrylands forwards won the lineout & threw Dave “The Golden Child” Mafi then Benjamin “Mr Coolibah” Davis at the Engadine line before Tom “No Nudie Run for me” Greville crashed over.

Then almost off the kick off, the Wolves were over again. Back to back big runs from Pue and Tane “I’m not a back” Heather saw a staggered defensive line presented to the bigger Mafi (David) who galloped his way over for the Wolves 3rd try of the day.

The immediate, seemingly irresistible nature of the Wolves fight back absolutely stunned Engadine and they simply failed to react. The Wolves were dominating the set piece and finding holes all over the park. Next to get in on the action was Kenny “The Converter” Mildwater. The Clark Kent look-a-like was piggy backed up the field by his rampant forward pack than used his fast feet to leave several Engadine defenders grabbing shadows, crossing next to the posts and putting the Wolves to within 7 points of Engadine.

By now the formally dejected Wolves crowd had come to life. They could sense something special was happening and wanted to be part of it. They cheered their hero’s on and after 10 minutes of back and forth the Wolves broke out again with Niko Poto making a quality run before offloading to his halves partner VJ who ate up more yards and got the Wolves within a couple of meters. A quick couple of forward charges and Niko had seen enough. He called “Hamu” and it was Dave Mafi who took the sweetly timed pass and crashed over to put the Wolves level with Engadine with just 10 to go.

Despite the Wolves being very much on top there was a few anxious faces around Holroyd Sports Ground as the referee gave a few 50/50 calls to Engadine in quick succession. It allowed the southern Sydney lads to get out of their 22 and it looked like the Wolves may have to settle for another draw. But with only 4 minutes to go the Wolves won a penalty 40 meters out. Tavea delivered the ball into the corner and the Wolves forwards went about their work. They picked-and-goed and truck and trailered their way over the line but were held up. From the ensuing scrum though, the killer blow finally came.

The front row of Tom, Fabian and Tama shoved the scrum to within a few inches of the line and Lima “Super Sub” Muese picked the pill up from #8 and crashed over to put the Wolves in front for the first time in the match. On the walk back to halfway, Captain Luke told everyone he was super proud of their efforts and that they simply had to hold on for a few minutes and an awesome win would be theirs.

But the Wolves weren’t quite done yet.

Jose Frias took the kick off and managed to wiggle free of a few tacklers and get the Wolves on the front foot. The ball went across the backline until it found Tane Heather who carried it up into the Engadine half. A few breakdowns later and Pue made a quality palming, jinking run before backhand flick passing the ball to a stationary Salvo Tiatia.

Then Salvo set the place on fire.

With a good 40 meters to run and a load of tacklers in front of him, Salvo pushed off the first attempted tackle and took off. The pocket rocket Samoan fairly flew passed 4 or 5 defenders, weaving and turning his way through them, all the while never more than a millimetre or two out of their reach. He soon had got a glimpse of the line and like all good wingers should he slammed on the gas and jetted over the line, sparking wild celebrations on and off the field.

It is customary to give special mention to the best players of the day at this point in the weekly review but with a win like todays it would be unfair to single out anyone for individual praise. Everyone played their guts out and there were a million magical moments. Instead we’ll simply remind everyone that, since it started in 2011, the Wolves have never lost a Mrs P’s Day First Grade game…

Merrylands 40 – Engadine 26


Merrylands vs Epping 5/8/17

Merrylands vs Epping 5/8/17



What happened to playing away against Roseville?!?!

What happened to the last bus trip of the regular season?!?!

Well the short version is Roseville forfeited.

The long version is Roseville couldn’t use their own home ground for today’s match due to it being double booked. They say they tried to find an alternative ground but had no luck. They then asked to play at our ground, then found out they only had about 6 players to bring to the paddock, and forfeited.

Coach Steve wasn’t happy about the situation.

So far this year the Wolves have had two bye’s. After each occasion when the Wolves have come back to the field they’ve played ridiculously badly. A week off, rather than resting and rejuvenating Merrylands, seems to put the lads to sleep.

With only one game left till the finals (and it being a big one against 3rd placed Engadine) Coach Steve felt like the Wolves needed a hit out. Experience told Coach Steve that a Saturday afternoon training session is no guaranteed success as far as getting a good number of player to attend is concerned. So Coach Steve commissioned the committee and Benjamin Davis, to see if he could find a team dumb enough to line up against the Wolves.

And Epping were the first (and only) team to accept.

So the Wolves rolled up to Somerville Oval and rolled back the years to their under 8’s days, kicking off at 9.30am!!!!

No one was really sure what was in store. Was this going to be a team of 40 something that the Black and Yellow would need to go easy on? Was it going to be a team of kids the Wolves could just bully around? Well the truth was somewhere in the middle.

Epping had maybe 362 players on the sideline while the Wolves had only 13 men to call on. The Wolves were probably a little better practised, a little faster and a little keener then Epping but all that was evened out by Epping’s superior numbers and ability to constantly roll subs on and off the field.

It really was a perfect result for Coach Steve.

The lads got a short but tough hit out and suffered no injuries. Most of the important combinations were on hand to keep their senses sharp. The first choice 9,10,12 of Niko, VJ and Tua were all present, so was the regular backrow of Luke, Lima and Dave. Fabian Dudley, Merrylands usual #3, had a week off but the front row that played the whole game of Tom, Kayne and Benjamin will surely see time together through the finals.

As far as individual performances go, Tua made a super impressive come back from injury and was undoubtedly the best player on the field. He scored a great solo try and put on some real bone shaking tackles. Luke was his usual menacing self and Salvo put on a good show playing out of position at #15.

But the coolest sight of the day was to see the one and only Usa Vulimaibau pull on the Black and Yellow for the first time in 4 years. A few of the newish lads that had never met the pocket rocket were a little wary of him. They took a look at his bald head, advancing age and small stature and probably guessed he was a player they would need to cover for rather than rely on.

But as any long term Wolf will tell you there is no need to worry about U.S.A.

The Champion got precious little time with the ball in his hands (and got head highed when he did) but was a rock in defence, putting on several solid hits and never letting the lads down. All Wolf fans present hope the little master will be back in 2018 to rack up a few more game numbers on is already high score and maybe bring his son with him…

Merrylands 14 – Epping 5


Merrylands vs Kings 29/7/17

Merrylands vs Kings 29/7/17

It’s an old rugby/league/soccer/ every team sport cliché that a sign of a good team is the ability to win when you’re not playing well. To win even when the game is ugly.

If that is indeed true then the Wolves must be a really great team because today was ugly indeed. It was a win, a bonus point win to be exact, but it was very ugly. Like ‘Dave Mafi’s haircut’ ugly. And it was messy, like ‘Tim French’s body’ messy.

A standout feature of the 2017 Wolves has been the squads team work. The Wolves have gone on winning every week because of the fact that, both in attack and defence, the Wolves come at you on mass from all over the park. The pack give you no rest and offer no easy targets. You might be able to drag down Fabian or catch Kenny but then you’ve got to deal with Lima flying at you or Mike Poto coming on at a 100kmh.

This week’s win however, was really down to the doggered, brave performances of a select few players and a couple of moments of utter brilliance.

The Wolves were the first to score and it came via the usual route. The Wolves got possession just inside Kings half and sent wave after wave of forward runners crashing into the Kings defensive line. First Dave, then Tom, then Benjamin before it all it all got too much for the Kings lads to take and Lima went galloping through a hole a few meters off the ruck and strode over to open up the scoring.

It seemed for all money that the Wolves would rack up a cricket like score but for whatever reason – be it fatigue, complacency or just plain lack of talent – the Wolves kept on making simple errors and taking the wrong options at crucial moments. On at least four different occasions the likes of Tavea, Pue, Luke and Salvation had the line open and begging to be crossed but were unable to dot the ball down.

As most seasoned rugby watchers could predict, the stuttering play only served to convince Kings that an upset was on the cards. The Kings’ confidence was soon bolstered when the Wolves – mere meters from Kings line and looking set to push the lead out to 14 – fumbled the ball out wide. The Kings #10 scooped the ball up, put it on the boot and sent it flying down field. With the rest of his team having committed to the scoring chance, it was left to Luke to try and chase after the ball, but the big guy could only watch on as two or three Kings chasers beat him to the ball and the School Boys were then level with the Black and Yellow.

The Wolves were certainly stung by the try and there were a few terse words exchanged in the in-goal but the Wolves response was a little limp and inconsistent. A power run by Benjamin Davis would be followed by a silly attempted off-load by Pue. The Wolves would clean up the mistake, get in front, but then concede a silly penalty like entering an already won ruck from the side.

And this kind of silly play went on for the entirety of the game. Solid, or even brilliant play followed by dumbness and petulance. But as stated in the opening of this review, there were just enough flashes of brilliance coupled with complete domination at the set piece from Merrylands today to see the lads through for another win.

So who laid on these flashes of brilliance?

Luke Schofield is probably the greatest tackler in the word ever. He is crazy fit and deceptively strong and seems to absolutely love tackling. The general sense of laziness that occasionally swept over the Wolves toady never really cost them anything, because Luke was willing to do the tackling of three men. He also completely destroyed Kings’ lineouts. In fact after the game Coach Steve and the rest of the team couldn’t recall Kings actually winning even one of their own lineouts.

Kenny Mildwater is one of the best players to come to the Wolves in a long time. He is very young (only 19), super fit, crazy quick and has one of the best side steps you’re ever likely to see.  Kenny made a few mistakes today, but he also scored two tries that quite frankly, no one else in the team could have scored.

Benjamin Davis apparently had his best game of the year. He always seems to play well when his mum or big brother are watching and both were there today.

Niko is a rock. No matter what is going on around him or how the rest of the team is playing, Niko plays the same, solid game. He gives great service, tackles like a flanker and makes sure very guy around him knows what their job is and ensures they do it.

Fabian Dudley is a beast. He is only 19 and if he goes on to play with the Wolves until he is old and wrinkly he will surely be the greatest prop the club has ever seen. Halfway through the second half, with the Wolves looking very flat and only a couple of tries in front, Kings attempted a chip kick from some 40 meters out. It didn’t work and the bouncing ball was scooped up by Niko. Standing flat and the defence coming at him Niko popped a short ball to Fabian. It seemed like the best he could do under the circumstances was commit a couple of Kings defenders and give the Wolves a chance to set up for something bigger.

But Fabian did a lot more than that.

Fabian went on a soul crushing run, knocking over defender after defender, pushing himself away from others and out running with opponents hanging off him, to plant down a few meters to the left of the posts. Not only was it great to watch but it also seemed to break the will of Kings as within a few minutes of the great moment the Wolves had laid on two more tries to secure the bonus point …

Merrylands 29 – Kings 8


Merrylands vs Burraneer 15/7/17

Draws suck in a weird way.

Obviously they’re better than a loss but they still suck.

They’re also really hard to write about. In fact so much so that after several failed attempts to start this report the decision has been made to kind of give up and kind of just go with the basics.

Most observers would probably forgive the Wolves for their sins today. They were 17 points down, with about 25 minutes to go, and looked for all money like they were gunna record their first loss since round 2. But the lads got their s@#t together and laid on 17 unanswered points in the last 20 odd minutes. It was an awesome display of grit and determination. Even when things went wrong during those 20 minutes the Wolves hurried up and get back to it. It’s the sort of display that, should the Wolves find themselves in a similar position in the finals, they’ll know they’ve got what it takes to claw their way back. When the final whistle blew with the scores all tied up it was hard not to feel like the Wolves had dodged a bullet.

The fact the Wolves scored 4 tries means Merrylands earned a bonus point. Add this to the 2 points for a draw and it means, as far as the table goes, the Wolves really only dropped a single competition point. So today’s result all but secures 2nd place for Merrylands, 5 points ahead of 3rd placed Engadine. With only 3 games to go it’s hard to see the Wolves dropping two matches.

There are a few people that probably deserve a pat on the back for their efforts today.

Nicko Poto showed just how valuable he is as a leader. Of all the guys that took the field Niko showed the most grit and mongrel. While plenty of guys around him mentally slipped in and out of the game Niko stayed cranky and was the biggest player in the late match revival.

Mani Pei had his first season for the Wolves in the doomed 2015 season. Mani hadn’t been seen at pre-season training in 2017 and lots of folks thought Manny may not wear the black and yellow again. But Manny turned up to a home game earlish in the season and told Coach Steve the only reason he’d not shown his face before now was that he worked arvo’s and couldn’t train. Coach Steve explained that the Wolves understood his predicament and that if he paid his fees and made it to away games, he’d be sure to get time on the field. So Manny did as he was asked and has since become one of Coach Steve’s most valuable benchies. Manny runs hard and hits like a rocket. Manny came on today and made an immediate impact. He snuffed out several Burraneer charges and crossed for two tries.

Coach Steve had some commitments today that he couldn’t wiggle out of and so coaching duties were handed to his assistant Trevor Boswell. Trevor is a long term member of the Wolves family. Trevor played many games for Merrylands in the 70’s and 80’s, going on to coach several junior sides, following his son and now Wolves 1st grade winger Jack, up through the age divisions. It’s difficult to know what to make of Trevor’s coaching debut. He didn’t lose, but then again he didn’t win. He effectively managed the sideline and bench but was unable to keep his son, Jack, out of trouble. Jack was awarded a yellow card midway through the first of for a very debateable deliberate knock down call.

Kenny Mildwater is a great young player but he missed the final kick of the game that would’ve won the match for the Wolves. It must be said that it is fairly unlikely Jordan Williams would’ve missed that shot…..Merrylands 22 – Burraneer 22


Merrylands vs Dee Why 8/7/17

Dee Why are a great club. They’ve been around for a long time and they’ve currently got a core of long serving, committed players, a solid home ground and a great pub to call home. There are a load of clubs that are now merely ghosts in the Subbies system that would love to be in Dee Why’s position.

Unfortunately there probably aren’t any clubs still operating that would swap places with Dee Why. They’re on the bottom of the very bottom and have only a single win to their name, against fellow div 6 strugglers Kings.

So it should come as no shock (given the form the Wolves are in at the moment) that Merrylands scored plenty of points today and Dee Why didn’t score many at all.

Other than Luke “the Beer Nazi” Schofield, Dave Salaemafi and Nemea “Lima” Musese making an absolute meal of the opening kick-off, the Wolves spent the opening 40 minutes pretty much doing as they pleased. Weather sticking to the truck-trailer game plan or getting excited and playing loose, the Wolves were finding time, space and, inevitably, points were ever they went. It was all a little too easy for the Wolves.

In the second half the Wolves lost their way a little and Dee Why offered up a few periods of sustained resistance, and even managed to sneak in a couple of tries, but in the end the Wolves were far too strong for their North Shore opponents.

In games like this it’s hard to pick out any real stand-out performances. Every forward made some long, strong carries and every back threw at least a couple of money passes or spent loads of time galloping through the Lions line. Probably the biggest contributors were Mike “No Mirrors” Poto and Kenny “Washed Up” Mildwater. The one word that best described Dee Why’s backline was slow and that isn’t a word any one would use to describe Kenny or Mike. The two youngins tore Dee Why to bits pretty much every time they touched the ball with Kenny bagging 4 tries and Mike picking up 3.

In the forwards Fabian Dudley probably just shaded his team mates for man of the match. For the second week in a row the big guy has earned plenty of slaps on the back form his team mates with irresistible running and nightmare inducing hits.

The coolest moment/performance of the day goes to Jordan Williams. Jordan is the grandson of Wolves legend and media personality Dave Williams. Jordan is a champion School boy athlete in several disciplines and plays school boy rugby representatively at a higher level than any of his drunken, looser team mates today ever achieved. He got some time out on the wing today and look every bit the champion. He set up a try for Mike Poto and crossed for his own 5 pointer, where he beat 2 or 3 defenders before making a lightening like angled run across the face of the goals to dot down under the posts…..Merrylands 71 – Dee Why 12


Merrylands vs Manly Savers 1/7/17

This was a big, big game.

And both clubs knew it.

1st vs 2nd. The “Have’s” vs the “Have-Not’s” – the Beach vs the Ghetto, which the Manly supporters were more than happy to remind our officials.

Manly Savers have an awesome playing record this year. They came into today’s match undefeated. They had faced the Wolves earlier in the year and had comfortably disposed of them 31 – 19 and their last game was a big win over neighbours and rivals Dee Why 62 – 12. On top of that today’s match was all the way over at Manly so they had loads of reserves and plenty of supporters.

The Wolves have been on the improve since that big loss to the Savers back in round 2, but lately haven’t really been setting the world on fire. Despite the Wolves last game being at home and a big occasion (back to Merrylands Day) they only managed to struggle to a 4 point win over 3rd placed Terry Hills.

Despite the long trip over to Manly the Wolves fielded close to a full strength team. The only real notable omissions from the starting side where the Italian Maori Arana Rissetto (who took up a bench spot due to his late arrival to the game) and Chris Sale who was caught out in Dubbo for yet another week.

In the dressing rooms and during the warm up the Wolves were keen and sharp. There was loads of talk and all the talk was about not just winning but crushing Manly. Some senior figures in the playing group were urging the men around them to demoralise Savers and send a message to the rest of the competition.

And in the opening 40 minutes that’s exactly what happened. In fact when you consider the calibre of the opposition, the opening 40 minutes was one of the most impressive performances the 2017 Wolves have laid on. The Wolves played intense, powerful rugby and it was clear Manly simply weren’t accustomed to be bullied.

The Wolves were beating Manly at every contest. With ball in hand the Wolves forwards were disciplined, hard and effective. Manly seemed up for the battle in the early exchanges but the relentless onslaught of runners like Fabian, Tane “Porceline” Heather, Kayne “Coat Hanger” Mas, Neemia Muese and Dave Salafi soon had them on the back foot and giving up ground. When they got the ball there was simply nowhere for Manly to go. Their forwards were being turned back well before the gain line on most occasions while out wide the men the Savers seemed to be replying on for go forward, their inside centre and their 15, were being eaten up in a classy tackling display by Titi, Salvo and Tua.

Manly have plenty of kicking options right across their backline and it wasn’t long before they started putting boot to ball more often than not in an attempt to avoid the Wolves shoulders. But they could find no relief here either. Whenever they managed to find the line Big Luke was an absolute beast in the lineouts and if they didn’t Mike Poto and his 1000km/h kick returns were ripping them apart.

In fact it was on one such kick return that the Wolves managed to nab their first 5 pointer of the day. Manly had spent a load of time trying to work their way out of their own end. They finally got themselves a little go forward ball and the Savers to hoofed the ball down field. Mike retrieved the ball from over the sideline and took a quick throw, spinning the ball to Kenny “The Boot” Mildwater. Kenny beat a couple of defenders and passed the ball back to Mike. Mike then chipped the ball over the few defenders in front of him, raced onto a kind bounce and dotted the ball down next to the posts.

Not too long after the restart, Manly were awarded a scrum some 30 odd meters out from the Wolves line. Savers thought this may be their chance to launch an attack and get themselves back into the game but Fabian, Kayne and Tommy Greville had other ideas. They, along with the rest of the Wolves pack, put the heat on Manly’s scrum and after a second or two of teetering on the edge Manly’s scrum fell apart and the Wolves motored straight over the top of them.

It was a game changing, awesome moment. The decimation of the Savers scrum made Manly’s management panic. They made three changes to their forward pack, bringing on a new prop, a new 2nd rower and a new #8. Captain Luke saw what was happening and urged his troops to make an example of the new arrivals. He told the Wolves that the rest of the Savers pack would be looking to the fresh legs to turn the tide and that it was the Wolves forwards duty to single out the replacements and make them pay for making such a half-witted decision.

With their halves, VJ and Nicko cracking the whip, the Wolves forwards went on a powerful surge. They battered their way into the Manly 22 and soon wave after crashing wave of Wolves forwards finally broke through, with Tane “Careful, I break easily” Heather strolling over out wide.

Half time came and the Wolves players were buoyant. Coach Steve on the other hand knew the Wolves, up to this point, had achieved nothing. He told the lads that they had 40 more minutes of graft ahead before they could truly be sure they were better than the best.

Now any of you that have bothered to check the results will probably be wondering “hang on a minute, the Wolves only won by one point, they couldn’t have been playing too f@#kn great”.

But if you thought this you’d only be half right. Sure, Savers got the jump on Merrylands at the start of the half and definitely had the lion’s share of possession and territory. But the Wolves, in the words of NKOTB, hang tough. They never let their aggression or urgency levels drop and they continued to dominate Manly at the set piece and, most importantly, in the collision. Manly may well have had all the ball but they could do very little with it.

And for that the Wolves mostly have their outside backs to thank. Salvo, Tua, Titi and Kenny defended like Trojans. They worked together, hit hard and made all the right calls. Most notable was Salvo, who on several occasions rushed in off his wing to shut down what looked like developing Manly overlaps.

The Wolves were handed two yellow cards during the second half, both for head high tackles, but despite having a man advantage for half of the second half time, Manly failed to put the Wolves to bed. Late on, some 8 minutes before half time, the Wolves lost key man Niko to a head clash. With Manly throwing everything at the Wolves and the tension growing in the dying minutes, many teams would’ve found this final blow to much to deal with

Bu the 2017 Wolves shuffled the backline around, brought Jack onto the wing, and closed out the game in rousing fashion.

This week’s there are whole groups of players that need to be singled out for praise.

The Wolves front row came of age today. They had easily their best game, as far as the set piece goes, that they’ve had all year. Fabian, Kayne and Tom monstered their much more experienced rivals and laid the solid platform the rest of the Wolves played off to take out this memorable win.

The Wolves backline have come up against the two best backlines in the comp over the last two weeks. They’ve only conceded two tries. No matter what Manly threw at them they were more then up for the challenge. And as they say it defence that wins titles…

Merrylands 19 – Manly Savers 18


Merrylands vs Terrey Hills 24/6/17

Back to Merrylands Day – a day filled with people, laughter, drinking and possibilities. The Wolves approached today with a sense of anticipation. This game could make or break the season.

Only two teams have beaten the Wolves this year – Manly Savers and Terrey Hills. Both games early on in the season were difficult, with limited numbers and a team who hadn’t played all that much together before. Although the Wolves came away from both games with a loss, the Merrylands officials, coach and captain saw potential in excess.

As the game today began, there was frenzy on the field. The Wolves knew the game would be tough, but they could never have imagined what would play out. A lot of the first half was played in Terry Hills possession due to a lot of stupid penalties being given away by Merrylands. The Wolves’ saving grace in the first half today was that out of the many penalties awarded to Terrey Hills, within spitting distance of the posts, not once did they go for a penalty goal – they kept kicking the ball for a lineout – which were stolen by the Wolves’ .

To keep the game stressful, it was nil all at half time, with an injury on the Terrey Hills side requiring ambulance attention. While waiting for the ambulance, the Merrylands officials ran frantically around to organise the field lights to be switched on early in order to allow us to play the full forty minutes in a delayed second half, in the dark.

When the whistle blew for the second half to begin, both sides were franticly trying to get some points on the board in order to nail the win. Terrey Hills gave away a penalty to Merrylands at forty-eight out and Kenny Mildwate sent the ball soaring through the posts to put Merrylands up by 3. Shortly after, Merrylands pressure was building and David Mafi recieved the ball and took it across the line to get the Wolve’s first try of the match. The game was on and Terrey Hills were scrambling, making a lot of silly mistakes, conceding another penalty to Merrylands, which VJ sent through the posts. Although the Merrylands game was not without errors – letting Terrey Hills make a try and conversion – Merrylands managed to hold onto the lead throughout the tight game, and come out on top.

The Merrylands defence was by far our shining moment of today. A stand out comment from the ref was that our defence won us the game – especially the unrelenting takedowns carried out by Tua Meni, who seemed to always be on the ball and never let Terrey Hills pass him.

Now the task on everyone’s mind is building this momentum to take down Manly next week. Stay tuned!

Merrylands 11 – Terry Hills 7


Merrylands vs Roseville 3/6/17

Merrylands vs Roseville 3/6/17

Today was easily the Wolves’ best performance of the year.

In fact, given that the Wolves were banned last year and had a pretty average 2015, it’s probably fair to say it was the Wolves’ best performance in many years. Merrylands absolutely carved Roseville to pieces, racking up their biggest win of the year to date.

And Roseville were no easy beats. They’re sitting middle of the table and have given both Terry Hills and Manly Savers (the two teams leading the comp) a run for their money, going down by 4 and 5 points respectively.

The Wolves went about their victory today in a very patient, smart and disciplined fashioned. The Wolves played mostly through the forwards early on, forcing the smaller yet fitter Roseville forwards to throw multiple bodies in front of the Wolves runners in an attempt to keep them at bay. The likes of Tane Heather, Neemia Musese, Tom Greville and Dave Mafi were making good meters with every carry, thus making life tough for the Roseville forwards. The resulting heavy workload meant that despite enjoying their fair share of possession, Roseville lacked the spark and speed to put any real pressure on the men in black and yellow when it was Roseville’s turn to run the ball.

It would’ve been tempting for halves Niko Poto and VJ to throw the resulting fast front foot ball out wide and let their speedsters in Tua and Salvo have a go, but VJ and Niko knew better. They knew that Roseville had the speed and organisation to make their cover defence effective. They knew that the likes of Salvo and Mike Poto getting dragged down out wide (a long way from the helping hands of Tane, Luke, Dave and co) would be playing into the hands of the smaller, faster Roseville forwards.

Instead the Wolves attacked in numbers, treasuring the ball and frustrating the Roseville drop-and-spread defence. Then when Roseville had the ball, the Wolves used almost the complete opposite style of defence. They competed for every ruck and every maul; they went hard at the ball carrier and forced Roseville into playing the Wolves game.

Roseville enjoyed long periods of possession in the first 40 and even spent a considerable length of time inside the Wolves 22. However the men from the lower North Shore could never quite shake off the Wolves big men and play their own game, going to the break 14 points behind Merrylands.

At half time, Coach Steve praised Niko and VJ’s decision making but told them the time to unleash the beat had arrived. Coach Steve made a couple of changes in the forwards, bringing on big Tama, Kayne and Chris and gave the freshly filled positions the task of cleaning up should the Wolves shifting to a more expansive game prove difficult.

But Coach Steve’s Plan B wasn’t needed as Mike, VJ, Salvo, Tua, Kenny and Puy tore Roseville apart. The lads ran hard and passed accurately and were almost untouchable. In fact the forwards often found themselves simply watching in happy amazement as their outside men ran in try after try after try, keeping the scoreboard ticking over at almost a point a minute in the second stanza.

A few folks deserve a special mention today…

It probably doesn’t get said enough here on, but Luke Schofield is a machine. He is super fit, has a great level of aggressive play, is determined, competitive, skilled, big, strong and handsome and today Luke was probably the best player on the field, as is the case most weeks. He is also one of the most important administrators to walk into the club in the last 10 years. When it comes to working behind the scenes the big guy is dedicated, hardworking, humble and smart. If he got a better haircut and let people have a few of his chips he’d be near on perfect.

Salvation Tiatia came to the Wolves in 2015. After a slowish start, he became a regular dedicated first grader and was a little more disappointed than most when the Wolves got booted in 2016. This year Salvo came back to the Wolves and has slowly become one of Coach Steve’s most reliable players. Today Salvo played at 13, a position he says he doesn’t like, but after today’s almost faultless performance, it may well be a position he finds himself in again. Especially impressive today was his defence. Toa was playing inside him and Jack was playing outside him on the wing. Both men were probably guilty of bad reads in defence, especially early on. But Salvo came to theirs, and the Wolves, rescue time and time again. He had the speed to turn and catch Roseville and the smarts to do it quickly. Salvo was a big part of the way the Wolves were frustrated Roseville’s attack.

Today was VJ’s second game. Both games he has started at 10. VJ was good in his first game but great today. VJ seems to be the missing link Coach Steve has been looking for. Go VJ!

Merrylands 66 – Roseville 7


Merrylands vs Engadine 27/5/17

So this game was a weird one.

The short version of the story goes like this:

The ref didn’t show up.

Engadine asked Coach Steve to ref.

He did.

Merrylands won.

Engadine blamed Steve for the result.


Here is the slightly lengthier version:

The ref didn’t show up.

Despite it being a rule of NSW Subbies that all clubs need to have a ticketed ref within their set up, Engadine informed Coach Steve that in fact they didn’t have a ref available on the day and asked if Merrylands did.

Coach Steve informed Engadine that he was Merrylands Rugby’s ticketed ref but that he was reluctant to take whistle blowing duties as he felt there was a very clear conflict of interest.

The Engadine coach told Steve that he couldn’t contact the proper ref at all and that he would rather go ahead with Steve reffing than simply abandon the game.

And so some 15 minutes late, Coach Steve donned a refs bib, blew the whistle and things got going.

From there on the ending to this story was more predictable than the ending of Titanic.

Despite the two teams being fairly evenly matched in many ways, it was reasonably evident early on that the Wolves were the better team. They were a little faster, a little fitter and a little better organised. The longer the game went on the more obvious it was that the Wolves would take the four points.

And the more obvious a Wolves victory became the more the Engadine players and supporters took the very easy option of blaming Steve for their troubles.

The game was punctuated with  loads of howls from the Engadine faithful like “he wasn’t offside” and “that wasn’t late” and “he wasn’t off his feet” and “he didn’t attack the half back” but unfortunately no Engadine players supporters could bring themselves to scream out any hard truths like “the ref is doing a fine job it’s just these guys are a little too good” or “we should’ve had our own ref and not let this perceived injustice get off the ground” or “maybe if our supporters calmed down a little and got our players focused, rather than throw fuel on the fire with their uninformed childish behaviour, we might have a chance to claw back a try and make a game of it”

Although some Merrylands players let the volatile situation and the cries of bias from the opposition get them a little hot under the collar, they managed to keep calm and come away the better team – Merrylands 19 – Engadine 10.


Merrylands vs Kings 20/5/17

Merrylands Wolves.


There will be no blow by blow this week, no trying to build suspense or tension. The simple fact is the Wolves fairly hammered Kings on Saturday and it would be near on impossible to make any kind of compelling narrative out of what occurred down at Holroyd Sports.

Instead let’s just lull about in the joy of the result and maybe pick out a few (or lots) of the pleasing aspects of Saturdays performance.

Firstly the team.

There were quite a few changes this week. Tane Heather’s nose got into a tussle with a Burraneer elbow last week and the resulting squished beak meant the big guy couldn’t continue his very impressive form in today’s game. His place was taken by Dave “Warming my Ass” Sale. Benjamin Davis was unavailable this week cause he is a moronic jackass. His place was taken by Fabian.

The backline was almost completely different to the one that started last week. James and Levi Burgess as well as Po and Ricky were all missing for different reasons. Despite all those changes the guys that took their places have all been in and around the Wolves for a while so there was no real panic.

Nicko Poto (who everyone thought had vanished but had in fact simply pulled a calf muscle playing Oztag and decided telling anyone wasn’t necessary) started in 9 for the first time this year and was partnered in the haves by Bola. Puy and Tee took the place of Po and Ricky in the centres while new guy Kenny Mildwater made his debut for the Wolves on the wing.

Now Kings are without a win this year so reading too much into today’s victory maybe problematic, but that said the way the Wolves went about their victory was a massive vindication for the way Coach Steve has decided to structure the Wolves attack. Coach Steve likes his forwards to attack in waves. He advises against using too much pick and drive. Instead he likes his forwards to present a number of targets to the opposition so that it’s both difficult for them to single out anyone runner but also means the Wolves attacker always know what’s around him and always has just the right amount of support.

Today that system, known to the players as Truck and Trailer, worked like magic. Once Merrylands had the ball Kings simply had no way of either catching the Wolves forwards behind the gain line or taking the ball off them. Time and time again the Wolves rolled phase after phase straight over Kings, with the private school lads either giving away penalties in frustration or simply succumbing and watching as the Wolves crashed over for another 5 pointer.

In fact the only criticism Coach Steve had at half time was that the Wolves forwards were getting a little excited with their consistent success and weren’t feeding the backs enough ball. Coach Steve was worried the Wolves forwards would run out of puff and perhaps let Kings back into the game in the second half.

But this is where another very pleasing aspect of the 2017 Wolves kicked in, the bench. Or as Eddie “Judas” Jones calls them “finishers”

Just like last week the Wolves had a very impressive bench with the likes of Tini Tuitama, James Macklin, Tim French and Salvo all holding their horses on the sidelines. And just like last week, just when the likes of Dave Sale, Jose Frias, Fabian and Arana seemed to be slowing down, Coach Steve sent out the reinforcements and the result was startling.

The trickle of points that had come from the Wolves mountain of possession and territory soon turned into a flood as the “finishers” picked up the pace and power and put Kings to the sword. Tini and James Mac were especially effective, consistently making 10+ meters every time they ran the ball. And Salvo, hanging out on the wing, left the Kings fatiguing backs in his wake on numerous occasions as Nick Poto, sensing his forwards could do with a break, sent the ball wide more often.

Before the finishers an optimistic Kings fan might’ve day dreamed a scenario where Kings ran past the Wolves and notched up their first won of 2017. After the finishers anyone holding onto dreams of a Kings victory would’ve been committed to an asylum.

So the tactic of running a big strong forward pack that you can replace with a big strong bench is hardly a new one in Subbies Rugby. But it is a very hard tactic to pull off. When all is said and done every bloke that pulls on a pair of Subbies boots does so cause he loves playing rugby. For most, the idea of spending half the game on the bench is not something they’ll put up with. You may get lucky and have one or two 120kg+ front rowers who welcome the mid game rest, but for the most part Subbies Rugby players want to play as much as they can.

It is a testament to the new Wolves management structure, in particular Coach Steve, that so many guys just want to be a part of the rebirth of Wolf, that they’re more than happy to only get 40 minutes in the sun each Saturday.

So there are quite a few individual performances that rate a mention.

Let’s start at the back and work our way forward.

Mike Poto is a gun. The fact Mike has been playing fullback these last few weeks is a big reason the Wolves have started winning. If you could bottle the self-belief, the way he is utterly convinced that every single time he touches the ball he is very probably going to score, you’d be a very rich man.

Kenny Mildwater made his debut for the Wolves on the wing today. While the team was warming up pre-game Tane Heather approached Benjamin Davis and asked “who’s that guy?” and pointed at Kenny.

Ben told him that he thinks he’s a mate of Dave’s. Tane asked “Is he any good?”

“I’m not sure” Ben replied.

Tane and Ben than spent some time considering the player they saw before them. Kenny is tallish and has broadish shoulders. That’s the end of Kenny’s rugby player like physical traits. His other, non-rugby player physical traits include slicked hair, glasses and very pale skin. Add that to the fact Kenny looks like he is 14 years old at best and Tane and Ben decided they were a little worried.

And Kenny’s first touch (he dropped a very catchable pass) only confirmed for Tane and Ben that the new very young, very white man on the Wolves wing was what they feared and not what they had hoped for.

But Kenny soon shoved that s@#tty assumption in Tane and Ben’s equally s@#t faces.  Midway through the second half Kenny was fed the ball with 30+ meters to go and only a little room to move. Kenny put the foot down and absolutely burnt the Kings defence to cross for his first ever Wolves try. Than not too long later Kenny chanced a Nicko box kicked that looked for all money like it was gunna be easily cleaned up by Kings. Instead the youngster got there a lot faster than the Kings 15 was ready for and the pressure made Kings fumble the ball. Kenny got a boot to it and sent the ball into an open back field and the race was on. Only there was no race, or at least no competition. Kenny got to the ball an age before anyone else, coolly toed the ball the extra 5 or so meters it needed and fell on to the pill to claim his second Wolves try. It has been a while since the Wolves had an out and out “traditional” winger. Too many of the Wolves wingers in the past few years have been converted fullbacks or centres or halfbacks. Too many have been more over weight Lomu than super charged Dougy Howlett. Kenny has real speed, holds his line out on the sideline and puts the pedal to the metal when he gets the ball. Let’s hope he comes back for more.

Nicko Poto started at 9 this week. Nicko was his cool, composed and very smart footballer self.

And Nicko was feeding new guy Bola. Bola is somehow related to Nicko. He has played almost every game this year but today was the first time he’s started a game. With Todd Parsons out, James Burgess and Mick McCorriston away and Tim French requesting a bench spot due to a saw back, Coach Steve was a little short of halves. Bola put his hand up and said he could play 10 so Coach Steve threw him the #10 jersey. It took Bola a little while to get into the match but by the second half he was making all the right decisions and providing plenty of quality for the men outside him.

With Benjamin “temper tantrum” Davis’ goose like antics from last week ruling him out of his now usually spot at tighthead prop, Coach Steve turned to Fabian. Fabian is another one of the Merrylands juniors that grew up playing for the Wolves, moved away for a few seasons, but has now come back to where he belongs. Fabian (unlike the kinda simple looking Benjamin) is the kind of prop half backs have nightmares about. He is maybe 5ft10’ tall and tips the scales in excess of 120kgs, with the bulk of that weight through his chest and shoulders. Fabian started and finished today’s game, with approximately a 40 minutes break in the middle. For the 40 minutes Fabian was out there he was truly devastating. He made plenty of cannon ball like runs into the heart of the Kings defence, always making big meters. Fabian was also a ball shrinkingly frightening menace around the ruck. Several unlucky Kings runners found themselves within striking distance of the big man and every one of them really, really f@#kn felt it.

In the front row next to Fabian was Jose Frias. Jose’s remarkable transition from a skinny useless Pilipino fool that had never seen the inside of a rugby pitch to the fat, hard hitting, smart front rower we see today has been spoken about on these pages plenty of times. Today Jose put in another performance you’d be happy to get from a ten year veteran. The big guy even crossed for an awesome 5 pointer, taking an inside ball from Nicko 7 or 8 meters out and stepping and crashing past several Kings defenders to fall over the line.

And on the other side of Jose today was Tom Grieville. Tom has played almost every minute of every game this year. Tom has been an absolute stand out in every minute of every game he has played. Tom is smart, strong and just the right level of aggressive. Tom is a fantastic scrummager that can, and has, played right across the front row positions. Tom is a bi ify throwing lineouts but, for the time being, we’ll forgive him of that.

Another one of the Merrylands juniors that has come home this year is Dave Sale. Dave is the son of Coach Steve and the more negative Wolves fan could be forgiven for thinking that, until today’s game, Dave was only getting a run cause he was the coaches son. That is to say, Dave hasn’t exactly been setting the world on fire. But today he showed everyone what he can do. Before today’s game Captain Luke challenged his forwards to step up and fill the gap left by Ben and Tane not playing. Luke reminded his forwards that Ben and Tane were two of the fittest guys in the pack and that the rest of us needed to play with real energy to make sure there absence wasn’t too keenly felt. And Dave, almost more than any other player out there today, did just that. He ran hard, often and, most importantly, effectively. He was busy around the ruck in defence and showed real urgency on several occasions when Nicko or Bola got caught out of position.

Finally we come to the guy that was probably man of the match and has been very close to man of the match in every game this year. Neemia “Lima” Mosese. Lima came to the Wolves in 2015 and when Merrylands were omitted from the comp in 2016, Lima showed more keenness then some far longer serving Wolves to see the club get back up and at it again. And since the opening whistle of the season Lima has shown just how much he has come to love the club. He has run hard, tackled well, trained consistently and been a real leader both on and off the field. He has also taken over goal kicking duties! Everyone at Wolves HQ is honoured to have a man like Lima pull on the black and yellow…..Merrylands 52 – Kings 15


Merrylands vs Burraneer  13/5/17

The Wolves came into today’s match Vs Burraneer full of confidence. They posted a healthy win last start and the solid, well rounded forward pack Coach Steve had had at his disposal since pre-season was now being complimented by a backline, though short on practice together, was starting to look like it had plenty of cutting edge.

That said Burraneer weren’t be easy beats. They were sitting 3 positions higher up the ladder then the Wolves and, despite the long trip from the far southern reaches of Sydney to the crime riddled heart of the western suburbs, they seemed to have a full bench.

The backline that started included James “Big 9” Burgess at half back, Poy and Ricky in the centres, Levi Burgess at 15 with Jack Boswell and Mike Poto on the wings. No one has seen this backline play as a unit before (because this backline has never played as a unit before) but anyone that’s been keeping up with the Wolves in 2017 will tell you individually they’re all very talented very capable operators.

The other very pleasing aspect for Coach Steve was the quality and quantity of his bench. Coach Steve was able to name a full 7 man bench with the majority of the subs being quality players that could easily have been starting and, for some, quite frequently do. Names such as James Macklin, Dave Sale, Jose Frias, Tama Terito, Tom Newguy and Nicko Poto were all sitting on the sidelines, keen as mustard to get out there and make a difference.

Despite all that Steve had to be happy about he would’ve been mildly annoyed with the way the Wolves started the game. Burraneer were the far stronger, far smarter team for the entire first 40 minutes. There fly half had a big boot and their forwards were big and clearly very experienced. This allowed the Dolphins to dominate territory and possession. They frustrated the Wolves into too giving away a silly amount of penalties that saw Burraneer cross for a soft 5 pointer and kick to penalties to give themselves a 13 point lead after 20 or so minutes.

The 13 point lead wasn’t the kick in the pants the Wolves needed to get themselves into the game. However a double sin binning was.

Levi Burgess and Ben Davis, within 5 minutes of each other, both found themselves on the sidelines for offences that were very avoidable. But in true Wolves spirit the sudden adversity stiffed the Wolves back and made them concentrate on the task at hand.

The Wolves forwards started running a little harder and a little straighter and soon had turned the tables on Burraneer, forcing them into giving away multiple penalties that gave the Wolves a lineout 5 meters form the Burraneer line. And it was the evergreen squirrel gripper himself, Neemia “Lima” Musese that rode the back of the Wolves driving mall before dropping over the line and crossing for his third try of the season.

Soon after Levi was called back onto the field and the Wolves begun turning the screw, maintaining possession and running hard. Burraneer were feeling the pressure. And things were gunna get a little harder still for the Dolphins as Benjamin “I need a break” Davis finally evened the numbers. With only 5 to go Captain Luke challenged his troops to make the most of their momentum and post some more points before half time.

And they responded. Well more accurately Burraneer responded, giving away an easily kickable penalty with mere second left of the half. Tim French stepped up, slotting the 3 pointer and sending the Wolves to the break a mere 3 points behind a team that had not only enjoyed the lion’s share of possession and territory but had enjoyed an extended period of play with 2 extra players.

Coach Steve had always kind of expected that the game would be tight. He’d guessed that Burraneer may be able to match the Wolves while they had gas in the tank but once he subbed on his “finishers” Burraneer would be left coughing and splattering in the dust.

And that’s exactly what happened.

The likes of Bowla, Nicko Poto, James Macklin, Tama Territo and Jose Frias simply had too much impact for the Dolphins and a 3 point lead was never gunna be enough. The Wolves crossed twice in the second half and, more impressively, kept Burraneer scoreless. There were a few nervous moments in the second 40, most notably Benjamin Davis copping a second yellow and leaving the field for good and Tane Heather copping a stray elbow and breaking his nose, leaving the Wolves forwards a little short of pace, but by than any cut that Burraneer had was well and truly gone and the Wolves posted their 2nd bonus point win of 2017.

So big ups for the week…..

Poy made his debut for the Wolves today. Poy is a subbies coaches wet dream. On Thursday night the Wolves were just finishing their 15 minutes of fitness when strolling out of the darkness of the car park came a very large, very impressive figure. Most every player at training noticed and to a man (without anyone actually uttering a word) every player thought to himself “f@#k I hope this guy’s keen to play”

Poy walked up to Coach Steve, introduced himself, and told Coach Steve he was keen to play and could fill in pretty much anywhere in the backline. Once again the entire playing group, as well as Coach Steve, silently though “yeeesssssss”

Kay came to the club this year having never played rugby before. He had played a few years of league and the fact his is part Fijian meant no one was really nervous about him being a gumby but a few players and staff had their concerns. He seemed to spend most trainings with a confused look on his face and seemed to be sikeing himself out of playing well. But looks can be deceiving. Kay was thrown into the front row (hooker) and has so far played awesome. He runs hard, tackles well and scrummages like he was born to it……Merrylands 20 – Burraneer 13


Merrylands vs Dee Why Linos 6/5/17

Coach Steve was sure this was the one, that this was the game that was gunna kick start the Wolves 2017 season. So far in 2017 Dee Why, like the Wolves, were without a win. They’d given Terry Hills a run for their money but anyone looking at the results so far would’ve came to the same conclusion Coach Steve did. That Dee Why were very beatable.

And despite the fact several first choice players were unavailable, including James “the Polar Express” Macklin, Neemia “Lima” Muese and Mick “McMissing” McCorriston, Coach Steve and Captain Luke knew that, should today not go the way the Wolves hoped, they surely couldn’t blame the playing roster as todays run on team was close to the best the Wolves have put out.

Most notably Jose “Fat Pacquaio” Frias made his first run on debut for the Wolves 1st grade, starting at hooker, with regular #2 Tom “Sorry about my Brother” Gieville moving to loose head. Dave “#1 fullback” Sale was finally put out of his misery and moved into the forward pack, starting in the more familiar role of #6.

In the backline Todd “Fireless Belly” Parsons and Tim “the Dating Machine” French rekindled their 2015 love affair, starting in the halves together for the first time in 2017. Outside them though was where the real interest was.

James “#9?” Burgess has a lot of rugby in his family. In fact rumour has it his grandparents were the product of a cold war era program run by the Samoan government to produce the perfect rugby playing machine. Any way a few years back the Wolves had a long away trip to Woolloomooloo and Merrylands seemed painfully short of players. James turned up on the day with a car load of brothers, sons, uncles and cousins with the whole troop running on in 2nds and crushing Sydney Harlequins.

Today James Burgess did it again, making his way down to Holroyd Sports with Brother Jack, Cousin Ricky and Son Levi (who’s been training with the Wolves for the last few weeks and played pretty much a full season for the Wolves in 2015). Coach Steve opted to start Ricky and Levi in the centres, with new guy Tom making his debut on the wing.

And the Burgess clan didn’t fail to impress yet again. In fact the Wolves managed to cross for a try in the opening 5mintues, with Tane “Luke’s BFF” Heather flopping over from close range after the Wolves got close largely due to some good hands and quality running from Tricky Ricky Burgess.

Almost straight off the kick off the Wolves went right back down Dee Why’s end of the paddock, this time curtesy of some strong running from Jye Hines. The ball than moved from ruck to ruck inside Dee Why’s 22 before Tim French threw a couple of Parsonsesque black magic dummies and crossed over, a few meters to the left of the uprights.

Dee Why rallied, got some possession and soon crossed for their own 5 pointer. The Wolves had given away a silly ruck penalty that allowed Dee Why to get a lineout close to the Wolves line and from the issuing field position Dee Why managed to catch the Wolves being a little lazy and crossed out wide.

But then the Wolves struck back.

But then Dee Why scored off some more Wolves silliness.

But then the Wolves pushed the lead back to two tries with another 5 pointer.

And that folks, was the story of the whole game. The Wolves always seemed to have the measure of Dee Why but couldn’t quite maintain concentration long enough to really put them to the sword. In the 2nd half the Wolves attack was much more clinical and effective with the ball but they were a little jumpy in defence, giving away plenty of avoidable penalties which gifted Dee Why way more possession than they deserved. Al that simply means it took the Wolves 60 minutes to match the game to bed when it really only should’ve taken them 30.

Any way a win is a win and you can be sure Coach Steve, Captain Luke, VP’s Beddo & Roscoe and BBQ Man Rob will take a sloopyish win over a loss any day of the week.

There are more than a few folks who deserve a big up for their efforts today.

First of all Kay and Jose. Both guys are new comers to rugby and are very much new comers to the front row. Kay and Jose shared the hooking duties today and did so without fault. They also made themselves useful round the park, with Kay coming up with an awesome bump late in the match.

Jack Burgess slotted into fly half a few minutes into the second half and was probably the best player on the field while he was out there. He took all the right options, making space and throwing quality balls to put his outside men away, most notably his nephew Levi Burgess, who benefited from Jack’s subtle work on several occasions.

Jack Boswell is one the young crew that has come back to Merrylands. Jack is the son of Wolves legend Trevor Boswell and spent his junior years playing for Merrylands and has this year, at the age of 18, come back home to Merrylands. Jack is tall, strong and quick and has started all three games this year on the wing and today finally scored his first try for the Wolves. Hopefully there will be plenty more to come….Merrylands 40 – Dee Why 19


Merrylands vs Manly Savers 29/4/17

So the Wolves didn’t win today. In fact they lost!

And that sucks. But as much as it sucks the Wolves are on a good thing.

They’ve got a big, strong, well balanced forward pack and a big, strong, experienced backline. Together they can rule the world!

But first they’ve got to get a few things right. Namely match fitness and direction.

The improvement from round one to this week (round 2) was immense. That’s not to say round one was a low bar and easy to beat, far from it, it just means the Wolves are getting a little match fitter each week and the game plan Coach Steve wants for the Wolves is getting a little more familiar, a little more effortless each week.

The evidence for this compelling.

Today the Wolves were all over Savers for the first 30 minutes of the game, and Savers are a very good team. The forwards ran their “truck and trailer” with devastating effect, regularly rolling over the Savers pack while backs like Jye Hines, Todd Parsons and Tini Tinifu were finding plenty of room to move. In the set piece, especially at lineout time, the Wolves were a class ahead of Savers. Luke Schofield and his lifters were terrorising Manly’s throw and with Benjamin Davis getting off the ground well, the Wolves own throw was safe as houses. At ruck and maul time the Wolves gave Savers nothing for free. James Macklin, Tom Gieville and Tane Heather all effected turnovers by getting their hands and shoulders through the Savers breakdown.

But then fatigue hit. And with it the Wolves pattern and plan went missing. The forwards started picking and driving instead of trucking and trailering and the unpractised ploy saw the Wolves allow too much turnover and give away a few too many silly penalties.

Just like last week there was a 15 minute period around half time that saw the opposition score a couple of quick tries and put the game just out of reach of the Wolves who, like last week, finished a lot stronger than their opponents.

Anyone with half a rugby brain can see the Wolves have got that certain je ne sais quoi that it takes to go all the way in this division. They just need to put in a little hard work.

There are a few players that deserve a mention for their efforts today.

Jye “gone missing” Hines had an outstanding opening 20 or so minutes and showed why a lot of Merrylands Old boys think he is “the new Nash”. But apparently he got sat on by a fat guy and needed a break. Weird.

Mike Poto came on to replace Jye Hines and showed why Coach Steve is so keen for the little guy to stick around. He is absolutely fearless and is keen as f@#k to throw him body at the line. Today he used his very quick feet and awesome hands to cross for the Wolves only try of the 2nd half.

Tom Gieville is one of the new young guys that played juniors with the Wolves and is playing his first season of seniors with the mighty black and yellow. Today Tom was close to the best forward on the pitch. His lineout throws were good (not perfect though) and his scrummaging was great but most impressive of all was his work around the field. He was a wrecking ball at the breakdown and was devastating with the ball in hand. On one run in particular he bumped two guys off from a standing start, pushed off and trampled another and managed to gallop 10 or so meters up the pitch.

But probably the most impressive performance of the today came from Neemia “Lima” Muese. Lima had his usual hard running hard hitting game for about the first 65 minutes of the match. But something bit Lima late on and he came to life. For the last 15 or so minutes he was full of running, making several impressive runs, stealing Savers ball on multiple occasions and putting the fear of god up any of his team mates he thought were being lazy. Lima only came to the Wolves in 2015 and immediately gained everyone’s respect. He was a club man, always at training and always willing to play whenever and wherever he asked. After what happened in 2015 there were plenty of people at the club that thought we might have lost the big man. There were plenty of smiles when he walked back into training this season……Merrylands 19 – Savers 31


Merrylands vs Terry Hills 22/4/17

2016 is gone. The agony and horror of it is behind us. For some that horror took the shape of pulling on another clubs jersey, for others it meant simply abstaining from rugby all together. For others still it was a time to work and build, to put the world to right. And so, today, on a green oval on the northern beaches of Sydney, far far away from the little piece of paradise we call home the world was put to right. The Wolves were re-born, taking their first brave steps back into the land of the living, back onto the rugby pitch. Back where they belong.

But they lost.

Not badly though.

In fact as far as losses go it was a pretty pleasing one.

The Wolves were, pretty much, without a backline. See of the 15 guys that ran onto the field there were only 3 backs. Two half backs and a centre. That meant that Coach Steve had to fill the rest of his backline with flankers, number 8’s and even a couple of second rowers.

And yet despite this the Wolves still managed to score 5 tries and spent long periods of the match in complete control. They dominated the set piece, steeling several lineouts, winning feeds against the head and messing up Terry Hills scrum.

But alas about 10 minutes after half time Terry Hills finally caught onto what was in front of them. They realised that the 125kg guy wearing #15 wasn’t Jonah Lomu incarnate, the 110 kg, 6ft 4 kid playing at 13 wasn’t Jean De Villiers love child and the 115kg Maori on the wing wasn’t related to Vinga Tuigamala. They were, in fact, tight forwards that had no place wearing anything higher than #5 on their backs.

And so for a brief yet game defining 15 minute period mid-way through the second half, Terry Hills slung the ball wide at every opportunity and when they couldn’t they simply kicked long.

Despite a keen willingness to play the roles asked of them by Coach Steve, the likes of Dayna Heta, Luke Schofield, Dave Sale and Tane Heather simply didn’t have the speed or know-how to get in the way of Terry Hills pacey backline.

But as stated earlier in this review there was plenty to be pleased with. The Wolves didn’t drop their bundle or give the game up for lost despite, in said 15 minute period, conceding 3 converted tries and watching as what was a close game was taken away from them. With 10 to go and after Terry Hills had scored their 7th try of the game, Captain Luke pulled his troops close and reminded them of the success they’d had earlier in the match and that the best way for them to put a stop to the Terry Hills backs was to simply not give them the ball.

And that’s exactly what the Wolves did. Neemia Muese put on a bone rattling hit on one of the Terry Hills subs  and the Wolves got the ball back. Time French, playing 10, got his troops rolling forward in numbers and soon Dayna Heta crossed out wide untouched.

While the conversion was being lined up the ref informed Captain Luke there was only 2 minutes to go. Anyone who’s played rugby, or league for that matter, has been in this situation and had some annoying tool say “lets get one more before full time” or something like that. Usually you might clap your hands and say some duchy crap like “yea let’s get em fellas” but most of the time you know that the chances of rolling back down the field and scoring without a knock on or stoppage is almost zero.

But today the Wolves did all that duchy stuff AND actually managed to score one of the best tries you’re likely to see at this level. Jason “Go the Roosters” Fulwood took the kick off and rammed into the defence. He’s willing effort was followed by a 3 man charge from James Macklin, Chris Sale and Tom Gieville that got the Wolves a good 5 meters over the gain line. The ball quickly flew through Mick McCorriston’s hands to Tane Haether who took the ball to the line before offloading and put Benjamin “tight head all day” Davis into the backfield.

Benjamin managed to bump and slap his way to the 22. The Wolves than put the ball through two more forward charges before the it was flung wide where Luke Schofield and Tim French combined to send Dave “the Fullback” Sale over for an awesome team try.

The final tally for the day was 7 tries to 5 Terry Hills way, which is an accurate indication of how the game felt. The Wolves have plenty of work to do but showed with, a few tweaks, that they are capable of going a long way this year.

Plenty of players deserve an honourable mention for their efforts today. Firstly Tini Tuitama, Dayna Heta and Jason Fulwood. All showed up today thinking/hoping to get a few minutes on the field but all three ended up playing the entire game.

There were several regular faces that had good games, most notably James Macklin who carried the ball well and did a flawless job in the set piece.

There were also several players that took the field today that were in their first season for the Wolves in 2015 and were there when what was left of 2015 and all of 2016 was taken away from Merrylands. It was pleasing in the extreme to see the likes of Neemia Muese, Tane Heather, Dayna Heta and Tini Tuitama come back to finish what was started way back when.

But most pleasing of all for the greater Wolves family were the number of new faces, especially the ones that had come up through the Wolves juniors and today played their first game of seniors for Merrylands. Dave Sale, Chris Sale, Jack Boswell, Tom Gieville and Mick McCorriston all had outstanding games with Dave Sale filling in in the very unfamiliar role of fullback. But probably the stand out of the 4 was hooker Tom Gieville. He fed the lineouts almost without fault (he stuffed the first one) , won all his own scrums and managed to pinch one of theirs and was super busy and effective around the park, going close to scoring on several occasions and putting in some bruising hits in defence.


Season 2015

1/8/15 Merrylands vs Harlequins

2nd grade

A damn fine performance from the Wolves 2’s today.

Every player that stepped onto the field for 2nd grade today did his today.

And the Wolves weren’t without their setbacks. Both Mana and Tanga failed to overcome injures while James “the Magician” Burgess, Jose Frias and Jason Fulsack all pulled out late. That meant some last minute juggling was on the cards for Coach Ben. Jye Hines and Salvation were pushed into the centres, with Young T coming onto the wing and Jean “Fitness is my priority” Fast pulling on the #10. Jose and Jason’s places were taken by Coach Ben and Pat Crobilybiby.

Despite what the score line might suggest, Sydney Harlequins are not a bad side. They’ve got a big, mobile forward pack, a few useful players across the backline and currently sit only a few places outside the top 4. But today the Wolves were ruthless and clinical and despite going blow for blow with Merrylands in the opening 15 or so minutes, the relentless aggression from the Wolves meant the game was over as contest well before the half time whistle blew.

There were several special performances today.

Captain Nicko was awesome. Nicko has been playing the game a long long time and has a great sense for when to give it some throttle and when to hold back. Today Nick could see that the Wolves backs were on and so was quick to unleash them and he choose just the right time to give his forwards a chance to get in on the action.

Big James Tuitama has been probably the most consistently well performed forward in the Wolves 2’s. The beauty of Big James is you know exactly what you’re going to get. When he runs, he runs hard and always makes it over the gain line. When he tackles the opposition stay tackled.

Jye Hines had a few weeks off rugby to go sell dodgy, beaten up old cars to poor, unsuspecting pensioners. Today Jye made his come back and had an absolute blinder. He played in the somewhat unfamiliar roll of #13 and got plenty of ball. And pretty much every time he got the ball he made something of it. He consistently got outside his opposite man and laid on plenty of tries for his outside men.

Young T only came to the club a couple of weeks ago. Today he tackled with real skill and venom and mad all the right moves when he had the ball in his hand. Merrylands Rugby hopes Young T hangs around for a long while to come…..Merrylands 31 – Harlequins 14

1st grade

There are two ways to look at today’s 1st grade game.

The more negative among us may say that the Wolves lost a game they should’ve won because they simply failed to prepare. A lack of numbers and at training and an insistence that warming up BEFORE a game, rather than during it, is a silly idea meant Harlequins got out to a 2 try lead before the Wolves even had their heads in the game. The more negative among us may even say this doesn’t bode well for the future, that the shine has gone off first grade and it is reflected in the Wolves position on the ladder.

But there is a far more positive, and possibly more realistic, way to look at today’s result.

The team that ran on for today’s game was far from the best the Wolves can muster. Thanks to a long long list of injuries, a long list of suspensions and a longish list of missing persons (Rey?) the Wolves have been unable to build real momentum going into the final stages of the season. All that means the team the Wolves put out today was a little slapped together. And they played pretty poorly for long stretches of today’s game.

And yet the Wolves only went down by a measly 3 points (and may well have snatched the victory had the ref not decided that he wasn’t “having fun” and there for ended the match some 5 minutes early) to a team that is running 2nd on the ladder and will probably challenge for the title.

And the closeness of the result was not down to Harlequins playing poorly. Far from it, it was more down to the Wolves flare, daring and, above all, tenacity.

And that bodes well for the future. WHEN the Wolves get a stronger, more settled team onto the pitch the Wolves will know, for sure, that they have what it takes to tangle with the best…… Harlequins 22 – Merrylands 19


25/7/15 Merrylands vs Beecroft

2nd Grade

So as of kick off today Beecroft 2’s were undefeated. To be honest nobody had gotten anywhere near them. Merrylands 2’s, though running in 2nd place on the ladder, had in fact lost 3 games and had some close calls in more than a few of the ones they’d won.

Merrylands 2’s were without a s@#t load of regular players including Tanga Wakeford, Maena, Willie Wedlock, Jye Heyes and Jose “Bladwell” Frias. Coach Ben, on his drive over to Beecroft, was a little concerned numbers would be a little hard to come by. Five minutes before kick-off Coach Ben was more than a little worried about numbers. A quick look around the Merrylands “warm up area” revealed the Wolves had exactly 16 players, with at least 5 or 6 of these being first graders.

Coach Ben hit the panic button.

Ben told all his available 1st graders to suit up and a pretty slap together side, with flankers and second rowers in the backline, was sent out to try and pull a rabbit out of their hats.

All this is to say that a punter, with even half a brain I his head, would’ve put the house on Beecroft winning.

And the first 25 – 30 minutes of the game would have had that punter grinning from ear to ear.

Beecroft scored off the kick-off. They regathered their own short kick off, put the ball threw a few phases and about a dozen sets of hands and dotted the ball down under the posts. From the re-start they almost did it again, catching the Wolves Napping out wide and almost sending their winger over if not for an amazing defensive effort from little Mike Poto.

But despite Mike’s heroics the reprieve was short lived as Beecroft crossed for their second try of the game. 15 minutes in and Beecroft were 10 points in front. Something had to be done. Captain Nicko could see that the one places the Wolves probably had an advantage was in the size and make up of their forward pack. The Wolves had a biggish, aggressive pack. Nicko decided that for what was left of the half the Wolves would keep the ball in the forwards.

And it worked.

The Wolves pushed Beecroft down field with wave after wave of forward pick-n-go and some bone crunching hit ups from the likes of Big James Tuitama and Pat “don’t make me laugh” Crombie. The sudden draught of possession led Beecroft to panic a little and soon they had given away a few penalties that had the Wolves rooted in the Beecroft 22.

And before long the Wolves were on the score sheet. Captain Nicko threw a perfect dummy, pushed in behind the Beecroft defence before feeding the ball to Lima who crashed over just to the left of the posts.

The second half of today’s game is a classic example of what disciplined, old fashioned possession rugby can do to fast moving young teams. The Wolves stuck to their guns, utilising loads and loads of forward charges. Players such as Big James, Ben Davis, Luke “the winder” Schofield and Jason Fulwood relentlessly took the ball up to Beecroft, sucking them in to playing the match the way the Wolves wanted to play and sapping their resolve.

Even when Beecroft had the ball they seemed unable to play with the sort of energy they had in the opening exchanges and where, for the most part, easily turned away time and again but the Wolves defence. So much so that the first time they got anywhere near the Wolves line they opted for a 3 point penalty rather than go for the jugular.

And it would prove costly.

There was a feeling throughout the Wolves team that they could pull this one out of the fire and with only 10 or so minutes remaining the Wolves chance came.

The Wolves backs won a penalty that saw Merrylands carry the play inside Beecroft’s 22. From the ensuing lineout the Wolves pounded on the Beecroft line with several players going very close to crossing. It looked for all money like the Wolves forwards would eventually crash through but Captain Nick had spied that all this forward attack had left Beecroft a little thin out wide and soon the little general had the ball sailing wide to a flying Big Tuitama who brushed off two would be defenders to crash over the line.

Nicko than stepped up and slotted the extras. The score was 15 – 12 Beecrofts way.

With only a few minutes left Beecroft were not interested in trying to put the game to bed by scoring again, instead they kicked long and hoped to hold the Wolves at bay. But the tactic simply gave the Wolves the ball back with time to muster the troops for one last charge.

Bang, bang, bang the Wolves forwards through Little James Mac, Big James Tuitama and Lima 1,2,3ed the Beecroft defence and had them rolling backwoods. Quick ruck ball found VJ who fed Big Tuitama, carrying the Wolves almost to the half way line. Another 1,2,3 from the Wolves forwards had Lima off-loading to Nicko who turned the ball back inside to a flying Puy and the Slick Samoan Super star took off downfield, running 50 meters untouched to give the Wolves the win.

Big Ups to Big Tuitama for helping out today. Big had a great game and was exactly what the Wolves needed. Also big ups to all the 1st graders that filled in….Merrylands

1st Grade

The Wolves got fairly hammered today.

But from a club perspective there was a lot to be proud of.

Plenty of 1st graders did what they had to to make sure 2nd grade had enough players while several guys such as Puy, Ben, James, Luke, Todd and Salvo all played out of position without any complaints.

Brave effort today.


11/7/15 Merrylands vs Briars

1st grade and 2nd grade

“I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat. We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long hours of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: Victory.”

Winston Churchill 1940

Today’s two wins (amazingly enough both 27 to 24) were victories that will long be spoken of in the blood and beer soaked bars and backrooms of the Coolibah Hotel and the greater Holroyd District. This week the Wolves truly had their backs to the wall. The list of unavailable players was both long and, most worryingly, filled with talent.

The likes of Levi Sciascia, Tanga Wakeford, Tane Hea, Willi Wedlock, Jake Moses, Beau Moses, Nash Steward, Levi Burgess, Sticky, Bicks Hicks, Simon “who’ll look after me” Porter, Rey “I’m looking after Simon” Akbar and Mike Poto were all out of action. Add to that several players, such as James Burgess and John Eliu, that Coach Kev, Captain Nicko and Captain Ben knew would be running late and it’s pretty easy to forgive the Wolves management for being worried.

In all situations Coach Ben and Coach Kev try to manifest a calm and positive front. Whether the Wolves are playing well and have plenty of men to throw into the fray or they’re playing like lost children and are all out of troops, Ben and Kev like to let the players concentrate on playing while Kev and Ben worry themselves into an early grave about where the hell they’re gunna find another front rower.

But with 10 minutes until kick off of second grade, even a blind downy didn’t need a calculator to see the Wolves player numbers just didn’t add up.

So Coach Ben and Coach Kev dropped the cool demeanour and levelled with the playing group. Kev told the players present that today was gunna be a long one and that all he could ask was that each man gives all he has got. Ben announced to his soldiers that they may be asked to play more than one game and that they may be asked to play positions they’d never dreamed they’d play in.

And to a man they responded with a rebel yell that would put Billy Idol to shame.

As is evident from the score lines (both were 27 – 24) each game was a see-sawing affair. In both fixtures Briars took the field with an air of menacing calm while, to be brutally honest, the Wolves looked like there had been a terrible mistake and they were actually looking for the local AFL club.

But in both games the Wolves took the opening couple of shots on the chin, looked at his fellow Wolf and went straight back over the top. All day the Wolves never let Briars score a try without scoring one back themselves and the harder and harder each contest became the more Briars seemed to go into their shells, hoping form or maybe their better players would win the day.

In response the Wolves simply hit harder or scrapped with more venom. The Wolves seemed to go into a primitive form of wild blood lust, feeding off Briars uncertainty and their own desire to see fear in their enemy’s eyes.

And when the final whistle blew and the days rugby was over the Wolves could look around at each man and be proud. Each Wolf looked at his fellow Wolves and knew they were all equal, they had stood on the edge of the abyss, stared death herself in the face, and laughed.

There are way too many special performances today to mention them all.

But there were a few extra special ones.

Props are big men, they need to be. Being big men means trying to make every ruck or cover lots of ground in a game isn’t a great idea. The secret to being a great front rower is timing. Great front rowers conserve their energy as best they can and when they get the chance to use their power they explode into the play and make as a big an impact as possible. It all about timing.

James Tuitama is a prop and James has timing. He also has power and some wicked foot work. Today James was voted best player by his fellow Wolves. He folded Briars scrum and crushed some of their biggest men in defence. Some of James’s ball running today was particularly devastating. On several occasions James slammed into the Briars line and completely buckled and broke them, sending numerous would-be tacklers literally flying. On at least two separate occasions James running directly lead to a Wolves try.

New guy Ty came down with the injured Tane Hea and was hoping to get a “bit of a run” . But as anyone that has ever been within ear shot of a subbies rugby club knows, as soon as you mention you can prop, your chance of just getting “a bit of a run” go out the window. Ty ended up playing all of second grade. In the opening 20 or so minutes he was alive and useful, making a few solid tackles and carrying the ball well. But then, as is more than understandable, Ty ran out of juice and asked to be taken off. Coach Ben laughed at the big guy and told him “I don’t care if you simply stand still for the rest of the game. So long as you hold up one side of the scrum I’ll be happy” to which Ty replied “OK”

Manny is a great number 8. He hits f@#kn hard and plays with plenty of smarts. Today Manny was asked to play wing, centre, number 8 and second row at different times in both grades. Manny, like Ty, simply responded “OK”

The same kind of silly request was put to Pat Cromie by Coach Kev and Pat gave Coach Kev the same response Ty and Manny gave. “OK”

Finally big ups to Con Brown and Josh WiKohika for heeding the very late call of the Wolves and turning up ready to roll. And rolling on through all of first grade without a word of protest.

Awesome lads……Merrylands 27 – Briars 24


4/7/15 Merrylands vs Blacktown

2nd grade

Ms P Day!!!!

Yea yea yea!!!!

Ms P Day usually means a lot of past players turn up with boots in hand hoping for a run and this year was no exception.

This year’s list of blow ins included Joe Ngawini, Joel Petiloski, Daniel Padini and Richie Ngawini and a bunch of his league playing mates. Coach Ben resisted the urge to put too many blow ins in the starting team, instead opting to keep the unusual on what was, a damn impressive bench.

The team that ran out was pretty settled with the likes of Mana, Willi Wed, Nicko, Jean Fast, Jason Fulwood, Jose “the New Kenny?” Frias and Big Lima all took their regular places.

But despite the loads of talent the Wolves had at their disposal it was Blacktown that dominated the first half. Blacktown have a very big forward pack. In fact 6 of their starting 8 looked well in excess of 120kg’s. Now obviously a team like this has it’s negatives. If you tackle them low and make them get up off the ground plenty they’ll run out of puff.

But the Wolves didn’t do that.

If you play disciplined footy and make them work for every meter they’ll run out of puff.

But the Wolves didn’t do that.

And when you’ve got the ball you should try and keep hold of it for as long as you can so they run out of puff.

But the Wolves didn’t do that either.

Instead Merrylands 2’s got sucked into playing Blacktown’s game. They gave away a s@#t loads of penalties, they insisted on getting into wrestling matches with their big boppers and when they did finally get their hands on the ball the Wolves collectively decided panicked, airy fairy type rugby was the order of the days. The end result of all this was plenty of possession and territory for Btown and a 14 to 5 score line in the oppositions favour.

Captain Nicko and Coach Ben let all the Wolves 2’s know what went wrong, made a few personal changes and sent the troops out to right the first half’s wrongs.

And BOOM! What a result.

The Wolves fired almost instantly with Willi Wedlock and Young Pat combining to have the Wolves marching up the field and inside Btowns 22. From there Nicko “unleashed hell” with Mana and then Richie crossing in quick succession.

In fact for the next 25 minutes Holroyd Sports ground resembled a killing field as the Wolves laid on try after try after try and Btowns big boys struggled to keep up with the pace and accuracy of the Wolves. Mana was particularly outstanding, completing a second half hat trick while substitute flanker Richie Ngawini crossed twice as the fired up Wolves barley put a foot wrong. The avalanche of tries slowed toward the end of the match but all in all the Wolves 2’s more than held up their end of the bargain, getting the Ms P Day celebrations off to an awesome start.

There were plenty of mentionable performances this week. As stated above Mana had a near faultless game, crossing for 3 tries and tackling like an animal. Jose Frias continues to get better and better each week. The big Philo put in a Kenny Bladwell type performance today. He read the game like a seasoned pro running hard when he needed to, tackling low when the fat came his way and, most impressively, throwing quality offloads and long balls to provide a link between the barnstorming forward pack and the fast finishing backline.

James Burgess continues to defy the years, putting in another solid performance with plenty of carries and some much needed talk.

And Nicko played like Nicko. He was calm, deliberate and, most importantly, effective.

Also big ups go out to Micky P, Daena and James Mac for filling in the front row…..Merrylands 42 – Blacktown 25

1st grade

As has become customary on Ms P Day, the side that ran out for 1st grade today was pretty damn good. In the forwards the backrow was filled by Puy, Luke and Briggs. These three have now got about 4 or 5 games together under their belts. And as a unit they are becoming more and more potent every week. Balance is a much over looked but extremely important quality to have in a rugby team, especially in the back row. Puy is a fast, aggressive ball runner that puts plenty of pressure on the ball carrier. Luke is a fast moving, tackling machine and Briggs lays somewhere in the middle. He’s capable of a big hit, he carries the ball well and rarely misses a chance to get over the top of opposition ball. All in all a very balanced outfit.

Today’s backline was probably the best the Wolves have put on the park all year. Todd and Joe where the halves, VJ and Eddie where the centres and Slangy, Salvo and Nash took up the back three positions.

But, as was the case in second grade, the Wolves started far slower than Blacktown, taking a little over 35 minutes to get on to the scoreboard, by which time the Btown Warriors, having enjoyed all the territory and possession, where two tries to the good.

But on a day like today 12 points was never going to be enough. The Wolves took the half time break to adjust their game plan and refocus their attack. The Merrylands Brains Trust (Ben and Kev) wanted to concentrate on playing fast, expansive rugby to try and exploit the Wolves speed men (Nash, Salvo and Slangy) and run the huge Blacktown pack ragged.

Pretty much every player responded to the occasion and Kev’s choice words as the Wolves laid on one of their most impressive halves of footy in a long time.

Early in the second half the Wolves forwards put the ball through a couple of sets of hands to get Daena “Anywhere Anytime” Heta skipping down field and well into Blacktown’s half. A signature, if somewhat rare this year, Todd Parsons dummy from the ensuing ruck had the Original Aboriginal carrying the ball to within 20 meters of the line. The Btown defence was stretched and there were holes aplenty. Sharpe hands from prop/hooker/fly half/inside centre VJ soon had Big Joe barrelling down the left hand touch line and crossing for the Wolves 2nd try of the match. Briggs slotted the conversion and the Wolves were in front.

The game than settled into a bit of to-and-fro for several minutes but the Wolves always seemed to have the edge. Finally Merrylands chance came when Blacktown gave away a silly penalty on half way and Nash Steward sent the ball over the touch line well inside Blacktown’s 22. The Wolves won the ensuing lineout and sent several phases of play crashing toward the line before a slight knock on at the base of the ruck saw possession handed back to Blacktown.

But Captain Ben wasn’t ready to let the chance go just yet.

Blacktown had a far bigger pack then the Wolves and until this point the front row of Daena, Micky P and Bicks had been struggling to hold onto their own ball. But Captain Ben had sensed a little complacency in the Blacktown forwards and while the scrums where coming together, just a few meters short from the Blacktown line, Ben quietly whispered in his tight fives ears that they might be able to pinch this one and that everyone should put on a big shove.

And pinch it they did.

The Wolves rolled straight over the Blacktown scrum and after one or two phases, Big Joe came absolutely f@#kn screaming onto a lovely short ball from VJ and crashed over the line to give the Wolves a 9 point buffer.

The Wolves could smell blood. And Blacktown where fading. Fast.

The  kick off was gathered up by Luke “hey if I step I can go around players” Schofiled who beat one or two and allowed Captain Ben to scoop up quick ruck ball, palm off a couple of retreating Btown forwards and gallop 30 odd meters down field before offloading to Daena, who carried the ball another 10. Captain Ben was first to the ruck and, despite pretty much all 15 Merrylands players on the pitch yelling for the ball, he calmly guarded the ruck and told replacement half Nicko not to panic. Nicko is as cool as they come and he soon had the ball sailing through 2 sets of hands before it found a flying Eddie Hae who carried 4 or 5 defenders over the line to put the Wolves out of reach.

There are plenty of big ups that need to go out for today’s match.

Little Mike Slangy only arrived in Aussie a few months ago (from Samoa) and so far has had a pretty unlucky run on the rugby pitch. He has seen very little ball out on the second grade wing and was wrongfully accused of throwing a punch and suspended for a game. But despite all that Coach Ben thought he saw some talent in the little guy and put him on the wing for his first start in first grade. And the he didn’t disappoint. In fact he was voted players player. He had an absolutely faultless match at the back, combining with Nash Steward, to put a hex on Blacktown’s territorial kicking game. He threw himself into every tackle and chased every ball as if his life depended on it. And he was rewarded for his efforts with one of the best, long range tires you’re ever likely to see at this level.

The Wolves forwards were massively outweighed today. But the Wolves never took a backwoods step and by the end of the game were decidedly bullying the Btown forwards. Mat Briggs and James Mac were especially impressive.

Also big ups, again, to Micky P, Ben Davis, Daena Heta and VJ for backing up and playing front row……Merrylands 28 – Blacktown 12


27/6/15 Merrylands vs Sydney Irish

1st & 2nd Grade

The Wolves lost both grades on Saturday.

They really should’ve won both grades on Saturday.

Right across the park, in both grades, the Wolves were far more talented and far more aggressive then Sydney Irish. But the two losses from Saturday are a direct result of a lack of preparation. That is to say, inconsistent numbers at training.

Irish play simple rugby. They kick the shite out of the ball, chase hard and then use their well worked scrum and lineout to try and get the ball back. The Wolves employed the right tactic in both grades to counter this type of rugby, that is they kept the ball in hand and ran at them, but alas the Wolves made a few too many mistakes and without the solid bases that comes from solid regular training, Merrylands found themselves unable to get out of trouble or get through periods when the momentum shifted Irish’s way.

The result in 1st grade in particular, is one which should have Captain Ben and Coach Kev day dreaming about what might’ve been. Irish are well and truly in the top 4 and should be there at the pointy end of the season. They are clearly a very well drilled side and do the simple things right. And yet the Wolves with little training, no recognised front rowers and an abysmal performance in the 2nd half, still only came up 6 points short. And were coming home faster than Irish.

2nd grade are perhaps victims of their own early season success. In the first 4 or 5 games of the season the Wolves 2’s were crushing all before them. It seemed as if nothing could stop them. But as often happens in this situation complacency has crept in. A few players have gone missing here and there and at times the Wolves 2’s seem a little guilty of waiting for something to happen.

So what to do about the weekend’s results?

It is the most often uttered words by any coach at this level of rugby. GET TO TRAINING!

Bug ups this week go out to Nash Steward, Micky Parker and Daena Heta for playing both games.


13/6/15 Merrylands vs Sydney Harlequins

2nd Grade

So just over half of the Wolves 2’s starting backline was missing for today’s game. Fly half VJ was called up to first grade, fullback Jaye pulled a HEARTleig last week and hasn’t recovered while both centres Tanga Wakeford and Mana, well, went missing.

This kind of thing is reasonably common in subbies and wouldn’t usually cause Coach Ben a headache, so long as he knew it was coming. But neither Mana nor Tanga let anyone know they were going AWOL and most Wolves thought that, seeing as Jaye only stubbed his little toe, he would be back in action this week.

But alas on Saturday when Coach Ben looked around all he could see was a shit load of 2nd grade forwards and not many backs. Then the Burgess Family came to the rescue. Papa Bear James Burgess turned up at the ground with his son, regular 1st grade fullback Levi Burgess, and his two brothers, Billy and Jack. Much to Ben’s delight Billy and Jack told Ben they were happy to play anywhere in the backline Ben needed them.

So the Wolves ran out with a pretty settled forward pack and a very unsettled backline. And much to Coach Ben’s surprise the team hummed like they had been at it all year. Just not straight away. The Wolves kicked off and were on top of Harlequins in the early exchanges but, for one reason or another, the lads got frustrated and gave away a series of penalties that saw Harlequins march down the field and take first points.

The opening set back, though annoying, was exactly what the lads need to focus them. Behind the posts Captain Nicko told the boys to pull their heads in and soon the Wolves forwards were punching hard and fast around the ruck, James “Papa Bear” Burgess was particularly impressive, and giving their new look backline plenty of ball and room. And they didn’t disappoint.

Fly half Billy Burgess (probably the best rugby player name since Todd Blackadder) plays a straight running, simple kind of game and soon the type of room this afforded his backline was paying dividends with Salvation sliding through to open the Wolves scoring.

Then almost straight off the kick off the Wolves repeated the dose, with a wide running Willi Wedlock crossing for a 5 pointer. And then Merrylands did it again. A fast hard hitting 1, 2, 3 from the forwards, one or two passes wide and Jack Burgess was over.

The flow of points slowed down a little as the half came to an end but the Wolves were well in front and looked to be all over Harlequins. But looks can be deceiving. The Wolves struggled to maintain the break neck speed they were playing with and kind of went to sleep, allowing Harlequins to score two quick tries and put the pressure back on the Wolves.

But as they did in the first half the Wolves responded well. They got back to playing hard hitting, direct rugby and soon were back on the front foot. It took the Wolves until 10 minutes or so before the end of the match to break through for their fourth try but when they did the flood gates opened. And it was El Presidente Jason Fulwood that got the ball rolling. The Wolves had been parked inside the Harlequins 22 for several minutes and were pounding their line. Our Fearless Leader got the ball off a short pass from Captain Nicko and shrugged off a couple of tacklers to crash over next to the posts. From there the Wolves crossed for two more, one to Jean Fast and another for Salvation to close out the game.

Big ups for today’s game go to Daena Heta and Micky Parker for stepping into the front row at short notice. And again big thanks go out to the Burgess family for their 11th hour heroics……..Merrylands 41 – Harlequins 19

1st Grade

This year the Wolves 1st grade are having more ups and downs than a slab of Devon on a pre-season country trip. After fairly giving it to Rouse Hill last week the Wolves were unable to back it up with another solid performance this week. The Wolves had their moments and could easily have gotten away with a victory but instead they lost their discipline and lost their heads at crucial times and Sydney were good enough to make the Wolves pay.

Like 2nd grade, the Wolves 1’s got off to a shitty start, allowing Harlequins to cross for two easy tries within the first 10 minutes. And just like second grade the Wolves picked themselves up, got back to playing simple, aggressive rugby and got themselves back into the match. Merrylands managed to hold Quins scoreless for the rest of the first half and cross for two of their own, one to Tini and one to Benjamin of Davis, to go to the break all squared up.

During the half time break Coach Kev gave the Wolves one simple instruction: Keep the ball in hand. Quins were reasonably quick to get frustrated and throughout the first half, whenever the Wolves held onto possession for more than 4 or so phases, Harlequins would give away a penalty. Kev knew that all the Wolves needed to do was be patient and the points would come.

But alas the Wolves could only follow Kev’s instructions for 15 or so minutes, and when they couldn’t any longer, the game was all but over for the boys in Black and Yellow.

Approximately 5 top line front rowers made themselves unavailable for the last few weeks. Some have been away travelling, some have been suspended and some have just gone missing. As such the Wolves went into the match with the very inexperienced front row of James Macklin, Mick Parker and Daena Heta. Early in the first half Harlequins were awarded a few penalties in quick succession and set up camp inside the Wolves 22. The Wolves defended was passion, desperation, aggression and cunning for a good 15 or so minutes but in the end Merrylands inability to win their own scrum ball took its toll and Harlequins crossed to put themselves in front.

The Wolves were desperate not to let Qunis get away and from the kick off through everything they could muster at them. But the desperation, as admirable as it was, gifted Quins a couple of simple opportunities and before the Wolves knew it the game was out of reach. Yet as they did earlier in the match, the Wolves pulled in back together and crossed for a brilliant, if somewhat fruitless, try in the dying minutes of the match.

Captain Ben and Coach Kev have said it before but today really showed that if the Wolves keep their discipline and channel their aggression they can beat any team in the comp. Oh and they also need to get some stronger front rowers back.

Big ups go out to Daena, Mick, Jim and James for their efforts front rowing today. It wasn’t an easy day but the four of them offered no complaint…..Merrylands 21 – Harlequins 33


6/6/15 Merrylands vs Rouse Hill

1st Grade

So this was a make up for the match that was abandoned way back in round one when one of the Rouse Hill behemoths tried to make his leg run in a different direction to his body.

As this was a makeup game it was played on a weekend when there usually is no rugby, the Queen’s Birthday long weekend. Being that it was a long weekend there were plenty of regular first graders unavailable, like Levi Sciascia, Bicks “the mad butcher’ Hicks, Mathew “Ripped Tit” Briggs, Todd “the Missing Rhino” Parsons, Simon “Can’t score” Porter, Rey “Cant score even less” Akerbaha and Levi Burgess.

Given the silly length of that list there won’t be a complete run down of who took who’s position, instead we’ll just mention a few of the more interesting selections.

In the backs regular 2nd grade half back Nicko made his first grade debut for Merrylands, at 10. V.J took a step forward in his dream of playing every single position for Merrylands by starting today’s match at 12. Jaye “the two minute wonder” Hanes took one wing spot with Salvation on the other. The apparently retired Nash Steward made his 4 appearance for the Wolves this year, back in his familiar fullback spot.

In the forwards Puy finally got to start a match in his favoured flanking position. But probably the raddest selection of the day was James “the house cleaning Polar Bear on a bicycle” Macklin followed his old man, Pete Macklin, and made his long spoken of, much anticipated move to the front row. Starting the game wearing #1.

And so to the game. The Wolves looked a little shaky at the start of the match. Merrylands kicked off but failed to pressure or put down the catcher, allowing the big Rouse Hill #8 to run a good 25 meters before being pulled down. A few more fast Rouse hill rucks had Merrylands looking a little iffy but Luke Schofield and Puy combined to get the Wolves out of trouble, with Luke pulling off one of his trademark low, hard tackles as Puy came over the top and easily stole the ball for the Wolves.

And then Merrylands exploded.

Half back Tim French sent a few willing Wolves forwards crashing into the Rouse Hill D line, well and truly getting Merrylands onto the front foot. The ball was quickly flung wide were both Tini and Puy found plenty of space to get the Wolves well into Rouse Hills half. One or two more boring forward plays and the ball was slung wide were V.J found himself in possession with 1 Rouse Hill defender in reach and 2 Merrylands players on his outside. Common sense would tell most players to draw and pass but V.J isn’t common or sensible and instead Mr Versatile chipped ahead were, some would say luckily, a flying Jaye Hanes scooped it up and scored.

Merrylands seemed more committed and more focused then their Rouse Hill counterparts who, it seemed, couldn’t decide what style of rugby they wanted to play. One second Rouse Hill were fanning out and trying to cover the Wolves and the next minute they were trying to hold up Merrylands and spoil. In response, straight from the kick off, the Wolves forwards played no fuss, direct, powerful rugby. The Wolves picked-n-drived-n-hit upped their way right over Rouse Hill and marched back down field were, soon enough Nicko had his backline sliding through Rouse Hills. Almost at will. It was Eddie Hae that benefitted this time, crossing just to the right of the uprights.

It seemed for all money that the Wolves were on their way to a big total and that all Rouse hill could do was complain to the ref (almost constantly) and argue amongst themselves. But as often happens when a tea, is running rampant the Wolves lost their way in the excitement. Merrylands over committed to an attacking raid and before they could readjust Rouse Hill had broken the Wolves out wide and the renegades winger was racing away to score under the posts.

So was this the type of game the Wolves fans had on their plate, was it gunna be a see-sawing shitty defence type game? No. Sure the Wolves took their foot on and off the accelerator at different times and there were fleeting periods where Rouse Hill showed why they currently sit 3 places ahead of Merrylands on the ladder, but all in all Merrylands were on top throughout the game and never looked like being troubled.

Though the Wolves backs scored the majority of Merrylands points today, the domination was really achieved in the forwards. Rouse Hill have a big forward pack, easily bigger than the Wolves, but today they made to look like dear in the headlights. The Wolves relentless powerful tight play starved Rouse Hill of possession and what possession they did get was, for the part, given to them deep in their own half.

There was barley a Wolf forward that had a bad game. Micky Parker threw lineouts and hooked scrums like he’d been at it for years, Arana Rissetto was at his consistent, calm best. Big Daddy James Tinifu was effective and menacing and Puy was an absolute killer, in fact in his first full game on the side of the Wolves first grade scrum, he was easily voted player.

Clearly Rouse Hill’s most effective player was their number 8. He was big, had a strong fend and a decent step, for a big guy. Though he didn’t make a lot of forward progress himself, he did draw in plenty of defenders and afforded the people around him plenty of room. That was until Manny got to him. The Rouse Hill number 8 got fed an offload and, with the Wolves defence on the back foot the big guy decided to charge straight ahead for the first time in the game. Unfortunately for him he aimed straight at Manny. Manny whacked him, he whacked him an absolute beauty and, as is often the case with big bullies, the Rouse Hill #8 went to water was pretty much absent for the rest of the game.

There were a couple of notable performances/appearances in the backline. Nicko had a solid game at #10 in his Merrylands first grade debut. He made almost no mistakes, running when it was needed, passing when it was on and kicking when the Wolves needed a break.

Nash Steward who, as previously mentioned, is supposedly retired showed why many long time Merrylandiens consider him one of the best players to ever pull on a Wolves jersey. He came on after only a few minutes and slotted into his regular fullback position. And he carved up. He scored a try, set a few more, never missed a tackle and made all the right moves whenever Rouse Hill tried to kick themselves out of trouble.

But the biggest chur of the day goes to James Macklin. Sure he cleans his own house in a French maids outfit and often misses games to pursue his second love, tandem bike riding, but today the big guy stepped up and played a full eighty minutes at loose head prop. For those of you that know nothing about rugby, prop is very difficult to play, especially without experience or training. For those of you that don’t know anything about James he has never ever played front row before. And the big guy did more than just hold up the scrum. He won a scrum against the feed and, in general play, got around the pitch like he was wearing his usual #8 jersey. Well done James you big sexy Polar Bear…… Merrylands 32 – Rouse Hill 12


30/5/15 Merrylands vs Beecroft

1st grade and 2nd grade

Move along folks, nothing to see here….

Actually big thanks to Salvation and Manny for backing up and playing plenty of first grade. Big big thanks to V.J who stepped in from playing second grade 5/8 to playing first grade front row.


23/515 Merrylands vs Briars

2nd grade

So the Wolves 2’s had their first loss of the season today. It was a close one and the Wolves had their chances to put the match to bed, but in the end the Wolves 2’s came up a little short.  So what can be taken from today’s match?

What lessons can the Wolves learn from today’s action?

Well plenty.

The Wolves had a near full strength side on the paddock, with the only notable absentee being regular fullback/centre Tanga Wakeford, with his place being taken by Salvation. Most of the better teams the Wolves 2’s have played this year have been the kick-chase-pressure type sides and Briars well and truly fell into this category. When the Wolves have faced this kind of opposition in the past they’ve shown plenty of skill and grit and have been able to soak up pressure and then explode all over their oppositions faces once the chance arose.

Today Briars simply didn’t make enough mistakes. And when they did the Wolves weren’t good enough, often enough, to take points. The best way the Wolves can ensure this result doesn’t happen again is to impose themselves on their opposition and not simply wait for the chances to come. And it should be obvious to anyone that has watched a few 2nds games this year that the Wolves clearly have the ability to play aggressive, front foot, imposing rugby.

Despite the loss several players had outstanding games today. Willi Wedlock has consistently been the Wolves forwards best runner had another crushing game today. Jose Frias has been the unsung hero in the 2’s pack. Today he was busy, tackled well and provided a quality link between forwards and backs.

In the backline Salvation was the definite standout. He may only be 80 odd kg’s but he runs like he is double that weight and is probably one of the quickest guys in the club. Today he gave Briars plenty of headaches and, if he can consistently get to training, will surely become a regular starter…..Merrylands  19 – Briars 22

1st grade

This week’s first grade team was a bit of a mixed bag. Maybe half the squad are now very much regulars in their positions and the other half were either reshuffled or making their debut.

One of the more interesting reshuffle selections was Daena Boilup slotting in to tight head prop. In the dying minutes of last week’s game against a monster Blacktown pack, Daena made the stupid mistake of saying he’d have a go at tight head prop. He then went and made the even biggera mistake of doing it well. So, despite protesting that the propping effort against Blacktown was a one off, Danea started today’s game in the number 3 jersey.

In other reshuffle news Bicks Hicks’ dreams finally came true as the big Fijian was put back in his beloved #8 roll, Micky Parker continued his transformation into a hooker and Todd “No Party Pig till the relos are gone” Parsons moved from fly half to inside centre.

Sticky started with Merrylands this year. He is a regular at training and always makes himself available to bench for first grade. In fact Sticky has gotten at least a few minutes in every first grade game this year. From the first time Captain Ben and Coach Kev saw and heard Sticky play they knew they wanted him in the top side. Sticky plays like a boss. He is big, strong and confident. He has soft hands and, most impressive of all, he is a natural leader. He lets everyone around him know exactly what he wants and all ways has something short and smart to say when the Wolves losses their way.

And, just as Ben and Kev suspected, Sticky’s natural game suited the Wolves and immediately paid dividends.

Straight from the opening kick-off, Mathew “who wants a try?” Briggs made one of the shittest plays ever seen on a rugby pitch. Briars put the kick off long and straight down the field. Briggs took the catch under no pressure and with plenty of time. He ran a few meters forward then slid across field, just as the defence got to him, and attempted to throw a long ball wide to Todd Parsons. Attempted being the operative word because the second the ball left Briggs hand Briars trendy beared #13 intercepted the ball and ran 20 meters to score, untouched.

So without having made a single tackle or been in a single ruck the Wolves found themselves 7 points down. Behind the gaol line, as the Wolves waited for the conversion, there was a mixture of feelings toward Briggs and his shit red head. Some players thought it was pretty funny and some players wanted to kick Briggs right in his ugly, shit red ball sack.

But Sticky gave the Wolves a serious look and insisted the Wolves come with him as was going back up field to extract revenge.

And the Wolves did, with plenty of input from the red headed villain himself, Mathew Briggs.

The Wolves chased the kick off hard and after a few vicious rucks managed to get the ball back off Briars. The Wolves then employed their semi-famous pick and go and soon had Briars under loads of pressure. Some quick ball allowed Sticky to throw a perfect longish ball to a fast moving Briggs who, on a widish blindside, beat several defenders before popping a pass to new guy Jean. Jean sped on a few more meters before throwing the final pass to a still backing up Mathew Briggs who shuffled over the line untouched.

Briggs then slotted the conversion from almost the sideline to bring the scores back to level.

Briars play classic expansive rugby. Wether in attack or defence they commit as few players as possible to the breakdown, instead trying to move the ball quickly to pods of wide standing forwards, who then attempt to recycle possession quickly to allow their backs to try and work overlaps. This style of rugby works very well when it is down very well. Unfortunately for Briars they weren’t able to do it very well.

The Wolves, who play a more traditional tight forwards-wide running backs type game, found messing with the Briars ruck and maul pretty easy and were often able to pilfer the ball or at least slow it down. And when Briars did get the ball out their point of attack was always pretty obvious and so the Wolves had no real problem with shutting them down.

For the rest of the half the Wolves were all over Briars and managed to cross for two more tries, one more to Mat Briggs and one to new guy Jean. But Briars kept themselves in the game by getting several mysterious calls from the ref and benefitting from a long kick that fortuitously bounced perfectly for their #14 who had made a half break and simply booted the ball down field.

So at half time the Wolves were 19 points to 12 up. Captain Ben and Coach Kev simply told the boys they had done very little wrong and that if they kept playing direct, aggressive rugby, Briars luck would run dry and the Wolves would post their second win of the season.

But alas the rugby gods (i.e the ref) had other plans. Merrylands pretty much didn’t get out of their own half for the entire second period. In fact they spent a very large portion of it inside their own 22 defending confusing penalty after confusing penalty, stopping rolling mauls and cutting down fast moving backs right at the last second. Every time the Wolves looked like they had caught some luck or made a quick break and ran up field, they would either make simple errors and hand the ball back to Briars or run afoul of the refs idea of rugby rules and find themselves right back on their own line, tackling.

But in a proud display the Wolves hung in. They didn’t lose their cool with the ref and they never let Briars attack rattle them, making plenty of smart reads and tackling with purpose and determination. No matter what Briars came up with the Wolves had an answer and after 40 of the most gruelling rugby the Wolves have played this year, the ref blew full time with the scoreboard unchanged from half time. Victory!

There are a few guys that deserve a special mention today.

Rey Ackerbahaha claims he isn’t a winger but today he played like a good one. He may not have scored a try but he made several last ditch, desperate tackles and was on hand on several occasions to speedily and effectively run the Wolves out of trouble. Most importantly whenever Rey did make a break or a long run he didn’t panic or get too excited. He didn’t try and chip the ball ahead and hope for luck to go his way. He was aware that all the defending the Wolves forwards were being called on to do was wearing them down and so was happy to simply make as much ground as he could and be bundled into touch where he would hold on to the ball, soaking up time and allowing the Wolves forwards to walk to the lineout.

Mathew Briggs has had an up and down season and a few seconds after kick off today it looked like he was on another downer. But the big wog got angry and bounced back and in the end was voted players player………Merrylands 19 – Briars 12


Merrylands vs Blacktown 16/5/15

2nd Grade

As Bob Dylan once sang “that son of a bitch is brave and getting braver”

The Wolves 2nd grade keeps winning and they’re getting better and better each week. This week the Wolves showed they can be versatile and patient as well as powerful and aggressive.

In the 3 games up till this week the Wolves were able to play their natural power game and simply outscore their opponents. This week they were faced with an opposition that was just as big and just as scary as them. So rather than get into a violent, body bruising type of contest Merrylands chose to outsmart their opponents.

Blacktown 2’s are a quality side. They are big and powerful and know how to hold onto the ball. But like all big teams they are little lacking in the fitness (and tactical) side of rugby. Captain Tanga knew that trying to out muscle Blacktown was a 50/50 call and so called on his troops to be patient, tackle hard an often, kick long and wait for opportunities to raise their heads.

Although the score line may suggest that it was a pretty close fight, in reality the Wolves were in control from the opening whistle. The forwards more than matched their bigger, uglier opponents and the Wolves backs were simply too fast and too slick for the somewhat overweight Blacktown backline.

Nicko and Sticky, playing in their now very regular 9 and 10 positions were absolutely instrumental in today’s win. Nicko tackled like a flanker and kept his forwards revved up while Sticky made all the right moves, kicking well when it was called for, running hard when he needed to and, most importantly, feed his outside backs with fast, efficient ball.

And speaking of outside backs, today the Wolves 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15 were magical. The 2’s backline has been pretty much the same for the last 3 games and the cohesion and familiarity that goes with plenty of time on the pitch together was on show today. The lads regularly turned solid defence into blistering attack, launching one long range raid after another. One such raid saw the ball move quickly wide through Tanga Wakeford and into the hands of Jaye Hanes, some 80 meters from the try line. Jaye then took off down the touch line, beating a couple of defenders before chipping the ball back infield where it was picked up by the ever reliable Mana Smith. Mana made another 20 or so meters before throwing an over shoulder pass back to Jaye who raced the last 20 meters, fist in the air, to dot down under the posts.

Quality performance all round…….Merrylands 26 – Blacktown 22


9/5/15 Merrylands vs Macquarie Uni

2nd Grade

Things are beginning to settle down at the Wolves. With the club now fielding two teams and a whole load of new players the start of the year was always going to be hectic. But things are beginning to settle down and the core of two pretty strong teams is becoming more and more obvious each week.

Coach Ben was able to name a pretty settled forward pack. The Moses Bro’s, Micky Parker, Jose Frias and El Presidente Fulwood all took up their regular positions in the tight five while in the back row, regulars James Burgess and William Z were joined by Lima Smith.

In the backline the Wolves were without Tanga “I need my rest” Wakeford so Coach Kevi was forced to do a little shuffling. Levi Burgess slotted into Tanga’s vacant #13 jerseys with Jayi John moving back to fullback. The rest of the backline was pretty familiar with Ricky Chur and Drew Hammond on the wings and Nicko and Sticky in the halves.

Though the Wolves were always in control of this match, it took Merrylands the better part of 40 or so minutes to actually put the fit, young, vibrant Mac Uni kids to bed. The Wolves scored inside the first 10 minutes, with Lima Smith supporting well to crash over for his first try of the season. Straight from the kick off Jose “Not second row again” Frias took the ball cleanly, beat a couple of defenders then threw a lovely pass wide to 5/8 Sticky. The big guy made a few more meters, took the tackle and looked to set up for the next play. But alas the Wolves forwards got a little too excited about the fast start and forgot to win the ruck, with Mac Uni easily stealing possession.

And that little chain of events is kinda the story of the first half. The Wolves were all over Mac Uni and were playing some attractive flowing rugby but at other times the lads got distracted with what might happen in the next play and allowed Mac Uni to spoil. A little frustration was creeping in as half time loomed but thankfully Lima Smith, with some more of his classy backing up, was fed a nice ball by Levi Burgess and barged his way over to take the Wolves to the break 12 points in front.

And that 12 point lead was blown out to a 38 point lead in the second stanza as the Wolves got their shit together and ran riot over the hapless Mac Uni. In fact the Wolves2’s barley looked troubled. Passes were sticking, tackles were hitting and the Mac Uni lads were shitting. In the backs, Nicko and Sticky had solid, settled games with Nicko especially backing up well and running for plenty of meters.

However it was the Wolves forwards that were especially destructive. Great all round performances were put in by Big Lima Smith, Jose Frias, James Burgess, Captain Parker and Willi Z. But probably the most impressive performance of the day came from the Merrylands Fuhrer, Jason Fulwood. The El Presidente of the club pretty much didn’t play last year and had been talking about only making the odd cameo this year. But judging by today’s performance Coach Ben will be looking to Jase to turn on the magic a little more often. The leader of the tribe ran hard with the ball, tackled with real mongrel and fired the troops up well whenever the Wolves looked to be running out of puff. Imagine what the guy could do if he didn’t drink so much, came to training and actually gave a shit about playing rugby?……Merrylands 38 – Mac Uni 0

1st Grade

The Wolves 1’s have struggled to get any real consistency going as far as squad selections go this year. Several key positions such as fullback, halfback, hooker and 5/8 have seen a different player named every week. This week Coach Kev and Captain Ben were determined to name a team that they could carry into the rest of the season and start to build some combinations.

In the forwards, Chris Waverly made his first grade debut starting today’s game at hooker. Chris started at the club this year and has been showing some silky lineout throwing skills at training. With last year’s regular hooker, Blare Wallace, coming down with Ebola, gonorreha and mad cow disease all at the same time, Captain Ben was stoked to have someone that could step in pretty much seamlessly. The rest of the forwards were pretty familiar with the likes of Levi “Sleeping Beauty” Sciascia, William Hicks, Benjamin Davis, James “I want hookers to enjoy it to” Macklin, Arana “Cranky Pants” Rissetto, Mathew “Crankier Pants” Briggs and Luke “who cares” Schofield.

The backline had a few irregular faces. Daena Boilupbro made his first grade debut in the centres while the number 15 jersey was worn by Levi the Younger. The number 10 jersey was worn by the infamous Fighting Devon, Nash Steward.

Anyone familiar with the Wolves knows Nash has pretty much only ever worn #15. Up till this weekend Nash had been telling anyone that would listen (which is absolutely nobody) that he’s retired from the game and instead will be spending his time getting drunk and yelling abuse form the sideline, rather than getting drunk and yelling abuse while playing. But this week Nash knew a few players were out and so offered to pull on the boots to get 1’s through. Coach Kev’s thinking was that the team needed some consistency so rather than shuffle the backline around he would pick a backline he thought he could work with for the rest of the season an simply slot Nash into the one vacant position, fly half.

And so on with the first half, and what a massive pile of shit the half was. At least from the Wolves perspective. Pretty much everything the Wolves did was a failure. The scrum and lineout was rickety at best and broken down at worst. The backline attack was almost non-existent and the Wolves discipline was the kind of thing most 7 year old’s would be ashamed of. Even when the Wolves managed to do something right, like break a tackle or two and scramble down field or maybe steal a Mac Uni lineout, Merrylands would go out of their way to make sure the good luck didn’t last. The Wolves gave away really silly penalties, argued amongst themselves and completely threw any semblance of a game plan out the window.

About the only thing that was O.K was the Wolves defence. Sure they missed one or two but for all the territory and possession the Wolves gave Mac Uni, Merrylands only conceded one try and one penalty goal.

And so to the second half, and what a less massive (in fact kind of small) pile of shit the second half was. At half time Kev told the boys to calm down and go back to simple rugby. He told the forwards to pick-n-drive the shit out of Mac Uni and instructed the backs to keep the ball in hand and run at the Uni kids. And that’s just what they did.

And it had the desired effect.

The Wolves began to dominate possession and spent the opening 15 or so minutes inside the Mac Uni 22. Soon the pressure told and after about 27 pick-n-go attempts by the likes of Bicks, Levi, Luke and Benjamin Tim “I’m the real vice president” French took the ball off the forwards and sent it sailing through two sets of hands before it found Eddie “Joe Who?” Hae who carried a couple of defenders over the line to get the Wolves within 3 points.

Mac Uni panicked a little and tried a bit too hard, giving away an almost uncountable number of ruck penalties (that should have seen at least one of them binned) which allowed the Wolves to completely dictate territory and possession. Levi Burgess came to the club this year and has been super impressive every time he’s walked onto the pitch. In fact he’s probably been the best player across either grade. The mountain of second half territory going the Wolves way meant Mac Uni could only every really try and kick themselves out of trouble. And that meant Levi had plenty of chances to bring the ball back. The younger Levi e attacked with real menace and flair, with plenty of help from Reyhaha Akbahaha.

One such cutting run had the Wolves only a few meters from the line and after some too an fro Nash Steward took a quick tap and dived over the line untouched to the Wolves out in front.

And they stayed there for the rest of the game. Though neither side trouble the scorers again.

So it was the first won for the season for the Wolves. It wasn’t much of a win but it was a win all the same. The Wolves never looked very convincing and only really managed to put 20 or so minutes of solid play together. But Merrylands 1’s scrambled well, they niggled at Mac Uni and, in the second half at least, produced plenty of the dogged determination the Wolves have become famous for over the last few years……Merrylands 14 – Mac Uni 10


18/4/15 Merrylands vs Canterbury

2nd Grade

So the second grade team for this week was almost a completely different team from the one that ran out last week. Rob Nichols, Levi Sciascia and Jose Frias were the only returning members in the forward pack while Drew Hammond, Tanga Wakeford and Big Sticky kept their places in the back line.

Jason “El Presidente” Fulwood made his long awaited return to regular season rugby, slotting into the second row next to Arana “YoYo” Rissetto.

In a lot of ways Canterbury are a very similar club to Merrylands, just a lot less successful. They come from working class areas, their players have similar back grounds and they’ve been hovering around div’s 4, 5 and 6 pretty much forever. So it should be no surprise that whenever these two clubs meet, no matter what competition or what grade, it’s always a pretty encounter.

Today was no exception. That said it wasn’t a boring pick-n-go or kick-n-clap affair. The game was free flowing with several long, sweeping moves seeing the ball carried 60 or so meters at a time it was just that neither side could muster up the final pass or the killer blow.

About 10 minutes in, the Wolves were first to cross thanks to some effective, if a little sloppy, work from the Wolves backs. Some untidy ball found Tanga Wakeford but he managed to slip passed a couple of defenders and slide a nice ball out wide to Drew “Two from Two” Hammond who took off down the sideline. The try machine could see the cover coming and so tried to step inside and was pulled down 10 or so meters short. As you can imagine from that close the next few phases were, to be honest, a mass glory hunt with Wolf after Wolf running into half back and trying to barge their way over from close range. In the end Big Aaron got the bickies and the Wolves were off the mark

Canterbury, up till that point, had been playing much better footy then Merrylands and the Wolves seemed to spur them into action. They dominated possession for the rest of the half and earned themselves a couple of tries. But what the Wolves lacked in flow and cohesion they more than made up for with grit. With only a few minutes left the Wolves finally got their hands on the ball and some quick work saw Tanga Wakeford bolt into the clear to put the two sides level at the break.

At half time coach Ben made a few changes with Levi and Josh Wikohika making way in the front row for the return of the Mighty Moses twins. Elsewhere Ricky Little made way for Sam Salvation on the wing while El Presidente had a heart attack and needed a rest. His place was taken by James Nephew.

The second half was a much better performance from the Wolves. They got up off their line a lot quicker and stopped Canterbury’s big men a lot earlier. The Better defence meant the Wolves had far more possession and the Merrylands killer instinct came to the fore as the Wolves ran away with the match to make a perfect two from two start to 2015…….

1st grade

Fitness. The Wolves 1’s are a little short of it.

There is always a danger of becoming complacent after you’ve won a premiership. Players have a justifiable feeling of closure, they feel like they’ve got the job done. When the following season comes around it can be easy to kid yourself that you’ve got what it takes and it should be no time at all till the beautiful rugby flowing once again.

But this kind of self-assuredness is, usually, a load of rubbish. And today that was made pretty evident to the Wolves 1’s.

It was a tight contest up until about the 60 minute mark. The Wolves crossed for their first try of the match taking the score to 15 – 10 in favour of Canterbury. Canterbury took the chance to bring on 5 or 6 fresh pairs of legs. The Wolves brought on one fresh pair of legs. Canterbury blew the Wolves away.

As ugly as the score line ended up, at least the Wolves know what they need to do to get things back on track……Merrylands 10 – Canterbury 29


11/4/15 Merrylands vs Rouse Hill

2nd grade

There have been plenty of twists and turns in this year’s pre-season so it’s tough to know where to begin.

Merrylands started pre-season training back in late in January and most of the folks in charge down at Wolves HQ (Pete Mac, Jason Fulwood e.t.c) were pretty confident there would be a two team comp. Coming off last year’s success there were a few new faces keen to jump on the bandwagon and with the bulk of the first grade team showing their faces at training everything seemed pretty rosy.

But as any one that has been involved with Subbies Rugby for any length of time will tell you nothing, absolutely nothing is ever certain.

About 3 weeks before the start of the season Merrylands was informed there would be no 2 team comp and that, after fairly bashing everyone last year, Subbies were insisting on the Wolves playing in Div 4 which means the Wolves would need to field 3 teams. El Presidente Fulwood made a quick count and it seemed like the Wolves would be able to scratch 3 decent teams together, just.

But then, with only a week and half left before kick-off, several long term senior players (Joe Ngawini, Nash Steward, Levi Sciascia and Tim French) all let it be known that they wouldn’t be able to participate much or at all this season

Coach Kevi and Coach Benji tried to act cool but they admitted quietly to one another that things looked pretty dire.

But just when it seemed like all was lost things took an unexpected but very welcome turn.

First of all Subbies called up the Wolves and basically said the Union really wanted to see the Wolves in Div 4 and that they were willing to allow the Wolves to field just a 1st and 2nd grade without punishment.

Then, just two weeks before kick-off, Jason “the Big Elbow” Fulwood, started receiving call after call after call from ex-Fairvale/Lansvale players asking if there was room for them down at the Wolves. It seemed things were changing over at the Vales and a lot of their players didn’t feel like it was the right place for them to play their rugby anymore.

Jason of cause said they were welcome and the result was, well, unbelievable. Coach Kevi got out of his car at Thursday night training to be greeted by a sight that must have made him think he’d died and gone to heaven. There were approximately 40 players at training.


So any ways onto today’s game.

The team that ran out for today’s 2nd grade game was about half long time Merrylands players and half first time Merrylands players. The front row was a powerful combination of Levi “tight shirt” Sciascia, Con “these lineouts will never work” Brown and his uncle Tony “E. Honda” Tuara. Rob Nichols made his long awaited regular season return at number 8 while the open Side was staffed by new guy Pue.

The backline saw familiar faces Drew Hammond and Tanga Wakeford joined by new guys Nicko and half back Tini at inside centre.

Now this has already been a one so there won’t be too much play-by-play detail. The most important thing to know is that the Wolves hammered Rouse Hill. The Renegades were not a small team and seemed up for it in the early stages but there scrum was weak and they seemed unwilling to engage in any forward play. That meant that in the hot, sticky weather the Wolves were able to play at their own pace and control the ball for long periods.

The Wolves used the mountain of possession they enjoyed to play simple, power rugby and completely dismantle Rouse Hill in just about every way.

There are plenty of players that deserve a mention from today’s action.

Tony Tuara told Coach Ben the he didn’t have the legs to go for too long but that he would do his best to soften up Rouse Hills front row for whoever was to replace him. And that’s what he did. He put on a crushing display in the scrums and pulled of an early contender for hit of the year.

Rob Nichols has suffered from several medical setbacks over the last few years and many thought he wouldn’t pull on a pair of boots again. Today Robbie didn’t just make up the numbers and some feel good moment. He was deadly, in fact, in the first half he was probably the best player on the field. Robbie made cover tackles, won lineouts uplifted, acted as a link between the forwards and backs and almost crossed for a 5 pointer.

Merrylands 54 – Rouse Hill 5

1st Grade

Today’s match was called off approximately 30 minutes in. One of the giant Rouse Hill props decided to see if he could make his body run in a different direction to his knees. It couldn’t. There was then a long wait for an ambulance to get the poor lump off the field. It was a long wait. Too long a wait and the game was canned. It is unclear at this stage as to whether the game will be replayed or if the 5 points to nil score line, in favour of the Wolves, will stand.


6/9/14 Grand Final: Merrylands vs Clovelly




Bucketing down with rain.

Grand Final day.

So the Wolves had one more hurdle, the Clovelly Blowflies, to leap before they could hold aloft the shining, glimmering, blinging trophy that has seemed destined for the Wolves grubby hands all year.

The Wolves really were red hot favourites for today’s rainy, muddy contest. Merrylands had managed to soundly thump every team in the comp this year and so today was never going to be a question of “can they” but more a “you’d better”

That said Coach Kevi had one or two headaches as far as selections go for the big one.

Regular #13 Eddie Hae had a collision with one of the Ditfords at training and had to call up Coach Kevi on Friday night and tell him he’s shoulder wouldn’t be up to playing rugby. Choosing a replacement for Eddie wasn’t too hard. Coach Kevi slotted Shayne “glory hunter“ Kilmister into fly half and pushed the Aboriginal Rhino, Todd Parsons, out to 12 with Captain Joe playing #13.

The forward dilemma was a little more trying.

Blare Wallace only came to the club this year. He claimed he was a flanker but because he was a splitting image of former long time Wolves hooker and 300 gamer Jerry Keen, Coach Benjamin forced Blare to play #2. After a slowish start to the season Blare began to find his feet and by about the mid way point of 2014 Blare was consistently one of the Wolves top performers.

Blare worked hard around the paddock, made plenty of good runs but, most importantly, Blare’s lineout throwing was absolutely spot on.

But Blare made one of the stupidest yet most common mistakes a Subbies rugby player can make. He went and book a holiday with he’s misses assuming the Wolves wouldn’t make the GF.

But the Wolves did make the GF and so Blare (what a moron) wasn’t gunna be around. Who ever took Blares roll was going to have their work cut out for them. No one else had really spent any time playing #2 and no one else had really been practicing lineouts.

After some deliberation Blare’s hooking job fell to the one and only Mike “the Polish Pistol” Zielinski. The big guy claimed he was an old hand at hooking and assured the boys the lineouts would be a piece of cake.

So for those of you not around on the day the wether on grand final day was, well, shit. It rained heavy all Friday night and rained heavy on and off all day. The wind was reasonably strong and swirled in different directions throughout the day. The field was like a swamp.

Coach Kevi and Captain Joe knew that, even on a good day, Clovelly like to play a kick-chase-pressure type game. Rather than take the conventional line of thinking and say “oh s@#t the conditions really suit Clovelly” Coach Kevi instead told the boys that the conditions played right into the Wolves hands. If Clovelly kicked it too much when it was dry then there was no way they were going to come out in monsoon like weather and play running rugby. This meant that the Wolves knew exactly what Clovelly were going to do and so could base their game on countering it.

But all the good planning and clever thought in the world can’t guard against the bounce of the ball. Although the Wolves had made few mistakes the opening exchanges seemed to be going all Clovelly’s way. The Wolves found themselves pinned down in their own 22 after Clovelly put in a few good kicks and managed to get a few lucky breaks. Captain Joe urged his men to fire up and not go into their shells. This was the time to respond not defend.

And the boys responded, it’s just they got a little too fired up.

Clovelly had a scrum just inside the Wolves 22 about midway through the first half. Levi Sciascia, in his usual way, had been ripping into any one not in a Merrylands jersey that came his way. Something happened during the scrum and Levi came up breathing fire, trying to get his hands on all three members of the Clovelly front row. The ref and his team mates tried to calm the big guy down, but it was to no avail. The ref gave Levi one last warning to take a step back. Levi instead promised the Clovelly hooker that he was going to physically put an end to his playing career and the ref was forced to send Levi off for a 10 minute rest.

The rest of the Wolves looked a little worried. Clovelly were playing well, Merrylands were a man down (and an important man at that) and Clovelly had a rather easy shot at 3 points.

But they missed.

The let off gave the Wolves a chance to gather their thoughts, re-set their line and try and push play back up the other end of the field. Nash “the Snipper” Steward sent the drop out long and the Wolves chanced hard with Luke “Late Again” Schofield making the first up tackle to keep Clovelly around the half way line. Some maniac defence and heavy pressure in the backs finally saw Clovelly knock the ball on to give the Wolves possession in a position they could think about attacking from.

From the resulting scrum the ball was shifted quickly wide with Nash Steward chiming into the line and finding a little space. The bald git then chipped over the Clovelly cover defence and straight into the hands of the elderly Clovelly fullback. The old gentlemen took a few steps and then reefed the ball back down field just as Nash got to him.

Due to the slippery conditions Nash struggled to pull out of the tackle and the two 15’s had a harmless collision.

But that isn’t the way the ref saw it.

Nashy was penalised for the late shot and given 10 minutes in the bin, right next to Levi. Clovelly were given a penalty from were Nash had kicked the ball and so had yet another easy shot at 3 points. If the Wolves felt like they were in trouble when Levi was sent then they were definitely up the creek now.

Clovelly were on a roll, they were lining up a very kickable shot and the Wolves were down to just 13 men. In times like these there is only one thing that can help, and that’s experience. Captain Joe pulled his backline aside and told them they had to hold onto the ball for as long as they could, no more kicking the ball back to Clovelly. Coach Benjamin pulled his forward pack aside and told them this was a great opportunity, rather than a setback. He told the boys Clovelly will be pinning all their hopes on laying on a big lead over the next 10 minutes and that if Merrylands can hold Clovelly to just a few points and or maybe one try, then the physiological edge would be with the Wolves.

The Wolves did better then what Coach Ben, Coach Kevi, Captain Joe or anyone on the sidelines could have hoped for.

Clovelly inexplicably missed the shot.

Ben told Briggs to send the resulting 22 drop out as far down field as possible. Once again the Wolves chased hard and managed to get hold of Clovelly around the half way mark. The two sides traded blows in the middle of the pitch for the next few minutes with the Wolves holding on for grim death while Clovelly became more and more desperate with each passing minute that they couldn’t trouble the scorer.

Running rugby was a little to foreign to Clovelly despite their numbers advantage and so they continued to play for territory, kicking the ball down field and chasing hard. Merrylands did their best to clean up but the lack of an out and out fullback and their constant worry of giving up an overlap meant eventually one of Clovelly ‘s kicks found open pasture with no Merrylands player sitting back to counter.

The resulting scramble saw Tim “Leb Bread Slap” French pick up the ball just in front of his own try line under fast arriving, heavy Clovelly pressure. The chubby little tiger did his best to keep calm but soon the Wolves ruck fell over and the ref saw it fit to give Clovelly another shot at 3 points, this one from directly in front.

Coach Ben told his players that after Clovelly kicks this “we are going to walk back to half way, slowly” kick off long and work hard to keep Clovelly inside their own half until Levi get back on the field.

But Clovelly missed the shot again.

The sense of relief for the Wolves and all their fans was enormous and gave the Merrylands players a real boost. They hassled Clovelly from the 22 restart and were soon finally in possession of the ball, but well inside their own half. The Merrylands forwards then stepped up to the mark, taking pick-n-go after pick-n-go, bravely slugging it out a man short in the driving rain. They laid on some 8 or 9 short, sharp phases, taking the ball up and over half way. Tim French then picked up the ball from the back of the ruck and hoisted a ball high and long down field.

The Wolves backs chased hard and with Shayne “here’s my number” Kilmister, Rey “this is the correct spelling” Akbar and Todd “the Party Rhino” Parsons all baring down on him the elderly Clovelly fullback lost his nerve and let the ball dribble into touch just inside the Clovelly 22.

The Wolves forwards were howling. They ran to the lineout barking at one another that this was their chance. If they could pressure the Clovelly lineout they could keep them down the right end of the field and come out of the 13 vs 15 period well and truly on top.

Benjamin and Josh “the Maori Mauler” Wikohika lifted big Luke Schofiled fast and high into the air at the front of the lineout. The sight of the goofy looking man mountain spooked the pork chop Clovelly hooker and he tossed the ball, uncontrolled toward the back of the lineout. James “the Cleaner” Macklin quickly ceased on the loose ball and so the Wolves found themselves in possession, only 15 or so meters from the line.

Merrylands concentrated. They ran hard and played simple controlled rugby. The Wolves were just looking to run the clock out a little, any points would be a massive bonus. Clovelly, on the other hand, s@#t themselves. They were desperate no to concede points. Clovelly threw themselves at the Wolves ruck and in a moment of sheer panicked one of their front rowers stuck his hands through the Wolves ruck to try and disrupt the Wolves flow. The ref saw it and gave the Wolves a penalty some 40 meters out.

With no Nash on the field kicking duties fell to the red headed Maltese Mauler, Matthew Briggs. The left footed jerk off thought he would make it interesting and sent the ball sailing low through the air, slamming into the right hand upright then over the cross bar, giving the Wolves faithful a heart attack and the Wolves players a 3 point lead.

Levi came back on the pitch from the kick off and so the ledger was back at 14 vs 15. From there the Wolves then used their even numbers in the forwards to carefully, if slowly, carry the ball forward for the next few minutes until finally Nash was invited back onto the field. With the numbers back at 15 vs 15 Clovelly visibly lost hope. They had pressured the Wolves into a couple of brain snaps and had been handsomely rewarded by the ref. But they weren’t good enough to capitalise.

The Wolves on the other hand came to life.

Half time was called not long after Nash was back on the field and in the huddle Coach Kevi was full of praise. He told the boys how proud he was of their efforts and how all the talk on the sideline was about how well Merrylands had weathered the storm. Kevi explained that in all his years coaching footy he knew that momentum comes and goes in a game and that soon it would come to the Wolves. He assured the boys that if they were good enough to take make use of it when it came, the title would be theirs.

At the start of the second half Clovelly suffered a couple of injury setbacks in the forwards and soon the Wolves set play, especially their lineout’s, really begun to tell on Clovelly. Whenever Clovelly managed to get a good kick away, the Wolves simply won the lineout, rumbled a few phases forward and sent the ball back down field. Clovelly on the other hand were struggling to win their own ball at scrum and lineout. In slippery conditions like today’s it wasn’t long before the resulting mountain of possession and field position that fell to the Wolves begun to take its toll on Clovelly.

The Wolves had their opponents pinned in their own half and the Blowflies were looking shaky. The Wolves were awarded a scrum five meters from the Clovelly line and put the shove on. The Blowflies scrum slowly begun to roll backwards and the Wolves inched closer and closer to the line.

The scrum then wheeled a little and so Tim French whipped the ball out of the scrum. The ball flew through fly half Shayne Kilmisters hands and found Todd “the Aboriginal Rhino” Parsons with a little room to move. Todd put a half step on and surged toward the line. Clovelly threw 5 or 6 players at the Rhino but still he pushed on. He powerfully carried a throng of defenders over the line and a normal player would have been happy to accept a “held up” call from the ref, but not the Black Rhino. He continued to squeeze and twist in the melee and as the lump of muddy players fell to the ground the Aboriginal Rhino let out a mighty roar.

The ref looked uncertain and so turned to he’s touch judge. The touchy, though rocked by the awesome sight he had just witnessed, gave the ref an assured nod that Todd had indeed got the ball down. First try to the Wolves.

From there the Wolves begun to turn the screws on Clovelly. They kept their nerve at all times and stuck to the game plan, using the forwards in close to get their backs room. They played to the conditions a little better then Clovelly who seemed only capable of kicking and hoping. Time was getting away from the Eastern Suburbs outfit and they knew it.

They were getting touchy.

And although some of the Clovelly kicks were very well placed, the Wolves dominance at set piece meant Merrylands could calmly get themselves out of trouble all afternoon and also apply plenty of pressure whenever the Blowflies found themselves in a vulnerable position on the field.

With a little less than 20 minutes to go Clovelly’s desperate sense of urgency took its first victim. In the two games the Wolves have played against Clovelly their South African hooker has proven himself to have quite the short fuse. As such Levi Sciascia and all the Merrylands supporters niggled at him all day. With the weight of Clovelly’s failing set piece work beginning to bare down on their lunatic hookers shoulders he finally cracked.

Just as the ref had blown for a scrum, the Clovelly hooker walked out of the defensive line and stood out on his own, about 5 meters away from were Levi “the Innocent” Sciascia was trying to catch his breath. He looked the Wolves Maori loose head prop in the eye and uttered a rather harsh sounding Africanns diatribe in Levi’s direction.

Levi then spun around to the ref and claimed that he spoke a little Africanns and that what the Clovelly player had just said was racial vilification of the worse kind. Amazingly, instead of denying it, the Clovelly hooker simply cried that he didn’t believe that Levi could understand and there for couldn’t be offended. The ref saw the Clovelly hookers argument for what is was, an omission of guilt, and sent him to the bin for a 10 minute rest.

And that folks, was pretty much the end of Clovelly’s resistance.

The Wolves marched down the field with smart kicks, aggressive rucking and mauling and slick backline play. They found themselves 10 or so meters form Clovelly’s line and well in control. Josh Wikohika made an impressively strong charge and from the resulting fast clean ball, Tim French slug the ball to the blind side were Nash Steward offloaded to replacement leaguy Richi Ngawini who calmly brushed off two cover tacklers to cross the line, out wide, for the Wolves second try of the day.

And just to rub salt into the wounds Nash “dead eye” Steward, from right in front of the Clovelly bench, did what Clovelly were unable to do form a far easier position in the first half. He kicked the ball up and over the black dot.

Almost straight from the restart the Wolves used advantage in numbers and ran at Clovelly who seemed to be losing the will to fight on. Some back forth play was finally broken when Simon Porter was given a clear run down the left touch line. The young kiwi was pulled down just inside the Blowflies 22. The ball was then rumbled forward for a few phases before Todd Parsons, standing at first receiver, threw an awesome long ball to Nash Steward on a wide blind side. From were Nash stood it was two on two but with big Richie on he’s outside Clovelly panicked and drifted off the bald assassin who threw a simple dummy before strolling over, out wide on the right, untouched.

Once again, just to rub salt into the wounds, Nash “dead eye” Steward, from right in front of the Clovelly bench, did what Clovelly were unable to do form a far easier position in the first half. He kicked the ball up and over the black dot.

With less than 10 to go the Wolves made a few changes with the Fijian connection of Villi “I’m a hooker?” Qaranivalu and Bicks “I go to Uni” Hicks coming into the forwards. Clovelly threw what they had left at Merrylands and even managed to get themselves a lucky consolation try but their position was hopeless.

The Wolves had brutally punished the Blowflies while they were a man down while Clovelly couldn’t manage a single point while the Wolves had two men off the pitch. The ref finally blew his whistle and Tim French booted the ball into touch to kick of the biggest celebrations Merrylands has seen since 2009.

Special mentions go out to a few players.

Josh Wikohika has had a stop start season due to a few different injuries. Today was the big guys first 80 minute run and he played awesome. He was voted players player by a big margin. In horrible muddy conditions he threw his massive frame at Clovelly all day long, held up his side of the scrum and played a huge part in the Wolves domination at lineout time.

Speaking of lineouts big ups to the legendary Mike Zielinski. He has only been at Merrylands for a couple of months and has only played a handful of games, all at prop. With Blare not available for the GF Mike put his hand up to play hooker and throw lineouts. That’s a huge call. It’s one thing to stick your head in a scrum were you’re no used to but to try and learn 6 or 7 different lineout moves/calls and get them down pat after one training session that was held in driving rain is a massive effort.

And the result speaks for itself. In the biggest game of the year, driving rain, Mike never lost a scrum on his own feed and managed to pinch 3 of Clovelly’s. At lineout time Mike only lost one on his own throws, and that was pretty obviously Luke’s fault. It was a massive, game winning effort form the Polish Punisher.

Massive big ups to Jade Moses. The big guy has been in and around the club for a few years now but hasn’t really committed himself since about 2010. This year something religious happened to the older Moses and he decided he must do more for the club. Jade has been training pretty hard of late and when Levi was sent to the bin he came on to hold up the scrum. But the big guy did more then just hold up the scrum. He folded his opposite in half in the first scrum he packed into and won the Wolves a very timely free kick and from the tap made a great run, sucking in several defenders and getting the ball away to Arana Rissetto who made another few meters to give the Wolves a chance to get on the front foot.

And huge ups to all the Merrylands fans. Especially Laura “Schofield” Sturrock who took a thousand photos and even more especially to all the Wolves loose, lunatic fans up on the rocky ledges. Ex Brown, Con Brown, Tony Tuara, Reece Davis and Brian Davis. They constantly harassed and antagonised every Clovelly player that got within ear shot, especially the Clovelly hooker. Most folks that were there on the day agree that the efforts of Ex and Brian and co had a lot to do with the Wolves winning the GF…….Merrylands 24 – Clovelly 5


30/8/14 Major Semi Final. Merrylands vs Fairvale

In 2013 the Wolves made the semi finals. They faced Fairvale. They played like nervous school boys and the Wolves lost.

Sydney Irish eventually went on to win the title. The Wolves had demolished Sydney Irish by 40 points two weeks before the semis.

It’s hard not to think that 2013 should have been the year of the Wolf.

That loss to a very beatable Fairvale has pissed off/haunted/annoyed/frustrated every man that pulled on a Merrylands jersey since that shitty day.

Although there are some very notable new faces like Eddie “I’m Back” Hae, Simon “Kirwin” Porter, Arahi Akerabahaba and Mike “The Polak Piledriver” Zielinski, the bulk of the 2013 squad has backed up for this year. There seems to be a real sense of unfinished business.

Now there is an old cliché saying in rugby that goes something like “there is always next week/year” but it isn’t too often, in life or rugby, that you get to such a juicy, tantalising chance to take revenge, to right wrongs and to put demons to sleep against the very devils that burnt you down.

Today the universe gave the Wolves just such a chance.

In fact so much mental anguish was riding on today’s result that just about every player that played in 2013 but decided not to pull on the boots again this year, was on the sideline watching. Ex Brown, Con Brown, Marc Schofield and Adam Goodgame were all in attendance, hoping to see the Wolves put Fairvale, and their own demons, to sleep.

The Wolves and Fairvale played on different sides of the regular season comp this year and so hadn’t faced each other before today. That said a clash between the two heavy weights was inevitable. Fairvale went through the regular season undefeated (although they did draw two games) and finished top of their comp. Merrylands lost only one game and finished minor premiers thanks to superior bonus points.

On paper these two squads seemed pretty evenly matched.

But rugby isn’t played on paper.

Fairvale are a pretty big side. There aren’t too many guys in their team under 100kg’s. But that is pretty much all they have. Size and intimidation.

And neither will work on the Wolves.

Fairvale kicked off and after a couple of pick and drives the Wolves, with a decent wind at their backs, lobbed the ball down field. Fairvale were all “seeeya” and “all day” calls as they tried to bash their way down field. But all the silly noises and grunts were to no avail as one after the other the Wolves forwards lined up and smashed Fairvale back behind the gain line. James Macklin, Benjamin Davis, Arana Rissetto, Blare Wallace and especially Matthew “No one else in my family has red hair?” Briggs joined together to dominate their Fairvale counter parts.

After only 10 or so minutes the relentless pressure told and Fairvale gave away an easily kickable penalty that gave the Wolves first points of the game.

And from the restart the Wolves were back at it. Mike “the Polish Punisher” Zielinski and Levi Sciascia laid on several powerful pick-n-goes. The ball was quickly shifted wide were Todd “the Party Puncher” Parsons found some space and got the Wolves within 30 meters of the Fairvale line. The Wolves stayed in Fairvale’s territory for the next 10 minutes, bashing the Fairvale forwards and putting the squeeze on the Vale backs.

This time though the Wolves held onto possession and after some clever work by Tim French to open up the play the ball sailed wide to the left wing were Levi “House Husband” Sciascia caught the ball, drew in a couple of defenders before releasing Simon Porter who sped down the touchline and dotted the ball down for the Wolves first 5 pointer.

In fact the entire first half was all about Merrylands. The Wolves kicked well and dominated the lineout’s and from the resulting territory and possession managed to cross for another try (to Mr AkeraGaGa) and another penalty goal while holding Fairvale scoreless. Truth be told Fairvale never even looked like scoring.

Perhaps the only blight on the first half was the behaviour of Vice President, Coach and former Captain Benjamin “do what I say not what I do” Davis. The big guy had been building himself up all week. He had promised himself that he wouldn’t dish up the same toothless performance he did last year and that he wouldn’t let Fairvale bully the Wolves forwards.

Unfortunately he got a little too fired up. 10 minutes before the break he made a quality steal against the run of play. In the middle of the resulting ruck one of Fairvale’s goons decided to try and extract some revenge on Mr Davis and gave his ankle a twist. Benjamin lost his mind and begun heel stomping any part of the Vale players body he could get his foot to. There followed a rather predictable yelling and screaming of threats from both players but Benjamin assured the Ref and his team mates that he was calm.

He wasn’t.

Only a minute or so later the Wolves were rolling a maul down field when another of Fairvale’s goons decided to grab Ben’s foot to bring the maul down. Instead of letting the ref handle it or at the very least giving the guy a sly tickle, Benjamin grabbed the guys head and kneed him in the face.

Benjamin was yellow carded.

Any way early in the second half, with the wind at their backs, Fairvale finally found themselves in decent territory and on the attack. The Wolves defended just as bravely as they had in the first half and managed to disrupt the Vales ruck ball just as they were mere meters from the line. Unfortunately for Merrylands the ref failed to see the small knock on that resulted from Merrylands hard work and Fairvale crossed to finally put themselves on the board.

But the Wolves didn’t go into a funk or panic. Captain Joe told everyone to go back out there and do exactly what they had been doing all day and the ship would right itself. And the Wolves did and the ship did.

With about 20 minutes to go the Wolves had the feed to a lineout on half way. The forwards pulled the ball down cleanly and drove the maul a good 10 or so meters before the ball was tossed wide to Todd Parsons. The Party Pig, with Joe and Eddie screaming up on his outside, produced the kind of deftly waited chip that only members of the Parsons family seem able to do. The ball bounced up perfcetly into Captain Joe’s hands who raced the remaining 20 or so meters untouched, with Eddie and Simon either side of him, cheering him all the way.

In the end the Wolves crossed for one more try (another to Simon Porter) and unluckily let Fairvale in for another before the game was up. But the little bleep didn’t matter.

Revenge had been taken.

There are several special mentions for today.

Matthew Briggs had one of his best games in a Wolf jersey ever. He tackled hard, made plenty of ground with the ball and was everywhere in defence.

After coming back on to the field from his yellow card, Benjamin Davis went about trying to make up for his mistake and pretty much did so. He stole the ball from Fairvale 3 or 4 times in the second half and was a constant menace around the ruck.

One more game till glory……Merrylands 32 – Fairvale 12



16/8/14 Semi Final – Merrylands vs Clovelly

So for those of you that don’t know, this year’s comp has been separated into two regions. Teams from the North West comp (the region Merrylands are in) do not face any team from South East (the other comp) at any time during the regular season. However come semi-final time the two comps play off against each other.

In short that means the Wolves knew almost nothing about their opponents for today, the Clovelly Blowflies.

Now let’s be honest. It hasn’t been the toughest of seasons for the Wolves. Sure there were times when multiple injuries, weddings or some other rubbish has seen the Wolves need to win ugly but (other than the aberration at Terry Hills) the Wolves have pretty much crushed every team they’ve come up against this year. Now although todays opponents came second in the other division they also managed to rack up 6 losses during the year. All that considered it was always going to be hard for the Wolves to be mentally ready for a tough, hard slog of a game.

Unfortunately that’s just what they got.

Fortunately though the old, primordial instinct to stick together and fight hard when cornered runs deep in the veins of every Wolf……

So Merrylands kicked off and after some effective defence turned the ball over after only a few tackles. The Wolves forwards than attempted to turn on the sort of power game that has been so effective for them this year, but the Blowflies were more than up for the challenge. A couple of hit ups from Mathew Briggs and James “the French Maid” Macklin were turned away with ease as Clovelly turned up the aggression and left the Wolves a little shell shocked.

One or two plays later, with the Wolves backs attempting to kick down field and steady the ship, the ball was fumbled loose in midfield. The Wolves than attempted to hack the ball down field off the ground, only for the ball to fly straight into the hands of the Clovelly fly half who calmly sprinted away to give the blowflies a 7 point lead.

There was no panic in the in goal. Captain Joe and Coach Ben informed the boys they were in for a gritty afternoon and that if they wanted to go all the way in this competition they had better suck it up and get on with it. From the restart the Wolves didn’t exactly turn on the after burners but they did seem to understand that they would have to meet fire with fire to see off the Clovelly threat.

And as most Merrylands fans would have guessed, it was Levi “Twinkle Toes” Sciascia and Luke “Are you gunna eat that?” Schofield that were the first to start turning the tables.

Clovelly, off the back of some clever kicking and some marginal penalty decisions, got themselves back into the Wolves 22. They shifted the ball wide quickly and it looked like they had found some space when Luke Schofield, at full speed, drove his shoulder into the side stepping Blowfly 13’s guts and absolutely buried the poor sack.

After that hit Clovelly looked to get their big forwards into the attack. They moved the ball one pass wide of the ruck to their 120kg+ loose head prop. The big guy put on a little step and then ran straight at his opposite, Mr Sciascia. Now it’s one thing to put a shot on an unsuspecting winger or burry your shoulder into a straight running fly half. It’s another thing all together to swinging arm what was pretty much the heaviest guy on the field, lift him up off the ground, slam him neck first into the dirt and then rub your elbow in his face and laugh at him.

Take a bow Mr Sciascia. Ok so it is a little unfortunate that Levi’s post tackle, elbow to the face celebration saw Clovelly kick a penalty goal and extend their lead to 10 points but one thing is for sure, that single act of powerful aggression took the wind out of a lot of the Clovelly forwards sails. In fact Clovelly’s forwards aggressive play slowly ebbed away and with each passing minute the Wolves forwards became more alive, more powerful and all together more like themselves

So much so that from the kick off restart the Wolves forced Clovelly into a panicked penalty that saw the Wolves set up camp inside the Clovelly 22, from which the Wolves never left for the remaining 15 or so minutes of the half.

And the pressure told.

With the last play of the opening half the Wolves were given a penalty. Tim French darted in, tapped the ball and ran at the Blowflies, drew a couple of defenders and threw a rather s@#t pass to a flying Luke. The big guy was up to the challenge though, catching the ball at ankle height, being hit by two Clovelly players and still managing to cross the line, all in one leap.

The half time talk from Joe, Kev and Ben was pretty much “harden up”. The Wolves supporters on the side line could see what the players out on the field could feel. Clovelly were losing their metal, they were falling off the pace. The hiss and roar they had started the game with was giving way to basic, somewhat brainless rugby.

The Wolves received the kick off at the start of the half and swang straight into gear with Ben Davis, Arana Rissetto and James Macklin all putting in good carries to get the Wolves deep into Blowfly territory. The next 10 or so minutes saw the two team trade blows before the Wolves finally sunk their glowing white fangs into the pitiful, weak under belly of Clovelly Rugby. Some slick passing across the backline put Captain Joe into space. He off loaded to Simon “Everyone yell Huh” Porter who beat one or two before being dragged down. The ball came out of the ruck fast and was chipped into the Clovelly back field. Blowflies managed to clean the kick up but in the ensuing mad panic to get out of trouble the ball was spilt forward and Simon Porter gladly scooped it up to cross for the Wolves second of the day, giving Merrylands the lead for the first time in the game.

The Wolves now had their teeth well and truly imbedded into Clovelly’s jugular and before long were back down the right end of the field and pouring pressure all over the Blowflies. This time it was Todd “#1 Beard” Parsons that got the ball rolling. He weaved and dummied his way past several defenders before slinging the ball wide to Richard “take me off Kev” Ngawini who got within five meters of the line.

The call then rang out around the field to get the ball wide and after sailing through 5 sets of hands the ball got to the end of the line where the big, fat Levi Sciascia found himself in possession with about 10 meters to run, 4 players coming across in cover and his left foot about 5cm from the sideline.

What happened next will live long in the memory of all who were lucky enough to see it.

The big guy proceeded to shoulder, palm, step and dance (all wo saw it agree it was dancing) his way passed every attempt at cover defence to coolly cross the line, rounding around to dot down next to the post, fist raised in the air.


Clovelly did manage to cross for another 5 pointer before the game was done but there any hope this may have produced was quickly snuffed out as the Wolves launched into a lightning fast attack almost straight from the kick off with Joe throwing the final pass to a flying Reiy Akerabahahah who touched down in the right corner.

All in all it was an awesome performance form the Wolves. It was far from perfect and the slow start to the game had several long time Wolf fans if they’ll ever get to watch a semi-final that the Wolves win well, but in the end they played tough, effective rugby and came away with a big, big win…………..Merrylands 24 – Clovelly 15



Season 2014

This week the Wolves travelled to the northern beaches to take on ICMS in our last round robin game of the season. The Wolves, with their spot at the top of the North Western pool well and truly cemented, had little to play for while ICMS were playing for pride in what was their last game of the season.

Merrylands showed up with just enough to make a team. Nash Steward was on holidays with the Corby sisters, Ben “I have another friend getting married” Davis was attending yet another wedding, a few injuries and the usual host of no shows for an away game with little meaning meant the Wolves were pretty thin on the ground.

The side that took the field looked similar to the sides put together at training, whoever showed up slotted in.

ICMS came out firing and within the first few minutes they were able to dot a 5 pointer down while the Wolves looked like they were still waking up. Not long after some sloppy defence in the backs gave ICMS their second try of the day. The Wolves were still asleep.

But once they woke from their slumber Merrylands started to string some good footy together, but its fair to say they were far from their best, however they did manage to cross for their own try get their heads into the game.

In truth, the Wolves had ICMS covered all over the park, but due to lapses in concentration, minimal talking in defence and not paying attention to what calls were made, Merrylands kept finding themsleves on the back foot and in our own half.

Really the game was won by the Wolves thanks to some individual flashes of brilliance. Captain Joe is full of such stuff and crossed the line for 3 tires to add to his total for the year.

Simon “my shoulder is sore” Porter managed to cross for one, but it shouldn’t really count considering he let one though. Rey Akerbahaha was lucky enough to be on the end of some quick thinking by Tim “crossbar challenge” French, which saw him get a typical wingers try. Truth be told he should have got one more but some ify touch judging had his second disallowed.

James “the cleaning lady” Macklin finaly crossed for one aswell.

With Nash in Bali with an empty boogie board bag, kicking duties were left up to Briggs who got 1 out of 5 while Daniel Pedini, sent out to try and put some experience in the Wolves back three, slotted one.

All up a fairly average game from a side which needs to kick it up a gear if we want to take the title out.

Final score- Merrylands 34- ICMS 28


2/8/14 Merrylands vs Terry Hills

There was a lot to play for in today’s game.

Today was the last home game of the season and so far the Wolves were undefeated on their own turf.  They wanted to keep it that way.

Today’s opponent, Terry Hills, are the only team to beat Merrylands in 2014. That had to be put right.

But the most important reason for winning today’s game is the fact Terry Hills call themselves “the Wolves” and as Connor McCloud once said “there can be only one”

The forward pack that ran on for today’s game is about as solid as the Wolves can put out. They’ve been training together and well over the last couple of months and, being free from injury, they’ve had plenty of game time to get things right. With that in mind it’s no coincidence that it’s been the Wolves forwards that have won Merrylands the last few games.

And today was no exception.

Terry Hills are a young, fit, willing bunch of lads but man for man the Wolves probably outweigh them by 10 or 15 kilos. If you add that to the above mentioned fact that the Wolves forwards have been finding some real consistency it should come as no surprise that Terry Hills didn’t really get their hands on the ball till the match was a good 15 minutes old.

By that time the Wolves had managed to cross for a 5 pointer (and it was an absolute undy ripping try with the ball traveling a good 60 or so meters and going through 7 sets of hands) and had the Terry Hills tight five well and truly on the ropes. Terry Hills caught a couple of lucky breaks and managed to slot a 3 pointer but it was pretty evident that the Wolves forwards, especially Arana Rissetto and James “Dish Cloth” Macklin, were on song and would allow Terry Hills precious few chances.

By the half time break Merrylands were some 19 points in front and although some folks thought they should’ve been up by more, Coach Kev and “Captain” Ben knew the plan was coming together. Good teams like Terry Hills take time to break down. It takes time for the power and physicality of the Wolves to take a toll on fast, young sides like Terry Hills.

And not long after the restart the mountain of possession and the sheer effort required to stop the Wolves really begun to weather Terry Hills. 10 minutes in their openside flanker, their tight head prop and one of their second rowers all limbed/crawled their way off the field with injuries (or just exhaustion). The players that replaced them, though keen enough, struggled to adapt to the aggression and style of the Wolves and Merrylands laid on two unanswered tries.

Unfortunately for Merrylands it was around this time that the Wolves suffered a few unlucky injuries themselves. Shayne Kilmister went off with a popped shoulder, Todd Parsons copped a knee to the chest, Josh Whikohika rolled his ankle and Blare Wallace, who up till that point was having probably his best game in a Wolves jersey, succumbed to the dreaded man flu.

And although the guys coming on for each of them were quality players, an influx of so many new guys often affects a team’s rhythm.  It took the new set up a little while to start firing, allowing Terry Hills to gain a bit of possession and cross for their own 5 pointer. But before the game was out replacements like Jose Frias and Mike Swinski had put their stamp on the match, finishing with another try for the Wolves and having the full time bell just beat them to one more.

There are several people the need to big upped for their efforts today.

Shayne Kilmister has been hanging around the club for two years. His work doesn’t allow him to train as much as Shayne and Kevi would like. Before Shayne unluckily popped his shoulder today he was having an absolute barn storming game. He slotted into fly half like he had been their al year and most pleasingly carried out Kevi’s game plan exactly as Kevi had asked him.

For all the s@#t we give him Tim French is a bloody great player. In fact over the last month or so, other than Joe, he has been THE best back on the field. He is playing smart, cheeky and amazingly athletic rugby and he is peaking at the right end of the season.

Arana Roissetto and James Macklin are too of the longest serving Merrylands players at the club. Both have been with the Wolves for over a decade. In that time they have both been in and out of the 1st grade squad. This year both guys have knuckled down and trained hard and their efforts are well and truly baring fruit.

Arana had a fantastic game with the ball in hand. He made several long, powerful runs straight through the guts of the Terry Hills defence and was always there to support when a break was made. He just needs to look on his outside every now and then.

James Macklin is in the best form of his life. He was the best forward in a pack that absolutely dominated their opposition. The Big Dog ran like a runaway train and tackled like a brick wall. On several occasions he got the Wolves back on the front foot with some power running and the Big Dog was an absolute menace around the ruck in defence. He counter rucked with precision and aggression and rattled several Terry Hills forwards that dared run on his side of the breakdown.

Things are coming good for the Wolves at the right time…..Merrylands 30 – Terry Hills 17.


Merrylands Vs Chatswood 19/7/14

This weekend had Merrylands playing a very young looking Chatswood team. A sprinkling of a few seasoned forwards and backs on their side looked as if they knew they might be in for a long day.

Both teams began with their warm ups as is tradition for Merrylands that consisted of 15 minutes of the guys talking about what is happening tonight, what happened last weekend and general banter. Their opponents are looking like they are competing in the next Crossfit tournament prior to kick off. It was a special day as it was quite possibly the last time Frank the tank Waiomio would wear the mighty Wolves strip. Before leaving on his travels to Hong Kong and then on to Europe in search of a woman that might actually sleep with him.

Merrylands started with a very strong pack and with the arrival of Tama Te Rito from parts unknown. Merrylands had two full front rows ready to run on. Unfortunately Chatswood decided that they did not have the fire power upfront to compete so they called uncontested scrums [The F@#ken disgrace]. This did not seem to hurt the boys initially as the likes of Franky, Levi, Blair, Arana and Briggs decided that we would take them on through the middle. This paid dividends and we scored pretty quickly. It became quite a high scoring affair while Merrylands dominated through the middle Chatswood showed a very strong centre wing combination. That gave our man Ray headaches for a fair bit of the time. There was some outstanding play shown by Merrylands in the first half mentions go to Frank for proving me wrong and showing that props do pass sometimes lol. Tim [the grub leave my little cousin alone] French had a blinder at five eight and guys like Simon Porter and Nash Steward were strong as usual. Parker filling in at half back has taken on the mantle of Jerry Keen and his new nick name is lightening.

In the second half the game opened up a bit and our big guns started firing guys like James Macklin and Mat Briggs really started finding holes in and around the rucks while Lukey Schofield chased anyone with the ball around the paddock like he was a crack head and they were hiding an 8 ball. With a few very new combinations in our team this weekend we defiantly have a lot to look forward too. Joe Ngawini starting the game off the bench really put his foot down in this period and his leadership of the backline pretty much closed down there centre wing combo very effectively. The most appalling moment came around ten minutes in to the second half where Chatswood after asking for uncontested scrums then decided in a very good attacking position that they would call scrum off an awarded penalty.

The Cheek!!!!!!!!

This was a call that they made repeatedly to our supporters frustration and the guys on the field amazement. In the end this game became slightly one sided with our boys pulling away to a decisive victory. We thank Chatswood for coming out to play we thank those supporters that came out to back the boys AJ Tuara and your family Tanga and Whaea Ngawini who the club would like to wish a happy birthday for last week.

Guys I think there is no doubt that with a little bit of work we should have no issues doing well this season. We do need guys to become financial members and basically we cannot survive without players paying their fees. While its great to win by margins like we have been I believe everyone wants to get out of this division. So pay your fees!!!! Levi and I will be asking guys for cash this Saturday at our bonding session and will be asking for players at each game

Merrylands Wolves VS Roseville 05/06/14


Today the wolves ventured over to the leafy suburb of Roseville to take them on in what was supposed to be a cracker of a game and a top of the table clash.

After watching the 2nd grade side fall short, the first graders got their first look at the pitch which they were to play on.

It was a shit field, massive cracks, and hard as concrete. It made Chatswoods home ground seem like a golf green.

The wind was howling, it was going to play a major role in this match, regardless, the boys took to the field and the game was under way.

Some hard running by Roseville had us pinned back in our half for a while, but our defence held strong, however our discipline had not, and we were giving Roseville a free piggy back to the try line.

This was much the theme for the first half, though when we got the ball in hand, Roseville had no answer for the brute force of the Wolves. It seemed as soon as we got in their half, we were able to apply the heat at will. Most of the time this resulted in points.

Late in the first half grazed, battered and bruised we were on our own line, Roseville were doing their best to attack around the ruck, but everytime they ran, our forwards met them in the contact and were pushing them back.

It’s a great sight to watch a team make ground without the ball, and this is what we were able to do, long enough that Roseville became frustrated and ended up giving away a penalty.

Going into the break we were up, by a fair few….. we knew we had their number.

At the start of the second half we managed to put a few more points on, yet, again our discipline was letting us down, and we were letting Roseville back into the contest by giving them a free ride down the field.

As in the first half however, some great forward running and some great hands by the backs saw us camped in Rosevilles 22, and thus Frank took it upon himself to keep himself clothed before his hiatus to Hong Kong, managing to cross for his first 5 pointer of the season.

Levi, in true Levi form, ran hard all day and tackled even harder, he too managed to score, twice.

Nash decided to break the spirit of the boys from the north with a brilliant intercept try. His goal kicking all day was to be commended in the windy conditions.

Shayne Kilmister is a true utility player, from playing a great game at full back one week, to playing 5/8 the next, today was no different.

Parker played, well just like Parker does. With determination and purpose….. and a yellow card.

You can’t really say much about Joe, he was just Joe…… a monster.

Simon made some excellent defensive reads and coming up trumps and saving more than one try…… luckily for him. Unfortunalty for Simon he has trouble holding the ball as he dives over the line, taking the title from Rey as the bomber.

As we all know the game got called off with about 15 to go after what can only be described as a referee brain snap, without going into detail about it, with that long to go and a tired Roseville pack, Merrylands could have put on a few more points had they been allowed to play on.

Final score- Merrylands 39 Roseville 5



27/6/14 Merrylands vs Hills

So tonight was the Wolves second night game of the season and it was an absolute cracker.  It was a 2nd grade Halligan Cup fixture but you never would have guessed it by the skill level on show and the absolute ferocity both teams played the match with.

The Wolves fielded an extremely impressive side. The forward pack featured the likes of Rua “fat skinny” Kaitua, A.J “I’m not playing this year” Tuara, Villi “I’m taking it very seriously” Quaraliiavau and El Presidente Jason Fulwood.

The backline was just as strong and featured Tanga “Oz Tag” Wakeford, Liam “I wish I could party” Parsons and the long awaited return of the one and only Gavin “Bat Gavy” Edwards.

The Wolves received the kick off and, without allowing Hills to touch the ball, laid on a series of pick-n-go’s and some veracious hit ups from Jade Moses and A.J Tuara that finally saw Lepi “injured again” Mautofu throw off several defenders before racing to the line to score.

It looked for all money that it was going to be a long night for Hills but from the restart Hills managed to regain possession and through some smart rugby worked the ball down into the Wolves 22. From there the older and smarter Hills forwards used a combination of guile and size to strangle the Wolves into giving away several penalties before finally finding the space they needed to even up the scores.

There was a rather large, rather noisy crowd in attendance and Hills immediate reply had everyone hopeful of an enjoyable, close game.

Bicks Hicks. What a clown.  His idiotic, one hand, swirly wirly ball carries often come unstuck and he gives his coaches and most of his team mates a headache whenever he takes the field.

But when his Fijian antics come off it’s pretty awesome to watch. And tonight they came off in a big way with the Fijian clown crossing for a first half hatrick! His first try was especially impressive with the big guy getting the ball some 30 or so meters out and with at least 5 Hills defenders to beat. But beat them he did as one after the other the Hills defenders held off the big guy, watching the ball as it swung this way and that before it was too late and Bicks giggled his way over the line.

Merrylands than scored another, though former 1st grade super star Tanga Wakeford, before Hills struck back again. Than Merrylands scored one more before the break. Than straight after the break Hills scored. Than the Wolves scored two more. Than Hills scored and that’s pretty how much the night went. Merrylands would score a few than Hills would catch a break, play smart and strike back.

In the end the Wolves ran out comfortable winners but the match was a great spectacle from start to finish as Hills never gave up and the Wolves remained a little bit nervous throughout the match.

Big ups go out to several people for tonight’s efforts.

Richie Ngawini pretty much coached the side tonight and all though he says he hated it and will never do it again, he did an awesome job with everyone getting a run and the team running smooth.

Todd Cummings is the son of club legend Dave Cummings. Todd is a super keen, up and coming referee. Tonight was Todd’s second time in charge of a senior game and he did an absolutely stellar job. He allowed the game to flow and didn’t weigh in with too many 50/50 ruck and maul calls. After some early getting used to Todd’s style both teams blossomed under his control. Both coaches commented after the game that it was one of the best ref displays they’d had since, well, since forever…..Merrylands 42 – Hilss 25


21/6/14 Merrylands vs International College of Managment Sydney

Let’s get straight to the point.

Today the Wolves scored a lot of points and ICMS, well, didn’t score any.

With that in mind there won’t be the usual “frank put Joe away for a try” or “Jade stepped two defenders and gave Nash a clear run at the line” type review. To be honest there were so many highlights for the Wolves today if we did the usual blow-by-blow review it would end up being a novel, rather than the short, punchy little number that it normally is.

Instead we will just single out a few guys that deserve a mention.

Richard Ngawini is a great footballer.

Richard is big, strong, agile and fast. Richard has been hanging around the club since 2008 but until this year has never put in more than a few moments of effort, as far as first grade is concerned anyway. Over the years Richard has thrown up a wide selection of excuse/reasons he doesn’t want to commit to the top grade including not liking the coach, not liking the half back, not liking the 5/8 and not liking his brother. This season Richard ran out of reasons. He likes Coach Kevi, he likes Tim French at half back, he is willing to tolerate his brother and Richard himself is playing 5/8 so there can be no issue there.

Richard had a blinder today. He ran well, tackled hard, passed accurately (most of the time) and his decision making was spot on. All of Merrylands hopes Richard doesn’t find out his brother is captain now (which would surely send him over the edge) or come up with any more half baked reasons why he can’t play 1st grade.

Rey Akbahr is in his first season for the Merrylands Wolves. Rey, with his other first-time-Wolf friends Blare Wallace and Simon Porter, have added a spark of professionalism and vibrancy to the Wolves this season. Rey in particular has all ready proven himself to be a true clubmen. During pre-season Rey travelled 6 hours to play in a 7’s tournament, he has started a Merrylands facebook page and has made just about every training session this year. On top of all that Rey has been willing to play however and where ever Coach Kevi needs him.

And today his willingness to do what it takes paid up. Big time.

Rey is (well at least he says he is) a blind side flanker. Over the last few weeks the Wolves have been short of outside backs. Coach Kevi and Coach Ben had a discussion and decided that Reys height and speed made him a good candidate to fill in on the wing. Last week the big guy barely saw the ball. This week, during the first half, he barely saw the ball. In the second half this week Rey touched the ball 4 times. Rey scored 3 tries. Rey is keen to get the hell off the wing so he’ll probably tell you he didn’t do a lot of work for his tries, pretty much just caught the ball and scored. But that is a fairly long way from the truth. Especially for his first try in which he beat 4 cover defenders with two in-n-aways, a fend and a long, one arm put down.

Josh Wahikia had a blinder last week and had another blinder this week. As Bob Dylan once said “that son of a bitch is brave and getting braver”

A few years ago Michael Parker was THE best forward in the club. By a long way. He was probably the best forward in the comp. He was fast, fit, smart and more aggressive then a Lebo roid rager that’s just been kicked out of the Establishment. And the Michael found alcohol, women and, well, some other stuff that can’t be mentioned here. Michael is still pretty close friends with the above mentioned bad influences but he is training hard and is showing glimpses of his former self. Today the little lunatic was everywhere. He made solid tackles, decent runs, stole the ball and swung into acting half at a few super critical moments. We all hope Michael keeps aiming for the stars.

6 weeks back Coach Ben broke his arm trying to swinging arm someone’s skull. Last week Ben tested his arm out by going a few rounds on an overweight Lane Cove speed ball. This week Ben did his best Mal Meninga arm brace impersonation and took to the field for what was supposed to be a 20 minute run around to gauge how the arm was going. Thing was Ben was running like Mal Meninga in his hay day and so the big guy player the full 80 minutes. Well.

Shayne Kilmister is too busy posting photos on facebook of himself kissing his misses to come to training. This week however the Wolves were in need of a fullback they could trust the Wolves regular fullback, Nash Steward, was busy building his new legal firm. Shayne played great and swore to Coach Kevi that his facebook kissy photo days are over and that he may be able to get to training……Merrylands 62 – ICMS 0


Merrylands vs Lane Cove

So it has been a while since the Wolves strapped on the boots, 3 weeks in fact. Long weekends and frightened oppositions have seen the Wolves forced into a mid-season break. As much as it has frustrated several players it has been a bit of a blessing as several front line lads have been nursing niggling injuries. Captain Joe, Frank Waiomio, Todd Parsons and Richard Ngawini would all have missed a game or two had the Wolves had to play. On top of that both Ben “Pillow Fist” Davis and Simon “Not my Beautiful Face” Porter are out for a few weeks so the situation meant the guys can tick off a few weeks of recovery without missing games.

Despite all the recovery time the Wolves were still short of several first grade players for today’s match. Blare Wallace pulled his calf at training, Levi Sciascia is serving a two match ban for defending himself, Ben “fast hands” Davis is still out with a broken arm, Simon Porter has gone back to NZ to make sure it’s still as crap as it was when he left (which it is) and Anton Lepua and Eddie Hae have, well, disappeared.

This missing cattle saw Coach Ben and Guru Kevi make some interesting selections. Michael Parker got off the beers and back onto the side of the scrum. Richie Ngawini was keen for a run but admitted to Guru Kevi that his hamstrings probably weren’t 100% so playing out wide may not be ideal. With that in mind Todd Parsons shifted to 12 to allow the younger Ngawini to play 10. Drew Hammond made his second run on appearance in first grade while Rhiy Akbhahar was moved out of the forwards and onto the wing.

Speaking of forwards, todays Wolves front row was something special. It was enormous. Really really enormous. Huge. In fact the Wolves, and dare it be said Subbies in general, haven’t seen the likes of today’s front row since the heady days of 2008 when the Wolves 2nd grade front row was manned by Budda, Jade Moses and Frank Waiomio.  Today Frank and Jade were wearing the 1st grade 1 and 3 while Josh Wahikia pulled on #2.

For those of you that don’t know them each one of these guy tips the scales well in excess of 120kg’s. It was an awesome sight. And added to that was the fact the Wolves had A.J Tuara (yes the big guy is back!) and Bicks Hicks waiting to take over should the heavy hitters run out of gas.

And it was in fact these three heavy hitters that did the bulk of the early damage to Lane Cove. The Wolves received the kick off and immediately Frank and Josh laid on a lightening pick-n-drive assault that had the Covies wheeling back in retreat. Off the back of the quick ball Tim French put on a slick short side move that released Drew Hammond down the left touchline. The lanky #14 almost made it the whole 60 or so meters to the line but he was pulled down by the cover and unfortunately lost the ball trying to offload.

But unfortunate for Lane Cove the ensuing scrum simply gave the Big Show of Jade, Josh and Frank the chance to bring it in tight, just how they like it. The lads crushed the Covies scrum and had the Lane Cove #9 was forced to hurriedly pull the ball out of his chaotic scrum and do his best to kick the ball down field, as far away from the Big Show as possible.

Drew Hammond and Nash Steward combined to bring the ball back to around the half way were once again Frank and Josh pick-n-drived the s@#t out of Lane Cove, this time with Jade Moses chiming in with a nice hit-n-spin-n-off load. The assault was too much to bare and soon Captain Joe was fed easy, front foot ball with acres of time and space. And as any Wolf fan knows giving Joe time and space can only end one way. Try time.

The Wolves gathered up the restart and soon were back at it, rolling and picking their way up field. It looked for all money like the Wolves were gunna explode all over Lane Cove’s face but a simple mistake at the ruck saw Lane Cove given a penalty and soon the Wolves were defending some 20 meters out from their own line.

Worryingly for Kevi and Ben Lane Cove crossed for a fairly easy 5 pointer. Despite giving it to Lane Cove in attack the Wolves forwards struggled to amp up in defence and simply allowed Covies to recycle possession far too easily. The quick ball, and another penalty or two, soon had Lane Cove high fiveing and back slapping their way back to the half way as the Wolves saw their lead disappear.

And that folks was pretty much the story of the first half. The Wolves were crushing Lane Cove in attack, managing to get their 4-try bonus point before the break, but they we’re asleep and rather limp in defence. The Wolves kept letting the Lane Cove forwards run to them rather than moving up and the Merrylands kick chase was, to be honest, pathetic. Any way the Wolves went to the break 15 or so points in front but they still copped a spray from Captain Joe and Coach Ben. And they deserved it.

It took the Wolves a while to get into the swing of it in the second half. Lane Cove were working hard to old onto the ball and all though they weren’t actually making any ground, they were dominating possession.

But after maybe 10 minutes, the Wolves came alive. Tim French led the way with some solid, fast moving defence that upset Lane Coves rhythm, finally allowing the Wolves to get their hands the ball. Unlike in the first half, this time it was almost all backline attack. Joe and Richie Ngawini were carving Lane Cove to bits, scoring a couple themselves and laying on tries for Todd Parsons, Josh Wahikia and Nash “I’m the 2nd best knuckler in the Club” Steward.

Lane Cove managed to get themselves a rather dubious penalty try midway through the second stanza but other than that the Wolves had it all pretty much their own way.  Jose Frias came on with 20 to go and proved without a doubt he is up to the playing first grade. He was super busy and played a simple straight forward game that got the rest of the forward pack back to doing what it does best, rolling over teams. James Macklin and Luke Schofield continued their new found ball running ways off the back of Jose’s example and by the time the full time whistle was blown the Wolves had pushed their score up over the half century mark.

Big ups to a few folks for today’s game. A.J Tuara is without a doubt one of the best forwards Merrylands has ever given birth to. But A.J is a sensitive soul and sometimes needs to focus on A.J. Today was the first time the big guy has pulled on the black and yellow for the year and he was his usual destructive self. We all hope he makes himself available a little more option, especially with Frank Waiomio going walkabouts.

As mentioned earlier, Jose Frias made his first grade debut today and played awesome. Since coming to the club he has been getting better and better as a player and has always been a great clubman. With a little patience he’ll become a regular first grader for sure. And he should come on this years End of Season.

But big ups of the day go to Josh Wahikia. For years and years Josh simply hung out around the club. He promised us he used to play rugby but as far as anyone could see he was full of s@#t. Then maybe 2 years ago he finally decided to pull on some boots. He didn’t exactly set the place alight, mostly playing 2nds and 3rds. Bu this year Josh has been training hard and today was easily his best performance in the black and yellow. He aggressive, busy and super confident. He pick-n-drived with power and style and defended like a brick wall. Josh was voted players player by 10 of the starting 15. That’s almost a record…..Merrylands 54 – Lane Cove 20


Merrylands vs Terry Hills vs Mosman 24/5/14

1st and 2nd grade

So this review will cover both games because in reality both game panned out exactly the same for exactly the same reasons.

See today was a clear case of Murphy’s Law: Everything that can go wrong, will go wrong.

Due to a series of incredibly unfortunate, unforeseeable events, today the Wolves were massively short of playing stock. There are far too many to name each one but there were roughly 25 players unavailable for today’s games!

Some were injured (Mat Briggs, Todd Parsons) and some had work (Eddie Hae, Anton Lepua, Lepi Mautofu) but when all was said and done the Wolves had only 20 players available for the two games.

Now if you think that sounds a little tough consider this: There were only 5 backs. Joe Ngawini, Simon Porter, Drew Hammond, Tim French and Nash Steward. On top of that there were 7 front rowers. So while that fact insured the Wolves were never going to call uncontested scrums, it made finding fleet of foot forwards to play in the backline pretty difficult.

In the end that fact is the story of both games.

It took roughly half the game for both Terry Hills and Mosman to realise that there were forwards in the backline and that they were softish targets. The Wolves were seemingly in the hunt in both games well into the second half but once their opposition clued into who they should run at/kick too it was pretty much curtains for Merrylands.

To add more injury to insult several players suffered knocks that might see them missing for a few games. Joe Ngawini, James Macklin, Frank Waiomio, Tim French, Jake Moses and Simon Porter are all in doubt for next week’s games.

So now to the few positives.

Nash Steward is great at folding deck chairs.

Frank Waiomio came to today’s game as a spectator due to a bruised hip but in the end the big guy played 1 and a half games of football with some of that time spent out of his familiar tight head prop position and in the back row.

Tim French, James Macklin and Joe Ngawini all copped knocks during the game that would usually have seen them carted off. But due to today’s player situation all three played two entire games. And not once did any of them even look to the side line for a break.

Jake Moses has been missing for the start of the season and today was his first game back. Jake wanted to play 20 minutes or so to ease himself into the groove. Instead Jake played 1 and half games and did so without complaint.

Jose Frias played the whole of first grade at outside centre. While he certainly made the odd error he did a more then capable job. He set Drew Hammond up for a 5 pointer and teamed up with is centre partner Joe Ngawini to make some cracking hits.

It really was a brave effort by the lads that showed up. Let’s hope the Wolves don’t need to show that kind of heart again.


Merrylands vs Colleuges vs Chatswood 17/5/14

2nd grade

These two sides met in round one and Colleagues pretty much blew the Wolves off the pitch. They were younger, faster and fitter and made it show. So with the bulk of the Merrylands team being pretty much the same, most thought it would be a pretty similar result.

But it wasn’t. The Wolves played classic possession rugby, the exact kind of game you want to play when the opposition is younger, faster and fitter then you, and blew Colleagues off the park. The first half was a tit-for-tat affair with the sides trading tries and goals. It wasn’t until the last 10 minutes that the Wolves mountain of possession begun to take its toll and the Wolves pushed away from the Rose Bay outfit.

There were some really surprising performances today. Jason “el Presidente” Fulwood, Sean “Braveheart” Roche and Daniel “Unbreakable Nose” Padini have played very little rugby this year but all 3 played with passion, energy and style. Sean ran with the kind of venom he should, given his powerful build, and crossed for two tries.

Jason put on a classic old guys display of smart rugby. He didn’t chase the ball, he didn’t bother covering too much ground in defence. But what he did do was make it count when he got the chance. He rattled some cages in defence and on several occasions found himself with the ball, all alone, out on the wing. And on every occasion he handled the unfamiliar situation like he was born for it. Once he collected a cross field kick, sucked in 3 defenders and put Sean Roche over for a 5 pointer and on another occasion he goosed stepped 3 or 4 times, bamboozled the defence and got to within meters of the line.

In the backs Drew Hammond found some of the form that saw him named back of the year last year. He scored the opening try and ran down several run away Colleagues defenders.

Probably the most, well surprising, displays came from the Ditfod brothers, Anthony and John. Anthony played in the forwards and despite being a little lost most of the time made plenty of tackles, cleared and bridged a couple rucks and made the odd (somewhat unsuccessful) run.

John got fewer chances then Anthony but he did manage to break a tackle and didn’t really make a mistake! Both guys played the entire game and both boys gained a mountain of confidence from the impressive Merrylands Wolves victory…. Merrylands 36 – Colleagues 26

1st grade

It is a cliché used quite often in just about every code football. Whether it’s league, soccer, gAyFL or rugby. If you can play really, really f@#kn bad and yet still come away with a win it shows that you’re a truly champion team.

If that is true then today the Wolves showed that they’re are a champion team, because they played absolutely disastrous rugby.

To be fair though the Wolf players could probably throw up some decent excuses. For example in the forwards neither of the Wolves regular two hookers, Lepi Mautofu or Blare Wallace were available. Instead the number 2 jersey was worn by none other than the local big tited drunk, Michael Parker. And of cause the Wolf pack was without its handsome, dashing leader, Benjamin Davis whose place was taken by Reeaiy Akubra.

In the backs both the Wolves regular starting wingers Simon Porter and Anton Lepua were missing with their places being taken up by super sub Shayne Kilmister and the MVP of last years end of season trip, Adam “the Welcome Mat” Goodgame.

Chatswood had a fairly boring yet effective game plan. They avoided full frontal, collision rugby and instead kicked to the corners and waited for the Wolves to make mistakes. And in the first few minutes it worked a treat. Caught deep in their own half the Wolves tried to play their way out of trouble but were suckered into a penalty that Chatswood gladly took to give themselves a 3 point lead.

The Wolves were stung by the set back and aggressively tried to bash their way back into the game. After some good pick-n-go by the forwards fly half, Todd “bucket head” Parsons, decided to have a go himself and produced one of his over used yet still effective show-n-go’s. The trick it’s self work but as Todd strolled into the gap and looked for support he was dragged down on the harsh, concrete like centre pitch of Beauchamp Park and in the process twisted his ankle.

The original Aboriginal was taken from the field and the Wolves were forced into yet another change to the line up. Shayne Kilmister moved into fly half while his over grown mate Taine Bigfela came onto the wing.

And so the story of the rest of the game goes something like this: Chatswood kick to the corners and consequently Merrylands either got angry and frustrated and gave away penalties/points or Merrylands got angry and frustrated and ripped Chatswood to pieces.

As a unit, as a team, Merrylands played pretty awful. The forwards gave away about a million penalties at ruck time and lost their composure during set pieces. The backs defended like they didn’t know each other and made some piss poor decisions.

But there were so many brilliant individual displays that Chatswood, despite getting pretty close at the end, were never really in the hunt.

First the forwards. Levi Sciascia and Big K were terrorist. They brushed off would be defenders all over the place and were a constant, if sometimes a little over zealous, threat at the breakdown. Levi also showed his unrivalled ability to read the game, crossing for two tries by popping up at the right place at the right time.

Frank Waiomio continues to show all why he’ll be so sorely missed when he flies off to go dancing again later in the year. He was busy and smart in attack and scared the s@#t out of the Chatswood forwards in defence.

Luke “the Prodigy” Schofield and James “the Secretary” Macklin continue to grow stronger. Both guys have always been more of the hard working/ball winning type forward. Lately though both have found a bit of mongrel and are running and tackling like the units they are. James is about 5ft10’ and over 100kg’s. That kind of cannon ball build can be hard to tackle if the said cannon ball runs hard enough and low enough. Over the last few games James has been running low and hard.

Luke Schofield is an athlete. Truth be told the Merrylands forward pack is growing a little old and a little fat. Luke regularly saves the Wolves. He is tall, strong, fast and deep down inside is a bit of c@#t. And today he showed it. He ran with real hatred and caused plenty of painful winces to stretch across plenty of Chatswood defenders faces. He did the defensive work of 5 men. All he needs to learn now is what to do when he is in the open.

The Wolves backs were a fair bit s@#ter then the forwards. Especially in defence. Chatswood had two weapons. Their 5/8’s long ball and their 13’s tall lanky running style. Despite their attacking options being pretty much limited to just those the Wolves failed to adjust and failed to come to terms with the threat. On several occasions the Chatswood 13 ran straight passed the Wolves defenders and opened them up unlike anyone else has done all year. Eddie Hae tried and succeeded on several occasions to put a big hit on the guy but he seemed unfazed and continued to threaten the Wolves all day.

In attack the Wolves backs were pretty ugly. As was mentioned earlier the Merrylands backs were without 3 regular starters which goes some way to explaining the performance but they had plenty of front foot ball and the likes of Tim “40 is so sexy” French, Captain Joe, Nash Steward and Eddie Hae had plenty of chances but never really clicked.

That said the Wolves scored 6 tries (and absolutely bombed one. REY!) So it couldn’t have been all bad right?

Well no it wasn’t, but, as mentioned earlier, the good bits were more individual brilliance then team work. Eddie did some good things, Shayne caused headaches when he ran (instead of f@#king chipping it), Adam Goodgame still has it and Nash Steward was hard to stop (when he wasn’t f@#king chipping it)

But in the end the main difference between the two teams was Joseph Charles Hugo Ngawini. The guy is a beast. It’s as simple as that. He has evolved to a higher plain. He is not one of us. At one point while watching from the sideline, injured leader Benjamin Davis muttered to Villi “All Strapped Up for a Shower” Quarvulalavu “I wonder how it feels to look up, see 10 defenders and think “Oh yea, I should score from here”?

Merrylands Rugby Club is just glad Joe is on our side….Merrylands 36 – Chatswood 27


Merrylands vs Manly Savers 10/5/14

Today’s game was a weird one. This was yet another top of the table, undefeated clash and both squads knew it. Both clubs wanted this one bad.

But truth be told it was a pretty average match and most of the blame for that probably lies with the sand-pit-like under 8’s sized field Manly has for a home ground. Before the game the Wolves took a stroll to gather their bearings and it was quickly noted that the 15 meter line was only about 5 meters from the posts, this made the field 40 meters wide at best!

If you add to this the myriad of pot holes and sand traps than it’s pretty easy to understand why this match wasn’t what you’d call beautiful.

In the end the Wolves scored 3 tries to Manly’s 1 but most non-retarded onlookers could see if the field was something close to normal the Wolves probably would have gotten the bonus point two times over. There was just never any room for the Wolves to play their normal game. One or two passes across the backline and you were almost running out.

That said the Wolves were slow to adapt to the conditions while Manly, having seen this sorry excuse for a rugby pitch a million times before, simply kicked long. They knew that counter attack was near impossible in the cramped conditions while the fact you could safely throw numbers into rucks and mauls meant penalties would likely come.

The Wolves on the other hand stuck to their normal game plan. The forwards where getting enough go forward ball but Merrylands consistently found their bigger, stronger, faster backline crowded out.

The score was nil all at half time and the Wolves were a little flustered. But Super Coach Kevi had the medicine. He instructed the Wolf forwards to take the ball up no more than twice in a play. He told 5/8 Todd “the Aboriginal Dolphin” Parsons to feed his outside backs quick ball and get them running straight. Kevi wanted a fast, power game.

And it worked.

The Wolves spent the opening 30 odd minutes of the first half camped down Manly’s end with Levi “hurry up and put it down” Sciascia and Nash “lay low” Steward crossing for 5 pointers.

Than tragedy struck.

It’s pretty hard to find words to do justice to the man mountain that is Benjamin “the Lion of Merrylands” Davis. He is without a doubt the greatest forward the club has ever or will ever produce. Intellectually he is a genius. Pure and simple. Some people have even compared him to Stephen Hawking and the Rain Man.

A little more than half way through the second half Ben found himself defending on the blind side when an especially stupid looking Manly forward came his way. According to Ben he “tried to swinging arm the guy across the chest but the guy s@#t himself and took a dive”

Consequently Ben’s forearm missed its soft chest target and collided with a rock hard, yet somewhat hollow sounding, Manly skull.

Ben’s forearm broke.

The big guy simply looked down at his mangled arm, laughed, and walked off the field and all the way to hospital where several blushing, busty young nurses gladly took him into their caring, ample, milky soft bosom.

(There are several rumours going around that Ben in fact teared up and had to be taken to hospital by mummy and daddy. This is absolute bulls@#t)

After the big guy departed the Wolves fell into complete disarray with Captain Joe at one point reportedly shouting “where are you when I need you? You promised you’d never leave”

Any way lucky for the Wolves Manly never really got it together and had, by that point, been hit by few injuries themselves. Despite conceding their first try since round one the Wolves closed out the match and now sit top of the table, undefeated…..Merrylands 19 – Manly Savers 8


Merrylands vs Roseville 3/5/14

2nd grade

Roseville had agreed a couple of weeks before today’s clash to play the Wolves in two matches today. Unfortunately for Roseville not quite enough guys showed up to fill a second team. The Wolves on the other hand had about 150 blokes show up ready to roll. Pete Mac and Benjamin Davis put their heads together and came up with a plan.

Amongst the numerous faces that showed up ready to pull on a Wolf jersey today were about 5 guys that play league with Merrylands regular Richard Ngawini. So Ben and Pete told Richie and his league mates to piss off. Piss off and see the Roseville manager that is. Because today, in order to give as many guys a run as they could, Richie and his mates would be playing for Roseville and facing one of the most frightening sites known to humankind. The Merrylands Wolves!

And what a hammering they got!

There isn’t a lot of point going through a play by play of today’s game as this match will go down in the history books as a forfeit victory to Merrylands. However today’s game represents an interesting chance to get an honest insight into what it feels like to play against a howling, screaming pack of Merrylands Wolves.

So today we have an interview with the one and only Richard Ngawini who today had the dubious honour of pulling on a Roseville jersey and playing against the Wolves.

MERRYLANDSRUGBY.COM – So Richard, what was the first thing that went through your mind when you stood ready for the kick off looking at 15 Merrylands Wolves looking to take your head off?

RICHARD NGAWINI – Well truth be told I’ve been looking to play for another club for a long time now. As a club Merrylands is a horrible place to be but the idea that playing for another club means I may have to face the Wolves one day scars the s@#t out of me. I’ve never grown a big enough set of you know what’s to go somewhere else.

MR – Well today you were kind of forced to grow some you-know-whats. Was it as bad as you had dreamed?

RN – Yes. For sure. I remember really early in the match I was screaming at the half back not to give me the ball but the fool threw it to me any way. As I caught it I looked up to see Michael Parker running toward me knida laughing and mumbling some kind of racist insult. I tried to get the hell out of the way but President Fulwood got hold of me and before I knew it I was flat on back and the ball was long gone.

MR – Michael Parker is a real grub. Was there any one else you really didn’t wanna get near?

RN – Paul Burgen. I’ve heard some eye wateringly filthy stories about what that guy does with his “missing” finger and I really didn’t want to find out for myself.

MR – So defines. How di d you go talking the Wolves?

RN – Not well. The Wolves had control of the ball and after some slick forward play Michael Parker unleashed his back line. Shayne Kilmister was playing 5/8 and as the ball sailed to him I heard a voice from the sideline yell out “I want your welcome mat Shayne”. Well as you know Shayne is a pretty handsome guy so I kinda got lost day dreaming about welcome mats. When I finally woke up I looked around to see Sia Toa strolling in to score another 5 pointer.

MR – So was there anyone in the Wolves line up that surprised you?

RN – Arana Rissetto. He’s a pretty smart rugby player for a leaguie.

BIG UPS MUST GO TO TODD CUMMINGS. Today was the first time Todd had refereed a senior game of rugby. Todd has been with the club running touch for a few years while his old man, Dave Cummings, is a Merrylands Rugby legend. Todd did an amazing job. Most guys on the pitch agreed that at no time did he seem intimidated or unsure that his judgement was fair and pretty much spot on. He concentrated on the defender allowing the attacker to play the ball and didn’t get too bogged down in 50/50 decisions at rucks and mauls.



1st Grade

So the team coach Benjamin sent out today was a little different from that which ran on against Dundas Valley.

In the forward regular lock Mathew Briggs was unavailable as was regular flanker Steve Ione. So some mixing matching saw James “Saddy” Macklin move into lock, Lepi Mautofu pushed back to #8 and Blare “Lightening” make his run on debut for the Wolves at hooker.

In the backs Michael “Flaming Undies” Parker took Tim French’s spot at #9 while the rest of the back line remained at its strongest with Todd Parsons at fly half, Joes Ngawini and Eddie “I don’t drink” in the centres, Anton Lepua and Simon Porter and some bald piece of dirt at fullback.

Today’s match was a pretty big one. It was the Wolves first day time home match and both the Wolves and Roseville had extracted maximum points from their first two games and as such sat top of the table.

But the tuff, close match that most educated observers expected never eventuated. Instead the Wolves absolutely dominated their rivals in just about every aspect of the game.

Except lineouts.

Blare can’t throw to save his life. He couldn’t hit a cow’s backside with a banjo.

Any hoots other than lineouts the Wolves pretty much wiped the floor with Roseville. There was a lot to like about the Wolves performance today.

First of all the forwards. During the week Coach Benjamin had the lads working on a tighter, less expansive game. He wanted the forwards to utilise pick and drives and off loads too pierce holes in the defines, as opposed to running off the fly half and trying to break the line. That said Benjamin told the lads it was still early days and he didn’t expect them to use the new systems straight away. But they did any way.

And it worked like magic.

The Roseville forwards employed a typical fan-out defines and so the Wolves punchy, power, pick-and-go attack quickly had Roseville running out of men and the Wolves pouring through into back field. Lepi Mautofu, Levi Sciascia and Frank Waiomio were especially effective at busting up Roseville’s line and thus spreading fear and panic throughout the land.

And so just as planned this front foot ball gave Toddy Parsons and his back line all they needed to pile the points on their bewildered Roseville counterparts. Eddie, Simon Porter and Anton Lepua all enjoyed plenty of space and time with all three crossing for at least one try. But it was Big Joe that really revelled in the conditions.

The big captain was all most unstoppable. At times he was on the end of slick backline moves that had him tearing through Roseville’s defines. At times he was used as a decoy with Todd Parsons using the fear he created to put Eddie and Nash into space. And at times he simply tucked the ball under his arm and ran the f@#k over whoever stood in his way. Everyone that witnessed todays “head high revenge” incident will be telling folks about it down the Cooli for many, many years to come.

Other than Joe there were several very pleasing performances today. Frank Waiomio has found the form that saw him a regular first grader before his European sojourn. He was busy in attack and crushed Roseville in the scrums.

Both locks, Benjamin Davis and James “Mac Daddy” Macklin are usually more of the hard working, ball winning type forwards. But today both guys showed they’re capable runners with James making several quality rumbles while Benjamin made one very memorable 75 meter burst that had plenty in the crowd calling him the third Ngawini.

As was the case last week Lepi Mautofu showed he will be an important weapon for the Wolves in 2014. His ability to throw off defenders and make good meters through the teeth of oppositions defines is priceless while his super aggressive defines, especially in close to the ruck, will surely become a source of fear throughout the division.

In the backs Simon “The New Drew” Porter kept up his impressive try-a-game scoring record. Anton Lepua in only 18 years old and has bucket loads of talent. He is the exact kind of player the Wolves need, young, fit and very handsome. Today he showed what he is capable of putting Simon away for a 5 pointer and always troubling the opposition lines. With a little more experience he could become the fourth Ngawini.

Oh and big up to Michael Parker who, despite playing in the early game, carrying a dodgy ankle and an even dodgier personality, stepped into the half back position and done an awesome job. The angry little guy has a calm, understated way of playing #9 that seems to fit well with the flare of Todd, Joe and Eddie………..Merrylands 36 – Roseville 3


24/4/14 Merrylands vs Dundas Valley

A night game, how interesting!

Being a Thursday night before a Friday-off long weekend, and given the fact there was only one grade playing tonight, the Wolves had just about everybody that has ever called themselves Wolf over the last three years available for this game. There for the side Kevi put out tonight was crazy strong.

Levi Sciascia made his debut for the year at loose head prop while new guy Brihani Akbar started his first regular season match, bolting onto the side of the scrum. Richard “The Maori McCaw” Ngawini moved into the backline partnering his brother, Captain Joe, in the centres.

It would be pretty fair to say that most everyone thought this would be a pretty east match. Dundas got hammered in their first match and upon running out Dundas looked a fair bit smaller than their Wolf counter parts, though it must be said it was a particularly large Wolf team, especially the forward pack.

But right form the kick off Dundas were keen and full of mongrel, something the Wolves are used to dishing out, rather than having to deal with. Some Wolves handled the early onslaught well, like Todd “the Beard” Parsons, Tim French and Lepi Mautofu who all seemed to grasp that the best idea was to play simple rugby and take it up to the Vikings.

Others however didn’t handle it so well. Some guys, like Benjamin Davis, gave away s@#t loads of penalties trying to win the ball. Others, like Frank “I’m going dancing again” Waiomio and Mathew Briggs decided throwing the ball all over the place while under mountains of pressure might do the trick. Nash “Knuckles” Steward simply lost his mind and ran about yelling at everyone and trying to punch out the littlest bloke on the field.

But as has often been the case over the last 5 years or so Super Joe Ngawini and his boy wonder brother Richard came to the rescue. From a scrum some 60 meters out, Richard took a longish ball of 5/8 Todd Parsons and, with an easy step and power fend, accelerated into space. The girthed Ngawini held off a couple of defenders before flinging a ball to Big Bro Joe who brushed off a couple of attempts at cover to race around and dot the ball down under the posts.

Whether it’s because it’s early in the season or maybe the due dew made handling difficult but either way both teams struggled to hold possession. It was only the Wolves superior scrum and faultless lineout that gave them the advantage and allowed them the better of the field position. Midway through the first period Luke “the Chip Thief” Schofield pressured a Valley lineout deep in Dundas territory and the resulting crocked throw gave the Wolves the feed to a scrum less than 10 meters from the Valley try line.

James “Jimdog Millionaire” Macklin and Tim “He touched Me” French have been playing together for the Wolves since about 2003. They have played all through the grades and in plenty of positions. That is to say they know each other quite intimately. For today’s match James was playing 8 and Tim was playing 9. As the above mentioned scrum was set Tim gave James the kind of little wink that James knows means it’s business time and so as the ball came through the scrum James scooped it up, drew in the Valley 9, 6 and 8 and off loaded to Tim who crashed over in the corner.


Despite being up by a few at half time, Super Coach Kevi, Captain Joe and disgraced former leader Benjamin of Davis weren’t happy. The most worrying thing was the way the boys frequently lost their cool when put under pressure. The Wolves gave away penalties, flung silly passes and generally panicked in the face of Dundas’s niggly style of play. Kevin gave the boys a few simple yet forceful tips and sent the boys back out there.

Now anyone that knows the result of today’s match but didn’t actually see the game might guess the Wolves did everything they were told to, heeded Kevin’s sound advice and went out and tore Dundas apart. But truth be told the Wolves pretty much carried on in the second half just has they had in the first.

It was only because of the odd flash of brilliance in attack, some determined defence and a far stronger bench that saw the Wolves run away with it.

Some notable “flashes of brilliance in attack” came from Nash Steward and Simon “Kirwan” Porter, who’s second 2 5 pointers in as many matches was, a 90 meter classic. The Wolves were under a bit of pressure just inside their 22. Benjamin of Davis raced into half back and blindly tossed a harbour bridge like pass to Captain Joe. Joe was standing on the blind side with only Simon for company and they were faced by about 8 Dundas defenders.

In a very un-Joe like display, Mr Ngawini kicked the ball down the sideline and told Simon to go chase it. So as any god fearing man would well Joe tells you to do something Simon took after it like a rocket. The ball took a couple of wonky bounces but managed to stay in play with the Dundas winger and fullback both non-committals as to who should pick it up. So instead Simon swooped on the loose ball, toe bashing it out into the vacant back field. From there it was just a matter of getting the right bounce as Simon toed it twice more before falling on it a few meters to the right of the posts.

Nash Stewards “flash of brilliance in attack” was simply a case of being more switched on then the folks around him. The Wolves were awarded a penalty 20 or so meters out and while both forward packs were arguing over who was the toughest, Nash swung in, tap the ball and dodge through a couple of half asses attempts at tackling and crossed for the Wolves bonus pint try.

So there are plenty of big ups to give from tonight’s game. Blare and Raiani Akbar made their debuts for the Wolves while Shayne Kilmister and Steve Ione made there Wolves come backs.

Lepi Mautofu was given players player for today’s match and rightly so. Lepi ran hard and tackled even harder. Since coming to the Wolves a few years ago Lepi has been happy to take it pretty easy. He hasn’t put his hand up for first grade and while playing lower grades has simply hung out at the back of lineouts and kind of done his own thing. This year Benjamin of Davis and Kevi asked Lepi to take on several new responsibilities like learning to hook and lifting at number one and Lepi has been absolutely killing it. Every Wolf hopes the Tongan Canon ball can keep it going for the rest of the year…..Merrylands 45 – Dundas Valley 0


5/4/14 2nd grade Merrylands vs Colleagues

Today saw Merrylands take their first brave step into the Halligans Cup with the Wolves “2nd grade” travelling over to Rose Bay to take on Colleagues.

For those of you that don’t know, the Wolves, through no fault of their own, were dropped down to 6th division for 2014. This means the Wolves will regularly have an extra 15 or so players. So in order to get these guys a regular game of rugby the Wolves will be competing in the Halligans Cup. The Halligans Cup is run by NSW Subbies to try and accommodate this exact situation, that is, clubs that suddenly find themselves with way too many players.

So the Wolves squad than ran on for today’s Halligans Cup game featured some pretty interesting faces.

The Ditford brothers made their first appearance together. The lads have been training hard all off season and finally got a shot at the real thing.

Rob “Sunny” King played a season or two for the Wolves a few years ago but has gone back to his league roots for the last couple of seasons. The Wolves actually approached Rob to take on the first grade coaches roll for the 2014 season but he refused, simply stating he had better things to do than hang around with a bunch of rah rah playing pansies.

Well as it happens Rob doesn’t actually have anything better to do than hang around a bunch of rah rah playing pansies and so the big guy showed up at the Cooli with his gear bag and ran out for the Wolves at 5/8.

Bryce Innes also used to play for the Wolves a long long time ago. For the last few years Bryce has been spending his time getting fat and annoying. During the summer however Bryce got skinny again and is now looking to make a comeback. He started today’s game a flanker. He’s still annoying.

Paul Burgan is a suspect.

Last year Paul only played two games and both just happened to be against Convicts?!?! Paul never showed up to any of this year’s pre-season training.  And yet a mere few hours after it became public knowledge that the Wolves were traveling to Rose Bay to take on Colleagues,  Paul had contacted VP Benjamin Davis to say he would be playing. It just so happens that Colleagues share their home ground with the Convicts.

Is there something you need to tell everyone Paul?

So to the actual match. The Wolves lost by 10 points to a team that was a lot fitter and a lot younger than them. That said Wolves management still considers the match a success. It was the first time the Wolves have had a day where 2nds where playing earlier and at a different ground to first grade so there were more than a few people that were nervous about numbers. But there was no need to be. Plenty of guys put their hand up for the early match and most were happy to back up for the 1st grade game later in the day. Several, including Todd Parsons, Josh Wahikia, Frank Waiomio, Tim French and Mathew Briggs, even started the 1st grade game.

Great effort lads.

5/4/14 1st Grade Merrylands vs Lane Cove

Kevin Corbett came to the Wolves 4 years ago and was basically brought in to give Al Davis a hand with getting the boys rubbed down every Saturday. A year or two later Kevin mentioned that he had some experience as strength and conditioning coach and asked if he could lend a hand during pre-season.

The boys took an instant shining to Kevin and now in the 2014th year of our Lord, Kev has made the final step up and is now the attack coach for the Merrylands Wolves. Today marks the first full, regular season match that Kevin is in charge of attack. And the Wolves attack was on FIRE!

The Wolves starting team was pretty bloody impressive. Big, strong and super aggressive. In the backs Simon “Kirwan” Porter, Anton Lepua and Eddie al made their debuts for the Merrylands Wolves with Eddie wearing 13 and Simon playing on the right wing. After many years together in the lower grades for Merrylands Todd “Party Pig” Parsons and Tim French started their first top grade game as partners in the halves with Toddy playing fly half and Frenchy wearing the #9.

With only ten or so minutes till kick off the Wolves were without a recognised hooker. A few folks had agreed to give it a go, like Mathew Briggs, Michael Parker and James Macklin, but no one was available that had any real experience. Things were looking a little iffy when suddenly, on the horizon, appeared 5 shadowy figures. Kev and Ben were unsure whether they were friend or foe but as they drew nearer the Wolves forwards realised their front row saviour had arrived!

It was Lepi Mautofu and his tribe of Tongan mercenaries! A short word and a crash course in lineouts and scrimmaging soon saw the Wolves taking the field with the powerful front row of Josh Wahikia, Frank Waiomio with Lepi Mautofu hooking.

And the Tongan Cannon ball didn’t take long to make his mark, showing off some of his finer rugby skills. Lane Cove were awarded a scrum a few seconds into the match and with the Wolves tight 5 getting a dominant initial shove on their Lane Cove counterparts Lepi threw his left leg into Covies second row and hooked the ball over to the Wolves side. From the tight head ball Frenchy and the Party Boy moved the ball wide quick where Captain Joe easily rushed passed the first couple of defenders before slinging the ball wide to young gun Anton Lepua. Anton raced most of the way to the line before offloading to fellow debutant Eddie who crashed over for the first points of the game.

Only a few minutes later the Wolves found themselves in possession of the ball mid field, some 50 or so meters out. The forwards put on one of their most impressive drives of the game with Lepi Mautofu, James “the Cleaning Lady” Macklin and Benjamin Davis all picking-n-driving the ball 5 or 6 meters each. The fast, clean ruck ball saw Tim French swing into first receiver and lay on beautiful ball to put Captain Joe out into the clear and under the posts.

Lave Cove seemed unable to go with the Wolves high tempo rugby and the Wolves knew it. Off the restart Mathew Briggs caught the ball and beat a couple of defenders to get the ball almost to the half way. Todd Parsons gave an awesome double pump ball to big Frank who took the ball another 5 or so meters. At this point Richie Ngawini was having a rest of the blind side, a rest that was rudely interrupted by a short ball tossed to him by Tim “I’m going to Japan” French. Richie harnessed the anger he felt at having his rest interrupted to brush aside 3 or 4 defenders and race into the clear. With the cover defence coming across fast Richie through a beautiful inside ball to Benjamin “No Nudie Run for Me” Davis who sped the remaining 20 or so meters to the try line untouched, planting the ball down with a perfect 10 out of 10 swan dive, right under the posts.

The flood gates remained open for another 10 or so minutes with Todd Parsons and Eddie crossing for 5 pointers. But, as is often the case when the Wolves start blowing a team off the park, Merrylands took their foot of the pedal and allowed Lane Cove to enjoy most of the possession for the remainder of the half.

The boys were a little pissed off with themselves at half time but Kevi gave the boys a pat on the back and reminded them that it was early in the season and that there were plenty of new players so slowing down or playing messy for a few minutes was nothing to worry about.

The Wolves responded well to the positive feedback and were soon adding to their already big lead. First cab of the rank was Nash Steward who was gifted an easy run to the line thanks to some strong running from Anton Lepua.

Speaking of easy, Tim French will never have an easier try assist added to his name. The Wolves turned the ball over thanks to some strong defence from Captain Joe and were soon marching down the field again, with Richie Ngawini and James Macklin busting up the Lane Cove forwards. Todd Parsons used the front foot ball to whip out a trade mark Parsons’ dummy, getting himself into the clear and putting the Wolves only 15 or so meters from the try line. The ball was clearly going to come out of the ruck quick and with Ben Davis running into acting half just about every Merrylands player on the field was screaming for the ball. But like a good forward should Ben listened to his half back and slung a pass out to his #9 Tim French. In front of Tim was a woefully staggered defensive line full of tight forwards. Absolutely flying up on his right hand side was Captain Joe. Tim pretty much just handed the ball to Joe who sliced through Covies to add yet another 5 pointer to the Wolves total.

From that point, about midway through the second half, things got little messy thanks to a combination of factors. The boys were lacking a little match fitness and Kevin used the chance to give as many reserves a run as possible so the score board slowed down a little and Lane Cove even managed a couple of tries for themselves. That said the Wolves were never in any trouble and finished the match big winners.

So honourable mention must go to quite a few players.

Frank Waiomio and Josh Wahikia played a part in both games today and played well whenever they were on the field, especially Frank who did plenty of running a defended like a rock in close.

As mentioned earlier Lepi Mautofu saved the Wolves today by stepping into the hooking roll. He also had an absolutely blinder. Lepi is a very talented footballer. He is aggressive, smart and super quick for his size. Both Kevin and Ben hope Lepi decides this is the year Lepi takes rugby a little bit serious.

Eddie, Simon Porter and Anton Lepua all made their regular season debuts for the Wolves today and all three had absolutely stunning games, with Eddie taking out the players player award. For an 18 year old kid Anton has shown an incredible level of rugby smarts and confidence. The whole Wolves community hopes the young man hangs around for many more years to come.

James Macklin clean the s@#t out of his girlfriend’s apartment today. Well down James……….. Merrylands 52 – Lane Cove 10


8/3/14 Harden Up Harden 7’s

Merrylands Rugby Clubs long time president Mark “Skids” Milner and his beautiful wife Jenny Sturrock recently quite the rat race and purchased a small but lovely inn in a tiny little town called Jugiong.

The Wolves were looking for an excuse to go pay the legendary couple a visit and maybe play a little rugby and on the weekend that excuse came around. Merrylands were invited by Young Yabbies Rugby Club to play in the Harden Up Harden 7’s and so Peter Mac and a brave crew of ten players boarded the bus for the 3 hour trip into the outback.

The squad that pulled on the yellow and black was Joe “Bar for a Bed” Ngawini, Nash “It’s all for Science” Steward, James “JD” Macklin, Ryan “the juggler” Akbar, Todd “Party Pig” Parsons, Micky “Hot Flush” Parker, Tim “Can I have a turn” French, Benjamin “The Gordy Grabba” Davis, Jason “Yea Yea” Fulwood and the Wolves newest young gun Anton “Gravel Rash” Lepua.

All the talk on the way out was about how the boys were keen for a drink and how they weren’t overly fussed whether they progressed too far in the tournament. Once they had arrived and saw that the other squads had quite a few more players then Merrylands and looked a hell of a lot younger and faster that cold beer seemed like an even better idea.

But in true Merrylands fashion once the boys pulled on a jersey s@#t got real.

The Wolves first game was up against a local team simply called “the Panthers”

It took the Wolves a couple of minutes to figure things out but before too long some nice offloading between Benjamin Davis and James Macklin saw Nash Steward bolt into the clear and over the line. That try was followed by another from Joe Ngawini before the Panthers got their hands on the pill and fed on of their speedsters who raced into the clear with only an aging Benjamin Davis coming in cover. As the two players drew closer big Benny reached out, got hold of the Panthers collar and proceeded to rag doll the young winger over the touch line.

And thus Ben had the distinction of being the first and only man to be sent from the field in the entire tournament!

It had no real effect on the game though as the Wolves managed to cross the line 3 more times, one to Ryan Akbar, one to Anton Lepua and one to Todd Parsons, while the Panthers could only manage a solitary try.

The second game had the Wolves coming up against another mystery team, the Barbarians. Like the first match the opposition seemed a little better equipped for 7’s rugby but once again the Wolves managed to get hold of the ball early and without giving it up crossed for several tries. The Barbarians came home fast then the Wolves but it was too late for them as Ryan, Joe, Nash, Todd and Anton had all crossed for 5 pointers with Nash slotting 4 from 5 drop goals.

The third game of the day had the Wolves facing off against the hosts, Young Yabbies. It was a close game, with only 3 tries being scored. The ref was a local guy that had played a little rugby and was doing Young a favour by standing in as a ref. It turns out he used to play for Young. It also turns out that he was absolutely hopeless and more than a little bias. Needless to say the third match was the Wolves first loss of the day. About the only good/interesting thing that happened in the game was Benjamin Davis decided to do his second Gordon Tallis impersonation of the tournament and rag doll some poor, innocent, young winger over the sideline. Luckily for the big man the above mentioned ref missed it.

As Meat Loaf always says “two out of three aint bad” and so the two earlier wins and the narrow loss had the Wolves in the semi-finals of the major trophy up against competition favourites “the Gypsies”

“The Gypsies” are basically a group of ex-pro players that travel around the world playing in 7’s tournaments. They’re fit, fast and have plenty of 7’s experience. The Wolves had a few players that are fast (Nash, Joe and Anton) and a few players that are fit (Ben, Todd and Anton) but pretty much no one with all those traits and absolutely no one with much 7’s experience.  Now any fans out there that regularly read these match reviews knows that this kind of story leads to some kind of miraculous win for the Wolves. Normally the Wolves rise up against all the odds to post an inspiring win.

Well that didn’t happen today. Today the Wolves got belted. 32 – 0. About the only player that played well was young Anton. He troubled them whenever he got the ball and defended like an animal whenever the Gypsies came his way.

All told it was a good day for the Wolves. They turned up with a pretty average squad with almost no 7’s training and yet still managed to get into the semi-finals.

Big thank you to Ryan Akbar and Anton Lepua for driving themselves the 3 hours there and 3 hours back. The Wolves would have struggled to win a single game if you hadn’t of bothered. On top of that both guys played some great rugby with both Ryan and Anton crossing for 3 tries.


Season 2013

Semi Final Merrylands vs Fairvale 17/8/13

A play-by-play of today’s game would be boring, painful and frankly f@#kn pointless so lets not bother. Well not a full play-by-play any way.

The Wolves 1’s lost today and lost in the worst possible way. They went down to a team that the Wolves, at even 50% of their ability, should eclipse in every conceivable way.  The last time these two sides met the Wolves were bigger, faster, smarter, fitter, more aggressive and more enthusiastic. They defended better then Fairvale, they attacked better, they kicked better and the Wolves discipline made Fairvale look like a bunch of impudent 7 year olds.

Today was a completely different story.

Fairvale seemed to believe in themselves all day and kept coming at the Wolves. Merrylands on the other hand seemed to be waiting for something to happen. Other than a 15 minute period at the end of the first half (where they scored two scintillating tries) and the last 5 minutes of the game the Wolves, on mass, were passengers.

Despite all this the Wolves still could have gone through to the next round for you see according to Subbies Rugby rules, in semi finals, if the match is a draw at full time, the team that finished higher on the ladder goes through to the next round.

The Wolves finished higher on the ladder then Fairvale.

So with only 5 minutes on the clock and the Wolves down be just 3 points, Merrylands were given the feed to a scrum some 60 or so meters out. The boys knew it was now or never and so finally grew some testicles and went on the rampage. They rolled and ran the ball to within meters of the line, forcing Fairvale into penalty after penalty.

Fairvale were penalised by the ref for the third time in quick succession and so the man in charge sent the offending Fairvale player to the bin. The penalty was given almost directly in front of the posts and only 5 meters out, an easily kickable shot.

It was at this point that fate took control.

Captain Ben, rightly or wrongly, was not aware of either the score or the above mentioned rule. He asked the ref what the score was and the ref said he didn’t know. He then asked the ref what happens if it’s a draw and he said he didn’t know. On the sidelines every Merrylands substitute, official and fan (having already asked the sideline officials what the go was) was screaming for Ben to take the shot.

But alas Captain Ben, despite having ears an elephant would be proud of, never heard the screams and so, realising that Fairvale were a man down and likely to offended again, opted to go for the try.

And fell agonisingly short……Merrylands 14 – Fairvale 17


Merrylands vs Roseville 10/8/13

As this was the last day of the regular season and both of today’s games could have absolutely no bearing on where either grade for the Wolves finished up on the ladder, Wolves management decided that attendance today would be optional.

Problem was not everyone got the message.

As such most of the Wolves playing roster didn’t pull on the sacred Black and Yellow as they would normally do on a Saturday afternoon in winter. Joe Ngawini, Ex Brown, A.J Tuara, Candy Webb, Cecil Cornock, Nash Steward, Tim French, Mark Schofield, Arana Rissetto, Bicks Hicks and (most amazingly) Benjamin Davis all decided they had better things to do then to turn up to Chase Oval and face off against Roseville.

In all seriousness there was a pretty embarrassing lack of communication across the Wolves playing squads. Tactically it makes a lot of sense to rest players that might have a few aches and pains (or maybe a wife that is sick and tired of rugby and absolutely filthy that the Wolves had the audacity to make the semis) if the match you are playing is a dead rubber. But morally it is a pretty s@#t effort to leave an unlucky 18 or so players holding the bag.

The guys that did show up though did an awesome job. They didn’t win either game but only went down by a single try in each match despite the fact Roseville had two full, fresh squads. All the guys mentioned above owe a huge debt of gratitude to the likes of James Macklin, Richie Ngawini, Michael Parker, Todd “angry again” Parsons, Levi Sciascia, Luke Schofield, Con Brown, Karve Ngata, Adam Goodgame, Shayne Kilmister and all the other folks that stood staunch in the face of insurmountable odds.

Biggest thanks go to Drew Hammond, Villi, Rua Kaitua and Harley Nicholson. These guys play rugby for the fun of it and at no time see themselves as hard headed first graders. They certainly don’t see themselves as two games in a day first graders. But all three did what was needed and saw the Wolves safely into the semis. Thanks lads


Merrylands vs Redfield 3/8/13

2nd Grade

Despite the fact they were in line to make the semis, the Wolves 2nd grade have disappointingly pulled a Copperfield and vanished. Several front line players including Lepi and Lea Mautofu, Nick Sikameti, Salah, Big Usa and Loni Masters have all simply floated away. Several other run on 2nd graders like Josh Wahikia, Sean Roche and Howie Whitter have succumbed to season ending injuries.

This all adds up to the Wovles 2’s being consistently 4 or 5 players short for the last 3 weeks of the season. Luckily for stand in Coach Merv Wolf there are always a few blow ins and first graders keen to make up the numbers.

This match seemed like it would be a bit of a fizzer. Redfield are top of the table and uncatchable so the result was immaterial to them. Merrylands are 7th and unable to catch up with the semi final places so the result was meaningless for the Wolves to.

But this match was far from a fizzer. Both teams played with purpose and intent and the Wolves countered all of Redfield’s smooth, well drilled, mechanical play with classic Merrylands flair and venom. The momentum chopped and changed all day with Redfield getting out to a healthy early lead before the Wolves got smart, held the ball and rolled over their opponents to get themselves into the lead with mere minutes to go.

But alas god (or the guy with the whistle) works in mysterious ways. Redfield were awarded a few back to back penalties, got to within 5 meters of the line and proceeded to pick and drive themselves to within inches with the ref warning all that this was “last play”. The kids in red then set themselves up for the killer blow, with their biggest forward ready to make the telling charge into the Wolves line. With all hope seemingly lost Jason “Pimp” Fullwood stepped in, ripped a text book shot right into the ball carrying arm of the Redfield runner, dislodging the pill and seemingly handing possession and the match to the jubilant Wolves.

Seemingly anyway. Jason Fullwood has been playing rugby for the Wolves for a good 8 years and in that time there is not a single person in the greater Wolves community that can remember seeing Jason shoulder charge anyone, at any time, ever. But today the man in charge was sure that the telling, match winning tackle from Jason Fullwood was indeed an illegal shoulder charge and so handed the ball and the match back to Redfield.

There is always next year……Merrylands 28 – Redfield 31

1st Grade

Redfield are the team to beat. They are young, fit, f@#kn fast and play a style of rugby that is a little foreign to most of the teams in the comp.

Even though the result would have little or no bearing on where both teams sat on the ladder both teams had reason to put a little extra into today’s match. The last time the Wolves played Redfield the Wolves suffered their worst loss of the season, going down by 30 points. Today offered a chance at redemption. Redfield are sure to have been keeping an eye on results in other matches, especially the ones between other teams fighting for finals spots. The Wolves recent run of good form would surely have turned up on Redfield’s radar.

As far as the Wolves were concerned the first half was a disaster.  Merrylands had trained hard during the week and focused their energy on two main tactics to limit Redfield’s scoring. First off all Merrylands planned to dominate set piece to try and suffocate Redfield’s attack. Secondly the Wolves had practiced committing very few numbers to each breakdown in the hope a full defensive line would do the trick against the slick Redfield backs.

Both plans failed. Merrylands set piece completely miss fired. Line out throws fell woefully short and jumpers just didn’t jump. At scrum time the Wolves were off colour, engaging early or simply missing the refs call. The plan to fan out in defence led to mass confusion and despite scoring first, through a rampaging Bick Hicks, Redfield were soon finding plenty of holes and were almost scoring at will.

The half time whistle couldn’t come fast enough.

During the break Coach Levi and Captain Ben banged their big heads together and came up with a different plan. They re-gigged the Wolves lineout options, swapped around some cattle in the scrums and scrapped the fan out defensive plan. In its place the Wolves decided to use a more wolf-like tactic and aggressively attack every Redfield ruck and maul. Throughout the first half the Redfield inside backs had shown a slight tendency to freeze when given fed bad ball, Levi and Ben figured the best way to expose this weakness was to turn the Redfield halfback’s day into a living hell.

Let’s get to the point and say Merrylands didn’t win. But they went damn close. Within 4 points to be a little more precises. Within 4 points and mere inches to be exact. The Wolves spent the last couple of minutes of play inside the Redfield 22 and were desperately unlucky not to grab the winning try. The second half was a completely different game. The Wolves tactic worked better than anyone could have hoped. The aggressive rucking and mauling completely demoralised the Redfield forwards and left their backline in a state of famine as far as being fed any ball was concerned. The Wolves pinched a couple of scrums from their smaller opponents and managed to secure their all their own ball, even producing a couple of long range driving mauls from lineout wins.

So what to make of the result?

Coach Sciascia, Captain Ben and backline guru Ex Brown spoke during the week and agreed that all though a win would be nice, the important thing was that the Wolves came away with a blueprint of how to beat the kids and the confidence to do so. The fact the second half saw the Wolves cross for 3 tries and Redfield cross for none pretty much confirms that should the Wolves meet Redfield in the finals, they will know exactly what needs to be done and, more importantly, be sure that the mighty Merrylands Wolves can do it….Merrylands 22 – Redfield 26.


Merrylands vs Canterbury 27/7/13

2nd Grade

Let’s just pretend this game never happened.

Actually there were a few positive things to come out of the game.

Jose Frias continues to impress and is fast on his way to becoming a high quality player. Jose has played in the second row, on the flanks and in the centres during the year and has never looked out of place or had a bad game. This would be mildly impressive for someone that had been playing rugby for years or for a kiwi or aussie who had a long, proud history of the game in his family.

It is a f@#king remarkable achievement for someone like Jose.

You see Jose is Phillippino and Phillio’s don’t play rugby. In fact Jose had never played any kind of contact sport before last year. It takes an extremely large pair of well manicured testicles to get deep into your 20’s and decide to give an impossibly difficult, seriously violent game like rugby a try. The fact Jose came to the club last year when the Wolves were at their lowest point in a few years, stuck it out in a second grade side that got seriously hammered most weeks and then come back for more this year just adds to the level of respect the big guy is gaining throughout the club.

He is also best friends with Joe Ngawini.

Sasi Toa came down to the club about a month ago. He is somehow related to 1st grade centre Karve Ngata (brother in-law maybe). Sasi had a great game today and put on some brave displays before going off with injury after pulling off a remarkable hit on Canterbury’s lightning fast winger.

Other than that lets just pretend this game never happened.

1st grade

On paper in looks as though the Wolves won this one pretty easy. 4 tries to 1. Ask anyone that watched the game however and they will tell you the Wolves played pretty ugly and maybe didn’t deserve the win.

So why where Coach Sciascia and Captain Benny pretty happy after the game?

Well this is the sort of game that can seriously mess with the Wolves.

Canterbury are a few places behind Merrylands on the ladder and seem to be low on form. The Wolves on the other hand are flying high and crushing every team that stands in their way. It would seem to most Merrylands fans this one should have been a walk over.

But before the game Coach Sciascia and Captain Benny were nervous. Very nervous. This is the exact sort of situation that can breed complacency in the Wolves.

You can also add to this the fact the Wolves and Canterbury have a colourful history against one another. They have met many times in both regular season games and finals series over the years and have clashed at the Taki Toa almost every year for the past 4 or 5 tournaments. Every time the two teams face off it gets dirty, aggressive and downright mean spirited. The first time the two teams met this year the game was called off after the Wolves fullback, Albi Chapman – Barber, was taken away in an ambulance after a particularly fiery ruck ended with Albi’s knee facing the wrong way.

The replay of that match went all the way to the final whistle with Richie Ngawini crossing in the dying minutes and Benjamin Davis stealing possession from the black and blues after Canterbury had managed to move the ball some 80 meters on the last play of the game.

The Wolves were also without a few key players. In the forwards A.J Tuara and Marc Schofield were unavailable and Cecil Cornock was suspended. In the backs Mick Parker was yellow carded in 2nd grade and forced to sit on the bench.

But with all these things against them, and without playing well, the Wolves managed a 4 try bonus point win any way. And today the Wolves didn’t play well.

Most of what the Wolves did today could best be described as average. The forwards lost a bit of ball at line out time and in the scrums and the backs struggled to really get flowing. Decision making, especially from the back three, was iffy at times and there were periods where Merrylands seemed to lose their temper.

But the Wolves did the simple things right. They chased hard after kicks, they controlled the ball well when they had it and for the most part the Wolves won at collision time. Probably the most telling though was the Wolves defence. It was outstanding.

The backs communicated well and never let Canterbury’s smaller faster backline have any room. In the forwards the Wolves blunted Canterbury’s pick and drive and cut their big man down whenever they ran wide.

This final point was the most pleasing thing for Levi and Ben. Coach and Captain know that the Wolves have always got plenty of points in them. Even against the better teams in the comp like Irish and Redfield, Merrylands always managed to score a few tries. It can be the Wolves defence that lets them down. Especially early in the season. But not now.

Today’s game shows that even when not completely on, the Wolves are now a hard team to score against and that can only be a good thing with the finals just two games away…..Merrylands 27 – Canterbury 5


Merrylands vs Sydney Irish 20/7/13

2nd Grade.

Let’s just all pretend that this game didn’t happen.

1st Grade

Going into today’s game Irish were in first place, on top of the ladder, best team in the comp. Merrylands were 5th and under pressure to hold their place in the semis from the likes of Roseville, Fairvale and Canterbury. A win, as far as the Wolves place on the table was concerned, was vital.

More significant than that was the physiological importance of today’s match. Before today the Wolves were yet to beat a team higher than them on the ladder. They had gone close a few times but never got there. Chatter in pubs and whispers swirling around the greater Holroyd centred on the point that there didn’t seem much use in even making the finals if the Wolves couldn’t beat any of the clubs in front of them.

The Wolves 1’s were at a disadvantage from the opening whistle. A.J Tuara, Loni Masters, Candy Webb, Con Brown and Mark Schofield were all unavailable for the match. On top of that the Wolves second grade was forced to call on several 1st graders just to put a team on the field. Benjamin “Speed Bump” Davis, Mick Parker, James Macklin and Bick Hicks all played a half for the 2nds while Arana Rissetto played a full match.

But what the Wolves lacked in preparation they more than made up for with the one thing all Merrylands teams have (in fact just about any one from Merrylands has)and that is aggression. In the opening 10 or 15 minutes the Wolves were absolutely monstering their Irish rivals.

In one period of play Irish had been awarded a few penalties and managed to get themselves to within a few meters of the Wolves line with a throw in to a lineout. It seemed for all money the Wolves would concede, but the Merrylands tight five had other plans. They threw themselves full bodied at the Irish rolling maul and stopped it in its tracks. In fact they did more than just stop it, they blew it apart.

Irish then opted to try and pick and drive their way over the line but were forced backwoods time and time again thanks to some body rocking defence form the likes of Levi “the Chiropractor” Sciascia, Joe “the Incredible Sulk” Ngawini and Arana “All Day” Rissetto. Despite holding onto the ball for plenty of phases the boys in green never looked like crossing the line and were soon driven back to the 22. The ref then found reason to penalise the Wolves again and so Sydney Irish decided to cut their losses and take the 3 points.

Irish opting to take the shot was a massive psychological victory for the Wolves, a victory they would feed off for the rest of the game.

Midway through the opening 40 minutes the Wolves found themselves 6 points adrift but with a penalty near half way. Nash Steward put the ball into touch and so the Wolves had a line out feed some 15 meters from the Irish line. The Wolves then showed Irish how it’s supposed to be done.

Merrylands won the lineout and drove the maul to within meters of the line. Mick Parker then fed his backline with Karve “the New Tedd Timoti” Ngata and Joe Ngawini going close before Ex Brown managed to poke his shoulders through the line and pop a ball to Arana “where is the Hayne plane” Rissetto who carried a couple of Irish defenders over the line to open the scoring for the Wolves.

By the time the break was called the Wolves had managed to add a penalty to their total, putting the score at 8 – 6 in favour of the Black and Yellow.

The half time talk from Coach Sciascia and Captain Benny essentially assured the boys from Merrylands that victory was theirs to take if they really wanted it. And they wanted it bad.

The second half saw the breeze, that was now at the Wolves back, pick up and so the game plan virtually wrote itself. Ex Brown, Nash Steward and even Benjamin Davis repeatedly put the ball up into the breeze. With the call of “Wallabies Wallabies Wallabies” echoing around south Coogee the Wolves charged forward, endlessly pouring through the Irish defences, ensuring Merrylands enjoyed a mountain of possession and favourable field position.

For Irish the massive weight being brought to bear against them soon became too much. While they never really gave in and continued to play positive rugby all day their efforts were ultimately futile. Merrylands were growling, snarling and howling with aggression and enthusiasm and when the Wolves are in this kind of mood they are near impossible to resist.

As has been the case for a few weeks the Merrylands wingers, Adam Goodgame and Shayne Klimster, saw plenty of ball with Ex Brown at 10 and Nash Steward at 15 combining well to give their wide men plenty of time and space. Shayne was lucky enough to capitalise on the Wolves roaring ambition. After a nicely worked backline move he received the ball just outside his opposite with 20 meters to run and only a couple of cover defenders to beat. He made the run to the line look easy.

As well as setting 5 pointers up Nash also managed to cross for one himself. Levi Sciascia and Dylan Hodgson had combined in close to get the Wolves moving forward and some graceful handling from Mick Parker and Ex Brown put Nash out into the clear. There was a time not too long ago that if an opposition saw Nash’s back they may as well give it up cause there was no way of catching the bald git. These days Nash in the clear isn’t such a sure thing but in today’s game, with the Wolves breathing fire, Nash found it in his tired, ugly, old, match stick like legs to carry the ball over the line.

The star of today’s show though was Joe Ngawini. Joe has been a little below his best for the last couple of weeks (which is still far, far beyond what most mere mortals could ever hope to achieve) but Joe was really on today. As hard as they tried Irish could never come to terms with his combination of cannon ball pace and bear like strength. The big man scored one try after some solid team work got him within easy range of the line and also managed to score a typically ridiculous Big Joe solo effort.

Irish fumbled the ball in the middle of their backline around the half way line. They looked to have the situation under control though, until Joe strolled in. He hammered the Irish centre as he tried to pick up the ball and then regather possession for himself. At this point a try still seemed well out of most players imagination as Joe was surrounded by at least 5 defenders. But Joe isn’t most players. The Older Ngawini threw the first couple of Irish men off him, palmed away the third like he was an annoying fly and then raced into the clear. There were several defenders chasing but they never made any ground on him (and let’s face it they probably wouldn’t have pulled him down any way) leaving the big guy to grin all the way to the line and the rest of the Wolf pack to howling at the huge night ahead…..Merrylands 42 – Irish 6


Merrylands vs Convicts 17/7/13

2nd Grade

Today was the annual “Miss P” Cancer Fund Raising Day. The day has been held for the last two years to both raise funds for cancer research and celebrate the life of the late great Helen “Miss P” Fraser.

For those of you that want to remember, last year was an absolute shocker as far as results on the field go. Both 1st and 2nd grade lost plenty more games than they won and were never really in the hunt for a finals spot. On “Miss P” day the Wolves came up against Hills. Hills were ahead of the Wolves in both 1st and 2nd grade. Despite that the Wolves used the occasion to rise up and comprehensively demolish their cross town rivals.

The 2013 instalment of “Miss P” day would continue that proud tradition.

Once again regular Coach-in-Waiting Loni Masters was out of action due to some problems with ASIO and Al Qaeda. James “Big Dog” Macklin and Benjamin Davis stepped into the breach and named quite a strong line up. Bicks Hicks and Cecil Cornock joined Rex Blow in the front row while the potent back row of Kenny Bladwell, Jose Frias and Arana Rissetto continued on from last week’s impressive victory.

In the backs the now regular inside combination of Todd “the Hair Dresser” Parsons, Tim “Fall Down” French and Nick “Call me the New Nash” Sikameti took their place at 9, 10 and 12. On the wings Drew “the Beast” Hammond slotted in to 14 while the impressive Si Toa started in 11 after an awesome performance against Fairvale. Liam “Ring In” Parsons rang in at fullback.

Convicts play a very traditional style of rugby. They kick to the corners and try to force their opposition into making mistakes. Against a team like the Wolves 2nds you need to really nail this tactic or else you’re in big trouble. The Wolves 2’s have plenty of skill and speed out wide and if your chase or kick are off the mark the likes of Liam Parsons, Drew Hammond and Todd Parsons will make you pay.

Today Convicts just didn’t get it right. Their kicking often gave the Wolves players too much room while their lack lustre chase left plenty of space for Todd “Black Magic” Parsons, Tim French and Lee Mautofu to dummy and step their way through. That said it took the Wolves a good 30 minutes to really sink the boot into Convicts but once they had a couple of tries on the board, through Drew “go-go-gadget” Hammond and Lee Mautofu, the Wolves had no fear of Convicts and ran absolutely everything at them.

Bicks Hicks enjoyed a particularly rampaging game. Holding the ball in one hand and laughing his way through tackle after tackle, crossing the line for a 5 pointer and even managing to put Liam Parsons away for another.

Matt “Cecil” Cornock had a loud game. Even though he played hooker today, he is normally an openside flanker. In the loose today he played a proper opensides game. He was first to every ruck and was last off the bottom of every ruck, often cursing or threatening Convicts in his loveable pommy way.

Todd Parsons and Tim French showed why most Wolves faithful believe these two could be the 1st grade 9 and 10 if they gave a shit. The two of them seem to have as much time as they want when they have the ball. Neither of them are particularly strong or quick but they both have a knack for beating tackles when there is plenty of traffic around them. They can be guilty of making rash or over confident decisions at times but when they are on, like they were today, they can be almost impossible to stop.

It seems 2nds might have finally found the right wing combination. Drew Hammond has been killing it all year, scoring at almost a try a game. Drew does what he does with pure speed. Si Toa came down only a few weeks ago and seemed shy and nervous. As a result he struggled to get a lot of time on the field and when he did his team mates were often a little anxious about giving him the ball. Last week though Si showed glimpses of what he can do. He ran hard at the big Fairvale backs and tackled like a flanker when they came his way. This week Si shone. He backed up well when ever Liam and Todd Parsons made breaks and scored an absolute cracker for himself, making a Jona Lomu like run down the side line, beating 3 or 4 would be defenders on his way to the line. On one wing you have speen and on the other power. Perfect.

The win today puts the 2’s into fourth. This means if they can keep the team and the current run of form going they will be semi final bound……….Merrylands 37 – Convicts 7

1st Grade

Today’s performance by the Wolves 1’s couldn’t have done the memory of Miss P any prouder.

The Wolves 1st grade was at their free flowing, hard running, aggressive best.  Every player from 1 through to 15 absolutely crushed. Even the multitude of subs that came on in the final 15 or so minutes played awesome.

Make no mistake, Convicts are a decent team. They have won plenty of matches this year and the last time the Wolves faced them it was an absolute nail bitter with Merrylands needing to put on one of their best halves of rugby for the year to come away with the points.

The huge score line today can be put completely down to the massive occasion and the utter bloody mindedness of the Wolves 1’s.

The Wolves forward pack has been playing pretty well all year and has had the joy of having a fairly consistent line up. A.J Tuara, Levi Sciascia, James Macklin, Benjamin “the Voice” Davis, Mark “Chip and Chase” Schofield, Luke “Junior Pimp” Schofield and Dylan “the Nose” Hodgson have all played pretty much every game this year. Add to this Arana Rissetto always being available to come on should a replacement be needed at 4,5,6,7 or 8 and you have a solid base to work from.

Only the hooking roll has been passed around a little, mostly between Candy Webb and Cecil Cornock with Con “Give it Straight Back to Me” Brown wearing the number 2 over the last couple of weeks.

That consistency saw the Wolves put on a neat faultless performance for Miss P Day. They won all their own scrums and lineouts and stole plenty from Convicts. They defended aggressively and completely dominated with the ball in hand. The boys put on pick and drives, rolling mauls, tried out the new “turbo” move with great effect, passed the ball around to put each other into space, laid on chip and chases and crossed for plenty of tries. Luke Schofield, Benjamin “runs like Mark” Davis, A.J Tuara, Con Brown and Levi Sciascia all crossed for 5 pointers, with a few of them being absolute classics.

Merrylands were awarded a lineout only 5 meters out from the Convict line. Ben, Con and A.J had been talking about trying a certain front of lineout move for a few weeks and Ben and Con thought this was an awesome time to give it a go. A.J was nervous and didn’t really wanna do it for fear of f@#king up. To put his mind at rest Con told A.J “As soon as you get the ball give it straight back to me”

A.J did what he was told and Con crashed over the line almost untouched.

Levi Sciascia, despite his size, has some awesome foot work and often beats other forwards with ease. Today Levi showed off his moves on the way to scoring a stunning 5 pointer. Levi received the ball 20 or so meters out with only a few inches of room between him and the side line. The big coach jinked, goose stepped and Maori side stepped his way passed and straight over 4 or 5 cover defenders to dot down next to the corner post.

It’s funny how when a back scores a try like this they often get up like it’s no big thing. But when a forward, especially a member of the tight 5, dots down in this fashion you would think Michael Jackson was coming to town.

The Merrylands backs have shit loads of potential. Nash Steward, Joe Ngawini and Ex Brown can all make a claim to being one of the best players in their chosen position the club, and maybe even subbies, has ever seen. On top of them the likes of Shayne Klimster, Adam “good game” Goodgame and Karve Ngata would all challenge for the same title if injuries or work commitments would just leave them alone.

The problem for the Wolves backs this year has been consistency, especially when it comes to team selections. The likes of Loni Masters, Richie Ngawini, Baz Nicholson and Tim French have all had their time in the Wolves 1’s cut short by injury, often leaving Coach Sciascia to play players out of position and sometimes even resort to picking forwards in the backs.

Over the last few weeks though the Wolves backs have managed to put pretty much the same team on the paddock. Ex Brown at 10, Karve at 12, Joe at 13, Shayne and Adam on the Wings and Nash at fullback. The only change has been at 9 with Tim French, Todd Parsons and today’s half back Michael “Mum would flip if she saw me in this jersey” Parker taking the roll at different times.

With only a couple weeks of consistency the backs have already showed bucket loads of improvement. The ball whipped across the backline all day with Shayne and Adam seeing plenty of ball while Nash Steward had a game reminiscent of his 07/08 glory days.

Nash slid and poked his way into the back line from fullback whenever it looked on. He was put away for a couple of tries and put away others for a couple of tries. He even managed a bump that Joe or Tanga would be proud of.

Karve Ngata has been a bit of a fix it man for the Wolves for the last few years. He has played 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15 at different times in different grades. Coach Sciascia made a decision that Joe Ngawini’s best position is 13 and so needed someone to play 12. In stepped Mr Fix-it. Karve has played 12 for the last two weeks and today had one of he’s best games in a Wolves jersey. He ran hard, tackled ferociously, juggled like a clown and managed to finally get himself on the score sheet.

In fact just about everyone managed to get themselves on the score sheet.

Except Dylan Hodgson.

Dylan is yet to score a try this year.

Dylan is the only player in 1st grade not to cross the line.

Nuddy runs are awful when you’re all alone.

Last year when Mick Parker played a handful of games at 9 for 2nd grade most onlookers thought it was pretty funny. He’s number 10 for those games, Tim “Gifted Rugby Player Scholarship” French, kept telling everyone he goes all right but nobody really listens to Tim. Fast forward to a few rounds into this year and the Wolves 1’s were forced to play a makeup game away against Canterbury. These kinda irregular games often leave the Wolves short a few players and with minutes until kick off it seemed the Wolves were short a half back. In stepped Mick Parker and he carved up.

Today, with Loni Masters pulling out at the last minute, Mick Parker was again called into play 9 and did a ripper job. He served his backs well and even managed the odd dummy and go from the base of the ruck.

Big thanks today goes out to all the guys that benched. Big Usa, Bick Hicks, Cecil Cornock and Drew Hammond. Even bigger thanks go to Arana Rissetto who ALWAYS backs up for firsts wether he has had a couple of beers already or not. Arana was called into today’s match after only 15 or so minutes and played the majority of the game. Big ups Arana.

Also big thanks goes out to Kevin the Maestro. Whether giving quality, if a little suspicious rub downs, or strapping up the Wolves broken down bodies, Kev has been hassling anyone that will listen about adopting his favourite team song. Enthusiasm for the idea has been lucre warm at best but he persisted and today he’s efforts paid off. The boys belted out an adequate rendition of “guzzle guzzle guzzle” that may have just lit the fuse Kev has been trying to spark for a couple of years….. Merrylands 62 – Convicts 5


Merrylands vs Fairvale 6/7/13

2nd grade

Fairvale are to Merrylands what cats are to dogs, Queenslanders to New South Welshmen, Palestinians to Israelis and Gillard to Rudd. Any one that has been with the Wolves for more than 3 or 4 years will tell you there most disliked opposition is Fairvale. And “disliked” is being kind.

This is the first time the two clubs have met since the 2008 major semi final where the Wolves 1’s came from behind to beat Fairvale with a last minute try to a young, hairy Nash Steward. While Fairvale might have added a name to their title and mercifully got rid of their hideously ugly, old, battered baby poo brown and vomit yellow jerseys there was still a sense of familiarity as the two clubs exchanged pre-match gazes on this warm, sunny Saturday afternoon.

Coach-in –waiting Loni Masters was unavailable today due to work commitments so it was up to Benjamin “I’m supposed to be vice president” Davis to put a team on the pitch. At the moment, the Wolves are desperately short of front rowers. Josh Wahikia, Howie Whitter, Candy Webb, Cecil Cornock, Tedd “OT” Timoti and Harley Nicholson are all currently on the injured list. This meant that the Wolves only had 1 front rower available for the 2nd grade fixture and that was the new veteran Rex Blow. The call was put out to several of the 1st grade front rowers but none of them could quite make it on time.

So the painful decision was made to send 2nds out to start the match with uncontested scrums. It is not something Merrylands Rugby is proud of and is something the Wolves have never, ever had to do before (as far as anyone can remember) in their proud 45 year history.

But as they say there is a first time for everything and so the Wolves kicked off to Fairvale with 14 players on the pitch (if you call uncontested scrums you must drop one player as punishment). Really big teams like Fairvale have a habit of starting fast and full of agro but then tend to fade. The Wolves forwards knew that if they where to stand any chance of taking the points against the monster Fairvale pack they had to start strong.

And they did.

The likes of James Macklin, Kenny Bladwell and Jason “Pimp” Fullwood punched well above their weight, felling the massive Fairvale forwards and carting the ball up into the teeth of the Fairvale pack, making plenty of meters. The quality service allowed the ever improving Tim French to unleash he’s ever improving backline. Nick “never pass” Sikameti, Lea “One Shoulder” Mautofu and Todd Parsons all found it easy to find gaps and tear apart Fairvale’s defence as the Wolves put on the first try of the match to the flying Drew “the Beast” Hammond.

With the run of play firmly against them Fairvale struggled to keep their composure, giving away penalty after penalty that saw the Wolves march straight back down the field and within easy striking distance. After a few set pieces and some wilful rucking and mauling the Wolves crossed again, this time to another regular try scorer, Lea Mautofu.

The Wolves, as is often the case when teams at this level get off to a fast start, took the points for granted and begun playing stupid, selfish rugby. The slip in intensity allowed Fairvale to catch the odd lucky break and cross for their own 5 pointer, making the score 12 – 5 to the Wolves at half time.

The Wolves made several changes at the break including Luke Schofield, Liam Parson and Usa Vulimaibau replaced Levi Sciascia, Tim French and Si Lau respectively.

The second half was a classic see-sawing affair as the two teams trading tries in what became quite the entertaining game. Fairvale make ground up the middle and the Wolves were finding space out wide. With less than 1o minutes to go Fairvale scored a run away try that seemed for all money to have sealed up the result. But in his usual tenacious form Todd “Party Now” Parsons  refused to give in. He through a couple of dummies from the ruck base, skipped through a few holes, got Fairvale moving backwoods and then unleashed the Beast, Drew Hammond. In two separate, high quality runs Drew and Todd got the Wolves within 5 meters of the try line.

With the game there for the taking the Merrylands 2’s than decided to see how many tries they could bomb and yet still strike the winning blow. Liam Parsons, Lee Mautofu, Luke Schofield, Todd Parsons and Jason Fullwood all managed to either drop the ball over the line, pass when they could have gotten over themselves or go themselves when the pass was clearly on and bomb certain, certain, match winning 5 pointers.

It wasn’t until No Pass Sikameti tried to get in on the action and bomb a try himself that the Wolves finally put the game to bed. Nick received clean ruck ball some 5 meters out and had plenty of players outside him and also probably could have pushed his way over solo. From that position bombing a try was actually reasonably difficult.  But Nick did his best. Nick, who used to be a league prop, performed the most uncoordinated chip and chase ever. It never looked like getting over the defences heads. But lucky for the Wolves in rebounded off the Fairvale 12’s shoulder and straight back into Nick’s hands who simply fell over the line and gave the Wolves a valuable win……….Merrylands 31 – Fairvale 27

1st grade

At Thursday training there were approximately five 1st graders.

That’s shit.

The way the Wolves 1’s played today was shit.

For every good thing the Wolves did today, they went ahead and did something shit to cancel it out.

For instance the Wolves forwards won all their own set pieces and destroyed Fairvale’s. But they then decided they had done enough and basically didn’t attack all day. Sure there were  a few good runs made, most notably from Mark “the Accelerator” Schofield, but for most of the game the pick and drive and wide, fluid running that has become a hall mark of the Wolves this year was completely missing.

The backs kicked and chased well, frequently pinning Fairvale in their own half. But then they dropped the ball so much most on lookers lost count and hope.

The backs defence was shit. They didn’t communicate and too often missed the first up tackles.

About the only player that can hold he’s head high is Con Brown. With both Cecil Cornock and candy Webb unavailable, Con accepted the call up to first grade and played awesome. He ran hard, tackled well, hooked and threw into lineouts like a seasoned pro and even managed to cross for a 5 pointer.

If the Wolves 1’s win most of their remaining games they should make the semis. If they keep carrying on the way they have over the last few weeks it will be a pointless exercise to bother showing up for the finals.

Pull your heads in……….Merrylands 26 – Fairvale 14


Merrylands vs Maccabi 22/6/13

2nd grade

It really is hard to know what to say about today’s second grade game.

On one hand it was a solid win with a few strong performances, especially Todd Parsons, Jose Frias and Usa “300” Vulimaibau, who nearly scored a try as well. On the other hand it was an absolute shit fight. With 10 minutes left before kickoff there were only 12 players ready to take the field. With 5 minutes left before kickoff there were a total of 7 first graders strapped up and ready to run out for the 2’s. By the time Maccabi actually kicked off there were only 2 regular, out and out first graders on the field and the Wolves 2nds finally put their own team out.

On a side note, there are rumors that Usa may be hanging up the boots now that he has the magic 300 next to his name. If that is the case, and all of Merrylands hopes it is not, thanks for the memories Usa! Usa is an absolute club legend. He is a one in a million player. Merrylands Rugby Club thanks you from the bottom of our heart, just make sure that son of yours pulls on the yellow black, at least once any way!

Last week’s review on this website was pretty harsh on second grade. The main criticism was that if 2nds don’t want to train than they must accept shitty results. The idea was to try and fire the lads up and maybe inspire them into producing some real commitment.

Instead the lads went backwoods. There was absolutely no body from 2’s at training and to really top it off they could barely get a team together or match day.

Problem for Merrylands management and anyone stupid enough to call themselves the 2nd grade coach is that even though they played a far better team than the one they faced last week they managed to put a really strong performance and come away with the points!?!?!……Merrylands 19 – Maccabi 5

1st Grade

So the Wolves 1’s were meant to take to Holroyd sports ground today and show they’ve got what it takes to rock this competition by beating the team directly above them and moving into the top 4. From there the plan was to keep winning, make the finals and then walk away with the title, completely erasing last year’s awful story from everyone’s memory.

So what went wrong?

Like the match against front runners Sydney Harlequins earlier in the year, today’s result and performance, despite being pretty terrible, actually shows that the Wolves can go all the way if they can knuckle down and right the wrongs.

Maccabi dominated territory and possession. They kicked well and held on to the ball for long periods. They enjoyed a fairly lopsided penalty count and their natural conservative game suited the cold, rainy conditions. The Wolves on the other hand played pretty poor, not as bad as NSW in Origin 2, but they lacked consistency, failed to hold on to the ball and couldn’t adjust to the conditions. The forwards spent too much time worrying about running fancy plays while the backs couldn’t seem to figure out how they wanted to attack at all.

Despite all that the Wolves were all ways in the match and even had a chance to win the game with the last play of the day. Merrylands defended strongly and severely limited Maccabi’s options in attack. The Wolves forwards dominated at scrum time, heaping pressure on the Maccabi forwards as well as winning pretty much all their own lineout’s and even stealing a few of theirs.

If the Wolves want to beat teams above them they need to consolidate the things they are doing well. Scrums, lineout’s and defence in the forwards and their fast, strong running in the backs. But the big thing is they must start playing smart rugby. They need to play more of the game in the opposition half instead of trying to launch long range attacking raids. They need to play wet weather rugby when its wet and above all they need to start believing in themselves. Like R. Kelly once sang “I believe I can fly, I believe I can touch the sky”……….Merrylands 10 – Maccabi 15


Merrylands vs Mac Uni 15/6/13

2nd Grade

Today was truly one of the most amazing performances the Wolves 2’s have managed in a long time. Not so much because of any courage or skill that was on show but more for their steely, unbreakable determination to lose this game at all costs!

Today the Wolves 2nds were horrible.

Let’s be honest. The Wolves should have demolished there Uni rivals today. They were bigger, faster, more skilled, more aggressive and should have had more motivation as the Wolves 2’s are only one spot out of the top four while Mac Uni’s 2’s are sitting way back in 10th place and pretty much out of finals contention.

The Wolves dropped ball at both critical and non-critical moments. They kicked when they should have ran and ran when they should have kicked. They pushed the pass when they should have held on and went themselves when they should have passed. They lost their temper at officials but not at the opposition. They were shit.

There are a few old heads at Merrylands Rugby Club who claim there was a time long, long ago that the Wolves two’s made it to training on mass. At least once in a while. Those days sadly are well and truly gone. No blame can be laid at the feet of the Coach. There is little that can be done to right any wrongs or build on any positives when you only have Arana Rissetto, Drew Hammond, Big Usa,  Josh Whahikia and Ken Bladwell to work with on any given Thursday.

If the rest of the regular second grade squad are happy to play the sort of rugby on show today and get the sort of result they got today than there is probably very little left to talk about. But if Todd “Tequila” Parsons, Tim French, JasonFullwood, Lepi Mautofu, Lee Mautofu, Salah, Nick Sikameti, Con Brown and the like want to give the comp a bit of a shake they really need to pull their heads from out of their own asses……Mac Uni 12 – Merrylands 5

1st Grade

The display from the Wolves  1’s today was the complete opposite to the 2nd grade game mentioned above.

The Wolves 1’s absolutely demolished and dismantled Mac Uni in every way conceivable. They ran through them, over them and around them. They belittled them in defence and treated them with utter contempt in the set piece.

It would kind of meaningless to try and do a blow by blow report of today’s game. With so many trys scored it really was hard to keep track. Instead let’s focus on some of the more subtle positives seen today and on the real standout performances.

Levi Sciascia doesn’t want to play prop. He doesn’t want to play at all really, he just wants to coach. Today though he put on a show that proves to every Wolf present that no matter how fat he tries to get he is still one of the most effective tight forwards in the comp. Levi made several line breaks, effected several steals in and around the ruck, brutalised his opposite in the scrum and even managed a 5 pointer despite Captain Ben yelling at him not to.

Speaking of Captain Ben, what a machine. The Wolves crossed for 8 tries today. Add that to the opening kickoff and that means the Wolves received the ball from 9 restarts. Benjamin had to catch everyone. Every single kick off was sent directly to him. Benjamin caught everyone. Everyone. Add that to some skilled open play, sure defence and barnstorming (if giraffe like) running and it’s no wonder there whispers Wolves management are thinking of playing the big guy at fullback.

Dylan Hodgson is not really the modern prototype openside flanker. He is probably a little on the small side and doesn’t really get after the ball at the breakdown. But he gets around the field, making quality runs, pulling off try saving cover tackles and linking with the backline better then just about any forward that has ever pulled on the hollowed yellow and black of the Wolves. Dylan made several long, open field runs in the first 40, at one point linking with Joe Ngawini to sprint 50 meters before being pulled down mere inches short.

Ex Brown, like Levi, doesn’t really wanna play the position, 5/8, that he is regularly picked in. He sees himself as more of the free running number 12. But every time he plays 5/8, the Wolf backline sings, and the few times he hasn’t, they have struggled. Today was one of Ex’s best displays in the #10 jersey. He talked well all day and ran strongly but most impressively seemed to be making moves on or two steps ahead of everyone else. Even the players outside him sometimes seemed not to know what he was up to but, to their credit and to the teams benefit, always trusted the hard drinking Brown brother knew what he was doing.

For all the shit he cops and the way just about everyone in the club kinda takes his running ability for granted, Joe Ngawini is probably the best attacking player anyone involved with Merrylands Rugby has ever or will ever see. Joe crossed for two tries today and probably could have gotten more had he not given others the chance. It’s pretty tough to describe just how devastating he is. It’s also pretty tough to imagine the Wolves without the big goose.

Nash Steward doesn’t know the difference between right and left. He is a bald moron.

A.J is a star, and apparently quite scary.

From a team point of view there were several impressive things in today’s performance. First of all the boys were ruthless. They never let up all day. Even when 40 odd points up the Wolves still showed aggression and energy in defence, stopping Mac Uni from registering a single point. There was also a thoughtfulness and calmness to the Wolves play. They worked to find space rather than just running over teams. They listened to their key players like Ex Brown, Loni Masters and Benjamin Davis and they stuck to the game plan. And best of all they never lost their cool despite the fact Mac Uni clearly were……Merrylands 50 – Mac Uni 0


Merrylands vs Rouse Hill 1/6/13

2nd Grade

With a view to keeping things interesting the overly wordy, ridiculously long winded, mundane, clap trap that usually serves up as match reviews will be replaced this week with a couple of overly wordy, ridiculously short interviews with two important members of the 1st and 2nd grade squads. James “I’m cured” Macklin has been an integral member of the Wolves 2nd grade for many years now. He has assumed the role of captain again this year and is having an absolute barn stormer of a season, regularly being named man of the match and more often than not backing up to play 1st grade.

MERRYLANDSRUGBY.COM: So James, another good win for the 2’s this week?

JAMES MACKLIN: Yea, we got a bonus point which is the important thing if we wanna make the semis.

MR: You’re having a great year. You’ve lost a fair bit of weight and are looking sharp.

JM: Yea I got back into MMA training over the winter and it’s paying off big time. I’m really enjoying my rugby again and getting picked to play in 1st grade, playing alongside Benjamin Davis and Mark Schofields’ beards is a dream come true.

MR: MMA huh? Could you beat Todd “Party Pig” Parsons in a fight?

JM: No way

MR: Benjamin Davis?

JM: If he still has he’s beard than no. If he is clean shaven I’ll kick him in his pretty baby face.

MR: Possum?

JM: I don’t hit females.

MR: So is the new, sleeker look having any other side effects? Ladies?

JM: Yea I’m doing better than average at the moment with the females.

MR: A lot of folks are saying that is due to the fact you’ve come to your senses and stopped wearing that silly looking Fonzy leather jacket rather than the weight issue?

JM: That jacket was a mistake. Plain and simple.

MR: Speaking of mistakes, Jose Frias. Where do you think he plays he’s best rugby?

JM:  He’s played a little flanker and a little second row but lately has been slotting in at 12 as we’ve been a little short of backs. To be honest he’s doing really well in the backs and I think that’s where he will stay. It’s a matter of the guys around him getting to learn how he plays and going with him. Playing at 10 or 12 it really is up to you to dictate play and for the folks around you to adjust. We need to try to keep the players that play outside him the same for a few weeks to give the whole thing a chance.

MR: So today’s game. Rouse Hill, they were big boys?

JM: Yea but that’s all they were. They didn’t use the ball or have any kinda plan. They just tried to run at you hard and bash through. When you have the likes of Lepi Mautofu, Jason Fullwood and of cause me in the forwards bashing through just isn’t gunna work. Yip Yip.

MR: So what was the difference between the two teams today?

JM: Our backs. Nashy carved up, so did the Beast (Drew Hammond). We had no Frenchy or Todd “Party Pig” Parsons but Parker played 9 and did an awesome job. We just went around them. Lee Mautofu gave he’s usual 10 minutes of scorching speed and swerve before popping he’s shoulder and that made all the difference. Usa Vulimaebau played turned back the clock a little to, he made some great runs but also one of the stupidest passes ever.

MR: So this win puts you just one point outside the top 4. Excited much?

JM: Well you know what they say “If it’s not on, than its not on”

1st grade has managed to grab an interview with the Wolves 1’s English import Matt “Cecil” Cornock.

MR: So Matt, why do they call you Cecil?

MC: Yoo thee ve fing is Iva biofa lisp tho Candy finks it funny to take va piss a ittle, know what I mean.

MR: Ahh, no. Sorry I can’t quite understand you. Have you got something in your mouth?

MC: No, its the lisp.

MR: So it wasn’t the most attractive or convincing win of the year but it was a bonus point win none the less. It keeps the Wolves biting at the heels of the top 4. You must be excited about the rest of the year?

MC: I wadnt vair. Working ay.

MR: Huh?

MC: I wandt vair. I workin.

MC: What happened to your hair?

MC:  yor taken the piss an all.

MR: Sorry, we’ll have to cut this one off. I think we’ve got a bad connection.


Merrylands vs Redfield 25/5/13

1st and 2nd Grade.

It seems rather pointless to do two different reports for 1st and 2nd grade as the match and the final result where pretty much the same. So we won’t.

Today was an eye opener for the Wolves. In both grades Merrylands were bigger and stronger than there Redfield opponents but in both grades the Wolves were unable to bring their physical superiority to bear as Redfield played fast, smart rugby that didn’t give the Wolves enough time and space to use the advantages they clearly had.

In second grade it took the Wolves 15 or so minutes to come to grips with the game. Redfield scored two early tries, both from counter attacking plays, before the Wolves managed to get to terms with the situation. Once they realised the enemy they were facing the Wolves altered there tactics and put the emphasis on possession. From there the Wolves managed to close the gap, scoring two first quick tries before half time to leave the difference between the two teams to two points.

In first grade things got going a little faster for Merrylands. The Wolves managed to dominate possession almost from the kick off. Some strong running from Ex Brown and Joe Ngawini saw the Wolves get within striking distance before Levi Sciascia crashed over to put the Wolves in front. But that really was as good as it got for the boys in black and yellow.

In both first and second grade Redfield simply played around their bigger, stronger Wolves opponents. Their swift, accurate passing left the Wolves clutching at shadows at times and saw most of the big Wolves forwards dead on their feet well before the full time whistle was due. Add to that some clever, low tackling and both grades had Redfield running away with the match late on.

So what to make of the loss?

The Wolves managed to score 3 tries in 1st grade and 4 tries in 2nd grade. In both grades the Wolves dominated set plays and enjoyed long periods of sustained possession thanks to some faultless forward play. With this in mind Levi, Loni, Ben and the rest of the Merrylands brain trust know that Redfield are beatable. The trick now is for the Wolves to learn from their mistakes and reverse the results when the two teams meet again later in the season.


Merrylands vs Convicts 18/5/13

2nd grade

The second grade team that made the epic journey over to Wollarra Oval for today’s game was, in all

honesty, pretty average. On paper there was more than enough talent but there was little or no

consistency from the last few weeks. The only regular players that played the majority of the game

in their regular position were Howie “On second thoughts” Whitter, Josh Wakihia, Arana Rissetto

and Jase Fullwood and Drew “the Beast” Hammond and Todd “Ben told me to do it” Parsons in the


The Wolves 2’s had the following irregular selections play the majority of the match: Tedd Timoti

and Con Brown as flankers, Paul Bergan in the second row, new guy Usa at number 8, Sean Roche

and Jose Frias in the centres, Tim French at 5/8 and Daniel Padini at fullback.

Coach-in-waiting Loni Masters was rightfully nervous.

But he need not have been as the Wolves 2’s turned on one of their most dominant performances of

the year. The forwards, through some strong running by Paul “bus driver” Burgen and Con Brown

and some hellish defence by New Usa , dominated their Convict rivals. They rolled over them when

they had the ball and gave them nothing when on the defensive, managing to keep Convicts tryless.

Tim French used all of the talent he was supposed to show as a school boy and led his inexperienced

backline around the park like they were seasoned pros. The Wolves never looked like loosing the

match and eventually ran out comfortable winners.

New Usa in particular was awesome. He showed loads of energy and was brutal in defence. In one

awesome period he rushed off the line to stop the convict 5/8 well behind the gain line, jumped to

his feet, ran around the opposite side of the ruck and absolutely wrecked one of the Convicts giant

props with a devastating front on hit.

Daniel Padini made a long awaited return to Wolves colours. While unable to crack it for a 5 pointer,

he was faultless at the back for the Wolves and took over the goal kicking duties with deadly


Paul Burgen had an absolute blinder. He’s tackling ability is something to behold. He has the rare gift

of being able to stay low in the tackle and drive strongly at the opposition’s legs. He never misses. He

also scores tries. He crossed for one today that the Mautofu brothers would be proud of. The

Wolves were awarded a penalty a little over 5 meters out but play was held up as one of the

Convicts were injured. From the restart the Convicts defensive line was set and looking vicious.

Todd Parsons tapped the ball and passed it to a flying Paul Burgen who slammed on a left foot step

and pierced through the Convicts line to dot down next to the posts.

But it was Con Brown who produced what was probably the most memorable moment of the game.

The Wolves scored a try out wide, right on the full time hooter. With the game well out of the

Convicts reach, Con Brown stepped up to take the sideline conversion. And slotted it, right over the

black dot……Merrylands 40 – Convicts 3.

1st Grade

What a game!

Probably one of the most memorable Wolves games since the 2009 come from behind win against

Hunters Hill. Truly epic.

Convicts are a great side. How they have only managed one win and one draw this season is a

mystery to all the Merrylands faithful that saw today’s game. They have a strong, disciplined forward

pack and a fast, aggressive back line.

The Wolves side that Coach Levi put on the park for today’s fixture was pretty much as strong as the

Wolves can field. The only missing regular first graders were Adam Goodgame and Ryan “Candy”

Webb and there places were taken by Loni Masters and Matt “Cecil” Cornock, who are hardly a long

way behind the people they replaced. All the Wolves 1’s were there nice and early and the boys had

a quality warm up to the game so nobody saw the early onslaught that was unleashed on the Wolves


Almost straight off the kick off the Wolves were on the back foot and it didn’t really change

throughout the first half. The Merrylands forwards were falling off too many first up tackles and in

their frustrated attempts to right their wrongs were giving away silly penalty after silly penalty. In

fact within 10 minutes of kick off the Wolves found themselves two penalty goals behind the

Convicts without ever really having touched the ball.

Maybe 15 minutes in the Wolves managed to get possession and after some typically powerful

running from Joe “the incredible sulk” Ngawini, had themselves, earned a shot for 3 points that Nash

Steward slotted to finally get the Wolves on the score sheet. But that really was as good as it got for

the Wolves in the first half.

For the rest of the opening stanza the Wolves gave away countless penalties, had Mat Cornock

foolishly sin binned and saw Mick Parker given a warning that he would be following Cecil to the bin

if he kept up his violent behaviour. On top of all of their disciplinary issues, Merrylands were playing

rubbish, one dimensional rugby. The Convicts forwards were playing fast accurate rugby and their

Wolves counterparts were struggling to keep up. In the backs the Convicts were bringing their

defensive line up super quick, completely rattling the Wolves slicksters, while in attack the Convicts

halves seemed to be able to dance around in midfield as long as they wanted while the Wolves

simply watched and waited for them to have their way with the ball.

At the end of the opening 40, the Wolves were behind 24 points to 6 and the Convicts half back

could be heard telling his players “these guys have got nothing”

During the half time huddle, Loni Masters, playing number 10, told the Wolves forwards that the

Convicts backs were coming up too quick and that the only answer was for the Wolves forwards to

hold onto possession for as long as they could. He told the forwards they must run maybe 5 or 6

forward charges before Parker could even think about giving the backs the ball. Coach Levi than told

his forwards they had better stop missing f@#king tackles and that the next time the Convicts 5/8

tried to do a little twirl around in centre field before passing the ball, someone had better let him

know there was no dancing in rugby.

The response from the Wolves, and from every last one of them that took the field, was nothing

short of magnificent.

The Wolves went on an absolutely irresistible rampage. 5 or so minutes after kick off the Wolves

gathered possession and threw countless waves of forward attack at the Convicts. A.J Tuara, Mark “I

thought beards were masculine” Schofield, Ben “I thought so too” Davis and James Macklin all

worked tirelessly to drive the Wolves up field and turn the tables on the Convicts, frustrating them

into giving away numerous ruck penalties.

One such penalty saw the Wolves secure a line out only 20 meters out. A clean drive and even more

strong running from Mark Schofield and A.J Tuara soon gave Loni Masters the room he needed to

release a fired up Joe Ngawini, who brushed aside several would-be tacklers before drawing in the

full back and giving his little brother, Richie, a clear run to the line.

Straight off the re-start the Wolves raced back down field as enumerable forward charges poured

through a seemingly shell shocked Convicts defence. Without a stoppage in play and without

allowing a single opposition hand to touch the ball, the Wolves got themselves to within inches of

the line were Coach Sciascia used his extra large frame to surge through several defenders and

crash over the line a few meters to the left of the posts. As the Wolves celebrated the try, several

Merrylands forwards were kind enough to take the time to remind the Convicts half back that it

seemed his earlier summery of Merrylands rugby abilities (these guy have got nothing) seemed to be

a little off the mark.

Off the kick off the normally reliable captain Ben Davis managed to spill the ball and it seemed the

Wolves surge might slow down, but it wasn’t so. The tight 5 slammed their opposites in the scrum

and forced them into conceding a penalty. The Wolves kicked down field and from the ensuing

lineout, drove play to with 10 meters of the line before the Convicts panicked and gave away

another long arm infringement. Sensing the Wolves need a breather, Levi and Ben agreed it was

time for Nash to add another 3 points to the Wolves total, pushing Merrylands 2 points in front of

their rivals.

This meant that it had taken the Wolves only 15 minutes to erase the lead Convicts had built over

the first 40.

But still the Wolves kept coming.

The most impressive thing about today’s performance was that once they smelt blood, the Wolves

never let up. They controlled their discipline (other than Cecil’s alleged Wayne Rooney

impersonation), controlled the ball and did exactly what Coach Sciascia told them. The forwards

were especially impressive. They held the ball as long as they were told, at times stringing together 8

or 9 hit-ups, and when it looked like they were tired and the backs wanted a run, the forwards would

than start all over again, producing hit up after hit up until the Convicts simply couldn’t tackle them


All in all the Wolves crossed for 5 tries, 2 to Richie Ngawini and one each to Nash Steward, Joe

Ngawini and Levi Sciascia with Nash slotting 3 penalty goals.

Awesome display that should have all Wolves dreaming of a return to the glory days…..Merrylands


Merrylands vs Roseville

2nd grade

Today marks the first time Merrylands and Roseville have met on the field of battle. Today also marks the day the Wolves 2nd grades dream of winning another premiership without training came crashing down around them.

The Wolves 2’s have so far recorded a 4 from 4 perfect start to the season without ever having had a decent training session. Well any training session at all. When you see the level of talent in the squad it isn’t hard to see how they’ve managed it. The likes of Arana Rissetto, Lea Mautofu, Todd Parsons, Shayne Klimster, Drew Hammond, Jase Fullwood, Kenny Bladwell and James Macklin have all regularly called 2nd grade home.

But when you relay on talent alone it is inevitable you will one day come across a well drilled, disciplined side that, given enough lucky breaks, will grind you out of the match. Roseville 2’s are a very well drilled, disciplined side so all they really needed was for the Wolves to give them a few lucky breaks and the win would be theirs. And the Wolves gave them truck loads of lucky breaks.

In the first 10 or so minutes it was pretty clear the Wolves were the more powerful of the two sides. Roseville’s forwards were making no ground with their pick and drives while the Merrylands backs, mostly through Lee Mautofu and Nick Sikameti, where finding plenty of space and meters. With this in mind Roseville chose to kick long and try to keep the rampaging Wolves inside their own 22.

Instead of replying with good return kicks and smart territorial play, the Wolves did what the Wolves always have done, they ran the ball every chance they got.

Now sometimes this all out attacking style works. If you can make your first few long range attacking efforts count than you can completely dishearten a more kick-and-chase minded opposition. But if an opposition gets good returns for their first few kicking efforts, it has the effect of calming and hardening a tactical team’s resolve while making the attacking team more and more nervous for results. And the later is exactly what happened today.

Roseville caught the Wolves back three out early with kicks that gave them possession inside the Merrylands 22. This soon saw the Roseville outside backs strolling over for the first points of the game. Not long after Roseville had doubled their advantage in almost the same way. The Wolves rallied for a short while and after some powerful running from Josh Wahikia, 5/8 Todd Parsons fed a rampaging Nick Sikameti who ripped into open spaces before feeding his #13 to open the scoring for the Wolves.

Problem for the Wolves was every time they looked like finally breaking out and running over Roseville, they would give away a series of penalties or drop the ball trying to run it from inside their own 22 or would fail to clean up an average Roseville kick and would find themselves trying to run down an even bigger lead.

Poor decision making was what cost the Wolves today. It is far easier to make the right decision when you know what your team mates are capable of and you are familiar with the guys around you. A few training sessions here and there will fix that in a jiffy……Merrylands 5 – Roseville 41

1st grade

Before kickoff there was a rather uneasy, ominous air surrounding the Wolves 1st grade. There were plenty of regular, pivotal 1st graders missing (Ex Brown, A.J Tuara, Candy Webb, Tim French, Richie Ngawini and Baz Nicholson), Thursday training had been awful and the pre game warm up was a bit of a lazy affair. Coach/Prop Levi Sciascia and Captain Benjamin of Davis thought today might well end up a step backwoods in the Wolves quest for redemption, rather than a consolidation of the good results of the past couple of weeks.

Despite the missing players the squad the Wolves put out was still pretty strong. Bick Hicks made his come back from….well nobody really knows where Bicks has been……and started at hooker while James Macklin started at 8 for the second time this year. In the backs Loni Masters filled in at 5/8 for Ex Brown while Shayne Klimster came onto the wing and pushed Karve Ngata into 13 for the injured Richie Ngawini.

Roseville where the first to score and it seemed to be a direct copy of what had happened in 2nd grade. Merrylands found themselves in possession well inside their 22 and despite having two or 3 chances to clear the ball, failed to do so through some poor handling and rather silly decision making. The pressure soon told and Roseville found themselves with a 3 or 4 man overlap out wide that they converted into a 5 pointer.

Benjamin of Davis gathered the boys together in the in goal and, with some rather colourful language, told his men to stop stuffing about. He reminded the Wolves that rugby is a simple game. If you find yourself in possession close to your own line it is probably best to give the ball a good kicking and get the hell out of there. Coach Sciascia assured the boys that they had the power to blow Roseville off the park if they kept their wits about them.

And so, in what was one of the most pleasing responses in a few years of Merrylands first grade rugby, the Wolves did exactly what they were told. They regained possession from the kick off and begun playing controlled, aggressive rugby. They varied their attack, sometimes going wide straight away and at other times using the likes of James “skinny at the moment” Macklin, Captain Ben and Mark “the best player in my family” Schofield to bend the Roseville defensive line. It was one of these forward charges that led to the first try. Bick Hicks made a good charge that was followed by a quick, effective pick and go by James Macklin which in turn gave Loni Masters plenty of time and space to put Joe “bawling ball” Ngawini over for the Wolves first.

Soon after the re-start the Wolves marched back down into Roseville territory where they held possession for a good 5 or so minutes and looked likely to break through again. This time though Roseville gave away a penalty at a ruck right in front of the posts and Captain Ben, sensing the Wolves were getting a little too excited, told Nash Steward to shoot for 3 points. The penalty gave the boys a chance to calm themselves and get to understand that there was more ways than just out and out attack to win a game.

From there on in the Wolves put on one of the most focused, disciplined displays they have managed in a few years. Merrylands made plenty of mistakes and handling errors and even blew a couple of tries, but they never lost their focus. The played powerful, controlled rugby and eventually ran away with the match with tries to new boy Andy and Benjamin “no nudie run for me” Davis.

Most of the Merrylands management that were in attendance saw this performance as a potential turning point. The boys responded really well to any setbacks and found a great middle ground between aggression and control.

For instance, at one point half way through the first half the ref warned Merrylands they were giving away too many penalties and that someone might need to go to the bin. The boys took the warning on the chin, didn’t lose their minds and got back to playing Wolf rugby. So much so that by the end of the game Roseville were warned by the ref for their poor discipline while the ref commented to Captain Ben and President Sturrock after the match that he thought Merrylands showed a real professional edge to their conduct.

Let’s hope today’s result is a sign of things to come…..Merrylands 25 – Roseville 5


Merrylands vs Lane Cove 4/5/13

2nd Grade

Merrylands travelled over to Tantallon Oval today, to play long lost rivals Lane Cove. The two sides were once mortal enemies but haven’t faced each other since 2003. With three wins from three starts, Loni and his band of Merry Wolves were flying high and confident they could make it four from four.

The 2nd grade forward pack is really starting to find its rhythm. They have had a pretty settled line up for the last couple of weeks with Kenny “no mistakes” Bladwell, James Macklin, Arana Rissetto, Jase “Fulli Fulli Moi Moi” Fullwood and Josh Whikiakiakikahoni all playing most of this seasons games so far. The back line has been a little more hap-hazard, though the Wolves2’s have valuable consistency in several key positions including Todd Parsons at half back, Drew “try scoring beast” Hammond on the wing and Shayne Klimster at fullback. Today’s match saw the return of player/coach-to-be Loni Masters at 5/8.

The Wolves 2’s ripped in right from the first whistle. The Wolves forwards got possession of the ball some 50 meters out and put on a few damaging runs through Jase Fullwood and Howi “Peace Out” Whitter before releasing their potent backline. Loni “long ball” Masters threw one of his trade mark passes that found Lea  Mautofu flying into ample space. A few jinks and turns later and the littlest Mautofu was pulled up inches short of the line. From there though stopping the Wolves juggernaught was impossible as Levi “I’m not the oldest but I’m too old for first grade” Sciascia threw off several would-be tacklers to crash over next to the posts.

The second, third and fourth tries to the Wolves came in quick succession and in pretty similar circumstances to the first one. The Wolves forwards were dominating their Lane Cove counterparts and the slick passing in the Wolves backline was a little too much for Covies to handle. Lee Mautofu, Shayne Klimster and Levi “massive ball hog” Sciascia all crossed for first half tries as the Wolves went to the break with a healthy 20 point lead.

The second half saw the Wolves points scoring slow down a little as Covies managed to keep their hands on the ball a little more and put some pressure on the Wolves line. The Wolves managed a try against the run of play, this time to stand in winger Vili “Wing?!?” Quranivalu, but it didn’t seem to dampen the spirits of the brave Covies as they got straight back into the Wolves. Covies enjoyed a solid 15 minutes of possession that finally told on the Wolves as the Covies managed to shove a maul from a lineout over the Wolves line.

So far this year the Wolves 2’s have had the horrible habit of letting teams get right back into the match before waking up and trying to shut them out. Today though the Wolves learned from their mistakes. They took back possession courtesy of a powerful, against the feed scrum win that saw their inspirational captain James “Mac Sonny” Macklin pick up the ball from number 8 and do his best Kelepi Mautofa impersonation, make a surging run up field to get the Wolves on the move. The quick front foot ball was all Toddy “black magic” Parsons need to throw a Parsons special dummy and glide over for another 5 pointer.

From there the Wolves never looked back. They kept Lane Cove scoreless for the rest of the match and put on a few more tries themselves, eventually running out comfortable winners and keeping their place at the top of the Noise Cup table…..Merrylands 38 – Lane Cove 7

1st Grade

The Wolves 1’s seem to think the best way to prepare for a match is to get ready nice and slowly, keep warm ups to a minimum and not to settle on a team until the last minute. And after this week’s result it’s hard to argue with them.

Like second grade, the Wolves #1 forward pack is looking pretty settled. A.J Tuara, Candy Webb, and Harley “I’m innocent” Nicholson, Mark and Luke Schofield and Benjamin “you shut your mouth when you’re talking to me” Davis have all started the last 2 or 3 games and did so again today. Matt “Cecil” Cornock joined the club this year and has been a revelation. He’s aggressive, strong and has a doesn’t like people from the same part of England as him. Cecil started today’s match in his preferred position of blind side flanker.

The Wolves 1st grade backs are coming together as well. EX “the brains of the outfit” Brown has been awesome at 10 while Joe “I wish I could score as many tries as Drew” Ngawini, Baz “Friday” Nicholson and Nash Steward have all been pretty consistent over the last few weeks. Karve Ngata made his come back from injury on wing.

And like seconds the Wolves got off to a flyer. Meer minutes after kicking off the Wolves found themselves in possession of the ball in centre field. Some classy work by Mark Schofield and Ryan “2nd best Englishman in the squad” Webb allowed stand-in  half back Todd Parsons to ghost into open spaces before feeding an even classier ball to Shayne Klimster who strolled over untouched to open the scoring. Truth be told Todd could easily have dummied and gone himself but really lacks the confidence since the operation to impose himself.

After not too long the Wolves were back at it. This time Ryan Webb found himself in open space after Ex “maestro” Brown fed him a wonderfully soft ball. Ryan, completely lost in these sort of open pastures came almost to a complete stop before letting out a dainty little shriek and passing the ball back to Ex Brown. The unusual play left the Covies defence in tatters and A.J Tuara made them pay, brushing off 3 defenders to cross for the Wolves second try.

And on it went. The Wolves pretty much did as they pleased against Covies for the first 30 minutes with Cecil Cornock, Ex Brown and Baz Nicholson (who scored an absolute screamer down the right hand touch line) all dotting down for Merrylands. But as is often the case in games where you are dominant, the Wolves took their foot of the throttle. Lane Cove managed to win a few penalties, turn over a few rucks and enjoy a good run of possession that saw them lay siege to the Wolves line, culminating in a soft 5 pointer that the Wolves really should not have conceded.

The Wolves scored almost immediately from the restart thanks to some clever passing and running from Ex Brown, who had the Covies defence in a state of panic every time he ran the ball. Ex put Big Joe Ngawini through a gap with an easy short ball before dummying his way through another hole to score for the Wolves just before half time.

The second half played out much the same as the first with the Wolves crossing for a couple of 5 pointers before most of the squad caught a bit of white line fever, killing Merrylands flow and allowing the Covies forwards to win plenty of possession. In the final wash up Lane Cove simply didn’t have the firepower to trouble the Wolves (nor did the Covies prop have the firepower to trouble Cecil) as Merrylands soaked up plenty of pressure without ever really looking like conceding a second try.

Big ups to Harley Nicholson for making another emergency appearance (even if you were sin binned) and to Loni Masters and Todd Parson for stepping up and sharing the half back duties…..Merrylands 31 – Lane Cove 5


Merrylands vs Canterbury 27/4/13

1st Grade

Only first grade played today. This fixture was supposed to be played a few weeks back but the game was called off after only a few minutes due to a horrific injury suffered during play by Albi Chapman-Baber.

Unfortunately Albi wasn’t the only player missing due to injury. In total the Wolves had 6 front rowers out including A.J Tuara, Josh Waikikikiohoikia, Ryan “Candy” Webb, Lepi Mautofa and Howie Whitter. On top of that both the first and second grade half backs, Tim French and Todd “The party is back on” Parsons, were unavailable as well.

All this added up to a massive headache for Coach Sciascia. Starting at the front row, Levi was the only recognised, regular prop available. Some frantic late night calls and desperate texting  by Merrylands management had secured the services of sometime Merrylands player Harley “Dazed n Confused” Nicholson but this still left the Wolves 1’s short of a hooker. With only minutes till kick off and seemingly no hope in site, new boy Mat “Cecil” Cornock casually mentioned to Captain Excitement, Benjamin Davis, that he had played a little hooker in his youth and that he was willing to give it a go. With only the  shame of uncontested scrums there only other option, the Wolves went into battle with one of the smallest, least experienced front rows to ever pull on the Merrylands black and gold against a Canterbury side whose front rowers tipped the scales at 150kg a piece!

In the back line things didn’t look a lot better. With no recognised halfback available Levi Sciascia and he’s attack Coach, Ex “brains of the outfit” Brown, decided if they couldn’t have a half back that would get the embattled Wolves through with experience and class, than they would go with someone that would fight, spit and bite he’s way through with mongrel and bloody minded aggression. Mick Parker is #9.

Unlike the last two games of the season, Merrylands started this match in control. The Wolves 1’s moved the ball with speed and accuracy around the park, using both forward and back runners to work their way into Canterbury’s 22. The early pressure told and the black and blue soon gave up an easily kickable penalty that Nash “back and bald as ever” Steward slotted to give the Wolves an early advantage.

Despite its lack of experience and size the Wolves novice front row proved more than a match for their giant Canterbury counterparts. In fact the Wolves 1, 2 and 3 never lost a single lineout or scrum on their own feed and in the first half even managed to pinch a few of Canterbury’s. This glut of possession saw the Merrylands backs given plenty of chances and it wasn’t long before the Wolves added another penalty and a try to Adam “Wongers as well” Goodgame, who unfortunately injured his leg on his way to the line.

Canterbury managed to get a try back before half time, but it was more from good luck than good play as the Wolves went into half time content they had put on their best half of rugby all year. The injury to Adam Goodgame meant the Wolves had to do even more shuffling and yet again were forced to stick a keen yet inexperienced player out of position. This time Ali Jawad found himself away from his usual blind side break away roll and out on the wing. All told this final change meant the Wolves had a flanker playing hooker, a flanker playing half back and a flanker playing wing. Not good.

Inevitably the changes gave Canterbury the chance to fight their way back into the match, scoring not long after the break to cut the Wolves lead to just 3. The Wolves didn’t panic though. They knew so long as they kept the ball in hand they had enough firepower to keep Canterbury at bay. And as has been so often the case over the last 5 or so years the Wolves posses no bigger gun than Joe “I like eating sausages while I’m asleep” Ngawini. Joe picked up the ball going backwoods after 5/8 Ex Brown threw a way wood pass just inside the Wolves half. He then proceeded to beat at least 6 defenders, rampaging his way over the line with Benjamin Davis and Arana Rissetto screaming for a piece of the glory on his inside.

The Wolves had hoped this would be enough to see the match out but in true Canterbury vs Merrylands fashion the black and blue came storming back. Canterbury managed play some simple forward rugby and off the increased possession mounted wave after wave of attack that the Wolves, with their inexperienced team, struggled to keep at bay. Canterbury caught Ali Jawad unsure out wide and slipped a try passed him on the left wing before getting another one from a simple 5 meter tap to one of their giant front rowers. The second try and the consequent conversion put Canterbury 1 point in front.

But the set back was just what the Wolves needed. Con “Bronco” Brown came on for the tired but amazing Mat “Cecil” Cornock and Dylan “11 or 14 is where I belong” Hodgson took over from Ali Jawad on the wing with Dylan’s place on the side of the scrum taken by James “I just wanted to bench” Macklin.

The Wolves regained possession from the kick off and franticly worked their way into the Canterbury 22. Some hard running from Arana Rissetto and James Macklin allowed Mick “Weepu” Parker to pull a little show and go, sprinting 15 or so meters. A couple more successful rucks and mauls allowed the Wolves forwards  to feed clean ball to Ex Brown who beat a couple of defenders before sliding a lovely flat ball to Richie “Joe who?” Ngawini, who raced untouched over the line to give the Wolves a 6 point lead with only 2 minutes left on the clock.

Despite the cheering from the Merrylands fans, the game had one more twist. An ugly stuff up from the kick off between Con “Can Cecil teach me how to throw?” Brown and Mark “Its cause Ben had #4” Schofield gave Canterbury one last chance with a scrum some 40 meters out from the Wolves line. The Wolves were up for the challenge, hitting hard and putting plenty of pressure on the Berries but for one reason or another all the luck was going Canterbury’s way. A few penalties and the odd lucky bounce had Canterbury a mere 10 meters out before Captain Benny came to the rescue. The big man put an awesome low tackle on the Berries inside centre. He then jumped to he’s feet, got he’s hands on the ball and earned the Wolves a deserved penalty that eventually saw Ex Brown put the ball into touch and give the Wolves their first win of 2013.

There are a few people that deserve big thanks for today’s result.

Mat “Cecil” Cornock. Despite being English and quite a little fellow, Cecil has plenty of lollies in his goody bag. The Canterbury forward pack was huge. There front row would have weighed a good 450kgs alone and their second row probably outweighed Mark Schofield and Ben Davis (who are both healthy but together are well over 200kgs) by a 100kgs. Even the most experienced front row would have looked at the opposition warming up and been a little nervous. Add to this the fact Cecil knew one of he’s fellow front rowers, Harley Nicholson, hadn’t been at training all year and was more than likely not quite 1st grade material  and he had every reason to keep the fact he had played a few games of hooker to himself.  But he didn’t. He stepped up and ripped in. Even more impressive than all the jibba jabba above was the fact he had an awesome game. He never lost a scrum and he’s lineout’s were spot on!

Harley Nicholson. Without Harley gladly showing up today the Wolves would have had no choice but to call uncontested. All that was asked of Harley is that he does his best to hold up the scrums. But like he’s little English mate Cecil, Harley did more then was asked of him. He made plenty of good meters with the ball in hand, learned and executed the tricky 1st grade lineout calls faultlessly (which is way more than can be said for some people that train every week, ARANA) and by the end of the match had worn down he’s heavy weight opponent in the scrums to a point where Harley was winning the Wolves penalties on Canterbury’s feeds!

Mick Parker has played for the club since as long as most of us can remember and is only in his mid twenties. He is an unbackable favourite to beat all the Merrylands appearance records as he is already into the 300’s. Today the openside break away that is the heart and soul of this club out up his hand to play half back in first grade and, much like Harley and Cecil, had a blinder. He fed fast, clean ball to his backs all day, defended like a Trojan and barked at his forwards whenever they needed it. Word on the street is Mick will see plenty more time in the 1st grade #9 jersey.

Also thanks goes to Dylan Hodgson and Ali Jawad for filling in on the wing. Ali didn’t get many chances but Dylan managed to put Joe Ngawini into open space with a nice pass and also put in a lovely clearing kick that went a good 40 meters that he then chased and put a good shot on the fullback retrieving it…….Merrylands 21 – Canterbury 17


Merrylands vs Sydney Irish 20/4/2013

2nd Grade

A pattern is emerging.

The first two games of the season for Merrylands 2’s followed a similar course. In both the Harlequins match and the Canterbury match the Wolves opened up decent leads on their opponents only to go to sleep in the second half. In both games the opposition came frighteningly close to pipping the Wolves before the Merrylands 2nds woke up, found their mongrel and closed the game out.

Today’s match, against NSWSRU new boys Sydney Irish, panned out pretty much exactly the same.

Coach in-waiting Loni Masters was forced to make several changes to his victorious team from last week, mostly in the backline. Nash Steward, Roy Chapman-Barber and Shayne Klimster were all missing due to other commitments (rumour has it Nash sustained head injuries while visiting his  local deli in what on lookers are reporting was simply a case of mistaken identity) with their places taken by Tim French, Baz “Smokey” Nicholson and Sean “Judas” Roach.

Irish pretty much dominated possession all through the first half but didn’t really have the firepower to put much on the Wolves. The new boys tried plenty of different methods to break the Wolves down but never really looked likely thanks mostly to some awesome defence from Lepi “no more knuckles” Mautofa and Mark “Cecil” Cornock.

The Wolves on the other hand had very little ball but more than enough firepower to open up a 12 point lead over Irish by half time, with Drew Hammond bagging his regular try for the week.

The second half saw Jose Frias come on for James “I swear I live in a library, I just can’t find it” Macklin, Jayson “I’ve been on the grind with D.J Cali” Waters for Tim French and Harley “I’m so excited” Nicholson step into the front row for Teddy Bro.

Irish managed to claw their way back into the game, mostly through some good kicking, the wet conditions and some ill discipline from Merrylands. But to be fair the Wolves 2’s seemed to be able to score whenever they wanted and managed to kick away from Irish and continue their unbeaten start to 2013…….Merrylands 22 – Sydney Irish 18

1st Grade

What is the answer?

Yet another game of rugby the Wolves 1’s should have dominated but for a lot of little reasons didn’t. The Wolves 1’s let the conditions, the ref and their own heads get the better of them for 65 minutes of rugby before finely getting focused when it was all too late.

Irish are good at structured rugby. They kick to the corners, chase well and are fit and disciplined. The Wolves conversely play a naturally destructive, creative and explosive brand of rugby but seem unable to do the easy things right often enough to put teams like Irish to sleep.

Joe Ngawini, A.J “I’m tired cause I’m use to playing four games” Tuara, Baz “It’s Friday” Nicholson, Coach/Prop Sciascia and Benjamin “Mr Excitement” Davis all seemed able to break tackles at will and between them gave the Wolves plenty of chances. Ex “Bronco” Brown and Tim “I was supposed to be as talented as Israel Falou” French had plenty of time and space to create in the halves and really seemed on the verge of breaking the game open all afternoon.

But alas every time it seemed the Wolves were about to land the killer blow they would somehow find away to give the ball back to Irish and hand them a huge chunk of territory to go with it. For instance in the first half Irish put in a long kick that was gathered up only meters from the Wolves line by stand in fullback Baz Nicholson. He beat one or two defenders before being wrapped up some 20 meters out. Himi put on a quick pick and drive before Baz got back to his feet, took another pick and drive down an impossibly short blind side, and got the Wolves a good 30 meters away from their own line. From the very next ruck Tim French fed a rampaging Benjamin Davis who beat several defenders and broke into the clear before being tackled by the fullback well into Irish territory. Quick ball was whipped out of the breakdown and with Irish defenders almost nowhere to be seen Joe Ngawini (who it must be said was crushing opponents all day) stepped into first receiver and inexplicably decided to cross field chip kick the ball straight into the waiting arms of the Irish winger. Dumb.

And again in the second half the Wolves had a short period of sustained possession and had carried the ball a good 60 meters through wave after wave of awesome forward/back interplay. Unfortunately the Wolves pushed the pass one too many times and knocked on. All was not lost though as Irish looked tired and the Wolves were fired up and deep in Irish territory. But instead of building the pressure the Wolves gave away a silly offside penalty at the breakdown then back chatted the ref to find themselves right back where they started from, deep in their own half. Dumb.

This was pretty much the story of the day for 1st grade. Plenty of menace but not enough brains.

Where to now?

We’re only 2 games into 2013 so there is bucket loads of time to right the ship. The two teams the Wolves have faced so far this year are top of the table so Coach/Prop Levi Sciascia knows exactly what it will take to go all the way and knows if the Wolves find their mojo they can tear anyone apart. Merrylands faithful all over the world hope the 1st grade boys find what  it is they are looking for soon and wipe away the nightmare of last season with a 1st grade premiership this year…..Merrylands 12 – Irish 21


Merrylands vs Canterbury 13/4/2013

2nd grade

It’s been a long time since the Wolves faced off against Canterbury in regular season rugby. In fact those that were around last time we played the black and blue will never forget the day. It was, after all, the 2008 grand final where the Wolves faced Canterbury in both the 3rd and 1st grade deciders. That day turned out to be one of, if not THE, greatest day in Merrylands Rugby history with the Wolves winning all 3 grades.

The happy memories came flooding back for all the Wolves faithful that made the trip over to Wills ground for today’s game. With the weather a perfect 26 degrees and no rain in sight, coach-in-training Loni Masters had plenty of players to choose from. The forward pack included Mick “nice pants” Parker, Ryan “Candy” Webb, Arana Rissetto and the return of a player who last played for the Wolves back on that momentous day back in 2008, Villi Quarma

The backs saw long time first grade fullback Nash “I’m a great fullback and that’s it” Steward slot in at number 10, Rampaging Roy Chapman-Barber at 12 and try machine Drew Hammond and Lea Mautofu on the wings.

The Wolves got off to a roaring start. Jason “fulli fulli moi moi” Fullwood put an awesome hit on one of the Canterbury young guns with Kenny “back again” Bladwell cleaning up the spilt ball and the Wolves going straight on the attack. Todd “no more Naden” Parsons threw a quick ball to Nash Steward who quickly got the ball wide to Roy Chapman-Barber. Roy sucked in two or 3 defenders before off loading to Drew Hammond who used he’s ample, if somewhat under estimated, speed to take off untouched for the corner and make it two tries in two matches for the lanky wide man.

Almost straight off the kick off the Wolves were right back on top of their younger rivals. Nashy was doing plenty of talking and the Wolves forwards responded well, laying on wave after wave of close in attack with James “home wrecker” Macklin and Conrad “2nd grade prop 1st grade hooker” Brown proving specially effective. The strong go forward ball allowed Nash Steward to eat up plenty of meters from 10 and give he’s wide men plenty of room to move. Some slick hands saw Lea Mautofu given a clear passage down the left hand touch and anyone that saw the young bolt of lightning play last year knows that kind of chance to Lea only ends one way, in another try to the Wolves.

And still they kept coming. Next cab off the rank was Shayne Klimster who profited from almost exactly the same lead up work as Lea and Drew, given a clear run down the touch line. This time though poor Shayne was forced to step a couple of cover defenders before crossing the line for he’s second try of the year, keeping level with Drew Hammond for try total.

With the memory of first grades lost last week still fresh in their heads, Merrylands management decided to make a few changes half way through the first half to try and ensure a fit, fresh side was ready for the top grade. All though all the players that went on including Sahle, Cecil and Teddy Bro were of the equal or greater quality than the players they replaced, the rush of new faces had a destabilising effect on 2nds who suddenly found themselves being put under pressure by their young Canterbury opponents.

The pressure told and soon the Wolves lead had been cut to just 5 points. But in true Merrylands stylz (which is a little like South Auckland stylz just not as tough) the Wolves stayed on the grind peeps and hit back with another try before the break, this time to boom 5/8 Nash Steward.

The half time break saw the Wolves make one or two more changes including Mick Parker being replaced by Jose Frias. Although the early running was with the Wolves it was obvious to all watching that Merrylands thought they had the game wrapped up and went into cruise control. The lack of spark from the Wolves only fed Canterbury’s fire. All through the second half Canterbury came on strong scoring multiple tries with the Wolves only just keeping their noses in front thanks to the boot of Mr Nash Steward.

With only 10 minutes to go it looked for all money like the Wolves would lose this one as Canterbury set up camp inside the Wolves 22. Wave after wave of big Canterbury beef crashed into the Wolves defence line with Jason Fullwood, Kenny Bladwell and especially Arana Rissetto all coming up with try savers. Coach-in-waiting Loni Masters and he’s sensei Benjamin of Davis kept telling the boys to hang tough and when they get the ball to hold on to it no matter what.

With minutes to go Merrylands 2’s finally got their break. Canterbury came up with a knock on off a pick and drive and from the ensuing scrum the Wolves were given a relieving penalty. This saw the Wolves throwing into a lineout some 30 meters from their own goal line. The referee called last play and the Wolves forwards won the ball, all expecting half back Todd Parsons to send the ball in to touch and give them the win. But the old Party Boy is a slippery character and the half Italian/ half Australian native decided to throw one of he’s trade mark dummies and go for a run up the left hand touch line. With everybody in black and gold urging him to either go the whole way or put the ball out Toddy looked for support and found Lea Mautofu. In a situation like this you would expect Lea to go the rest of the way to the try line but the younger Mautofu is carrying an injury and was pulled down by the cover defence seconds after getting the ball. In the chaos that followed Canterbury came up with possession and it looked like all would be lost as they heavily out numbered the Wolves out wide. But the ref came to our rescue, ruling one of the Canterbury defenders had strayed off side. This time Todd did the smart thing and put the ball out giving the Wolves 2’s an unbeaten start to the season…….Merrylands 31 – Canterbury 26

1st grade

Today 1st grade game was cancelled after only a few minutes due to a horrific knee injury suffered by Merrylands Wolves legend Albi Chapman-Barber. Albi had to be taken from the field in an ambulance and unfortunately, due to cuts made by the Liberal State government, too much time was lost.

The match will be replayed at a later date.

Our thoughts go out to Albi and his bros during this difficult time.


Merrylands vs Harlequins 6/4/13

2nd grade

So it’s a brave new world for the Merrylands Wolves. For those of you that don’t know Merrylands Rugby Club got itself into a fair bit of trouble last year and as such has had a series of tuff but fair sanctions put on them by the NSWSRU. Part of the sanctions is that the Wolves have dropped down to 5th division which is a 2 team competition. Basically the Wolves will only be fielding 2 grades this year.

So for the first game of the 2013 season the Wolves travelled into the city to face Sydney Harlequins on a crappy, rainy day. Prospective 2nd grade Coach Loni “the Master” Masters had a fairly strong, if somewhat short of practice, squad. The starting forward pack included James “I did not take it personally” Macklin, Levi “if I coached as well as I breed we’d be unstoppable” Sciascia and Howie “where are all the old guys” Whitter. In the backline Todd “Malcolm Nadan” Parsons made he’s long awaited come back while Drew “the try machine” Hammond took he’s regular place on the wing.

As was mentioned Loni’s team was a little short of practice. The Taki Toa is an awesome tradition and the Wolves will strive to be a part of it for a long time to come but the annual Maori tournament does have a habit of leaving the Wolves a little out of sorts for the start of the regular season. Most of the 2nd grade squad hadn’t really had any time together to work on line outs and running lines and it showed in the first half with Harlequins dominating field position and possession. The Wolves struggled to hold onto the pill for any more then 1 or 2 phases and were continually forced into trying to kick themselves out of trouble. That said the Wolves defence was awesome!

No matter what Harlequins threw at the Wolves, whether it was long range counter attacks, sustained pick-and-drives or rolling mauls, the Wolves had them covered. James Macklin and Howie Whitter defended aggressively in the forwards while future Coach Loni called the shots faultlessly from #10.

So the score was still 0 – 0 at the start of the second half as the Wolves made a few changes to try and inject some life into what was quite a dower match. Richie “All Girth” Ngawini took over from Tim French at 12 while Jose “don’t tell the opposition I’m not an Islander” Frias and Cecil “I’m friends with Candy but I wasn’t there when he needed to go to the toilet in Spain” Cornock taking over from Mick Parker and James Mac in the forwards.

Despite some early success the Wolves found themselves in the same situation in the 2nd half as they were in the 1st. This time though the Wolves confidently accepted the state of play and vowed to be more clinical when they did manage to get their hands on the ball. The half was only a few minutes old when Richie Ngawini found himself defending in close to the ruck. Rather than panic like most backs do in this position, Richie attacked the first runner that came he’s way, ripping the ball clean out of the Harlequins 2nd rowers hands than turning and taking off down field. The littlest Ngawini ran about 20 meters before kicking the ball over the Harlequins defensive line and into the path of the Wolves fast approaching winger Shayne “please let me play” Klimster. To everyone on the sideline it seemed like a stupid option. Harlequins were short a few defenders out wide and with a full head of steam up the Harlequins inside backs didn’t look likely to stop Richie in a hurry. All the Wolves supporters gasped in horror as Richie decided not to hold onto the ball but then cheered as one when Shayne, with no more than a millimetre to spare before going out, got an awesome bounce that saw him take possession and race 40 odd meters to score.

Now trailing Harlequins were forced to play a slightly more expansive game. They tried to attack with more fluidity but were hampered by some stoic Merrylands defence and the now driving rain. It was from one such unsuccessful attempted raid the Wolves scored their final try to wrap the game up.

Harlequins spilled possession from a simple pick and go and the ball was scooped up by Ryan “Candy” Webb some 70 meters from goal. Candy shrugged off a few before popping the ball to Mark “Bigger and Beardyer” Schofield who took play another 10 or so meters down field. From the ensuing ruck Loni Masters threw one of he’s trademark long flat balls to a flying Karve Ngata who off loaded to Drew Hammond to race 40 meters untouched and dot the ball down next to the corner flag…… Merrylands 10 – Harlequins 0

1st grade

A lot of teams that have faced the Wolves over the last 10 or so years will tell you they’re a frightening bunch of mongrels but most couldn’t tell you what it is that frightens the Wolves. Well it turns out what frightens the Wolves more than anything is rain!

The Wolves have had a consistent 35 to 40 players at training over the last 8 weeks, with the Thursday just passed being no different. But come Saturday morning a steady stream of players called into Wolves H.Q and expressed their unwillingness to play in the rain. For instance Baz Nicholson, normally known for he’s fearless running and kamikaze defence, rang Vice President Benjamin of Davis and informed him there was no way he was prepared to get he’s beautiful long hair wet and/or muddy and there for would not be playing today.

This kind of attitude left the Wolves that did front a little short of playing stock. This flaw would in the end prove lethal. The 1st grade game was pretty much a carbon copy of the 2nd grade affair with Harlequins using their freshness to maintain possession for long periods. For the first 65 minutes this fresh fitness proved useless as the far more aggressive, strong Wolves line up turned Harlequins back time and time again. The Wolves 1st grade had learned its lesson from watching seconds and so acted more decisively when they had the ball, scoring two breakout tries through Joe “I wanna coach, be a forward and play league” Ngawini before Harlequins could post a single point.

From about half way through the second period though fatigue began to tell. The entire Merrylands tight five had played some or all of the 2nd grade game and the endless, pick-and-go style employed by Harlequins began to pay dividends. The Wolves big men found it hard to get off the ground fast enough and soon had conceded two tries. The Wolves got some possession with about 10 to go and managed to work their way into the Harlequins  half where they had a try disallowed before slotting a 3 pointer that had the Wolves faithful hoping they had done enough.

Alas it wasn’t to be. Harlequins reverted to their pick and drive and soon found themselves over the Wolves try line and onward to victory…….Merrylands 15 – Harlequins 17



Season 2012

Merrylands vs Hawkesbury Valley 11/8/2012

Today’s games were remarkably similar to the last three or four weeks. 4’s and 3’s had solid wins while 1st and 2nd grade were beaten rather convincingly. Once again in effort to stay entertaining today’s match reviews will not take the usual course of simply recanting the ins and outs of the 4 games. Instead they will recant a rather amazing moment that occurred during the 1st grade match that beautifully sums up what subbies and, more accurately, Merrylands Rugby is all about.

James Macklin, second grade captain/coach, had been subbed into the 1st grade second row half way through what had been a very heated and hard fought 1st half. James and Captain Ben found themselves making a thumping tackle on a Hawkesbury Valley forward in centre field. The double team tackle had the desired effect on their Hawkesbury counterpart but unfortunately the tackle was made on the huge slab of concrete like cricket pitch that takes up the bulk of Hawkesbury Valley’s home ground.

While both lying there in pain Ben turned to James and asked “why do we do this to ourselves?”

In the intensity of the moment James couldn’t muster the words he wanted to do the feelings he was feeling justice.

Later that night however, the right words came to him so James rolled over and said to Ben “do you know the film Black Hawke Down?”

“Of cause I do” answered Ben

“And do you recall Eric Bana’s character?”

“yes, yes I think I do” replied Ben

James than simply broke into a quote that he told Ben makes him weep and think of rugby ever time he hears it. The quote goes something like this…..

“When I go home people will ask “Hey Hoot, why do you do it man? Are you some kinda war junkie?”

You know what I’ll say?

I won’t say a god damn word. Why? Because they won’t understand. They won’t understand why we do it. They won’t understand that it’s about the men next to you and that’s it. That’s all it is”


Merrylands vs Blacktown 4/8/2012

4th grade

So once again in an effort to remain interesting and relevant has procured an interview with one of the Merrylands 4’s most colourful members. Tanga Wakeford has been playing for the Wolves for about 5 years. He has played in 1st grade premiership winning sides on the wing and in the centres. As he ages and he’s once bondless talents begin to falter, Tanga has taken to playing lower grades with the Wolves.

So Tanga, how did the boys go against Blacktown? The boys smashed em, 25 to nil. Blacktown tried to take Merrylands forward power out of the game by calling uncontested scrums but it kinda backfired on them. It just meant the likes of Junior, A.J and Deano had plenty of energy.

You haven’t been playing for the last few weeks. Are you injured? No.

Well what’s up? I’d rather not say

Well would rather that you did say? Well I’m still not going to comment.

Ok then how about this. You can either comment on where you’ve been or will see to it that you become familiar with the taste of your own private parts? I’m already quite aware of the taste AND texture of my entire body.

What about if throws out some suggestions as to your where abouts over the last few weeks and you can simply say true or false? Ok that seems reasonable.

Have you been playing another sport? Yes

You are supposed to say true or false, not yes or no you moron. True.

True? As in it is true you are a moron? Yes will tell you again. Your answers should be true or false only. Ok

Now you’re just taking the piss? True.

That’s better. So have you been playing another sport? True

Is that sport netball? True

And have you been playing in a mixed team? False

An all men’s team? False

Have you been dressing up as a woman again Tanga?True

You are quite a big guy, why don’t people realise you’re a man? Well Kiwi men are mostly quite dainty and often very pretty so it can be hard to tell kiwi men and women apart.

Do you think that that is why the New Zealand Olympic team is going so well? Are there a bunch of men competing as women? True

Is it best if we know refer to you as the Maori Caster Semenya? True.

You’re a profoundly sick individual. True.

3rd grade.

The 3rd grade T-Wolf monster rolls on!

Another impressive win for Tony and his men, this week against arch rivals Blacktown. Today’s win boads well for the upcoming finals series as the T-Wolves showed they know how to win tough.

Several prominent T-Wolves were missing today, including Vaka and Kelepi Mautofu, and the T-Wolf backline was not its usual aggressive, flowing self. But in true champion fashion the T-Wolf forwards took up the challenge, hitting Blacktown with quick pick drives, followed by strong hit ups that were followed by more pick and drives. The forward momentum saw the Wolf forwards post the first two tries of the day with Big Tony crossing after some especially awesome work by Captain Sua and Conrad “I’m Cookie but they needed a hooker” Brown.

Despite the T-Wolves backs having an off day with the ball in hand they were right on the money defensively, talking and working well to ensure their Blacktown backline counterparts had also had an off day. Blacktown, in all 4 grades, like to kick for territory and 3rds was no exception. Lee Mautofu showed his getting better each week at playing 15, covering Blacktown’s kicks with ease and returning them with venom and swagger.

In the end it was another well deserved win for Tony and his glory bound T-Wolves…………Merrylands 38 – Blacktown 5

1st and 2nd Grade

As was mentioned last week, it’s becoming near on impossible to come up with positive, interesting reports for the Wolves top two grades. Both games today played out quite similar. Blacktown dominated early, holding possession for long stretches and finding gaps in the somewhat disjointed Merrylands defence.

But in both games the Wolves managed to collect themselves later in the match and enjoy long runs of possession that saw them post plenty of 5 pointers of their own.

Who or what to blame for the up and down form is hard to judge. A lack of proper training surely plays its part but the Wolves are guilty of walking out on the field some days trying not to lose by too much, rather then sticking it right up whoever they face. This is evident in the way the Wolves seem to find their feet later stages of games. It’s as if the Wolves take 50 minutes or so to realise that they are better footballers then they’re letting on and when they do the contest evens up.

It’s been a tough year for the Wolves 1’s and 2’s but all the players remain positive. With only two games to go there is real drive amongst the two squads to finish on a high and give all the Wolves players and fans something to ponder over during the upcoming off season.

Merrylands vs Blacktown 28/7/2012

4th Grade

For today’s 4th grade review has managed to secure an interview with one of 4’s longest serving players, Deano “the Last Brother Standing” Gammidge. Deano has played for the Wolves for almost 10 years and has been a Merrylands Rugby Club Committee member for the last 3 years.

So Deano, how did you and the boys go today against Blacktown?  We won 13 – 0. I went like shit. I’ve been playing injured all year and being fat and lazy hasn’t helped. My scrummaging has been ok I spose.

How did the game play out, as in were they any good? They didn’t have much really. Our forwards ran over them and our super slick back line had them bamboozled.

What did you think of Blacktown’s new home ground? Their new home ground is crap. You can’t even buy a beer there and the food would kill an already dead dog. Poor Fully had to run to the bottleo to get a case, fair dinkum that’s just not on. I’m pleading with NSWRU and the IRB to launch an inquiry into the matter.

So today’s victory puts you in top spot. That is impressive. Yea we came into this game knowing a win would put us in first place on the table but we were a bit complacent. A win is a win I guess. The game was shortened as the ref didn’t turn up so the 3rd grade ref filled in which sucked cause he hates us. He let plenty go, missed a heap of high shots but the Wolves maintained discipline and put the points on the board.

Michael Parker at #9?  For a drunk grub with no class Mick parker is pretty good playing at 9 , he offers good service off the back of the ruck and what he’s lacking in skill he more then makes up with his constant sledging and antagonism

Tim French at #10? Never heard of him…… oh hang on is he that fat, lazy ranga kid with the very poor kicking game?

Who has been playing well this year? Since Fully has ditched the head gear he has been reborn as a tackling and ball running machine. Another fat kid that’s turned out alright.

And who has been playing like a busted asshole? That would be me.

You’ve been involved in a lot of semis with the Wolves 4’s and 3’s over the years. How does this year compare? This year has been different to most as we have struggled for numbers, had people playing multiple games and in unfamiliar positions, so I really don’t think we expected to go as well as we have but I reckon we’ve got a good chance of winning the comp this year as long as dudes keep turning up. It will be hard without Kenny as he brings calmness to the team that will be missed and the dude is a gun.

Why aren’t you coming on the End of Season? Because spending the off season in rehab and losing my family due to my alcohol abuse is the last thing I want. Why would I want to go on a holiday with a bunch of piss heads? Nothing personal against the team but as I’m only a couple of years off 40 I’m now avoiding loose women and booze.

3rd Grade

And for our 3rd grade review we have an interview with the one and only Kelepi Mautofu. A small fact that many of you may not know is that Kelepi is an accomplished sculptor and interpretive dancer.

Kelepi, tell us a little about your sculpting and dancing? It’s not something I usually talk about. I have a creative energy deep inside me that simply must come out. Often I like to combine by sculpting and dance by sculpting while I dance.

Cool. So how did the boys go on Saturday against Blacktown? Saturday was pretty hectic! Was a good game and as always we come out on top! Most of us came late and didn’t even get the chance to stretch hence why most of us got injured. Bloody coconuts.

What was the team like, anyone missing? Not sure if we were missing anyone we have a different team every week lol

How did the game play out, were you always gunna win or did things get a little tight? Oh it was a tight game! I kept thinking they would make a comeback! They were very technical but it in the end they were no match for our raw power & speed.

That win puts you into 4th place and there for in the semis, how do you think you’ll go? If we make to the semis we make it! We’re just taking week by week for now.

So tell us a little about the team, have many of you played much rugby before? The T-Wolves is mostly all league players, myself included. The biggest help we’ve had was training with the rest of Merrylands and at least getting the basics down! Fusi Maka BIGGEST hitter in the game! He loves shutting down plays and he can make anything happen from nothing a VERY strong runner! Lee Mautofu the fastest person I know! If he sees a hole say goodbye! Sala Langi just got out of prison lol hence his ruthless runs down the sideline. Niko Sikimeti loves tackling and always there supporting you. Meo goal kicking champ and controls back line. Eddie a halfback that’s ALWAYS there and another ruthless runner!! Big Toni the lock his name says it all! Good luck getting him one on one. Big Junior the fittest prop I know!!! Has at least 3 games a week and very helpful upfront!!! Vaka & Sua fighting over captaincy lol as Vaka being the line breaker and Sua the mind of our team wonder who’ll be on top and I’ve saved the best for last…..ME lol. I think we’re going good to be honest we just need some training TOGETHER so when we play we’re structured and not all over the place other than that I’m happy with our fitness and our power to string up big wins

So your brother, Lee, is going well. His played a lot of different positions. What do you think is his best? Yeah my brother has been in a lot of the backline positions including wing outside centre and fullback to be honest he’s dangerous in any position he can get out of any tackle and he has the speed to go 100m all day but I like him in fullback cause he can save tries and makes amazing comebacks if the other team doesn’t find touch.

Who else is going well? Fusi Maka hands down! With his raw determination to get to the try line and it doesn’t help the opposition when he has the speed and power to get there too. Good luck to anyone in his way.

How do you feel about the term “T-Wolves”? It doesn’t bother me! T-Wolves ALL DAAAAAY!!!

Ethan Davis has a massive head. Yeah he’s head is always in my way lol but thanks Eth for cleaning out that guy who studded me SICK C@#T!



2ND Grade

During the closing few months of World War 2, when the might of the Japanese war machine was on its knees, desperate Japanese generals came up with a plan they thought would save them from imminent defeat.

The American Navy and Air force had reduced Japans sea power to almost nil and were launching bombing raids on the Japanese home islands from bases throughout the south pacific. These bombers were supported by squadrons of fighters launched from aircraft carriers floating just out of reach of return attacking raids by Japanese Zero fighter planes. In short, the bomber and fighter bases were out of reach and Japan could do nothing other then watch the skies in fear of when the next raid would come.

Japanese generals believed if they could take out the aircraft carriers they could take out the fighters and there for takeout the bombers as no US generals would send in bombers unescorted. So a brilliant, crazy, suicidal plan was hatched that has become known to history as Kamikaze. This involved Japanese fighters being overloaded with whatever explosives were available then being crashed directly into US war ships, thus saving them the need for a return voyage.

At the time American civilians and soldiers alike were amazed and shocked that such suicidal devotion to ones country could be found in such huge numbers. But when the war was over the truth came out. Like modern day Muslim suicide bombers, the Japanese fighter pilots were convinced by their leaders that to give your life up for your country in such a way would guarantee some sort of hero status in some crazy Japanese heavenly eternity.

In reflection the Japanese fighter pilots were not brave, they were not courageous…. they were just stupid.

So where does the Merrylands 2nd grade fit into this tale?

Like Kamikaze pilots and Muslim Suicide bombers, the Merrylands 2nd grade turn up most weeks knowing that they are doomed. They know that they will not be playing finals rugby, that they will not have anything like a regular team on the field and that a win is probably out of reach.

But unlike Kamikaze pilots and Muslim Suicide bombers, James Macklin and his band of brave Merrylands 2nd grade soldiers don’t expect, nor ask for, any sort of promised land. They don’t buy into some kind of fallacy that one day it will all be golden. They turn up each week knowing what’s install for them, knowing that there is no greener f@#king grass on the other side.

But still they turn up.

They play any position they have to. They pull on whatever numbered jersey they are handed and walk into battle knowing that the survival of the Merrylands Wolves will only come through their own blood, sweat and tears. They walk off the field and into a Coolabah sunset with nothing more than their own selfless sense of duty to keep them warm.

James Macklin, Jerry Keen, Junior, Tim French, Harley Nicholson, Drew Hammond, Sean Roche, Arana Rissetto, Jayson Waters, Michael Parker and the Mad Gauger…….we salute you.

1st Grade

This week’s 1st grade review is tricky. It is getting tiresome to both read and write about brave yet ultimately unsuccessful performances by the Wolves 1st grade. It’s also one of the most boring, over used excuses in competitive sport to blame a referee for a negative result.

So in light of these two facts it won’t be mentioned that the Wolves took the field with a massively depleted squad (No Exham, Baz, Nash, Karve, Arana or Eddie) against one of the competitions strongest outfits  and only narrowly lost.

Instead this report will solely focus on some of the outstanding performances from the Wolves 1’s on the weekend, of which there were many.

Aee Jay has been an absolute rock for not just first grade but the whole club. Despite his incessant whinging A.J has gone on to the field and performed at a high level in whatever grade or position he has been asked to. Aee Jay’s performance today was a real standout. He made some devastating runs, kept up his usual positive talk and destroyed his opposite man come scrum time. Aee Jay has had the potential to be one of the best props in the club and the comp for a long time but has lacked a little experience and confidence. This year however Aee Jay’s has begun to play a lot smarter and more consistent. Several times today he showed his growing understanding of the game by predicting were the ball was going to be then turning up at just the right time to make an impact. Without Aee Jay the club would probably be in a much weaker position.

Candy came to the club at the start of the year and showed real talent from the very start. Unfortunately his involvement has been a little staggered as his outside commitments are many and varied. Today’s performance showed just what the club has been missing. His set play was flawless and his running and tackling caused real headaches for Blacktown. Hopefully Candy can put in strongly for the rest of the season and carry on into next.

Those of you familiar with the club set up this year will know that with only one week to go before the start of the season the Wolves were desperately short of players. Tongan Tony, an ex-Merrylands first grader, swung in to save the club. He offered to fill one team, to be known as the T-Wolves, with his many Tongan family and friends. Until this match the club and Tony have been happy for the T-Wolves to act as the Merrylands 3rd grade. But today, with so many guys out, Coach Sciascia asked if any of Tony’s boys would be prepared to play first grade to help the Wolves out. Several guys including Lee and Lepi Mautofu, Fusi , Vaka and Big Tony all put their hands up. Lepi filled in at fullback for the injured Nash Steward and did an awesome job while Fusi played number 13 and was a menace to Blacktown all day. Fusi also managed to score a try and pull off one of the hits of the season on his opposite number. Big Tony though was probably the most important player to step up. Jade Moses, the first grade loose head prop, had been unfairly yellow carded after he complained to the ref about some illegal scrum tactics employed by his Blacktown opposite. With no more props on the sideline it looked like the Wolves would have to call uncontested scrums and loose yet another player. But Big Tony came to the rescue. Though normally a second row/flanker Tony had played a fair bit of prop as a younger man and bravely stepped into the fold, holding up his side of the scrum with ease and making a couple of strong runs in his limited time on the field. The whole Merrylands first grade forward pack salutes you Big Tony.

Ethan Davis, among a myriad of other physical abnormalities and various undiagnosed mental conditions, has a massive head.

Aside from that Ethan has been a reliable warrior for the lower grades all year and today had a standout game for first grade. He has played several different positions and today found himself chucked into inside centre. He tackled well, ran strongly and set up one of Luke “The Biggest Parsons” Schofields two tries.

Probably the most outstanding performance of the day though was from Dylan Hodgson. It may be argued that Dylan turned in such a blinder only because his mum was over from NZ to watch him play. It could be argued that the only reason Dylan had such an awesome all round game was because he had agreed to go out on the drink alone with Ethan “MelonHead” Davis and suddenly realised he might not live to see another day. Either way Dylan had an incredible open side flanker’s game. He was effective in the tight defence bringing down Blacktown’s massive running forwards time and time again. He tracked back well to help the inexperienced back three of Tee Bulla, Lee Mautofu and Joes Workmate, won his fair share of lineout ball and did some amazing work with the ball in hand. He took hit ups close to the ruck and managed to shrug off players twice his weight and made runs out wide, running in support of the Wolf backline. An awesome performance from a player who after only 2 season is playing like he always been a Wolf…….Btown 27 – Merrylands 17



Merrylands vs UWSH 21/7/2012

4th Grade

Yet another solid victory for the mighty Wolves 4’s. With only four games of regular season rugby still to play and the Wolves 4’s are sitting pretty in 2nd place. They are a massive 9 points clear of 6th position and are edging ever closer to semi final surety. Another big boost for the Wolves is that they have beaten every one of the other clubs that look like making the semis. The only team to have put a tick in the “loss” box for the Wolves 4’s is Hawkesbury Valley and they seem unlikely to make the play offs.

Exciting times for one of Merrylands and Subbies most successful squads. Roll on!

3rd Grade

The T-Wolves faced the UWSH boys only a couple of weeks ago and gave them a sound flogging so today’s game was always going to be about mental toughness. Tony’s boys needed to maintain their recent ruthless attitude and not let complacency creep in.

Any smart rugby tactician will tell you if you have recently handed a team a firm spanking the best thing you can do when you face them again is to remind them of what happened last time and tear shreds off them right from the opening whistle.  This is the tactic Tony told his boys to use.

UWSH on the other hand were looking to play a more conservative game, kicking for territory and when they were in a good position, trying to starve Merrylands of the ball. This tactic when employed against a skilled, aggressive team is useless and usually shows the user to be the gutless, boring fool that they are. Today’s game showed the T-Wolves are a skilled, aggressive team and UWSH 3’s are boring fools.

After some quick exchanges after the kick off UWSH kicked into open spaces and had the Wolves fullback, Saleh (sorry if that is wrong), sprinting back to clean up possession near his own line. UWSH could be forgiven for thinking the “kick and hope” tactic might be working as the Wolves looked to be in a little trouble. But alas the T-Wolves are made of stronger stuff and Saleh proceeded to turn and run the ball back past the half way, beating 4 or 5 defenders on his way. The long run caused mass confusion in the UWSH ranks and the disrupted defensive line was no match for the power running of Lee Mautofu and Fusi who combined to give the Wolves the first try of the game.

This review could continue for page after page documenting every great run, every strong tackle and every well timed pass that led to the numerous tries the Merrylands 3’s scored today but that really would be a waste of time. The Wolves were simply too powerful and too fast for their rivals. The day’s action can be best summed up by one of the T-Wolves biggest and brightest stars, Kelepi Mautofu ……………………………..”T-Wolves all day”………….Merrylands 41 –UWSH 26

2nd grade

Instead of the usual report match we have put together some choice excerpts from an interview with Captain James “the Big Mac, the Polar Bear, the Jimdog Millionaire, Jimmy James Macelroy” Macklin that was conducted after the Wolves amazing 29 – 27 come from behind win over UWSH.

James, how did you go against UWSH today? We beat them by 2 points in an extremely close game. We were very lucky to win. We played shit.


Give us a quick rundown of how the game played out? The game was quite similar to the last time we played UWSH. Letting early tries in before we pushed it through the forwards, Beau and Tanga were great in the first half for us. And Fiji was too fast for them. He scored our first I think. I almost went over but Arana done a quick pick and drive and scored, the exact same thing happened in the second but Jerry stole the ball from Arana and scored. Having said that Jerry was great for us and pushed us to hit em hard with pick and drives. Jose has come a long way and is getting better game by game. But Fusi saved the day, without him we would have gotten flogged. He broke tackles all day and scored the winning try at the end. The ref made plenty of shit calls and they only really scored from piggybacks up the field.


Who or what do you put the result down to? Fusi, Jerry and Me.

Two-Second Toddy. What’s his story? Toddy hurt his hand and left at half time. He always leaves us wanting more


Does he have a future either in the game or as your friend? Toddy is too dam good looking not to be my friend. As far as the game of rugby in general is concerned then as long as the Wolves are short of players Toddy will have a roll to play.

Does he deserve to be “Possumed” for his efforts?  Seriously why would skinny Owen Craigie ever get Possumed?

Junior has been pretty sharp for 2nd grade since he made the step up? Junior is going well, although he kneed a guy in the nuts and I got the blame for it.


Tim French has paid his fees for the first time ever, he made a donation at the “Mrs P” fundraiser and he has actually been to training. What the f@#k is going on? Tim French is only here to scout who he can piss on on the End of Season trip.


Finally your own game has improved immensely this year. As Pauline Hanson once said “please explain”? I don’t know I guess we’ve just nothing to lose, we’ve got nothing to live for.

1st Grade

Common sense and tradition state that a clubs 1st XV should be sacred. The best 15 players picked to pull on the first grade jumper each week should be rested, trained and ready to go. But the reality is that when a club is running short of players it is the first grade squad that suffers the most.

First graders are the first guys called upon to make up short falls in second and third grade. First grade players are seen as the fittest and strongest players and so when they do pull on a lower grade jersey (calm down all you little Subbies dobers out there, this is not an omission of guilt. Note that we have not stated they are playing 4th’s) they are often looked to to make a difference, to go the extra mile to ensure a win. Needless to say when it comes time to play the top game of the day, sending 6 or 7 guys out there that have already played an hour or more of rugby often spells doom.

Today’s first grade game was one such occasion when too many guys had played too much rugby to realistically expect a good result.

Coach Sciascia once again did his best to put a strong cohesive unit onto the park. He had regular players Exham Brown and Ethan Davis in the centres but shuffled the rest of his back line around. Fast Eddie and his younger brother Little Eddie played 5/8 and half back while Joe Ngawini and Tongan Gits took up spots on the wing. Nash Steward suffered a possible year ending injury filling in for 2nd grade and so his number 15 jersey was worn by Baz “Cannon Ball” Nicholson.

In the forward pack Disappearing Beau Moses played loose head prop while Lance RingIn appeared at number 8 for the third time this year.

The last time these two sides met the Wolves lost narrowly, mostly due to an amazing performance by the UWSH fullback who would give Billy Ray Spillidas a run for his money for sheer speed. This time the Wolves were up for the challenge. The early exchanges saw both sides enjoy time in possession but the UWSH attack was blunted as the Wolves kicked well and, more importantly, chased kicks on mass, giving the UWSH #15 no room to work.

The first half was almost 20 minutes old before the first points were scored. UWSH were given a piggy back up the field through some stupid penalties from the Wolves and with only 20 meters between them and the try line, soon sent there right side winger over for a try.

The Wolves consolidated though and soon hit back. Some strong running from Lance RingIn, Fast Eddie and Baz Nicholson put the Wolves within striking range. The pressure told on UWSH rather quickly and before they knew it they were trying to repell Wolf attacks from only a couple of meters out. This year has seen A.J Tuara finally make the step up to first grade and whenever the Wolves find themselves this close to the line and is usually his huge, powerful frame the boys look to to get them the points they need and today saw A.J add to his tally for the year has he push off several would be defenders to put the Wolves on the board.

UWSH managed to cross for another 5 pointer before half time but as the ref blew for the break the Wolves felt like they could avenge the close loss they suffered last time these two sides met. But alas history caught up with the Wolves 1’s. Any smart rugby coach will tell you that when a team gets tried the first thing to stop working are their mouths. And when a team stops talking the first thing to go out the door is defence. It’s all good if a team aims their attack in close but as soon as they spin it wide, and defenders need to talk and co-operate to shut attackers down then, then it becomes all too easy for a fit, rested team to find holes in a tired, over worked team.

And this is pretty much the story of the day. When the Wolves had the ball they showed plenty of cut in attack and often had UWSH on the back foot and panicked. The Wolves set piece was solid all day, especially the lineout but all too often the UWSH backs would find holes in a silent Wolves backline. The Merrylands forwards though must accept their fair share of the blame. Too often they got the mix of pressuring the ball carrier and fanning out in defence wrong. Often they would pile into rucks leaving the Merrylands backs too much work to do or they would fan out too quick, giving UWSH plenty of time to organise their next move.

It has been a tough year for the Wolves 1st grade and today’s loss probably spells the end for their finals hopes. But the Wolves showed enough in attack to know they should be able to notch up a few more wins before the season is over and can also look forward to a better showing next year……UWSH  24 – Merrylands 12


Merrylands vs Hills 14/7/2012

4th Grade

The mighty Merrylands Wolves 4th grade started the day in fourth place on the ladder, only 3 points in front of their opponents Hills, one point in front of Convicts and 4 points in front of Hawkesbury Valley. This meant that a loss today would have seen the Wolves fall back to equal 5th with Valley and on a knife edge going into the final few rounds.

Merrylands has a proud history of success in its lowest grade in recent times. It has appeared in every grand final for the past 7 years. Taking out the title six times!!!

This success has been built on a wealth of experience and mussel from the likes of Jason Fullwood, Kenny Bladwell, Barry Brown, Con Viali and Con Brown.  Despite this history and today being a pivotal round, the Wolves were threatened with a massive lack of playing stocks. Prime Minister Gillard, using a special “Batman” like spot light, was forced to call on the services of Kenny Bladwell to save the country from eminent threat and so the Wolves were without their regular, inspirational open side flanker. Add to this the unavailability of Jerry “half back/hooker/flanker” Keen, Usa Vulimaebau, Con Brown and several other regulars and the Wolves were rather thin on the ground.

The call went out to any proud Wolf keen to help the 4’s through their hour of darkness. The call was heeded by a pose of seven, mysterious men. Seven men whom hail from far flung, foreign lands such as Krugersdorp South Africa, Valletta Malta, Maroubra, Breakfast Point and Bondi. Seven men whose only link to one another and the Wolves is a somewhat shady investment group, a love for alcohol and a penchant for victimising French midgets.

The seven men asked have not to have their real names published here, asking instead to be referred to by an alias. The men will be known to Merrylands history as Tricky Ricky, the Bruiser, the Blurta Hurta, the Maltese Falcon, Nick the Shuffler and the Krugersdorp Cook.

Merrylands received the kick off and straight away sprung into action. The ball was moved effortlessly from side line to side line with crushing forward surges from Jason Fullwood, the Shuffler  and the Bruiser followed by slick backline moves laid on by Tricky, the Maltese Falcon and Tanga “I’ve gotta go to Netball” Wakeford.

Hills could not with stand this level of champagne rugby for long and with less than 10 minutes on the clock Nick the Shuffler arrogantly brushed aside 4 or 5 flailing defenders to stride over for the opening points of the game.

Not long after the restart the Wolves were at it again. Merrylands worked the ball forward with some clinical interplay between the forwards and backs before some quick, go forward ruck ball, made possible by some brutal running from the Blurta Hurta and the Mad Gouger, saw Tricky Rick slickly feed his outside backs where the Krugersdorp Cook put Bicks Hicks away into open territory with a sweetly timed draw and pass not normally seen from a player wearing less than 8 on their back. Bicks was dragged down while reaching for the line and unluckily lost possession. This slight break in fortune for Hills was not enough to stem the tide though, as the Wolves regained possession through some more life threatening ruck defence at the hands of the Bruiser, Nick the Shuffler and Jason “don’t tell the misses” Fullwood.

With the ball back in Wolf hands it was time to attack again, this time the impact came through the backs as Tricky and the Maltese Falcon combined to put Fiji into open space and over the line to extend the Wolves lead to ten.

Hills did manage to pull one back before half time though, thanks in large part to an overconfident Merrylands mistake. Fiji, the Wolves fullback, had been standing back watching the likes of the Blurta Hurta and Nick the Shuffler deal out defensive punishment and wanted to get in on the act and so decided to vacate his post behind the Merrylands defensive line. The Hills 5/8 saw the easy chance and chipped and chased into the open space to cross for Hills first and only points of the day.

The Wolves made a few changes at half time and though the rate of scoring slowed a little, with at least two members of the mysterious seven being benched when Merrylands management took pity on the Hills players, the Wolves never looked like losing. The Wolves dominated possession and at times looked to be toying with the Hills defence. The result was finally put beyond doubt when 3 of the remaining mysterious seven combined, Voltron like, to drive a fourth member, Tricky Ricky, over for Merrylands 3 and final try of the day.

“Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed to so few”

Winston Churchill 20/8/1940

Merrylands Management would like to thank the mysterious seven for all their efforts today. Without you a loss would surely have been on the cards and Merrylands proud 4th grade finals record may have died with it. Though you modestly and quietly left the scene of the action as mysteriously as you had arrived, the memory of what you achieved today, the weight of your efforts, the sheer beautiful brutality of your play will be felt and spoken of for many a year to come……………..Merrylands 15 – Hills 7

3rd Grade

Once again the Merrylands T-Wolves showed far too much power and pace for their rivals chalking up yet another big win. Tony and his band of merry men now have the finals firmly in their sights. They still need the teams in front of them to lose a game and can’t really afford to drop any competition points themselves, but with 6 games still to come and a couple of those against teams above them, their destiny is in their hands.

Quality performances were put on by Lee and Lepi Mautofu, Fosi and stand in players Josh Waikikikihgijhia, Sean Roche and Mark Schofield……Merrylands 41 – Hills 18

1st and 2nd Grade

There was a lot of discussion in the post match wash up of today’s game of how best to approach the reporting of today’s 1st and 2nd grade games. With the fact that this website is meant to be eternally positive about the Wolves and all they do, Merrylands management has decided to take Ronan Keating’s advice…….”you say it best, when you say nothing at all”



Merrylands vs UWSH 7/7/2012

4th Grade

The usual writer of these articles, Merv Wolf, was unable to attended today’s matches as he his being sued by several members of the pop group “the Pussycat Dolls” for breach of piracy laws after several photos and videos of members of the above mentioned group and Mr Wolf were published on the internet under the heading “Wolf-like creature tears Pussy’s apart”

As such Mr Wolf was unable to attended 4th grade today and so this review has been compiled using quotes and observations of players and officials that were in attendance.

“I’ve been one of the form half backs in the Subbies Comp for many years and if you consider that Sean Connery is regarded by most to be the best James Bond ever then it should be pretty obvious that fullback was always going to suit my way of life” – Tim “Waterfalls” French after his stunning 24 point hall, playing the unfamiliar roll of fullback, led the Wolves 4’s to a 29 to 17 won over UWSH.

“There was this one time a few years back, just after I got back from my 17th tour of duty to Afghanistan. I was in a coffee shop in Leichardt and the barista said to me “lo zucchero bianco opaco con voi questa mattina Mr Bladwell” to which I replied “che sarebbe bello il mio ragazzo”. But of cause, everyone knows you have cappuccino in the morning and not flat white” – Kenny Bladwell, after yet another flawless performance, after being asked if he had ever made a mistake.

“They can all f@#k off” Mark “Skids” Milner after being asked if he wanted a cappuccino or a flat white during the 4th grade game

3rd grade

Another weekend and another win for Tony and his magnificent T-Wolves. Tony had been watching 4th grade intently and figured that if the UWSH game plan in 4ths involved a lot of kicking then their 3rd grade would probably play the same. Now as anyone with half a mind for rugby will tell you, if you come up against a team that likes to kick for territory you pretty much have two options. One is to try and kick it back. This is the slightly safer, easier option but does rely on a little luck. The 2nd option, harder to execute but more effective if you do, is to run it back and starve them of possession.

Tony, being a long time student of the game, told his troops it was option two all the way. And that’s exactly what the Wolves did. Michael Parker, playing the unfamiliar position of half back, dictated terms to his powerful forward pack, that included Mr Tuara and Sua, pushing them into hit ups followed by pick and drives followed by rolling mauls that saw the UWSH forwards going backwoods like they were 90’s dorks on rollerblades.

The front foot ball made life easy for the Merrylands backs that simply tore their UWSH rivals apart. Win, playing at inside centre, caused havoc throughout the match with Mataka and Drew reaping the rewards out wide.

UWSH were never in the match. What little ball they did get they promptly kicked away while their defence was completely ill equipped to deal with the onslaught. Nest week shapes as a big game for the T-Wolves. Their opponents, Hills, are one place above them on the ladder but are 7 points in front of them. A win will see them move within three points of Hills, a loss will see them fall 11 points away and probably out of the running for the semis. Today’s win should give the T-Wolves all the confidence they need to continue their march to the finals…..Merrylands 39 – UWSH 5

2nd Grade

James Macklin is a maître. A legend.

At the start of the year Merrylands Rugby Club management was stuck in a tough position. Several coaches that had put their hand up to coach second grade pulled out when they realised player numbers where going to be a little thin. This left Coach Sciascia and Captain Excitement needing to cover both grades, a task that has proved very, very difficult in the past. Management asked the Coach and Captain to give it a crack any way but it became evident after only a few games that leading both squads and doing both squads justice was not going to happen.

So Merrylands Management went to the one man in the squad they knew had the heart, talent, guts and loyalty to lead seconds through what was always going to be a tough year. James Macklin.

Back in 2007 James was put in a similar position after 2 captains and a coach of seconds decided the job was too much for them and walked away. James took on the roll of 2nd grade captain/coach and led his troops forward, slowly building momentum through the season despite having no other coaching help and a lot of inexperienced players. At season’s end James and his boys found themselves in 2nd place and, though considered far less capable then the other teams in the finals, took out the title. The following year the Jimdog Millionaire repeated the task to prove it was no fluke.

James Mac, having exhausted himself with this Herculean effort, went into semi-retirement for a few years, only surfacing when ever Merrylands played the Convicts(?!?!?!) This year though, with the Wolves at their most needy, J.Macklin swung back into action like Tarzan after a banana.

So to the weekend’s game against UWSH’s 2nd placed 2nd grade squad. James was left with only the shell of a squad as several of his better players had been called up to first grade. In his usual positive frame of mind the Mac Man lead out the best squad he could throw together that featured a number of quality players in Two Minute Todd Parsons, The Ethanator and Josh Waikihikikikjijkigia plus a few 3rds that where keen to play up including Luke “Rubber” Ansell and Kenny “no mistakes” Bladwell.

UWSH started far keener and far more organised as they put on two tries through some slick backline play and strong forward moves. 14 points behind and with a rather unfamiliar line up, 2nd grade could have been forgiven for throwing in the towel. But they didn’t. In fact they did way better. The Wolves gained possession of the ball only 10 or so meters from their own line but decided to have a go anyway. The forwards through Cap Mac, Junior and Jose Conseco got the Wolf Machine rolling forward and some clever kicking and passing from Ansell had the Wolves putting pressure on UWSH.

The sudden change of fortune rattled UWSH and soon, after conceding a couple of penalties, found themselves trying to hold the Wolves at bay from only 10 meters out, a task that proved too much for UWSH as big Jake Moses crashed over for the Wolves 2’s first points of the day.

Once again the Wolves had every right to throw in the towel but didn’t. They used Parkers absence to spur them on, pushing deep into UWSH’s half in the shadows of half time. Win and Sean Roach mad a couple of strong runs before Captain Courage’s, James Macklin, took a short ball from his half back before shrugging several defenders off to cross the line close to the posts and send the Wolves to half time right in the match.

As was mentioned earlier, the Wolves 2nds often need to rely on players that have already played 3rds or 4ths or on players that are expected to run on in 1st grade. This was the case today and meant that though they were starting to get over their Uni counter parts, a bunch of changes made at half time would probably see the Wolves playing style and aggression fall away. But a saviour arrived. Brian Davis, brother of Captain Ben, father of the Giant Headed Vagrant Ethan Davis, has watch and played a lot of rugby in his days and has come to watch several Wolves games this year. He could see that this game was there for the taking but the Wolves needed to believe in themselves and keep the pressure on UWSH. Brian got in amongst the half time huddle and laid on some choice words for the Merrylands 2nds, giving them confidence and a clear plan for the second 40.

And f@#k me did it work. The Wolves held onto the ball at all costs, concentrating their attack through their more seasoned campaigners like Luke Ansell, James Macklin, Arana Rissetto and the destructive, run away Tanga Wakeford. Soon the Wolves were within striking distance of the UWSH line and with some beautifully arrogant, aggressive running, crashed over to put themselves within 2 points of their opponents.


Merrylands 21 – UWSH 36

1st Grade

It would be nice to say that Merrylands Management had a deep seeded, confident feeling in the Wolves 1st grade, that they would be able to produce another strong attacking performance like last week’s plus fixing up any defensive frailties that have been evident and go on to post an upset win in today’s match. But truth be told, the feeling amongst those in the know was that today might be as long and hard as Dirk Digler.

UWSH at the start of the day were sitting in second place, having only lost to Brothers and Blue Mountains, and from what management had heard were pretty impressive. The Wolves on the other hand, though coming off a solid win, were still struggling for continuity in both style and substance. The forward pack has been reasonably settled, evidenced in their improving performances, but the backline has become a bit of a carousel of players moving in and out of different positions.

This has not been the fault of Coach Sciascia. He has actually managed his limited resources quite well, juggling his regular, reliable players like Joe Ngawini, Nash Steward, Karve “twins” Ngata and Fast Eddie between backline positions to try and get the best out of them. But unfortunately he has been held back by never getting the same faces to training and games for any useful length of time.

Today saw another backline juggling act with Joe Ngawini moving to 5/8 and Exham Brown playing his favoured inside centre position partnered by Ethan “another great birthday” Davis at 13. Karve Ngata moved back to one wing with Luke “not again” Ansell on the other and some low life, empty headed gronk at fullback.

Despite all of this the Wolves got off to a very strong start. The Wolves kicked off and were forceful and aggressive, forcing UWSH back with some solid hits and plenty of physical pressure at the break down. The first scrum of the day, some 30 meters out from the UWSH line, saw Jade “soften em up” Moses, Jerry Keen and A.J “gotta reason to whinge” Tuara slam their opposite front row, forcing UWSH into giving away a soft penalty. Captain Ben decided that attack was the way to go and so opted for another scrum. The Wolves forwards once again smashed the UWSH scrum, rolling forward with ease, allowing Lance Ring-In to power of the back and slam into the UWSH defence, followed closely by a cavalcade of Wolf forwards crashing into their opponents with anger and menace. The only thing that saved UWSH was a simple handling error at the back of a ruck but by now the Wolves could smell blood, stealing the UWSH ball and laying the pressure on thick again. Finally, after some clever work by Luke “3 meals a day at the Cooli” Schofield and A.J Tuara, some clean ruck ball was fed through Fast Eddie to his BFF Lance Ring-In who bounced several UWSH players to crash over and open the scoring for the Wolves.

This pattern was resumed straight from the kick off. The Wolves found UWSH’s forward pack a little soft and were keen to take the ball up to them. The forwards eagerness was matched by a new found fluidity in the backline thanks to some smart, energetic play from the Worlds Muscliest 5/8 Joe Ngawini. Joe was able to draw in the close defence, giving Exham Brown and Nash Steward plenty of time and space to weave their magic. The quality had the Wolves another try to the good as Joe Ngawini ploughed his way over for his first try of the day.

A couple of defensive lapses, an iffy penalty from the Wolves forwards and a failure to clear the ball from their own line meant the Wolves conceded their first points of the game some 20 minutes from the half time break. Play swung back and forth for the remainder of the half but the Wolves found that last lucky bounce or final pass lacking while UWSH managed to use their one and only effective weapon, their crazy fast number 11, to good use. UWSH crossed for a second try and a penalty to give themselves a small, if undeserved, buffer at the end of the first 40 minutes.

The half time talk from Coach Sciascia and Captain Ben revolved completely around the positive attitude and powerful play the Wolves were expressing on the field. Coach Sciascia assured the boys there was little to change and that sticking to their guns would see the Wolves walk off with an unexpected win. The boys did as they were told and started the second half stronger then UWSH, crossing the line after only a few minutes through some solid ruck and maul work before 5/8 Joe Ngawini produced one of his trade mark, inside centre type runs, crushing three or four defenders before offloading to Exham Brown who sped away to score.

Captain Ben is normally a rather calm, balanced individual and as captain over the last 6 or so years has done an almost flawless job keeping the Wolves 1’s on the straight and narrow. Today though Ben showed his human, some would say Merrylands, side. UWSH were on the attack but were well contained. Ben made a strong tackle on his opposite second rower and from the ensuing ruck had a clear, legal opportunity to steal the ball. The ref on the other hand claimed Ben had made his move too late and so blew a penalty for UWSH. Benjamin heard the whistle but assumed the penalty was going the Wolves way and so held onto the ball. The annoying, f@#kwit UWSH number 9 took exception to Ben holding onto the ball and stopping them taking a quick tap and so grabbed Ben by the collar. Ben then thought it would be a good idea to head butt him. Right in front of the touch judge and ref. Ben was forced to have a 10 minute rest.

UWSH took this as the chance they had been waiting for. The Uni forward pack was ineffectual all day and their backline was rather toothless but with a man down Merrylands were forced to play a more contained style. UWSH conversely took the chance to bring their only attacking weapon, their number 11, into the match. Almost straight after Ben was sent from the field he was fed clean backline ball and raced away to score. Then with only a minute or two of Bens sin binning left, and with the Wolves kicking for territory to try and stay out of trouble, UWSH’s electric number 11 returned the ball, rounded a couple of understandably tiring Merrylands forwards and crossed to put UWSH almost two tries into the lead.

When the Merrylands Captain finally returned the Wolves were in a bit of a state of disarray. Their chance at an upset was slipping away. You would expect Captain Ben to step in and right the ship but he was caught up in his own self loathing, angry at all the points he felt he had cost the Wolves. Instead Exham Brown stepped up. The Cook Island warrior told his fellow Wolves that the only thing different between when the Wolves were on top and now was that Merrylands were whinging. The boys got the message, straightened their backs and tore back into the Uni boys.

The Wolves scored another try, through Two Minute Todd Parsons, that UWSH answered with a penalty. With only minutes left the Wolves ran the ball from within their own 22 and found plenty of space, advancing play to within 20 meters of the UWSH line. From there the Wolves drove a maul to within a couple before Big Joe saw another chance close in and barged his way over to put the Wolves only 3 down.

The kick off was sent long and the Wolves tried their best to make their way up field from deep again, finding space through the middle and out wide, again through Two Minute Toddy. But alas they left their run too late. The ref called time with the Wolves hard on attack near the half way line.

As disappointing as the final result was the Wolves must only look to the mountain of positives that were on show in today’s game. UWSH are one of the best  teams in the comp. Merrylands showed ample aggression, confidence and flare and really should have taken the win. In fact with a performance like this it was hard not to wonder why the Wolves 1st grade have been mugging themselves so badly all year………..Merrylands 36 – UWSH 39


Merrylands vs Macquaire Uni  31/6/2012

4th Grade

Wolves 4th grade looks set to be the only grade to make the semi’s this year. 3rd grade are only two places out of the top 5 but are actually some 9 points behind 4th placed St George. 1st grade (remarkably) are only 4 points out of the top 5 but have seen their recent form sharp decline in form means making the finals maybe out of reach.

So any way 4th grade are in 4th place and with plenty of winnable games ahead should kick on.

Today’s opponents, Mac Uni, have been long time rivals of the Wolves but this is their first year (we think) Mac Uni have fielded a 4th grade. As such Merrylands strong, experienced line up was expecting a win. And a win is what they got. Despite missing several regular players like Deano Gammidge and Jason Fullwood the Wolves forwards dominated set plays and were able to hold onto possession for long periods of time. This coupled with some effective backline play from Jerry Keen and Bex Rown saw the Wolves establish a healthy 14 point lead before the break the Mac Uni was never able to overcome……. Merrylands 26 – Mac Uni 5

3rd Grade

The Wolves 3rd grade has managed to string 2 tough wins together and are beginning to look strong but may, in the final wash up, curse their slow start to the season. It took the Merrylands 3rds till round 5 to post their first win and then stuttered along for several weeks before finally beginning to show some strong form and good results in the last month.

This week’s opposition are a similar unit to the Merrylands (Tongan) T-Wolves. Mac Uni ‘s 3rd grade are made up of young Pacific Islanders that live in and around the Uni so today’s game was a rather brutal affair. The Wolves looked good at times but for the most part looked to be merely hanging in as Mac Uni dominated possession and kicked well while the Wolves came up with plenty of handling errors and silly penalties.

Despite this the Wolves defence was good enough to restrict Uni to a single try in the first half and even managed one for themselves. Lepi Mautofo made a strong run through the middle of the ruck before to ball was spun wide where the Wolves outside backs found an easy passage to the line.

The second half saw the T-Wolves and Uni trade tries and brutal tackling but with only a few minutes left Mac Uni scored a try out wide to give themselves a 5 point lead. Tony rallied his troops behind the posts and the T-Wolves came out firing. They got the ball back from the kick off and in true Tongan fashion through the ball around until a gap opened up midfield and Merrylands where able to score right near the posts, allowing for an easy conversion and an awesome well deserved win….. Merrylands 19 – Mac Uni 17

2nd Grade

Most people would think that a home game for the Wolves would see mean a strong, fresh second grade. But with the way this season has been going finding players to staff second grade that either haven’t already played a game (if not two or three) or aren’t due to play in first grade and are of an honest 2nd grade level has been a challenge to say the least.

This week was a different story that will hopefully set the standard for the rest of the year. The Wolves were able to field a strong, practised and familiar forward pack with the likes of Jake “climbing the Corporate Ladder” Moses, Win Nugget, Captain James, Arana “No flights today” Rissetto, Michael “there might be Asians in the Uni team” Parker and the ever improving Junior. The back line, though finalised in true 2nd grade fashion, right at the last minute, featured some reliable, strong players like Two Minute Todd, Max “Two Minutes in First Grade” NgLam, Cody Hiriwani and Drew Hammond.

The early stages had the Wolves getting plenty of go forward when they had the ball but lacking enough discipline and practice to halt Uni when they didn’t. The first try of the match came as the Wolves gave up territory with some silly penalties then lost concentration close to the ruck to allow one of Uni’s fatter forwards to slip through untouched. After some harsh words from Coach Ben and Captain Jim the Wolves forwards got hold of the ball and rolled right over their Uni counter parts. Hit up after hit up broke through the Uni defence as the Wolves marched down field.

After one especially powerful run from Junior saw Cody Hiriwani, who had moved to 5/8 after Todd Parsons had completed his required two minutes of game time, stride out into open spaces before and touched down close to the posts to even the ledger.

Play went back and forth for 10 minutes before Mac Uni again found Merrylands defence disorganised and managed to gain plenty of good meters from some smart kicking. The resulting field position gave Uni the advantage they needed to cross the line again and go to the break in front.

A couple of changes were made at half time with Sua and Bicks coming into the forward pack and J.D making his first appearance of the year on the wing. During the rest Coach Ben and the Jimdog Millionaire let the boys know that Merrylands best chances rested with their big, strong, well practiced forward pack with the backs hopefully finishing off. Almost immediately the advice was headed with Bicks Hicks making one of his trade mark, one handed runs that was followed up by a couple of strong hit ups from Jim Macklin and Arana Rissetto. The resulting front foot ball was all the likes of J.D and Cody needed to put the Wolves further in front.

Though Uni posted two more tries before the end of the match the Wolves were never in doubt, putting on one of their finest displays of the year. Though there is plenty of room for improvement the Wolves showed an awesome ability to adapt to their environment. The realised that the Uni forwards were small and their backs were fast so they kept the ball in tight for long periods, rolling over Uni’s 8 at will and starving their backs of any possession.

Special mention should go to Cody Hiriwani who played strong at 5/8, Arana Rissetto who had a busy first game back and Junior whose runs and timing paved the way for the other forwards coming behind him………….. Merrylands 31 – Uni 21

1st Grade.

This was a game the Wolves had to win. Maybe not for their place on the ladder, as most players would tell you the finals are not something that is on everyone’s mind, but for pride. It has been a long time since the Wolves have lost a game to Mac Uni and with Mac Uni sitting a couple of places below them on the ladder and a string of bad losses to the Wolves name, this really was a do or die match. Loose and it would be hard to reconcile within and without of the playing group. Win and it could launch the Wolves into a good space for the rest of the season where all of the really difficult away games have already been played.

Levi Sciascia was able to name a strong line up with some interesting personnel and positional changes. In the forwards Josh Wikihikia made his run on debut, slotting into the front row next to the recently re-instated Jerry “Lightening” Keen. Coach Sciascia was keen to add a bit more beef to his forward pack so named an impressive back row of Dylan Hodgson, Luke “I took the president to my girlfriends year 12 formal” Schofield and Ethan “the vagrant bum” Davis at number 8, who was also making his run on debut in regular season footy. In the backs Coach Sciascia brought Tim “Golden Shower” French into number 9, moved Fast Eddie to 10 and slotted Exam Brown into his preferred position of inside centre. Joe Ngawini moved out to the somewhat unfamiliar position of 13 while Baz Nicholson came back from suspension to partner J.D on the wings. Nobody cares who the filthy, good for nothing, bald grub was that played fullback.

After only a few minutes of play the Wolves forced Uni into a mistake 30 meters form their own line and with Josh Wikihikia providing a solid platform at scrum time, Exam Brown performed one of his trade mark “yep yep yep” dummy and goes (the kind no one from Merrylands ever falls for) to ghost through the line and dot down next to the posts. After a somewhat bare run of tries the Wolves could have been forgiven for erupting into celebration but instead the playing group simply turned their backs and headed back to half way, keen to put on a strong, ruthless performance.

Well that was the plan anyway. Instead the Wolves let Uni right back into the match, giving up too many easy meters close to the ruck then conceding a couple of rather dubious penalties. From the ensuing line out, close to the Wolves line, Mac Uni pick and drove their way over the line to even the scores.

Play then went back and forth for a while until something happened that most Merrylands faithful thought they would never see happen in their lives. Joe “the incredible hulk” Ngawini got smashed. It’s hard to say what happened and Joe himself denies it really hurt but basically the ball went across the Wolves backline where Ex Brown jinked and swerved before feeding it off to the big man who found himself hit, lifted and dumped by the only Pacific Islander in the whole Mac Uni backline. The shock of the incident, the shear unlikelihood of what had just occurred sent the Wolves in to a short period of inaction which Uni took advantage of. The Wolves found themselves defending short arm penalty only meters from the line and Uni managed to send one of their bigger forwards over for another 5 pointer.

Behind the posts some of the Wolves got panicky, not least of Big Joe who was found to be standing still, mouth open, staring of into the distance muttering “I’ve seen that happen to Richie plenty of times but I really didn’t think it could happen to me”. Captain Ben however kept his head. He told his forwards more aggression was needed at ruck and maul time and that the backs should keep it simple in attack.

The advice was heeded and not long after the Wolves broke the Uni line several time in one movement, most notably by Baz Nicholson who, after seeing the complete state of bewilderment his otherwise unstoppable outside centre J. Ngawini was still in, took the ball under his arm and beat 3 or 4 tackles to take the Wolves within 40 meters of the line. The pressure told on Uni who were forced into a professional foul that, with the kick for touch from the penalty, saw the Wolves feed a lineout only 8 meters from the line. The Wolves forwards took the ball clean and begun to punish the Uni defence, sending wave after wave of attack crashing into the Uni line. A.J “one game” Tuara and Benjamin “I wanna get smashed like joe” Davis both went close before Tim “leaking at the traffic lights” French fed an easy ball to the giant headed kid, Ethan Davis, who slammed over for his first try for the Wolves 1st grade.

With only 20 minutes gone in the game and 4 tries already scored the assembled masses of Merrylands fans excitedly sensed a high scoring game, and they were not disappointed. The last 15 minutes of the second half saw the Wolves go on a scoring rampage. Joe “not-so incredible hulk” Ngawini threw of his state of shock to score from an awesome set piece move that saw Fast Eddie dummy to Ex Brown and Nash Steward before finding Joe with the softest of passes, who raced through the gap and over for a try. This was followed by two tries to the speedy, slippery J.D and a try to Baz Nicholson as the Wolves went to the break some 30 points up.

The second half was just as high scoring but the flow was a little more even. Coach Sciascia swapped Cody Hiriwani for J.D on the wing and brought Max NgLam on for Tim “Water Works” French at number 9 . Max lasted 2 rucks. In the first ruck Max fed the ball to a flying Anthony “I’ve been acting sick and saw this whole time” Tuara who slammed through a couple of tackles before laying the ball back and allowing quick service from the ruck base. As anyone who has hung around Merrylands for a while would be able to predict, fast ruck ball with Max at half back means one thing, dummy and go. Max managed to slip the first couple of tackles but was pulled down by the cover defence and, somewhere in the slap and tickle of normal ruck play, Max emerged with a nice big gash above his right eye.

Tim French came back on and the attack continued to flow. Maybe it was the lack of scoring in recent games or maybe the fact all of first grade were fresh for once but the Wolves decided that if they continued to score tries they didn’t need to worry too much about tackling themselves. Plenty of points were had by both teams in the second half but the Wolves managed to answer any raid Uni made with one of their own and kept their rivals at arm’s length.

Nash Steward wound back the clock with a 70 meter effort that just about all his fellow players didn’t think he was capable of any more. With Uni knowing they needed lots of pints they begun to through the ball around pretty randomly and inevitably through a bad pass that was scooped up by the Bald Assassin who took off toward the line. For the first 50 meters Nash looked around for someone to pass to  but with only 20 or so to go, with the rest of his team mates yelling at him to go for it, he put his head down and made the try line with the Uni players unable to bridge the gap.

Special mention for the day must go to Josh Wikihikia for his flawless scrummaging and lineout work in his first grade run on debut. Ethan Davis, despite being on debut and clearly being homeless, added just the kind of tough edge to the forward pack that Coach Sciascia was hoping for. J.D will be welcomed back with open arms as his speed and elusiveness proved useful out wide and his replacement, Cody Hiriwani showed a new found aggressiveness in attack that had Uni’s outside backs rattled. Also we need to mention an amazing run made by Benjamin “smashed like joe” Davis. The Wolves were given a penalty 10 meters from the Uni line and after some indecision from half back Tim French Captain Davis decided it was his chance to shine. He took the ball from Tim, running in a big, wide arc and straightening at full speed to hit the Uni defense line and  and try to shatter it to pieces. Instead tow of what seemed to be Uni’s only good defenders double teamed the big legend, leaving him dazed and confused on the ground . Gronk.

This was just the day President Skids, Coach Sciascia, Queen Kylie and Princess Jenny have been hoping for. No sign of rain, plenty of players and a beatable opposition. The solid win from the Wolves firsts will hopefully serve as a spring board for the Wolves to launch into a successful second half of the season…….Merrylands 45 – Mac Uni 32


Merrylands vs Waverly 9/6/2012

Merrylands have never faced Waverly in normal competition before so today’s away trip was one of the longest the club will do this year. Burger the Bus Driver confidently steered the Wolf-mobile through the streets of the big city as the awe struck Merrylands boys stared at out the windows at the bright lights and sky scrapers of the big city. The shock and awe didn’t end with the trip through the city as the boys arrived to be greeted by one of the most shmick subbies set ups going around. Waverly’s home ground has a large concrete stand, astro-turfed steps and push button showers….nice.

Numbers to the long trip where slightly better then what Coach Sciascia and President Milner have come to expect so hopes were high for some good results. Waverly are top of the table in 4th grade so the Merrylands 4’s, who so far have been one of the Wolves strongest performers, knew they were in for a tough hit out.  The early running went Waverly’s way as the eastern suburb side took an early 12 point lead. The Wolves managed to find their feet and strike back before half time to go into the break only 2 behind. Ethan “the Vagrant” Davis, Jason “don’t tell the misses just book it” Fullwood and Deano Gammidge tore through their Waverly counterparts in the second half with regular backs Drew Hammond and Tim French causing havoc out wide to give the Wolves a perfect start to the day, scraping through for a 25 – 24 point win.

Tongan Tony and his loyal band of men have started to play well and string some wins together and with a little luck will make it through to the semi finals. Much like 4ths, the Wolves 3’s started slow, giving Waverly plenty of possession and giving away several silly penalties to allow Waverly to push out to an 8 point lead half way through the first half. But that was all the points Waverly could manage. The Wolves on the other hand went on the rampage, striking a good balance between power forward running and slick back line play. Lee Mautofu had an especially good game at 13, making plenty of breaks and scoring an awesome try down the right hand flank. Final score 12 – 8 to the Wolves.

2nds are having a tough year. Probably the toughest anyone involved with the Wolves can remember. Truth be told the vast majority of players that pull on a second grade jersey each week are in fact 4th graders. Now if you reading this and you’re from Subbies you can put the phone down, this isn’t a chance to dob Merrylands in to your mates in high places and lay the boot in a little further.  These players are not 2nd graders “stacking” 4ths. These guys are genuine 4th graders, guys over 35 or fellas who have only played rugby for a couple of years or teenagers. These are guys who have every right to refuse to walk onto the pitch for a 2nd grade game but instead smile, laugh and pull on the black and gold because they know it’s what the club NEEDS in the difficult times.  Players like Dean Gammidge, Josh Waihikia, Jason Fullwood, Dave Latu and Sean Roach are true heroes. When the club celebrates its next 40 year anniversary, when the club next lifts up a premiership trophy, that success would have been built on your blood, sweat and tears.

1st grade is a different story. There is a core of committed guys that turn up to every game and every training session and do their very best to give the lower grades something to be proud of. Players like Dylan Hodgson, Michael “the most hated man in Waverly” Parker, A.J Tuara, Karve Ngata, Luke and Mark Schofield, Ben “one calf” Davis and Eddie Latu should be commended for all their stoic effort. Unfortunately there are too many players that that think the odd game and the odd training session will see the Wolves rise to the dizzying heights the club enjoyed only a couple of years ago. What Coach Sciascia (who personally lays his and his families body on the line every week to see the club stay true) and his 1st grade minions need to do is get back to basics. Train hard and put some wins on the board. Their charge for this season is probably over but the best way to ensure next season is not a repeat of this one is to begin building a positive culture now.


Merrylands vs Hawkesbury Valley 2/6/2012

The Wolves Committee had high hopes that today’s games might see a re-birth of the Wolf. On paper Hawkesbury Valley seemed very beatable in every grade. They are near or below Merrylands on the table in every grade and so Coach Sciascia his boy wonder Benjamin Davis hoped their Wolves may produce their first 4 from 4 win of the season.  Winning all four grades in a day used to be a pretty regular result in years gone by but the Wolves have struggled to put the victories together this year.

As has been previously stated in these reviews, the purpose of this website is to advance all things Wolf. This web site hopes at every occasion to spread positive new about the Wolves. With this in mind we will not say much about Saturday’s games. There were plenty of full hearted displays on the pitch. Todd Parsons and Tim French showed steely resolve in suffering a heartbreaking loss in 2nds before changing jerseys and walking on in first grade, both playing different positions from what they had been playing in 2nd’s.

A.J Tuara and Rua Kaitoa continue to go above and beyond what is expected of them to ensure the club keeps its proud tradition of not calling uncontested scrums. The weather on Saturday was horrible. It was cold, wet and windy and all players could be forgiven for simply finishing their regular game, having a nice warm shower and rugging up with the other supporters. James Macklin and Hiti Pa showed a strong sense of duty to leave their cold, wet boots, shorts and socks on and stand on the sideline for all of first grade.

In second grade there were plenty of players that backed up and played out of position and to be honest, seconds really could have won the match had a few bounces gone their way. Most note worthy were Sean Roach, Drew Hammond and Big Sua. All 3 had already played at least one game but happily walked back on to the field in seconds without a complaint.

This has been said a million times but it will be said here again. Training. We have the talent and numbers to do far better than we are but we cannot expect to drag ourselves out of the bog we are in with our inconsistent showing at training. Simple.


Merrylands vs Brothers 6/5/2012

The infameous Merrylands dissapearing rugby club trick has raised its head again.

Despite the best efforts of management and coaches, despite info up on the Wolves web site and on facebook, despite assurances from numerous players, at least once a year Merrylands embarks on a long away trip only to arrive and find grossly insufficient players available for the days matches.

Even though the circumstances took some Wolves by surprise, several high ranking committee members have been in the kitchen long enough and could smell what was cooking. In order to give the devoted few a slightly easier run it was decided late on Friday that Merrylands would let 4th grade slide for the day. As disappointing as this is it proved to be quite the genius call as only 22 players showed up at Beauchamp Oval to take on Brothers!

A lot of Wolves supporters reading this will probably be thinking it was a dark day, probably thinking this might spell tough times ahead for the mighty Merrylands Wolves, but in reality nothing could be further from the truth. Not a course word, not a peep of disappear was heard from the brave few that pulled on the black and gold. Instead as a unit the Wolves seemed to thrive under the siege like conditions.

On Saturday day there were many soldiers who went above and beyond the call of duty. In fact almost every player present played more than one game. Tim “biggest looser” French played all three grades and even ran on in the unfamiliar wing roll in first grade. Michael Parker also played in every game and out of position, wearing number 13 in thirds. A.J Tuara, Dylan Hodgson, Jerry Keen and Nash Steward all played all three games. Kenny Bladwell, Deano Gammidge and Jason Fullwood  all turned up and played at least two games despite their regular 4th grade not being needed.

As you can imagine the results didn’t go Merrylands way. The Wolves won quite handsomely in 3rd grade, 39 to 5, with Drew Hammond scoring 3 tries. In 2nds the Wolves were right in it and in truth looked to being coming home all over Brothers, trailing by just 5 points with 15 minutes to go. But alas fatigue and team changes, forced on the squad by the need to field a strong 1st grade line up, saw Brothers score several late tries. First grade we will not talk about. It wasn’t pretty.

All players that showed up today showed an awesome sense of duty and honour. Not a single complaint was heard despite being grossly outmanned and out gunned. If Merrylands can rediscover this level of commitment across the playing roster then surly the Wolves can regain their former glory.


Merrylands vs Blue Mountains 19/5/2012


It has been a few years since the Merrylands Wolves had to endure a day like today. In fact to the best of anyone presents knowledge, not since 2005 have the Wolves suffered 3 loses in a day with the top grade losing by 50+

With that in mind and considering that this websites main goal is to champion everything Merrylands Wolves, most followers will understand that this week’s match reviews will not be in the regular match by match format.

The final tally for the day was 4 – 1 in favour of the Mountain men, with the Wolves soul victory of the day coming in 4th grade. The Wolves 4th grade has had an amazing start to the year. They are undefeated and top of the table. Today’s game was one of the lowest grades fiercest battles but the Wolves played to their strengths, maintained possession and came away with the points winning 12 to 10.

2nds and 3rds have been difficult this year. Both sides have struggled to maintain a regular starting 15 and training has been hit and miss. As you would expect this has seen both sides struggle to climb the ladder, only registering one win each. Today’s games against Blue Mountains represented a big challenge for the Wolves. It is a mind numbingly long away trip and Mountains are going great guns in both grades.

It sounds a little Kevin Sheedy/GWS but despite recording another two loses there was a lot to like about today’s performances. For starters numbers where good with several players returning from injury including Ryan Candy and Ethan Davis as well as a few long lost players finally showing their faces. Some of these included Billy Ray Spilidis and Tim French.  Both games where rather similar with the Wolves starting slow before clawing themselves back into the match late on.

Considering that Blue Mountains are top, or very near top, of the table in both grades and looked quite the polished outfits it was an incredible effort that the Wolves only went down by 9 and 7 points respectively. It’s been said a hundred times before but going by the talent and resourcefulness shown by the Wolves today, if they could get one or two good training runs under their belts there is no one in this division they can’t beat.

First grade? The biggest disappointment today wasn’t the result. All players, from John Eales to Possum, at least a few times in their lives, get 50 points put on them. It’s tough to be too critical of the Wolves when their opposition are the current reigning premiers and a very smooth outfit. What is most alarming is the way the Wolves handled the result, especially the first half.

The Wolves went with Mountains in the early exchanges, with the forwards relishing the tougher than regular rucks and malls. But only 10 minutes in Mountains got a couple of lucky bounces and a lucky call or two from the ref and were in for the first points. With this the damn was broken and before long the points for Mountains were coming at a regular rate and this was when the Wolves got a little unimpressive.

Instead of putting their heads down and getting on with it the Wolves let the situation get the better of them.  There was whinging at rucks and mauls, complaints at scrum time and a complete lack of cohesion with the ball in hand. Some players did their very best to maintain composure and play well including Mark and Luke Schofield, Dylan Hodgson, Tim Grooby, Karve Ngata and Nash Steward but unfortunately they were in the minority.

In the second half the Wolves managed to pull themselves together and put on a performance a little more representative of what Merrylands Rugby is supposed to be about but by then the score board were looking rather dismal for all the Wolves supporters that had made their way up the mountains.

As was said on the day, it is easy to be a proud and passionate Wolf when all four grades are winning and we are the ones putting cricket like scores on hapless opposition. Its takes far more courage and heart to stand up and smile when the shoe is on the other foot.



Merrylands vs St George 5/5/2012

4th Grade Merrylands vs Convicts

A previous article posted here contained factual inaccuracies, which we now correct:


Merrylands, Macquarie Uni and St George were not “forced” into 3rd Div. They were invited by the Union to participate. In fact, all three clubs requested to be in 3rd Div once it became apparent that 4th Div was not a viable competition for 2012.


St George did not ask the Sydney Convicts to play as their 4th grade. The Union organized the Convicts’ grading in the Nicholson Cup, and is grateful that they were able to assist the competition.


The article also contained childish innuendo, for which we apologise.


The original article has been removed.




3rd Grade

Poor numbers to away games has been a tradition at Merrylands for as long as ay one can remember. That said the Wolves have never suffered the embarrassment of forfeiting games and that proud record was not about to be lost today.

So far this year the Merrylands 3rd grade team has been mostly made up of Tongan Tony and his family of rugby playing friends. They have been building slowly but this week suffered a bit of a setback. Due to illness, injury and indecision only a handful of Tony’s gang made the trip out to Carss Park and so poor Tony was left to ask Coach Sciascia for more players to fill his 3rd grade squad then usual. All of the Wolves players present were more than happy to help out with several 4th graders backing up like Jason “fullballs” Fullwood, Kenny “No mistakes” Bladwell and Dean “I wonder if they play rugby in Thailand” Gammidge.

All the the interruption and fatigue was never going to make for a could performance though. The Wolves struggled to hold onto possession and made too many mistakes in defence. Going into half time some 20 points down. At half time though the Wolves brought on what fresh legs they could and mounted a comeback. The Wolves managed to hold St George scoreless for the bulk of the second stanza and even managed a few 5 pointers themselves but in the end left their come back too late. It is a long season and with the top 5 teams making the play offs there is still plenty of time for the Wolves to get back up the ladder but this sort of poor showing away can’t continue for long……Merrylands 14 – St George 27

2nd Grade

Of the 15 players that ran onto to start this second grade fixture only Mark Schofield, Fast Eddie and Gavin “Bat Gavi” Edwards where starting their first game of the day and could be considered regular second graders. This meant that every other player had either already played another game (some, like A.J Tuara, had played two) or was supposed to be starting first grade straight after. The first graders that ran on for seconds included Michael “headbuting islanders in the knee hurts” Parker, Karve “number 8” Ngata, Exam Brown, Jade “2 games” Moses and A.J “all day” Tuara. If you add to this several 4th graders that gallantly stepped up including Jason Fullwood, Ken Bladwell and Drew Marshall it really was a recipe for disaster.

And disaster struck early. St George are known for their big, fast, ferocious starts. If you can contain their big running forwards early you can often subdue them in the closing stages. Unfortunately for the Wolves they couldn’t with stand the St George attack.  The game was only a few minutes old when the Wolves forwards let their Saints counter parts get too far over the advantage line too many times, gifting the Saints an easy 5 pointer under the posts.

Almost from the kick off the Wolves committed the same crime with the same result. After only 10 minutes the Wolves were down by 14 and looked to have no answer to the St George attack. The situation for the Wolves appeared to be going from bad to worse when Michael Parker, attempting to fell another run away Saints forward, copped a knee to the head and went down like a bag of…..spuds. In the same play Ken Bladwell, appearing in his second game of the day, was hit with a late shot from a fellow that was at least 10 years his junior and 100kgs heavier then him. This saw the Wolves having to make some desperate changes with Benjamin “Mr False Alarm” Davis brought on for Kenny and Dylan Hodgson brought on for Parker.

The new subs helped stem the tide somewhat but before long the Saints had another advantage as Luke Ansell pulled off an amazing, brutal hit on his opposite number, only to be judged as falling fowl of the law and marched for 10 minutes. With the superior number Saints found more frailty in the Wolves defensive line and where in for their third try of the game. Bleak.

Captain Moses quietly told his boys some stirring home truths. He reminded the boys that any fool can turn up when the Wolves look like scoring big, easy wins but it takes far more bravery and heart to turn up when you know the chips are down. Senior Moses ensured the boys he was proud of every one of them and that if they got out there and showed a little more bite then the Wolves could be right back in the match. And the Wolves responded.

After several minutes of back and forth rugby the Wolves backline managed to find some open space after a quality turn over from Mark “the new number 4” Schofield. Nash Steward accelerated into open territory, before off loading to Freddy Edwards who showed some silky skills to beat the first defender, draw in the second and put Drew Marshall away down the touch line. With the cover defence coming fast drew put in a centring chip that was towed forward by Gavin Edwards who outpaced the Saints defenders to touch down out wide and give the Wolves a much needed boost.

The second half started much the same as the first with saints coming on strong and the Wolves trying desperately to hold on. But this time they did hold on. With the Saints hard on attack the Wolves once again pounced with a stinging counter attack. New boy Tim “The new Skids” Milner pulled off a nice hit and turned the ball over some 20 meters from the Wolves line. The ball was once again quickly scooped up by Nash Steward who raced passed some lazy defence and set sail for the line. With some speedy, younger defenders giving chase senior Steward realised he wasn’t going to have the legs to go all the way and so off loaded to a flying Karve Ngata. Karve ginked and swerved his way to within meters of the line but was caught by the relentless defence before finally landing the killer blow, off loading to the ever present Nash Steward to score one of the best tries so far this year.

The Wolves could now see a light at the end of the tunnel. Even when the Saints managed to grab another lucky 5 pointer Merrylands seemed to know they could get there. The Wolves piled on the pressure, maintaining possession and kicking well to force the Saints in to numerous penalties. From the good field position Exam Brown gave a slick ball to Max NgLam who opened up the Saints defence before offloading to Drew Marshall who dotted down under the posts. The Wolves were now only 3 points behind.

From here most people at the ground would tell you the result felt almost inevitable. Saints had frozen and were content to watch the clock and hope they had done enough. The Wolves on the other hand knew that a win like this could do wonders for their confidence. The Wolves seemed to be finding holes and getting plenty of good decisions from the ref. The momentum finally told with Karve Ngata beating several defenders, scoring the final try to put the Wolves into the lead and notch up seconds first win of the year.

Big ups go to all that played their second game of the day in this fixture like Ted Timoti, Ken Bladwell, A.J Tuara, Jade Moses and Tim Milner. Even bigger ups to the fellas that put their boots back on after already showering to give some of the first graders that played seconds a rest. Jason Fullwood and Dean Gammidge you are legends. Great win, mountains and mountains of heart………..Merrylands 31 – St George 29

1st Grade

As every hardcore crack addict will tell you, what goes up must come down. After sacrificing many players freshness on getting second grade over the line the Wolves first grade suffered a bad hangover that saw them loose to St George and stay with only one win from three attempts.

The game plan when facing St George is always pretty simple. Soak up the early aggression then play smart footy and run their big tired forwards down in the second half. It really seemed like all was going to plan for the Wolves. They were running into a very stiff wind in the first half and so found themselves constantly stuck in their own 22 but true to the game plan were defending excellently. The High School Sweetheart, Luck Schofields, and his second row partner Benjamin “Mr Excitement” Davis were especially effective in the tight stuff while Karve Ngata Continued his second grade form with some steely defence out wide.  The Wolves were managing to turn over the Saints ball pretty regularly and were dominant in set play which allowed them to go to the break only 7 points behind.

But then came the second half. The Wolves were forced to make 3 changes in the backs due to knocks picked up in second grade. Regular first graders Toddy Parsons and Joe and Richie Ngawini were all replaced as was number 8 Bick Hicks. Add to this the late withdrawal of Baz Nicholson and the two game tiredness of the usually very reliable Nash Steward and the Wolves defames, especially out wide, looked a little shaky.

The Wolves forwards did their best to hold the home side at bay and truth be told down a pretty great job. They won all of their own ball, destroyed the Saints line out and won plenty of penalties at the break down but in the end the indecisiveness in the backline, caused by all the changes, was simply too much. Every time the Wolves looked to be getting on top Saints would score an easy, run away try and deflate the Wolves little by little.

Coach Sciascia and President Milner could not fault any one that showed up today. In fact all the boys showed Herculean heart to keep coming back and never let their heads drop. Big Churs to Benjamin Davis, Todd Parsons, Max NgLam, Freddy Edwards, Luke Ansell, Karve Ngata, Nash Steward, Fast Eddie and Sciascia for putting up their hands for more than one game today. Your courage and loyalty will not be forgotten.

Huge thanks to Michael Parker for his incredible, selfless effort today. After being badly concuss in seconds he shook off the haze to take his place in the first grade starting line. There is a thin line between bravery and stupidity and today Michael Parker blurred that line.

Another huge thanks to Danny Weddt. Danny came back to the Wolves this year after several years in the wilderness. Usually a 4th or 3rd grader, Danny was not expected to stay on and help out 3rds, 2nds and 1st grade after playing his match. But he did. Danny, with help from the unstoppable lion of a man Ted Timmoti, ran the sideline for the Wolves in every grade, sorting out subs, running water and tending to the injured. If the Wolves had two or three more Danny’s or Ted’s the club would be playing in the Super 15.

Lastly the biggest thanks of the day go to the first grade front row. Tim Milner (we are not sure if his second name is actually Milner but he is related to Skids) played his first game for the Wolves today. Tim had every right to play one grade and go home. Tim had every right to be a little worried about the player numbers situation but instead he simply kept turning up like he had been with the Wolves for years. Tim had a hand in every grade and was a stand out throughout. We all hope he stays on as long as his disgusting, cranky, tired uncle. Jade Moses and A.J started the season both a little nervous about playing first grade. Neither had every really played first grade much and although they both knew they had the size, strength and skill to play the top grade, they both doubted their own fitness. Once again A.J and Jade had ever right to simply leave their boots off until first grade and try and cement their hard won places in the top side. But instead both stood up every time they were asked despite the grade and despite their own fatigue. You are truly titans. Your name will liveth for ever more……Merrylands 22 – St George 40


28/4/2012 Merrylands vs Hills “Mrs P Day”

4th Grade

For reasons that are yet to be made clear to anyone on this side of the Merrylands juniors/Merrylands seniors divide, the full schedule of junior games that was promised to the Merrylands rugby community today never eventuated.  Merrylands Rugby Club would like to apologise to anyone that showed up on the day to see our future talent in action.

What was missed in the juniors though was more then made up for in the first game of the day as the Merrylands Wolves 4th grade tore their Hills rivals apart!!!! Hills are renowned throughout the Subbies Rugby World for having a huge player base. At the kick off of last season they had some 150 payed up, registered players! And this year is no different with the Baulkum Hills based club fielding an under 19’s side and a 5th grade Halligan Cup team. This means that their 4th grade is in fact NOT their 15 least capable players but has a rather large stable of 30 or so other players to choose from. This makes today’s result all the more remarkable.

The Wolves 4th grade side was made up of a few regulars like Jason Fullwood, Tanga “I want Lukes number 4 shirt” Wateford, Kenny “more farewells then John Fahrnem” Bladwell, Jerry “I’m a half back again” Keen and Dean “any which way but loose” Gammidge plus a host of long lost players that surfaced for this very special day.  Some of the rather out of shape blow ins included Brice “Number8?” Ince, Hiti Pa and the 150kg half back Tim French.

Straight from the kick off the Wolves were into Hills, crashing through the middle of the Hills ruck to steal possession before finding good meters of the edge of the maul through a rampaging Hiti Pa. The front foot ball made the Wolves #10 job easy as the ball was shifted wide to give Richie Ngawini a clear run to the line.

Mere seconds from the restart and the Wolves were at it again. Jason Fullwood took a clean catch from the kick off and after beating a couple of tackles laid the ball back for Tim French to give his backs quick front football that saw them tear through the heart of the Hills defence and out into open territory. One or two more rucks was all it took for the Wolves to find big numbers out wide and cross to make it 2 tries to zero. This pattern continued for the rest of the first half as the previously unbeaten Hills 4ths struggled to know what hit them.

In the second half Hills managed to stem the tide somewhat, with good kicking and solid forward play, but their backline was simply no match for the Wolves and they struggled to mount any real pressure. The Wolves added to the points slow down by falling for the age old trick off getting a few tries in front of a team then thinking “this is gunna be easy”

In the finish Hills managed to pull a couple of tries back but Merrylands matched every try Hills put on, running out comfortable winners………Merrylands 41 – Hills 12

3rd Grade

The special Tongan flavour that our 3rd grade has taken on this year was slightly diluted this week as once again plenty of old faces turned up to honour the late, great Mrs P. Among the old heads that managed to get a run included Mark and Jade Taivairanga, Cody Hiriwani and George Grieg.

In the past few weeks 3rds have struggled to get any real fluidity in their attack. In fact in the last two games the Wolves have failed to score any points. This may be of concern to a few fans but all is not as bad as it seems. They have only conceded 28 points in two games, an average of two tries, so their defence is doing a good job. The Wolves 3rds set play has struggled and getting that right could hold the key to turning these results around as they have managed to break plenty of tackles, create loads of space and clearly have the size, speed and strength to pay the bills.

Once again a few more numbers at training and one or two more games together could see this team shoot up the table where we all know they belong…….Merrylands 0 – Hills 17

2nd Grade

It’s a long season and the nature of 2nd grade is that players come and go as the 1st team takes what it needs. As such teams can float up and free fall back down the 2nd grade ladder quite easily. With this in mind Coach Levi was simply after improvement. As long as the team could put in a better showing then the disappointing result of last week then things were going in the right direction. And improve they did, so much so in fact that they were desperately unlucky not to win this one. You could even argue they were robbed.

The Wolves fielded quite a powerful side with the likes of Ethan “$50 t-shirt” Davis, Luke “no more drive buys” Ansell, Con Brown, Gavin “pants at training are optional” Edwards and Fast Eddie all taking their place in the starting team. The first half was a fairly close contest but it seemed to all that watched the match that the Wolves were constantly knocking at the door, looking to run the ball at any chance while Hills were happy to kick long and hope for errors. The Wolves managed a tidy 5 pointer in the opening 40 but unfortunately for Merrylands the referee was observing the long held tradition in subbies rugby of hating Merrylands. So much so in fact that Hills where in the lead at half time from two rather dubious penalties.

The second half saw the Wolves looked the far more dangerous outfit again, going close on several occasions before finally crossing for their second 5 pointer after some strong running by Harley Nicholson and Mark “I care as much as my little brother” Schofield gave Luke Ansell plenty of time and space to put his backs over in the corner.

Merrylands 10 – Hills 12

1st Grade

About this time last year, the heart of our wonderful club, Mrs Helen Parker, lost a short and ferocious battle with Cancer. It was decided that each year Merrylands Rugby Club would celebrate “Mrs P Day” in her honour. The aim of the day would be to both celebrate her life and also raise money to help fight the disease that so cruelly took her away from us.

Along with regular fund raising efforts such as the BBQ and raffles there would also be a decidedly feminine slant to the day’s activities with a Ladies Area filled with cup cakes, cocktails and canapés and a Ladies raffle with prizes only a women could love. But probably the most eye catching sight of the day would be the first grade jerseys. Jenny Sturrock, with help from our amazing sponsors Castrol, Nilfisk  and the Coolibah Hotel, organised for a one off set of pink jerseys for the 1st grade squad to wear that would raffled off during the evenings celebrations to raise money for the Cancer Council.

And so it was the Merrylands Wolves 1st grade took the field against their neighbours and arch rivals Hills on this momentous day. Coach Sciascia named a pretty settled, experienced line up with Jade Moses and A.J Tuara rightly keeping their place in the first grade front row. Jerry “I’m retiring like Kenny” Keen moving back into the number 2 jumper. Coach Sciascia also took a calculated risk, naming two specialist open sides to start the match with Dylan Hodgson and Michael Parker taking up the side of the scrum. The backline had plenty of familiar faces including Joe and Richie Ngawini, Nash Steward and Exam “yep yep yep” Brown.

Captain Benjamin “Mr Excitement” Davis gave Hills the early advantage by spilling yet another kick off, taking his spilled kick off count for the year to 3. This simple mistake allowed Hills to put on some early pressure well inside the Merrylands half. Hills never really looked like breaking through but found themselves 3 points to the good when awarded a soft penalty from a scrum infringement. But that was as good as it got for the visitors.

After some back and forth play after the restart the Merrylands forwards, through some devastating running from A.J Tuara and Luke “I’m going to a year 12 formal” Schofield, got the Wolves within striking distance of the line. From a solid scrum the Wolves backline got over the advantage line with some slick moves from the ever green Exam Brown, before spinning it wide where the world’s toughest midget, Baz Nicholson, beat his opposite man and some strong cover defence to cross for the first try of the match.

Soon after the restart the Wolves begun using their defence as an offensive weapon, hitting the sluggish Hills backs hard and causing some real indecisiveness in their mid field that they never really recovered from all game. It was a familiar site all day to see the Hills forwards win their fare share of ball, only to give it away in the backs through what seemed to be genuine fear of getting bashed in the tough Wolves tackling. From one such fearful attempt the Hills #10 through a no look, no brains pass that was easily intercepted by “Camel” Joe Ngawini who raced away to dot down under the posts.

And the onslaught didn’t stop there. The Wolves haven’t played this well for a while and with the taste of blood fresh in their mouths they went after Hills again, pouring forward at every opportunity. The Wolves forwards were causing their Hills rivals no end of problems at line outs and ruck time and with ball in hand seemed like they would break through at any minute. Some very clever back up play saw Dylan Hodgson make a nice run off an inside ball from Karve “not a back for long” Ngata, getting the Wolves within 30 meters of the Hills line. The ball went centre field with Jade “the #1 of #1s’” Moses dragging several defenders with him before Todd “porn mo” Parsons sent the ball spinning across the backline with Richie “I’m more joe then joe” Ngawini finding plenty of space down the right hand touch line.

For those of you that are reading this report and were not lucky enough to see the ensuing run from Mr R. Ngawini it will be hard for any words to truly do justice to the incredible damage, the unlikely success, the bitter determination of the younger Ngawini’s effort. Although Richie was given the ball at speed and with a bit of time, anyone with an ounce of rugby knowledge would have suspected there was no way through for the big man. He still had his opposite number hard on his heels, he had the #13 and the fullback closing in on him in cover and was literally tip toeing down the side line.  On his inside he had a screaming Benjamin Davis, Michael Parker and Toddy “P.B” Parsons all calling for him to set the ball up and go again. But he didn’t listen. Instead he did what all proud Maoris do in such an unlikely position, he straightened his back, picked up his pace and ran into the defence with everything he had. And the defence buckled. Of the four defenders Richie encountered all four of them managed to get a shoulder on him but not one of them could knock him over, not one of them could even mange to knock him the inch sideways it would have taken to put him into touch. Instead Richard Ngawini bashed his way through, kept his feet and rounded around in the in goal to dot down under the posts and give the Wolves a handsome 18 point lead at half time.

The Wolves scoring rate slowed down in the second half, only managing one try to a talented, yet clearly over shadowed Joe Ngawin. That said Hills were never really in the match. The Wolves made plenty of mistakes in the second 40 but their lack off ball can be put down mainly to Hills ability to hold onto possession and the quality Hills kicking game. In fact the Wolves spent the majority of the half inside their 22.

Although it would be easy to say the Wolves made lots of errors and should have gotten themselves out of danger more efficiently, the Merrylands defence held up awesomely well. They managed to win several line outs and scrums against the feed and held Hills up over the line on three separate occasions. The Hills forwards were battered every time they tried to pick and drive their way over and the Hills backs were punished every time they tried to get through out wide. The only try of the day to Hills came from a scrum, where the blindside winger  chipped and chased and managed to get an excellent bounce and cross the line out wide.

All in all it was a spectacularly successful day for the Wolves. They got their 4-try bonus point, held Hills to a measly 10 points and most importantly did their pink jerseys, the Merrylands supporters and Mrs P proud………….Merrylands 28 – Hills 10



Merrylands vs Epping 14/4/2012

It has been an up and down start to the season for the Merrylands Rugby Committee, the coaches and the players. Early rumours had the Subbies putting together a strong division 4-3 team competition. 3 teams has always been a good, natural number for the Wolves so hopes where up for another great year. But as the pre-season wore on and other clubs begun to get more honest evaluations of their player numbers, it became evident the 3 team competition would not have enough clubs to run in the 2012 season.

This left the Merrylands Committee with a tough decision. Merrylands could either drop to a 2 team competition or go up to a 4 team competition.

A 2 team comp would mean the Wolves would have plenty of players and field very strong sides. But it would also mean week to week there would be many players that either didn’t get a run or only got 10 minutes. The obvious problem with this is that those players would likely drift away and when the 2013 season comes around, Merrylands may well struggle to field even 2 teams.

Choosing to go up to a  4 team competition would solve the problem of players not getting a run but may well go too far the other way, with some players playing 2 or 3 games in a day. History has shown us this quickly leads to burn out and bad moral.

Merrylands has never been the sort of club to turn fellas that want to play rugby away. Regardless of a players age or ability if you come to the Wolves and you want to play then we’ll get you a jersey. It was for this reason that the Committee opted to go up to division 3 and try to field 4 teams every Saturday.

4th Grade

And so the first Saturday of the 2012 season saw the Wolves taking on Epping at home. It shaped as a good test of our playing stock as Epping have been in division 3 or higher for over 10 years. 4th grade, coached by Mr Reliable Ted Timoti, fielded a young and inexperienced yet pretty talented side. There were a few old faces like Tanga “I’m retired” Wakeford, Jason “fullballs” Fullwood, Jerry “half-back” Keen and Paul “I can only count to 9” Burgen but the bulk of the side was made up of young new faces. See today’s 4th grade match was the playing debut of the Merrylands Minstrel, the long lost half brother of Benjamin and Ethan Davis……teh one, the only Keenan Davis! Keenan has been in training for this day for almost 5 years and yet was still nervous so he brought along 8 or so of his relatives to play with him!

Keenan’s relatives made up the bulk of the back line and despite all being league players caused Epping constant trouble with only Epping’s astute kicking keeping them in the game. Epping were the first to score, catching the inexperienced Wolves back line short out wide. Some wise words in the in goal from Captain Jerry saw the Wolves revert to a more comfortable game plan: keeping the ball in hand and running every chance they got. The slower Epping backs were no match for their Wolves opponents as Merrylands cut through time and again before finally scoring two 5 pointers only a few minutes short of half time.

The second half saw Merrylands continue to create scoring chances but their lack of training and familiarity with one another saw them fail to push any further ahead. In the end it wasn’t to cost them as Epping could only manage a solitary penalty gaol in the second half, giving the Wolves a close, but encouraging first up win……..Merrylands 10 – Epping 8

3rd Grade

As was mentioned earlier in this report, the Wolves have found themselves needing to field more teams then would be naturally comfortable for them. With this in mind the Committee has been on a recruitment drive to try and add the 20 or so players need to take care of our obligations. Late last week, when the numbers situation seemed a little hopeless, an ex-player, Tongan Tony, called President Milner to ask if he could bring a few lads down to play in the lower grades. On Saturday Tony showed up with more than 10 players and promised next week there would be more!

After some discussions between Tony, President Milner, Pete Macklin and Mr Excitement Benjamin Davis it was decided that Tony and his Tongan family would make up the bulk of our 3rd grade for the rest of the year with the rest of the Wolves making up any positions they were short of on Saturdays. While this arrangement would normally not suite the Merrylands ethos, this year it was like a gift from God.

It means the Wolves can basically function as a 3 team club. With the Tongan Wolves playing as our 3rds, rather than 4ths, it also means genuine 4th graders like Kenny Bladwell, Jason Fullwood and Usa Vulimabau can play in their appropriate grade and also means any players that are needed to back up from 4ths get a whole games rest before running out in 2nds.

As the Tongan Wolves had only a few days notice of the situation they went into today’s game a little rusty. While there defence was as rock solid as you would expect, restricting Epping to a couple of penalties and a try, the Tongan Wolves attack struggled for fluidity. Several times throughout the match Merrylands looked to have finally put it together only to miss the last pass or drop the ball with the line begging. Nothing a little practice won’t fix………….Merrylands 0 – Epping 11.

2nd Grade

Almost the entire second grade squad from last year has decided to go play for the Convicts this year. The likes of Mark and Jade Taivairanga, Tangi Aranga and Oska Ah-Wong all informed the Wolves committee that they felt Convicts Rugby Club understood their needs and desires more than Merrylands and that the after match celebrations down at the Convicts were more UP THEIR ALLEY.

So the second grade side that ran out on Saturday, despite a few recognisable faces, was a pretty raw outfit. Regular forwards like Harley Nicholson, Rua Kaitua and Beau Moses where joined by the new faces of Mark “Big Brother” Schofield and Leppi  Mautofu. The backline saw the resurrection of Max NgLam and Freddy Edwards as well new boys Drew Hammond, Al Heha and Fast Eddie.

Unfamiliarity was common in 3rd and 4th grade and was running rampant in 2nds as well. When you have a group of players that have played plenty of rugby but not a lot of rugby together, defence normally stands up alright but attack can really suffer. The Wolves 2nds managed to restrict Epping to only 16 points but struggled to really put them under much pressure with the ball in hand. Despite having plenty of attacking weapons and at least 50% of the ball the Wolves could only manage a solitary try.

Still there is much to hopeful about. There were several quality players missing like Luke Ansell, Dylan Hodgson and  George Grieg and with a little more training time under their belts this seconds squad could really do some damage…….Merrylands 5 – Epping 16

1st Grade

Merrylands, in so many ways, should have won today’s game. Truth be told they should have won comfortably. But alas the rugby gods were not smiling on the Wolves today.

New top grades coach Levi “Super Fli” Sciascia named a very solid team. The forward pack saw the run-on debut of two of Merrylands loudest and proudest front rowers. Jade Moses and A.J Tuara have been Merrylands Wolves for well over 5 years. Despite both having played plenty of 2nd grade and having subbed for the top grade on many occasions, neither Jade nor A.J had ever run on for firsts. They were joined in the front row by another debutant, English import Ryan Candy.

The backline also had some new faces in Ethan “Thermals are for Clubbing” Davis wearing number 12 and Lee Mautofu on the wing.

Merrylands have a very big, very powerful team, especially the forward pack, with 6 of the 8 starting forwards tipping the scales at or over 100kgs. When you have a team like this the game plan should be simple: Put the ball into the oppositions half, build pressure with strong set play and brutal defence, minimise mistakes and when you have the ball, bash the opposition. Unfortunately the Wolves couldn’t seem to pull all the elements together enough times to put Epping away.

Merrylands would do something special like win a scrum against the feed or force Epping into consecutive penalties, only to drop simple passes or stuff up lineout’s and gift the opposition territory and possession. All of Epping’s points come directly off Merrylands mistakes. Their first try came straight of a missed throw to the back of the line out only meters from the Wolves line. Why were Merrylands calling long throws this close to their own line?

Merrylands on the other hand got all their points from genuine pressure and positive backline play. Joe “I wanna play number 8” Ngawini and Exam Brown consistently found holes through the heart of the Epping defence while A.J Tuara and Bicks Hicks had Epping’s forwards on the back foot all day. Towards the end of the first half Merrylands were starting to make their superior power show when a small altercation between Bicks Hicks and the Epping number 9 blew into an all out brawl! Despite the ref admitting that he directly saw the Epping number 3 deal out the first blow, a headbut, he decided to yellow card two Wolves, Bicks and Briggs, and only one Epping player?

Even with this and other injustices Merrylands clearly only have themselves to blame for the loss. The Wolves had plenty of possession, where smashing Epping at scrum and lineout time and were finding ample space through their backs. What let the Wolves down was simple handling errors, poor kick-chase and a lack of cohesion in attack. Some of this can be put down to injuries with Lee Mautofu, Ethan Davis, Mathew Briggs and Jade Moses all failing to finish the match but in reality the Wolves should have cleaned this one up with ease.

Biggest churrs of the day should go to A.J Tuara and Jade Moses. Both confessed after the game to being riddled with nerves about playing firsts but both had outstanding games. A.J made plenty of meters with the ball and Jade made his presence felt in defence. Both combined with English Candy to tear apart Epping’s scrum. In fact the Wolves really should have been awarded a last minute victory because of their dominant scrum. With seconds on the clock the Wolves were awarded consecutive penalties 5 or so meters form the Epping try line. The Wolves forward pack easily shoved Epping’s over the try line twice, only to see Epping collapse the scrum before the ball could be touched down. Yet both times the referee decided that the scrum had been collapsed by both sides? Why a team chasing victory would push a scrum within inches of the line and then decide to collapse it is beyond any rational rugby fan…..Merrylands 17 – Epping 21


Taki Toa 10/3/2012

To everyone that is uneducated in the ways of this Sydney Maori tradition, the Taki Toa is an all day rugby, netball, food and cultural festival aimed at celebrating all things Maori.

The Wolves have entered a team in the rugby tournament for the last 5 or so years. The tournament basically involves 2 pools of 5 teams that all play each other once in 25 minute one period games. The top 3 teams from each pool then go into a finals series to determine who is the churrest gang of Maoris this side of the ditch……bitches.

Despite the fact the Wolves have been very successful in recent years in regular season rugby, their record at the Taki Toa has been pretty poor. Merrylands has never won it and anyone who has attended a Taki Toa the Wolves have played in will probably say we’ve never really even gone close. The Wolves tend to treat the tournament as a bit of fun and have been unable to match most other squad’s intensity.

And Taki Toa rugby is intense. As all the teams in the comp, including ours, are made up primarily of proud Maoris, a lot of guts and passion goes into every tackle, every run and especially every ruck and mall. There are very few missed tackles and no easy meters.

Add to this the fact Saturdays conditions were not really what most would call rugby friendly.  The sun was beaming all day and the recent spell of heavy rain meant the grounds we’re more swap like then rugby pitch.  Plus the sunshine meant that all the moisture in the pitch made the air at ground level feel like a sauna.

The tournament represented the first hit out for the Wolves new head coach, Levi Sciascia. Keen to make a good start, Levi fielded a strong side for their first clash of the day, against North Lakes (central coast). The team included a host of familiar Merrylands Maoris including Richie and Joe Ngwini, Arana Rissetto,  Jade and Beau Moses and Rua Kaitoa. Also rung in where Benjamin “I’m Maltese” Davis, Michael “I’m aussie” Parker and Nash “I’m confused” Steward.  The opening game also saw the Wolves debut several, very impressive new faces, including Leppi  and his brother.

But the most impressive display of the first hit out went to another debutant, the gigantic headed freak kid Ethan “Rooney” Davis. The Wolves had made plenty of threatening runs but with time almost up found themselves a penalty goal down on North Lakes. Some clean ruck ball saw the ever green Exam Brown feed a nice, flat ball to Joe Ngawini who ran into open field before finding Baz “Out Cold” Nicholson who beat a couple of defenders before being pulled up only a few meters short. The ensuing phases saw the ball go from one side of the field to the other before Richie “the other brother” Ngawini passed to a rampaging Ethanator Davis who brushed through two tacklers and carried a 3rd over the line to score the winning try.

The Wolves second game was against Rockdale, the tournament hosts. Merrylands have played Rockdale several times in the last few years and have never really been troubled by them. This game saw the Wolves pick up where they left off, with Joe Ngawini put into the clear by Exam brown and scoring a try in the first few minutes. The wolves then worked their way back down the pitch before being awarded a penalty right in front that Nash Steward gladly slotted to give the Wolves a 10 – nil lead.

More than enough Wolves turned up on the day and so in an effort to give as many folks a run as he could, Coach Sciascia made several changes with 10 minutes to go. Unfortunately the unfamiliarity led to some sloppy defence and before long Rockdale had struck back. The Wolves got the ball back off the kick off but once again the lack of cohesion saw the Wolves spill possession out wide, which the Rockdale backs cleaned up and raced away to dot down under the posts and hand the Wolves their first, and only, loss of the day.

Unfortunately for our old rivals Canterbury, they where the next team up for the Wolves and they felt the wrath of a Wolves line up keen to make up the lost ground. The Wolves forwards easily soaked up early pressure from Canterbury before using their lineout, and some great kicking from Exam Brown, to win possession and territory that saw the slick Wolves backs cut Canterbury open and score under the posts.

Straight off the kick off the Wolves where back into their opponents, controlling the ball and laying the pressure on thick. With time running out for Canterbury they decided to take some chances. But this only served to give Merrylands clean turn over ball which led to the Wolves scoring a scorching try down the left hand touch line and go back to the top of their pool.

The last game of the pool stages was a similar story to the Rockdale game. The Wolves were up against Maroubra and took control and a 2 try lead early against an outfit that was clearly short of practice. Once again though personnel changes saw the Wolves surrender the ball inside their own half several times before conceding a couple of tries to a now fired up group of Bra Boys. This time though Super Coach Sciascia sensed the danger and made some key changes at the right moment, sending Exam Brown, Benjamin Davis, Jade Moses and Ethan “Shrek” Davis back into the match.

Maroubra got the ball back off the kick off but the Wolves managed to draw a couple of penalties out of them and win a lineout some 25 meters from the Bra line. The Wolves forwards won the lineout clean and rolled the ensuing mall some 20 meters before Max “FREEDOM” NgLam whipped out his trademark side step and beat several defenders to cross the line and put the Wolves into the finals on top of their pool.

The Wolves were far and away the smallest side in the tournament. The first finals game for the Wolves was up against the biggest side in the tournament, the monster Te Moana Nui Kiwa . This side was basically made up of a group of (very well fed) Maori mates, brothers and cousins from around the eastern suburbs. All though Merrylands had had an hours rest while Te Moana Nui Kiwa had only 15 minutes, Te Moana Nui Kiwa made a far faster start. They controlled possession, dominated scrum time and punished the Wolves in defence. Despite all this the Wolves line, though bent several times, didn’t break and Te Moana Nui Kiwa was forced to opt for a penalty goal.

With less than 10 minutes to go the Wolves started playing smart. The Wolves lineout was destroying their oppositions and so master 5/8, Exam Brown, started kicking long into the muddy Te Moana Nui Kiwa 22, forcing them on several occasions to make risky plays to avoid being caught close to  their line. On one such occasion their half back was forced to make a rushed kick for touch and from the easy lineout win the Wolves poured on the pressure. Rampaging Roy Chapman-Barber almost scored from a “chip and chase” and the Wolves forwards had a driving mall held up inches short. From that close call though came the killer blow. Once again Exam Browns silky handling put Joe Ngwini into a few meters of space which was just enough for the incredible hulk to force his way over the line and put the Wolves into the G.F!!!!!!

In the final the Wolves came up against 3 time and reigning champions Rouse Hill. During the day a stiff breeze had been steadily building and with the games only being 25 minutes long with no change of end, winning the toss was vital. Big Frank Waiomio, in his farewell game before moving to Pakistan to train with Al Qaeda, was handed the captaincy as the most senior playing Maori and was asked simply to win the toss……but failed. This meant the Wolves would have to run into a stiff breeze against a 5/8 they are familiar with and know is a brilliant kicker.

Levi Sciascia gave his troops a simple yet difficult game plan; control the ball as long as you can. Difficult as it was in the terrible, muddy conditions, the Wolves executed the game plan to almost perfection. In fact the final was probably the Wolves best performance of the whole day. They suckered Rouse Hill into penalty after penalty, kicking to the corners and assuredly winning their own lineout ball time and time again. Roy Chapman-Barber, Michael Parker and Benjamin “I would have won the toss easy” Davis were especially productive in the forwards while Nash Steward, Max NgLam and Richie Ngawini threatened Rouse Hill without giving away possession.

With only a few minutes left Rouse Hill inevitably got a few lucky calls and the final moments saw Merrylands defending their line against wave after wave of Rouse Hill attack. But the harder they came, the stronger the Wolves stood. In the end Rouse Hill threw just about every player they had into an absolute monster ruck that was piled 3 or 4 men high, mere millimetres from the Wolves line but nothing would deny Levi, all the Wolves players and the 50 or so supporters perched on the hill, their first Taki Toa title.

Big thanks go out to all the supporters that stuck around the whole day, plus all the players that turned up ready to play but perhaps didn’t get as much game time as they would have hoped. Also big churrs to all the players that played every game including Benjamin and Ethan Davis, Joe and Richie Ngawini, Exam and Conrad Brown, AJ Tuara, Jerry Keen, Michael Parker and Luke Schofield (who by the way doesn’t really care if the Wolves won or not)

An awesome day was had by all and Levi Sciascia and Kylie can hold their heads high…… they are the leaders of the bestest Maori rugby players in Sydney.


Grand Finals 13/8/2011

3rd Grade Merrylands vs St George

Today represents the 6th year in a row the mighty Merrylands 3rd Grade has made the G.F and if they are successful it will be their 4th premiership in a row. Despite going down to St George in the major semi most punters probably had Merrylands as favourites. The Wolves blew several chances in the major semi and with an improved team taking the pitch it really was Merrylands title to lose.

The first period saw the Wolves take up residence inside the Saints half, enjoying plenty of possession and territory. Despite boasting a backline with names like Liam “ring-in” Parsons, Andrew Lima, Richie Ngawini, Ex “drop myself” Brown and Usa Vulimaibau, the Wolves couldn’t seem to put points on the board. Plenty of chances went begging as final passes found grass instead of hands, tight forwards got in the way or the Saints defence simply held strong. Although the Merrylands fans where nervous at half time Super Coach Ngawini knew more powerful running from forwards like Jason Ise and Anthony “X-Box” Tuara and a little patience would see the Wolves take the lead they deserved.

A few changes were made after the break with Tama Bush taking up a place on the side of the scrum and Tama “Can’t Wait a Minute” Territo giving A.J Tuara a break. The second half saw St George get their hands on the ball a little more often but still failed to put the Wolves under any real pressure. There was one point where some poor tackling saw the Saints get a clear look at the line but Andrew Lima and Greg “Hefner” Benson produced some champagne cover defence to keep the ledger even.

U.S.A U.S.A U.S.A………..with time running low and many Wolves supporters fearing a repeat of the semi final, the Wolves found some space up the middle of the park after a good run by Jayson Waters. Some fancy foot work and nice hands by Andrew Lima put Greg Benson out in the clear with only 1 defender in front of him and 2 Wolves next to him in support. Greg threw a nicely timed, lofted pass to the one and only Usa Vulimaibau who, with a smile as big as the harbour bridge, raced over in the corner, narrowly avoiding going out and FIRMLY PLANTING the ball to give the Wolves the lead at the most crucial time. An amazing side line conversion from Andrew Lima gave the Wolves a crucial 7 point buffer that they easily carried to full time and another 3rd grade title!

Special mention today goes to A.J Tuara who headed some desperate calls from Wolves management to bolster the front row stocks for the day. Also big ups to Jerry “The New Cole Newman” Keen. At the start of the season Jerry made a decision that he wouldn’t stand in the way of some of the younger hookers like Harley Nicholson and Kaitoa “missing in action” William and so dropped himself to 3rd grade. As fate would have it, half way through the season Merrylands hooking stocks had depleted massively and 1st grade coach Kelly Phillips asked Jerry to come back to the top side. In a herculean like effort, that belies his tiny stature, Jerry guaranteed he would still captain 3rds but would also give everything he had to first grade.

An apology needs to go to James Macklin and Jake Eldering who didn’t get much time on the field on grand final day. Grand finals are always a challenge for coaches when it comes to giving everyone a run. The supporters and players want victory but as a coach you want to be good to the guys that have been there for you all season. It can be an impossible juggle that in the end requires a smart coach and team focused players to make sure no one goes home angry. All of the involved players understood the situation and where happy to let Coach Ngawini do what he thought was best………..Merrylands 7 – St George 0

2nd Grade Merrylands vs Brothers

It is difficult to know exactly what went wrong today for the Wolves 2’s. Their regular powerful line up took the field, they had a good training session on Thursday and after hammering Brothers in the major semi it seemed like this game was a mere formality. But sometimes the confidence that goes with knowing you have hammered your opposition can manifest itself in negative ways.

The Wolves didn’t play badly but never really found their rhythm until very late in the match. They would produce an excellent piece of counter attack or a strong forward surge but would be thwarted through poor refereeing or bad decision making at crucial moments. Brothers on the other hand just kept getting lucky. Two of their tries came from freakish bounces off long kicks and one try came from an intercept that look distended to be a Merrylands 5 pointer.

The Wolves kept trying, refusing to kick back possession and attacking every chance they got but alas the harder they tried the further away success seemed to get. The closing 10 minutes saw the Wolves finally start racking up points but it all came too late as the proud Wolves 2’s suffered an undeserved grand final loss. The boys seemed to take it in their stride as they kept their heads held high and reminded everyone this was the first G.F this playing group has lost in 3 years.

Big ups to Marc T who took control of the Merrylands 2nds mid season after several other coaches pulled out. He got the boys on track when things seemed to be going way wood and all of Merrylands management would like to thank him for his stellar effort…..Merrylands 20 – Brothers 29

1st Grade Merrylands vs Brothers

Anyone involved with the Wolves this season, indeed anyone involved with Sydney Subbies rugby this season, would have heard the rumours. Year after year of watching their rugby teams get battered, bruised and bashed into loss after inglorious loss has forced the Brothers management to throw all morals, spirit and decency out the window and try to buy a premiership. Although the exact amounts may never be known, as both Brothers players and Brothers management are justifiably too  embarrassed to tell anyone, it has come from reliable sources that the total figure payed to players is well in excess of $500 000!!!!!

All though plenty of well educated, intelligent and worldly people have tried, finding words within the English language to truly convey the shot sightedness, the ignorance, the gutlessness and above all the utter stupidity of paying players that kind of money has proved impossible. The fact remains if you can’t come up with the cash year after year to keep those mercenaries, whom have no affiliation with the club, then they will simply go and crawl back under the rock they came out from.

The Wolves 1sts have faced Brothers 4 times before this Grand Final. The closest Merrylands has got was a 41 – 27 point loss. The worst it got was a 56 to nil hammering. It’s pretty safe to say that no one outside of the 1st grade squad really gave the Wolves much hope. Some folks were just hoping it didn’t get embarrassing. Within the playing group and from Coach Phillips, the opinion was much different.  The semi final loss Merrylands suffered to Brothers looked bad on paper, 29 to 10, but in reality the Wolves 1’s knew Brothers never cut them up and only scored tries off continued poor discipline and some even worse refereeing. The Wolves felt if they could turn up the mongrel level, get a fair ref and keep their own discipline in check they would be right in there with a chance.

The first half saw the Wolves defending almost constantly. Good kicking from Brothers kept the Wolves pinned back but they refused to drop their heads. The entire Wolves forward pack was keen as mustard to bury their shoulders, knees, fists and heads into any Brothers forwards game enough to come near a ruck while the Wolves backs tried their best to use whatever ball they could get, attacking from within their 22 on several different occasions. At one point Mr Excitment battered a touch finder from a penalty back infield that was scooped up in the Wolves in goal by Baz Nicholson. The ball was shifted through 3 sets of hands under enormous pressure inside the in-goal before Nash Steward found open space and was dragged down near the half way.  Their continued monster defensive effort saw Brothers go to the break with a mere 14 point lead.

The second half was a bit of a reverse of the first. The Wolves got a little more honesty from the ref and a better supply of set play ball while the pressure of the situation seemed to stun the Brothers forwards who stopped really giving their backs any momentum. Midway through the second half Nash Steward fielded a poor clearing kick and after some jinking and swerving sent Baz Nicholson into open territory. Baz then saw off some lazy attempts by Brothers forwards and carried the ball within 10 meters of the try line. From the ensuing ruck the Wolves ran a couple of forward charges before Todd “Schoi” Parsons threw an awesome flat ball to a flying Joe “Dove Body Wash is My Choice” Ngawini who carried several defenders over the line to open the scoring for the Wolves.

Merrylands threw absolutely everything at Brothers for what was left of the game and came close on several occasions. Joe Ngawini gave a short ball to Jade “I’m Arnie, Marc is Danny Devito” Taivairanga that he probably should have ran himself while Jade Taivairanga was desperately unlucky to lose possession attempting an off load that surely would have seen Levi Sciascia crash over. Some frankly poor reffing also played its part but with the Wolves hard on attack 10 meters from the Brothers line a slight knock on saw the reff check his watch and call time on what was an amazing effort from the entire Wolves community.

It rings of an overused cliché but in a year where Merrylands lost a major sponsor, had no pub to use as a base for bonding or fundraising and suffered the heart breaking loss of a truly massive figure within the club it was an awesome effort that all 3 grades made the big one. It’s an even more amazing effort that a bunch of jokers that play the game simply for the joy and friendship of it could come so close to beating a half million dollar team……Merrylands 7 – Brothers 14


3rd Grade Semi Final 6/8/2011

Merrylands vs Convicts

Although you could mount an argument that the Merrylands weekly game reviews often paint the Wolves as the underdog, only to then go on to tell of another powerful performance resulting in another victory, it would be hard to argue that the Wolves 3’s entered this match as favourites. In fact even the most one eyed Wolves fan would probably have told you a win today was unlikely. Merrylands 3rd grade have faced the Convicts 3 times during the year and although some of those matches saw plenty of 1st and 2nd graders pitching in on field, Merrylands where yet to register a win. In fact the Wolves failed to ever really get close. The best the Wolves could muster was a 21 – 7 loss.

With 2nd grade winning last week and there for moving straight to the G.F, there would also be the added challenge of not being able to call on second and first graders to STIFFEN UP the team. Despite this the team that ran out was quite strong, featuring Richie Ngawini, the Chapman-Barber brothers, Kenny “No Mistakes” Bladwell, Jase Ise, Andrew Lima, Kris Gemmel and Jerry Keen.

Unfortunately for the Wolves the first 15 minutes went according to predictions. The Wolves forwards where unable to wrestle possession from a talented and determined Convicts pack and were SUCKED into giving away some cheap penalties that saw the Convicts get clean lineout ball less than 10 meters form the Wolves line. Although the entire Wolves backline are very able TACKLErs, when defending that close to the line communication and trust is essential. The problem for the Wolves 3’s is that they were playing a well DRILLED, well disciplined team that doesn’t suffer the week to week FLUCTUATIONs in playing staff that a regular 3rd grade, like the Merrylands 3rd grade unit, does. As a result most of the Wolves inside backs are a little unfamiliar with one another while the Convicts backs PLAY WITH ONE ANOTHER every week. A fact that was made painfully clear as the Convicts outside centre received quick, flat ball from his #10, threw a couple of dummies and drifted through the Merrylands defence and dotted down under the posts. All the Wolves backs could do was look at one another and wounder who should have TACKLEd him.

Super Coach, Cool Head Ngawini, had thought pre-match that his scrum would probably be a week point during this game. The Convicts scrum had DOMINATED the Wolves pack in every other game they had played. With the early running going against them, the Wolves where in need of some heroes and so it was a shock to most watching that the saviours of the first half would be the two Wolf props, Dean “the Last Gammidge Standing” Gammidge and Tama “Man of the Match” Territo. Nerves were having an effect on both teams but the Wolves were able to win more possession through there scrum rolling over the Convicts front row at every re-start. So much so that the Wolves managed to disrupt their scrum base service,  win 2 tight heads and give their new strike number 8, Jase Ise, a solid platform to make meters of the back of every scrum.

The Wolves went to the break feeling a little lucky to only be 7 points down. After the interval though, things went a little better for Merrylands. Once again the legendary Ngawini strategic and ORAL ABILITY had a stunning effect as a few changes were made and the Wolves came out firing. The Wolves back three of Tanga “back for the semis” Wakeford, Greg “The Swordsmen” Benson and Albi Chapman-Barber playing well, returning kicks with interest and forcing the Convicts back into their own half. Finals series often come down to a bit of luck and the Wolves got the lucky break they needed early in the second half with a period of sustained pressure seeing the Convicts give away repeated penalties and the Wolves taking up residence INSIDE THE CONVICTS twenty two. An impressive, clinical PASSAGE of play close to the Convicts line, saw the Wolves take some clean line out ball, punch a couple of runners up off the ruck then fling quick, clean ball from the biggest half back on the park, Jayson Waters, to a fast moving Richie Ngawini who palmed and stepped his way over the line and between the posts. Embarrassingly though Andrew Lima missed the shot from right in front.

The mood on the sideline and within the Wolves squad lifted any way and even more personnel changes saw the Wolves take FIRM control of the match. Once again solid, smart play from the Wolves back three and powerful running and TACKLing from the Wolves forwards gave Merrylands plenty of territory which resulted in the Convicts caving into pressure and giving away penalty after penalty. Truth be told a few of the Convict forwards should have been yellow carded but it didn’t really matter as the Wolves took the chances they needed, slotting a penalty ten minutes from the end that saw them take a slender one point lead.

Although there were a couple of nervy moments the Wolves closed out the game quite well. Coach Ngawini used his bench to far greater effect then his Convicts counterpart with all of his subs making a positive IMPACT. Most notably was Tama Bush, who won plenty of lineout ball and ran some fantastic lines out wide off Andrew “spray boot” Lima, putting the Wolves on the front foot and giving Richie “my brother doesn’t coach me” Ngawini plenty of time at 5/8 to make the right decisions.

The biggest pats on the back though need to go to props Tama Territo and Dean Gammidge. Both have had UP AND DOWN years as far as scrummaging is concerned but have always been there when the Wolves needed them to play extra games.  They could not have picked a better time to play their best games of the year, destroying the Convicts normally solid scrum and giving their backline and number 8 all the front foot and time needed to grind out this type of semi final, gutsy win…..Merrylands 8 – Convicts 7.

1st Grade Merrylands vs Macquarie University

Merrylands have been playing Mac Uni for a very long time and have quite a healthy rivalry with one another. That said most honest Mac Uni supporters will tell you Merrylands have probably been on the better side of the score board the majority of times these two teams have faced off. In fact this season has seen the two teams meet twice with Merrylands victorious on both occasions. The first game was a bit of a belting with Merrylands winning by 59 points while the second game was a little close with the score board reading 19 – 10 in the Wolves favour at full time.

All that said it was never going to be an easy match. Mac Uni are a lot younger and probably a lot fitter then the Wolves and with their first grade being their only side left in the semis they had plenty of players to choose from. Plus it was difficult for the Wolves not to look forward to another battle with Brothers on grand final day. At training during the week Kelly “My Knees are as stuffed as the New Zealand Economy” Phillips tried repeatedly to stop the boys talking about how to beat Brothers and to get the 1st XV to concentrate on Mac Uni but to no real success.

And it showed in the opening minutes with Mac Uni catching Merrylands runners isolated on several occasions and using the territory gained from the subsequent penalties to slot an early 3 pointer. The Wolves then failed to learn from their mistakes. Giving away more holding penalties before the pressure finally told with Mac Uni scoring off a clever cross field kick straight from a penalty tap.

The sting on the score board though managed to finally sting the Wolves into action. Baz Nicholson fielded a Mac Uni clearing kick on the full before gathering up a full head of steam and slicing through the Uni defence. The resulting chaos saw the Uni boys give away a penalty directly in front and the Wolves where finally on the board.

The Wolves then managed to control possession for an extended period and found themselves surging into Uni territory. From a series of rucks inside the Uni 22 Todd “The Littlest Schofield” Parsons got a long flat ball away to Joe Ngawini who sucked in several defenders before off loading to Mark Taivairanga who was playing in his first run on game for 1st grade this year. A little over awed by the occasion and openly afraid of the approaching Uni defence, Marc T then cried out desperately for someone, a hero to come to his aid, to rescue him from certain pain and failure and the indignation of an entire rugby club. Luckily for him a true leader was close at hand as Benjamin “a try in every grade this year so shut up” Davis swooped in, tenderly took the ball from Marc T’s trembling hands and then exploded into the clear, crossing the line untouched and sliding in to put the Wolves within 3 points of their rivals. Another Merrylands penalty goal before the break saw the scores locked at 13 all at half time.

Soon after the break though, the Wolves turned in a vintage period of play. Pete Whijohnfgjkgilgi was running rampant from the back of rucks and Bick Hicks was up to his usual Fijian antics putting the re-worked Merrylands backline on the front foot. The resulting quality ball saw Luke “super thin” Ansell and Joe “It’s the Body Lotion” Ngawini make good yards out wide before one telling break from Nash Steward put the Wolves meters from the line and the Mac Uni defence in tatters. From a mere 5 meters out Marc Taivairanga received perfect service from the ruck base, picked out the smallest bloke in the Mac Uni team and selfishly bullied his way over the line right next to the posts.

The game then swung back Uni’s way. The Wolves scrum was dominating their counterparts but the Ref insisted it was Levi “I’m really a number 8” Sciascia and Bick “so am I” Hicks job to look after their less able rival props. As such the Wolves where unfairly penalised on two subsequent occasions and found themselves defending a lineout from only 5 meters out. As any educated rugby watcher will tell you a well executed line out drive from 5 meters out can be almost impossible to stop and so it was Mac Uni crossed for their second try Merrylands found themselves only 3 points in front and a little nervous.

The Wolves handled the set back well and where soon marching down field and helping themselves to plenty of easy meters up the middle of the park. Today’s run on team saw a slight change to normal settings with Luke Ansell moving to number 12 and Marc T playing 5/8. The new alignment bore it first fruit with 10 minutes to go. Clean scrum ball saw Marc T hit Joe Ngawini with a clean cut out ball and a looping pass form the Uglier Ngawini gave Baz Nicholson a good look at the line and the Worlds Toughest midget made no mistake, sliding in out wide and giving the Wolves an 8 point lead. A further penalty to Nash Steward not long before full time saw the Wolves cruise to what in the end was a comfortable 11 point victory.

The biggest cheers of the day should go to Bick Hicks and Levi Sciascia. With the likes of Mike “Smash Box” Smith, Rua “I don’t wanna be mean” Katuia and Frank “chur” Waionio deciding other things are more important than rugby (like what?) the club found themselves midyear with no obvious first grade props. Bicks and Levi accepted the challenge handed to them by Captain Ben and Coach Kelly and today showed how far they have come, dominating their opposite numbers and giving the Wolves backs plenty of time to attack. A big thanks needs to go to Marc T who stepped in to fill the injured boots of Kelly Phillips and directed the team around well and Arana Rissetto who on his 30th birthday played the unfamiliar roll of number 8 with plenty of skill. Also thank you to Roy Chapman-Barber who for the last few weeks has helped the Wolves 1st grade out on several occasions, playing centres, wing, flanker and number 8.


2011 Major Semi Finals 30/7/2011

3rd Grade Merrylands vs St George

Other than a direct spot in the G.F there was a fair amount riding on today’s game. The winner would get a week off (always welcome to the aging bones of most 3rd graders) and the looser would face a tough game against the title favourites, the Convicts.

So it was a little disappointing that some players within the Merrylands fraternity decided that consistency and pre-game preparation are not important. Todd Parsons, Oska Ah-Wong and James Macklin need to take their heads for a s@#t. On top of these 3 douche bags forcing the bus to leave half an hour after the scheduled time,  several other normally reliable players turned up very very late indeed. This had a direct effect as the opening exchanges went the Saints way with their forwards getting on a roll right off the kick off, pushing deep into Merrylands territory. The slightly disorganised Wolves then allowed the Saints too much room out wide and St George crossed for the first 5 pointer of the game.

The Wolves gave themselves a solid talking to then responded in brutal fashion. Kenny Bladwell and Kris Gemmel teamed up to effect a turn over only moments after the restart with big Tama Territo charging forward to get Merrylands on the front foot. Jayson Waters then fed his backline with Richie Ngawini cutting through off a great ball from new 5/8 Andrew Lima. Tanga “If the misses asks I didn’t play” Wakeford than linked up with the little Ngawini to dot down under the posts and put Merrylands ahead mere minutes after going behind.

The quick strike seemed to sting St George and they struggled for the rest of the half to get into Merrylands territory. The Wolves back 3 of Jake “I love Jager” Eldering, Greg “Tiger Woods of Rugby” Benson and Mr Wakeford had an awesome first half returning some way wood St George kicking with real venom. Jake Eldering made one very impressive run. He scooped up the ball after a decent St George clearing kick and turned to see 4 Saints defenders right on him. With no one in support and no time to get a kick away Jake tucked the ball under his arm, dropped the first defender  like he was a pair of extra short Convicts rugby shorts on mardi gra night, brushed the next two off like mosquitoes and carried the fourth 10 or so meters until help arrived.  At only 17 and in his first year of rugby, if Jake can curb his terrible Jagermister habit he could turn into a very good player.

Most educated Merrylands fans will tell you games against St George and their like normally go a certain way. Their big boys will go with you for 80% of the game, but if you keep pressure on them and don’t give away too many penalties they will fade at the back end of the contest and you should be able to run away with the match. Deep into the second half all was going according to script. The Wolves bench players had belatedly turned up and the appropriate changes to playing personnel had been made to ensure Merrylands kept up the high tempo that saw the Saints slowly fading.  Merrylands were given a scrum only 10 meters from the Saints line and it looked for all money like the Wolves would cross for their second try and put the dying Saints 3rds to bed. But alas over eagerness at the scrum saw the Wolves give away a penalty for early pushing. The Saints took a quick tap and before the Wolves knew it they were standing behind their own goal posts again franticly trying to figure a way back into the contest.

All though the final few minutes saw the Wolves desperately throw everything at the Saints, time ran out for them and the Wolves where left to contemplate a game they truly should have won and another match up with the Convicts next week for a second shot at the G.F. A big shout out goes to Josh Manning. Midway through the second half Mr Manning got sandwiched between two rather large, rather fast running Saints forwards and didn’t get up. Josh reported tweaking his back and hearing a crack on impact. The onsite medical team than stretchered Josh off the field and he was quickly taken to hospital. He was discharged after several tests showed no long term damage and should be at training on Tuesday!!!………. Merrylands 10 – St George 15

2nd Grade Merrylands vs Brothers

After a shaky start to the season that involved several coaching changes and a sudden loss of several important personnel including A.J Tuara and Jade Moses, Marc Taivairanga took up the coaching and 5/8 roll for second grade and the team has never looked back. And although there was some late season player disappearances this competition really does seem like it is there Wolves two’s to take.

The two teams contesting today’s major semi are polar opposites. Brothers are a well drilled, well disciplined, well trained unit that tries to strangle teams out of matches. Merrylands on the other hand are very spontaneous and very aggressive and look to blow teams off the paddock.

The Wolves got off to a ripper start with Mathew Briggs, Harley Nicholson and Bicks Hicks rolling over their Brother counter parts. With the pack going forward at warp speed it was never going to take long for the likes of Marc T and Star to find holes in the Brothers defence and after only 5 minutes the Wolves, through Chris Magle, crossed for their first try of the match.

All though Brothers never really threatened the Wolves line, the Wolves failed time and time again, in the first half, to really put space between them and their opponents. Much of the blame for this must lie at the feet of Marc Taivairanga. His forward pack was going forward consistently, especially number 8 Nathan Smith, and his backline was looking sharp and ready with Oska Ah-Wong and Alex Seni carving up. But unfortunately Marc, playing at 5/8, was unable to provide the link his team needed. There is talk Marc is too old and some even suggest years of excess alcohol consumption, too much pornography viewing and a few too many visits to uncle Ronald McDonald have finally caught up with the less skilful of the Taivairanga brothers.

Despite this the Wolves combined there over whelming skills with a few lucky breaks and 10 minutes into the second half crossed for their second try. Mathew Briggs, playing the unfamiliar second row roll, slotted the extra two points and from there Brothers simply caved in. The weight of aggression and pressure was too much for the Roseville based club and the Wolves run rampant late in the second half, crossing for 3 more tries and finishing the game well in front and earning themselves a week off before the big one….. Merrylands 28 – Brother 0

1st Grade Merrylands vs Brothers

Brothers went in to today’s game as clear favourites. In the previous 4 encounters between these two teams this year Brothers had come out on top every time. At the last meeting Merrylands failed to register a single point while Brothers managed to…..well they got a lot.

Despite this no one in the Merrylands 1st grade squad was in a mood to give up. At training during the week the Wolves had decided there best hope lay in upsetting Brothers rhythm. To get in there faces, be aggressive, even violent, whatever it took to try and stop Brothers settling into business as usual. And in the early stages it had the desired effect. Straight off the kick off Merrylands were all over Brothers hassling at the break down and hitting hard in defence. In a hurry to ease the pressure the Brothers 5/8 put in a below average kick that was fielded on the full by Nash Steward. Nash chipped over the advancing Brothers defence line and found open territory. The Brothers fullback then made a complete hash of cleaning up the kick and with his forwards struggling to get back in time Brothers gave away an off side penalty right in front that Nash Steward easily slotted to give Merrylands an early lead.

With their tails up the Wolves where bashing Brothers at every chance they got. At one particular ruck early in the first half almost the entire Merrylands squad flew into a pile up that had gotten a little heated, showing all the Merrylands fans that the Wolves 1’s where here to party and where never going to roll over and play dead.

Unfortunately for the Wolves a combination of terrible refereeing and poor discipline conspired against them and at the half time interval the wolves where 14 points down. After the break the Wolves suffered a bad set back, losing inside centre and Coach Kelly Philips to what seemed a pretty heavy knee injury. The backline reshuffle saw Roy Chapman-Barber come onto the wing with Joe Ngawini moving into the centres. It had no ill effect though as the Wolves kept Brothers scoreless for the first 20 minutes of the second half despite the ref doing everything he could to ensure all the cash Brothers have invested into trying to take Merrylands title away didn’t go to waste. In fact the two Brothers tries that did come toward the end of the match where a direct result of Merrylands poor discipline rather than any real defensive frailties. The Wolves kept coming at the Brothers all day and where finally rewarded with the last play of the game. Joe Ngawini had begun to find his form and some room in midfield and cut a gap through the Brothers defence with Kave Ngata in support. Kave made a good 50 meters before being caught but managed to off loads to Nash Steward who in turn found Todd Parsons who strolled over under the posts untouched and with support to spare in the form of Benjamin Davis on his inside.

All though it has been said a few times without really becoming a reality, the Wolves learned a lot from this encounter. If the Wolves can manage to beat Mac Uni next week they now have a game plan they believe can beat Brothers. If the Wolves can tighten up their line out and improve their discipline but continue to play aggressive, violent, mongrel like rugby the G.F could very well see the Wolves raise their 3 title in 4 years…………. Merrylands 10 – Brother 29


Merrylands vs Brothers 16/7/2011

3rd Grade

The last time these two squads faced each other the result was a bit of a hoax. Roseville (Brothers home) to Merrylands is one of the longest road trips in the current comp and as such the Brothers lower grade teams that showed up where a little depleted.

This time around with the roles reversed and the Wolves travelling up to Roseville, it would be Merrylands that would have scarcity of players. The team that coach Ngwini and captain Kenny B sent out was laced with talent that is more suited to higher honours. Baz Nichols, Jerry Keen and Roy and Albi Chapman-Barber all pulled on the 3rd’s jersey. Even the Incredible Hulk himself, Super Coach Joe Ngawini, slotted into 5/8th.

Even so Brothers 3rd grade are very similar to the Wolves 3rds from the early 2000’s. Players like Barry Brown, Moku, Pete Bladwell and Steve Beddingfield may have looked a few years past their prime but they had an awesome knack of getting hold of the ball and never letting it go, straggling teams into disciplinary errors and ridding the ref up the field. This Brothers team seems to have a similar ability.

The early exchanges, in fact almost the entire first half, was a ding dong affair with each team gaining momentum then loosing it then getting it back again but never really pushing forward on the score board. It was the Wolves though that managed to strike first. Merrylands was in good territory, inside Brothers 22, and had maintained possession for several minutes. A perfectly executed line out saw the ball sail across the Merrylands back line with Roy Chapman-Barber carrying the ball into contact inches from the line. The ensuing quick ruck ball saw the young rookie, Jake “the New Jerry” Eldering pushing over for the first try of his promising Merrylands career.

The second half saw Merrylands slightly fade yet Brothers could only manage a penalty goal in response to Mr Elderings first half effort. The Wolves rallied and showed there true fighting spirit to close out the match.  With a sizeable crowd, the referee and the poor ground conditions against them, the Wolves held their nerve in the dying stages to control possession and send Albi Chapman-Barber over for their second try that effectively killed off the match. Big ups go out to Mr Chapman, Roy and Albi’s farther, for making an appearance on the wing in the first half. Also big churs to Tanga “I play tag” Wakeford who’s had more come backs then Johnny Fahrnem….. Merrylands 12 – Brothers 3

2nd Grade

Mid way through this season the Wolves where forced, for different reasons by different parties, to swap match venues with several clubs. At the time this seemed like a blessing with Merrylands enjoying 5 straight home games and off the back of this a massive swelling of player numbers. But like any methadone swallowing, needle jabbing, pill popping, bong sucking, joint toking, soft drink swilling junky low life will tell you the bigger the artificial high, the bigger the come down. Four straight away games, coupled with the loss of several players from several key positions, most notably Frank Waiomio, Conrad and Ex brown, have seen the Wolves playing roster shrink worryingly.

There have been some awful rumours floating around about Kelly Phillips. It’s been speculated the Merrylands Director of Coaching has been taking time off his Wolves duties to prepare himself for what has been his dream since he was a wee boy, running around the streets of down town Waykickamoocow in his superman undies playing rugby with his best friend the Teddy Bear….. selection in the New Zealand Convicts!!!!

Whether or not this very believable, completely feasible story is true or not, Kelly Phillips was unable to attend today’s games. The stand in player manager, Benjamin “Not Son of Jingles” Davis, did his very best to put out a competitive second grade side with what he had available without sacrificing too much “freshness” for the upcoming first grade fixture. Todd Parsons, Pete Whigonhjoniyuigy, Jerry Keen, Benjamin Davis, Luke Ansell and Baz Nichols all regular first graders, all forced to take the field for the two’s. The Wolves had all the early running but due to rustiness and fatigue couldn’t turn the pressure into points. A good steal and run by Tangi Aranga and an ify off load to a rampaging Benjamin “Ell Torro” Davis saw the Wolves cross for their first points of the game.

Unfortunately for the second grade squad half time saw many of the first graders that had been filling their ranks rested for the following first grade game and with their departure went the intensity the Wolves need to put another win on the board against resurgent, stubborn Brothers. Although he often talks a good game, Marc Taivairanga and his decimated squad where unable to hold on to their half time lead. Consistent poor discipline saw Brothers dominate territory and possession and all though the Wolves managed to score another try in the second stanza, penalty goals and fresh legs saw their chances slip away. Although the loss hurts, after the game second grade realise that the semis are just around the corner and with their full squad are capable of beating anyone in the comp….. Merrylands 12 – Brothers 25

1st Grade

Big thanks go out to all the boys that played two or more games today. Tama Territo, Dean Gammidge, Harley Nichols, Michael Parker, Todd Parsons, Joe Ngawini, Roy Chapman-Barber, Albi Chapman-Barber, Baz Nichols, Jerry Keen…. every man that turned up today could be mentioned here. It can be a heart breaking experience to look at your sideline and only see 20 odd players for 3 grades. Simple math will tell you that is at least 25 players short of the minimum number of players you need to ensure no one needs to back up. Even so no player that showed on Saturday made even a hint if complaint. Every player Benjamin Davis and Mark Milner asked to play on through pain and fatigue smiled and walked back onto the field like they wished it was like this every week.

To mention the result of today’s game here would do those that were present a disservice. Sure the Wolves got outclassed, but that is to be expected when one club (like most every other club in subbies) plays the game for fun and passion while the other club pays as much cash as they can to buy players and fans so they can feel like a real club……


Merrylands vs St George 8/7/2011

3rd Grade

It looks as though the 3rd Grade title will be a ménage e tui between Merrylands, a bunch of fairies and today’s opponents, St George. Taking into account St George inflicted upon the Convicts their first defeat of the season a few weeks ago, this game truly took on some titanic proportions. Beyond simply winning and losing and points on the ladder it was important for the Wolves to know they’re capable of beating the competition leaders.

Things where looking a little shaky before kick off. The bulk of the Wolves playing roster decided Kogarah was a little too far away and so showing up might put them out a little more than they were willing to cope with. As such the sideline was only populated by approximately 20 Wolf players. These numbers alone may be of no real concern to Kenny Bladwell and his 3rd grade troops but Benjamin “the Brain” Davis and Coach Kelly knew stretching the playing ranks over the whole day was gunna be a tough ask.

Consequently the 3rd Grade side that ran out was rather heavily populated with players whom most would normally attribute with higher grades. The likes of Nash Steward, Jerry Keen, Tama Territo and Todd “the Black Schofield” Parsons all ran on for the high flying Wolves 3’s.

With St George occupying top spot on the ladder the opening exchanges where predictably fierce. The Saints had some early ref decisions go their way and after 10 or so minutes where 7 points up on the Wolves. This however would be the only time the Wolves would trail for the whole game. Mid way through the first period the Wolves built some momentum through some strong ball carries from James “Sleeping Beauty” Macklin and Jason “the New Merv” Fullwood. Off the back of the go forward ball the Wolves backs crossed for an impressive try to Nash Steward. Soon after, the Wolves where at it again. This time the make shift number 13 Mathew Briggs got the boys rolling forward and some nice interplay between the backs and forwards saw another make shift player, this time Baz Nichols at number 7, find an open path to the line.

Straight after the break the Wolves moved further ahead, this time after some trademark devastating running from Kris “I  used to coach but I got smart and now I just play” Gemmel. With the Wolves managing to convert all of their tries through several different kickers including Mat “Galloway” Briggs and Nash Steward, the pressure was on the Saints kickers to do the same. Late in the second half ,after yet more ref blunders saw the Saints cross for another 5 pointer, the rather accurate Saints 10 lined up the conversion from only a few meters wide of the posts. Most of the Wolves and Saints faithful thought the extra points where a fore gone conclusion, but alas, just as boot was about to strike ball an errant seagull passed over head, let out a distinctive “ahh ahh” and the kicker sprayed his shot wide.

The final few minutes were a see sawing affair with the Wolves getting several chances to lock the ball and the game up. But the last play of the day saw the ref give the Saints a very kickable penalty some 30 meters out. Once again things looked gloomy for the Wolves 3rds as most in attendance didn’t think the Saints 10 would miss twice, but once again super Gull came to Merrylands rescue, swooping in low and singing its beautiful song just as the kickers boot sent the ball left and short of the posts…..Merrylands 21 – St George 19

2nd Grade

As has been mentioned several times in this section of this website, the usual game review writer has a habit of going missing during second grade matches. As a result written reviews of 2nd grade fixtures are often not possible. To make up for this and to satisfy the millions of Wolves 2nd Grade fans out there, a crack field reporting team has been dispatched to complete some interviews of players, managers and fans that where present. The results of these interviews will be posted right here a.s.a.p

1st  Grade

It is hard to know what to make of the Wolves 1’s this year. On paper they seem to have enough talent, aggression and size to go all the way. They also seem to have a good mix of youth, in Luke Schofields and Baz Nichols, and experience in Jerry Keen, Ben Davis and Arana Rissetto. But it’s hard not to watch their performances over the last few weeks without wondering whether the players themselves have the intensity to match their ability. This in its self is not a slight on the coach, Kelly Phillips. Kel has an amazing knack for gauging what mood the lads are in at training and on game day and then setting them tasks that go as far as possible toward winning but without losing sight of the most important rule of running a Subbies rugby team, having fun.

And all though the Wolves players would admit themselves that their attendance at training has been a little lack lustre, this is no real reason to be critical. The last few years have seen unbelievable success for the Wolves and its only human nature that at an amateur level, it can be hard to maintain the intensity required to be super successful for long periods of time as players not only have football  to think about. Players and management have mortgages, children, Jazz ballet, Playstation and online pornography that they must dedicate time to.

From what has already been said it wouldn’t take a genius to figure out this week’s result was a departure from the success of the last few rounds. Merrylands has over the last few years had a lot of Polynesian players and played against a lot of Polynesian teams so it was no surprise to the Wolves 1st grade that the Saints, a mostly Tongan and Samoan team, came out full of fire and aggression. What was surprising was that the ref decided he would do absolutely nothing about the illegal aspects of this aggression, even though he was warned by the Wolves captain, Ben Davis, and Wolves management that games between these two teams had a history of getting feisty. He chose to do nothing even though he watched as several Saints players chased Harley Nichols across the field after he had chased down a kick and was isolated. He chose to do nothing even after Harley had clearly been punched from behind and presented with a massive black eye. He chose to do nothing even after one of the Saints players stupidly attempted to knee the Wolves captain right in front of him.

Any way the list of brain snaps committed by the Saints players and the lack of action by the ref could go on forever. All the Wolves players need to be commended for how they handled the silly shit that seems to go hand in hand with playing St George. The two easiest options when faced with this kind of rubbish are to fight back or whinge like a Hunters Hill President. Both these options will result in nothing positive. The hardest option, but the best, is too face off to them legally and when f@#kwits want to turn it into U.F.C 2011 simply walk away. Which is exactly what the Wolves did.

Any way the game it’s self was simply a matter of the Wolves taking too long to wake up and not having the man power on hand to get the job done. The Saints were in the ascendency for the entire first half, going into the break 12 – 3 up. The second half saw the Saints big men run out of puff and the Wolves begin the long road of running them down. Unfortunately for Merrylands, as mentioned before, the lack of players on the day meant the Wolves usual ability to finish over the top of teams didn’t quite produce the usual result. For instance Michael Parker played half back for  the last 10 minutes, Kelly Phillips had to stand in at 12 for the dying stages and both Kave Ngata and Baz Nichols where forced to play outside centre. The second half also saw a few minutes of uncontested scrums due to the fact Jerry Keen, Tama Territo and Bick Hicks had already played at least 2 games each. All that being the case if games where 82 minutes long the Wolves would have completed their 3rd straight win over their moronic opponents. Instead it turned into a result the Wolves will use to motivate themselves if the two squads come together again in the finals….Merrylands 13 – St George 20


Merrylands vs Rouse Hill 2/7/2011

2nd Grade and 1st Grade

As Peter Parker, aka Spiderman, once said “with great power comes great responsibility” and so it is the reviews for today’s games could not be posted as the usual writer, Merv Wolf, has been called up by the U.N to undertake a very dangerous, extremely difficult, top secret mission in Afghanistan. There is no truth to the rumours that Merv a) has not been seen since the Convicts game

b) is in fact Todd Parsons mysterious lover and has gone into hiding after the middle Parsons refused to accompany Merv to Hillsong

c) has decided to follow/stalk Justin Bieber

d) is selling hallucinogenic drugs in return for sexual favours

e) has been recruited by New Zealand Rugby to teach its player about living in hiding in preparation for their inevitable World Cup failure.


Merrylands vs Convicts vs Rockdale 25/6/2011

3rd Grade

For those of you that don’t know, the Convicts where drafted into the 3rd grade comp after Rockdale succumbed to lack of numbers and notified the Subbies board they would no longer be able to field a 3rd grade. Convicts are technically 1st division club Colleagues 7th Grade, but are in reality a completely separate entity. They are a team made up exclusively of homosexual men. Now although some of the more childish Wolves fans out there may think this means they may be pretty soft and a bit of a push over they are in fact quite successful. The reason they do not form their own club is that every two years they travel to the U.S to compete in the Gay Rugby World Cup, something they have won several times. The New Zealand Rugby Board has actually publicly spoken of entering the All Blacks in this version of the World Cup if they should fail, as everyone expects they will, to win this year’s real World Cup. All though the Wolves 3’s copped a lot of slack over their dismal result the last time these two sides met it has to be said since joining the competition the Convicts are yet to lose.

Any hows to the game. The Wolves fielded a far stronger 3rd grade this time around and the opening half showed it. Both teams found it difficult to get any attacking rhythm as both squads turned up with ready tackle, sorry ready TO tackle. 10 minutes in Convicts won a scrum in the middle of the field and with two passes had their 100kg+ winger in plenty of room and with only Baz Nichols in front of him. Alas as any Wolf fan will tell you running at Baz is an exercise in suicide. Being three times Baz’s size and clearly unable to side step, the big, fat……fa….guy tried to run over poor innocent Baz, only to find his feet above his head and his face buried in dirt, a position the young Convict usually only takes up on a Saturday evening.

As Midnight Oil once sung about, the Convicts must have short memories as no more then 2 minutes later their 100kg+ flanker darted around the blind side, lined up Baz and ended up performing his favourite yoga pose in the middle of a rugby game. As if to rub more salt into the wound the reff penalised Baz for a “dangerous tackle”?????…..Its rugby, every tackle is dangerous?????

Despite all this the Convicts managed to take the lead mid way through the first half. Soon after though the Wolves crossed thanks to some nice work by Nash “I just wanna play this game to help out 3rds” Steward and Luke “hey convicts, my last name is a brand of condoms” Ansell.

At half time the Wolves found themselves only 5 points adrift of their far bigger, far fitter rivals. The second half was a very similar story to the first, the Wolves tackled like men possessed and the Convicts kept coming at them. In the end the Convicts superior bench numbers were telling as the Wolves big men ran out of puff and the Convicts were able to sneak home for what was their closest result since joining the comp….. Merrylands 7 – Convicts 21

2nd Grade

AS mentioned before the details of this game are hard to come by due to the fact the usual contributor, Merv Wolf, went missing not long after the Convict team bus departed. Stay tuned for some filmed interviews with the 2nd grade coach Marc Taivairanga.

1st Grade

As has been the case all year with especially far from home away games like this one, Kelly Phillips was forced to make several changes to his team. Pete Whiiigongnhingoi was unable to make it so Luke “21 today” Schofield made his debut on the side of the scrum with Arana Rissetto and Benjamin “I’m Captain no” Davis making up the second row. Todd “I’m not going to church for no one” Parsons  made his run on return form a rib injury.

Rockdale has a titanic forward pack and an able back line, so with the Wolves perhaps feeling a little underdone the opening 20 minutes was rather even with both sides crossing for early tries. But like the Titanic the Big Rockdale forwards begun to take on water and sink and just before the break the Wolves started running riot with Nash Steward, Baz Nichols and Cody Hirawini putting in good performances out wide and Luke Schofield, Benjamin Davis and Jerry Keen playing well in the forwards.

At half time Kelly gave Merrylands finest some harsh words for starting off the pace and soon they were making up for lost time, carving holes in the lacklustre Rockdale defence. As a Club Merrylands has a lot of love for Rockdale. They represent everything that is good about Subbies rugby. So with that in mind not too much more will be said about this game other than a big chur to Cody Hiriwini who managed to set up a try after performing not one, not two, not three but four chip and chances in one ridiculous run……. Merrylands 46 – Rockdale 12


Merrylands vs Macquarie Uni 18/6/2011

3rd Grade

Away games that don’t require a bus, like this week’s game away to Mac Uni, are always a bit difficult, especially when bad weather has meant there has been no training all week. When you take a bus to the game you are guaranteed a good 20 players will be there half an hour before 3rd grade kicks off. Even if no other players show up you can get through the day with just the population of the bus. Any one that’s been playing for the Wolves for a few years will remember the famous day at Harlequins when we had 20 blokes for 3 grades and managed to draw seconds and win 3rds and 1sts. So with all that in mind you can imagine the relief in Merrylands management when Mac Uni called on Friday asking if the game could be moved to our home ground as their fields were still in poor condition from all the rain.

As is customary for home games, Super Coach Ngwini managed send out a very competitive 3rd grade outfit. The back line was bound to be a flurry of dummies and show and go’s with all 3 Parsons brothers filling the 10, 12 and 13 shirts, Joel Parsons filling the 10 jersey right up. As you would expect Uni are quite a young side and looked fit and keen.

Although the Wolves scored an early try through Josh Manning, it took the boys a good 15 minutes to really get on top, thanks mainly to some atrocious ref calls. If you are bigger, stronger and more aggressive than your opposition you would be an idiot if you didn’t use that to your advantage. Why some lower grade refs choose to baby teams that are getting mauled is beyond me. If you have a soft heart goes work for the salvos.

All the help from the ref couldn’t hide the fact the Merrylands were simply too good for their younger, fitter opponents. Giving a report on how the game evolved would be pretty useless. Instead we should talk about all the special appearances in today’s game. Roy and Alby Chapman-Baber made their customary twice yearly appearance and had a fine day out wide, scoring a couple between them and setting up a few more. Jayson Waters showed his unique attacking ploy of winding his way through scores of players, getting himself out in the open, than throwing out the anchors and waiting for the defence to catch up to him again. One day when he grows up he will put the gas on and go all the way himself. Paul Bergen made his debut appearance in the front row, slotting in at hooker and even giving propping a go. Tony Tuara made up for his sons lack of heart, playing 30 minutes in the front row. Even turning back the clock with his all new rats tail hair cut. James Macklin finally got out of bed, managing to make it on to the pitch for a full 5 and a half minutes!!!!………Merrylands 36 – Mac Uni 0

2nd Grade

We will have more interivews about todays second grade game on friday, but for now here is a quick interview with the 3rd grade super coach Joe Ngwini who was on the sideline for the 2nd grade fixture




1st Grade

Subbies rugby is, for the most part, an amateur’s competition. Sometimes though, ordinary men throw of the shekels of their boring, ordinary lives, take to a suburban rugby pitch and saw like eagles. Once in a while the rugby gods take the time to smile on mere mortal rugby players so that they and the supporters that watch them might glimpse, if only for a beautiful few moments, what it feels like to play this wonderful game the way the beautiful players do, giving them a vision that they might, like the proverbial crack addict trying to replicate that first wondrous hit, strive to replicate until their dying days.

Unfortunately today was not one of those days. Sure the wind was howling across the pitch making passing, line out throwing and kicking with anything nearing accuracy nearly impossible, but to be fair that still doesn’t account for the lack lustre performance served up by the Wolves finest today.

Even as first grade warmed up for the match things where looking slow. Pete Whigongjoiy was simply missing, Mr Cranky and his brother Joe Ngwini turned up several minutes into the game, Dillon “the Pimp” Hodgson was holidaying in New Zealand (??????) and the Rissetto plane was grounded due to volcanic ash. The forward pack that went out, all though brimming with experience in Michael Parker, International Pink and Ben Davis, was out of practice. The backline was patched together at best. The only players of first grade repute playing in their normal positions where Tim French, Luke “Glad Wrap and a Rubber Band” Ansell and Baz Nichols. The centre paring was, let’s be fair, weird. 12 was worn by the supposedly injured Todd “Loved Up and No Longer Partying” Parsons and outside him was Nash “I’m a Great Fullback” Steward. Any one that has been involved with the Wolves for a few years will tell you that on his day, Nash Steward is one of the best fullbacks you’ll ever see. On every other day he is terrible at playing 12 or 13 and should never even think about wearing number 10 or less.

Anyway to the game. Merrylands won the toss and reinstated captain Davis decided to run into the wind in the first half. Better to do the hard yards while you’ve got the energy. As such the Wolves knew points would be hard to come by and as long as they didn’t let Mac Uni get to far in front they would have a good chance of running them down. The Wolves played quite well for most of the first half. They defended for maybe 70% of time and did so rather well. In fact without the breeze its debateable weather Mac Uni would have scored any points at all as the Wolves managed to turn over possession quite regularly but could not clear their lines. And when the Wolves got the ball they headed Coach Phillips words and held onto possession as long as they could. Yet a couple of bad calls and a few minutes where the unwittingly played a man down saw the Wolves go into the break 10 points to nil down.

In the first half the turnaround got underway rather quick. Uni put in a bad clearing kick and on the return Baz Nichols found space to get the Wolves inside the Uni 22. From there a few simple off loads saw Nash Steward go over under the posts. All most immediately the Wolves were on the attack again. A nice charge from Bick Hicks got the Wolves backs some room and the proper outside centre, Joe Ngawini, made a long run to be pulled up only a few meters short. Just as it looked like the Wolves were going to get in front inside the first 10 minutes, Todd “Under the Thumb” Parsons decided to take his frustration about his personal life out on the nearest Uni forward, laying the boot into a grounded Uni player and giving away possession only centimetres out.

From there the Wolves rhythm slowed and all though they never really looked like going down, it took the most of the second half to put the Uni kids to sleep. A solo effort by the always angry Richie Ngawini from almost 50 meters out, that saw him break at least 4 tackles, was the eventual spirit breaker for Uni as the Wolves strangled them out of the game to take was an ugly but never the less deserved win.

Big Churs need to go to the Uni tight head prop who, with 20 minutes to go and his team being only 3 in front, told all of the Wolves forward pack to look at the score board. As soon as the Wolves scored their second try the entire forward pack plus a few backs reminded the half wit that he should check out the score board himself.

The biggest chur of the day though must go to Max Ng-Lam. For those that don’t know, Max has been an absolute stand out player for the Wolves for the last 3 years, winning back of the year and player of the year along the way. Unfortunately Max made a few questionable decisions during the off season and found himself unable to play rugby for 18 months. Today saw Max take to the field for the Wolves for the first time since going missing. He came on as a sub in second grade and with almost his first touch taw straight through the defence to set up his winger for a try. With the playing stocks looking low for first grade Kelly gave max the fullback jumper for the first 20 minutes of first grade. Once again he showed he hasn’t lost his touch beating several flailing defenders before unfortunately twisting his ankle. The whole Merrylands Wolves Community was stoked to see Max back, looking fit, fast and with a beaming smile on his face…..though he could do with a haircut…..Merrylands 19 – Mac Uni 10


Merrylands vs Brothers

1st Grade 7/62011

Due to reasons that can only be described as gutless and half assed, the 1st grade game between Merrylands and Brothers that was originally set down for Saturday the 4th of June was rescheduled for Tuesday night, the 7th of June. As far as anyone can remember this was the first night game the Wolves had ever been involved in.

Though it was a bitterly cold night Merrylands were able to name a full strength side with am extremely useful bench that included Benjamin Davis, Michael Parker, Mat Briggs and Benny “Black Caviar” Kakau.

It has been evident since about round 3 of this year that the division 3 first grade premiers would more than likely be one of these two teams. This was always going to be an intense, fast game. Although the Wolves started better than their last effort against Brothers, it was the visitors that drew first blood. A couple of suspect referee decisions went Brother s way and with the early territory they were able to slip through the Merrylands defence and dot down under the posts.

The try seemed to spur the Wolves on as they enjoyed a 20 minute period of good field position and more than their fair share of possession that led to Brothers conceding a kickable penalty that Nash “the Bald Assassin” Steward easily slotted.

Brothers were happy to use the slight breeze and kick for territory which fell right into the hands of a resurgent Nash Steward and Baz “PitBull” Nichols who managed to cut the visitors defence to shreds down the left touch line finding plenty of space on kick returns. One such raid saw Baz beat 3 or 4 forwards before off loading to Nash who showed glimpses of his 07/08 form to round the fullback and slide past  the winger to touch down under the posts.

Unfortunately that, 14 – 10, was as close as the Wolves got. The momentum swung back and forth throughout the game, including one period where the Wolves held the ball inside Brothers 22 for 1o minutes, but it seemed that every time Brothers got the rub of the green they managed to convert luck and pressure into points. The Wolves however suffered from simple errors at crucial times including loosing line outs and misdirecting passes.

Make no mistake, Brothers are a very well paid, well drilled squad and will be very hard to beat, but the Wolves know they have plenty of time and opportunities to tailor their game to beat their top table rivals and firmly believe a third title in four years is well within reach……. Merrylands 10 – Brothers 31


3rd Grade 4/6/2011

In recent years Brothers have fielded quite a strong 3rd grade outfit. Most of their team is on the far side of 30 but they always seem to be well drilled and have a good understanding of one another. They also have a completely baseless sense of entitlement and a propensity to whinge like an All Blacks supporter after a World Cup but that’s another story.

With 1st grade not playing today and 3rds running a little short of props over the last few weeks, the Wolves 3rd grade brains trust (Kenny Bladwell) thought it may be a tough day at the office. He couldn’t have been further of the mark. True, it took the Wolves most of the first half to subdue what fight the Brothers outfit had in them, but by the final whistle it was an absolute demolition job. Straight from the first kick off the Wolves were on the front foot. Jason “Fully Full” Fullwood sawed through the sky like an emu to gather up the ball and race 10 or so meters to give the young, new look Wolves backline a crack at the opposition from only 10 out. The ball then sailed through 3 sets of hands before Daryl Shum shrugged off a couple of half assed tackles to score next to the upright after less than 2 minutes.

Not too long after the restart the Wolves were at it again. New 5/8 Drew put in a lovely touch finder that got the Wolves within 10 meters of the Brothers line and some nice inter play between forwards and backs saw Greg “Gigolo” Benson take 5 points home. The rout slowed down a little after the fast start, due mainly to mishandling and, dare it be said greed from some of the Wolves, but it wasn’t long before good work up the middle by Kris Gemmel, Kenny Bladwell and one incredibly impressive run from the human wrecking ball himself Benjamin “Bone Crusher” Davis, saw the likes of Daryl Shum, Oska Ahwong and Brian “Light Fantastic” Thomson carve up the Brothers brittle, child like defence.

By half time there seemed to be no danger at all that the Wolves would lose this one and so super coach Ngwini rang in the changes, bringing in the world’s second biggest 5/8 (after that fat guy that plays number 10 for St George) Joel Parsons whose trade mark Parsons dummy saw that Brothers backs clutching at air and the Wolves looking at a cricket score. There were also a few new faces in the Wolves line up that, going by the final score, all the Wolves faithful hope will make themselves more available to pull on the Black and Yellow.

In games like this it can be hard to single any one person for praise. Harley Nichols deserves much credit. He had gone missing over the last few weeks but showed up just when we needed a hooker, playing out the full game and showing the kind of aggression him and his band of merry men have become infamous for. Today also saw the once a year appearance of former first grade hooker, prop and coach, 5 times premiership winner and all round nice guy Cole Newman. As is customary Cole played about 7 games during the day and had all of us hoping we can still get around as good as the big man when we’re knocking on the door of 50. Merrylands 45 – Brothers 5

2nd Grade

Second grade absolutely smashed Brothers today. It took the Wolves a good half hour to really find their feet, and even than they fell into some scratchy patches, but Brothers never really had the firepower to do anything about it or stop the Wolves scoring when Merrylands got it right. Putting all that stuff aside today saw a worrying return to the bad old days. 3 Wolves players were sin binned for what can only be called violent play and to be fair there was 2 or 3 others that should have been carded if the ref had seen their stupid antics. It’s completely baffling that a team can get 30 or so points up on an opposition and yet still let them and the ref get under their skin. Several senior players need to take a long hard look at themselves and maybe take their heads for a s@#t or give themselves a poke in the eye if this sort of behaviour becomes the norm again.

On a more positive note Levi felt what it was like to pack against a World Cup winning prop as Brothers second grade fielded the legendary Tony Daley at loose head. Needless to say the Wolves scrum struggled until the old guy got tired and went off half way through the second half. Benjamin Davis scored his first try in two years, running over the entire Brothers forward pack from 50 meters out!!! Add to that his bulldozer like display in 3rds and his awesomely timed hit on Brothers Lomu like winger that sent the Brother number 11 hurtling over the touch line and it’s no wonder some very intelligent and influential people are saying he could be the third Ngawini. Merrylands 33 – Brothers 6


Merrylands vs St George 28/5/2011

3rd Grade

The standered of 3rd grade play this year from both the Wolves and most of their opposition has been quite astounding. No one is going to get a call from Robbie Deans but the pattern play and aggression is quite higher than most games we’ve seen in the “easiest” grade for some time.

The early exchanges of the game were quite skilful and reasonably fast. Merrylands were fielding quite a competitive side with the likes of Kelly Phillips, Richie Ngwini, Kris Gemmel and Rua Katarua all lining up for the Wolves. It was St George however that took the early ascendency, creating space through the middle of the park with their customary giant forward pack and their young, fit backline took advantage of.

The Wolves where looking a little flustered and their inability to finish off some good attacking moves saw them give up territory and when this caused frustration the Wolves gave away points due to ill discipline. With only 15 minutes gone in the first half the Wolves were down 10 – 0.

Just before the break though Merrylands managed to get the luck they needed after a strong scrum disrupted St George’s possession and Kelly Phillips swooped on the resulting loose ball to send Richie Ngwini racing over in the corner.

The second half was all frustration and, to be honest, stupidity for the Wolves. Merrylands were all over St George creating chance after chance, for forwards and backs alike, but couldn’t seem to make the last pass stick or get the last bounce to jump their way. On one occasion Kris Gemmel found himself on the end of some slick back line play and out in open pastures with only the fullback to beat and a fat prop chasing him. Instead of putting his foot on the gas (what gas he has left these days) he decided to wait for the prop to catch him and try to off load to his slowly arriving support in the shape of Deano Gammidge. Needless to say the movement was halted as Kris was bundled into touch and Deano could only struggle to catch his breath and wonder where it all went wrong. Merrylands 5 – St George 13

2nd Grade

As the current review writer, Benadicto los Davos, is currently involved, for the most part and for the foreseeable future, with the first grade squad, he is unable to watch the full 2nd grade match each week. Adding to this the fact that none of the senior 2nd grade staff and players, such as Mark Taivairanga, have a strong grasp of the English language, we will now be submitting all second grade reviews as video interviews. So with out further adue here are the first ever Merrylands 2nd grade match reviews from Con Brown, Tim French, Todd Parsons and Oska Ahwong.





1st Grade

The last time these two teams fronted one another it was a very close, extremely brutal match. As the two teams ran out it seemed like St George had brought pretty much the same squad as last time, but not so the Wolves. The forward pack was pretty much intact with only Dillon Hodgson and Arana Rissetto missing. There places were taken by Nate Smith and Ben Davis who, through no fault of his own, was back wearing the Captains arm band. Bicks Hicks made switched from prop to number 8 to cover for the soft Jade Taivairanga who didn’t want to play against people that were bigger and darker than him. The Wolves backs on the other hand were a rag tag bunch at best. The only regular first graders named were Joe Ngawini, Luke “Slim Fit” Ansell, Toddy “No tries” Parsons and the all new, improved and sober Nash Steward. The number 13 roll was filled be the impressive and versatile Kave Ngata while the wings were filled by Josh and the 3 game gigolo himself Greg Benson.

Although St George is a big, predominantly Samoan team, they don’t play like most predominantly Samoan teams. They realise that fitness, especially in their forward pack, isn’t their best weapon and so kick a lot to try and put the ball into the corners and in front of their big boys. This tactic had almost immediate results when within the first minute the Saints received a penalty and from the issuing line out, approximately 10 meters out, spread the ball wide where there outside centre beat 3 or 4 defenders, including Joe “the Incredible Hulk” Ngawini, to cross for the first 5 pointer of the match.

The Wolves 1st grade has had a terrible habit over the years of starting games quiet and slow, though thankfully the opposition scoring usually kicks the boys into gear. After St George scored the Wolves got possession back from the restart and through some strong forward charges from Pete Whihongi and Bick “the Prop” Hicks, the Wolves put the Saints under pressure and they gave in, conceding a penalty around the half way mark. Luke “Strawberry Flavoured” Ansell than put in a ripper of a touch finder get the Wolves within ten meters of the line. Fast forward a few rucks and Pete Whihongi weaved his way through the big St George forwards to score under the posts, telling some of the opposition he had just beat “your too fat boys” as he strolled back to half way.

Nash Steward slotted a penalty before the break to give the Wolves a 10 – 5 half time lead. The Wolves must thank Greg Benson and, in particular Josh, for finding themselves in the lead. Joshy communicated well with his fullback Nashy, defended well when called upon, kicked brilliantly when he got the chance and looked every bit the regular first grader.

The second half was once again a ding dong battle with both sides enjoying momentum at one time or another. The game shifted in St Georges favour big time about mid way through when the Wolves, mounting what seemed like a very promising raid, spilled the ball in mid field. The 150kg Saints 5/8 then scooped up the ball and placed an awesome cross field kick into his flying winger’s path who then linked with his centre to give the visitors the lead. From the kick off the Wolves decided to see if tackling like 12 year old netballers would be a good tactic. It turned out not to be as the Saints flanker was allowed to run 4o odd meters before the ball went through 4 or 5 sets of hands and St George crossed under the posts.

All seemed lost. With less than 15 minutes left Greg Benson, in his third game for the day, ran out of puff and Luke Schofield went off with a slight cramp. Kelly Phillips than brought Schofields #2, Mark, into the unfamiliar wing roll and put Arana “Hayne Plane” Rissetto back into the second row. Not long after Todd “I wanna play more ruff stuff but my body can’t take it” Parons went down, robbing the Wolves of their only recognised half back. To stifle things even more Nate Smith returned limping to the field where he would take up the half back possession at set play time and leave the rest of the half back work to Jerry “I only wanna play 3rd grade” Keen. It all seemed too much, maybe the boys wouldn’t make it today.

Yet they would find their heroes in the most unlikely figures. The Saints, with their noses in front, were content to kick the ball deep and let the Wolves try and score the 2 tries they needed from well inside their own half. After one such kick Mark “I rather wog ball” Scofield found himself cleaning up a long kick after Nash Steward got caught out of possession. Like he was born to play rugby, he beat the first two defenders and raced out into open pastures with only Arana in support. He off loaded to the Flying Rissetto with a good 50 meters still to go. Unsure of how or why a second rower was in such a place Arana franticly begun looking for someone to give the ball to. Every Wolf within ear shot urged the Rissetto plane to take flight and with only 7 minutes left on the clock it touched down just left of the posts to put the Wolves within one try of a famous win.

To be honest from there it kind of felt inevitable. The Saints panicked and when amateur, Samoan rugby player panic they give away penalties. With the Wolves lineout completely dominant field position was never a problem in the closing stages. A few chances went begging, one where Frank Waiomio decided he no longer wanted to lift in the lineout, but eventually the Wolves got themselves a 5 meter lineout with only 2 minutes on the clock. From the ensuing drive the St George defence was left staggered and disorganised and with the only the likes of Joe Ngawini and Luke Schofield in his backline, Luke “Studded for her Pleasure” Ansell tucked the ball under his arm at 5/8 and beat 5 Saints defenders to score next to the posts and give the Wolves an awesome win…… Merrylands 24 – St George 22


Merrylands vs Convicts vs Rockdale

3rd grade.

“What we do in this life echoes in eternity”

So said Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife.

And so 3rd grades actions on this cold, windy Saturday will haunt them throughout this life and maybe into the next. For on Saturday the 14th of May 2011 they got fairly hammered by the Sydney Convicts. One day when 3 grades sons look up at them and say “father, did you once play rugby for the Wolves?”  They will have no choice but to answer “No my son. What I did on a Holroyd Sports Ground could never be called rugby”

2nd Grade

Over the last few weeks the 2nd grade coach, Jake Moses, has been forced to wrestle with the fact that maybe his busy schedual outside of rugby doesn’t allow him to put the full force of his considerable interlect into his coaching commitments. And so Saturday the 14th of May saw Marc Taivairanga finally except that he isn’t quite the player his brother Jade is, and opt to take over the second grade rains from Senior Moses.

The side Marc was able to name for his second grade coaching debut was quite strong, featuring several former first grade regulars including Michael Parker, Benjamin “Phoenix Rising” Davis, Nate Smith and Tanga “ground assistant” Wakeford. There were also some “should be” first graders in Star, Tangi and Captain Negative himself, Richie Ngawini.

All jokes aside it was a rather lacklustre game. The Wolves managed to draw first blood with a nicely worked back line move seeing Mr Wakeford cross out wide all most untouched. Soon after Marc T’s decision to leave the rigors of first grade rugby up to his more accomplished brother seemed all the more justified when he limbed off the field with a rather suspect hamstring injury.

His place was taken by Tim French with Star switching to 5/8. The unfamiliar backline coupled with an enormous Rockdale forward pack meant the Wolves never really got into their stride. Though you would never guess it by the score line.

The game was fairly close right up until the last 15 minutes when the Wolves superior fitness began to tell and the Merrylands loose forwards and outside backs begun running riot. Michael Parker, Richie Ngwini, Star, Tanga and Tangi all managed to cross for tries as the game drew to a conclusion. “A win is a win” may well be an apt description of the game for the Wolves but Rockdale exposed some suspect defence in close that will need to improve should the Wolves 2nds wish to go all the way to the G.F…….Merrylands 38 – Rockdale 12

1st Grade

Like second grade the final score was quite flattering to the Wolves. That said Merrylands were never really in trouble of losing this game but it was far, far from their best performance, especially in defence.

Coach Phillips stuck with a very similar team that was victorious against Mac Uni last week. The most noticeable change was Kiwi Phil making his debut on the wing. Rockdale managed to draw first blood crossing in the corner after the Wolves conceded a midfield penalty that allowed Rockdale to win lineout only meters out.

The Wolves struck straight back though with an excellent try to Nash Steward after he ran onto a nicely floated long ball from Kelly “I pick myself” Phillips. The game settled down for the next 15 or so minutes while the two teams traded blows. The Wolves than managed to push further ahead after Baz Nicholson finished off some awesome inter-play between the loose forward, especially Dilon Hodgson and Pete Whihongi, and the outside backs.

The whole game was a messy, stop-start affair that saw the points flow freely between the two teams with Merrylands only managing to stay ahead by scoring two tries to Rockdale’s one. A worrying trend developed throughout the game with the Wolves getting themselves 10 or so points in front than going to sleep until the ridiculously big Rockdale forward pack got on a roll and got a try for themselves. The Wolves backline was far too slick for their Rockdale counter parts but the Merrylands forwards struggled to get on top of the opposition until mid way through the second half when a combination of some fresh legs in Benjamin “Lazarus” Davis and Michael Parker and fatiguing Rockdale forwards saw Merrylands control possession and eventually run out handsome though somewhat undeserved winners.

Special mention to Bick Hicks who happily excepted the challenge of playing the unfamiliar loose head prop roll and did himself proud in the scrums and managed to score a 40 meter solo try. Also a big pat on the back to Luke “Trojan” Ansell who slotted into inside centre at short notice after Ex Brown went off and did very well, kicking well and providing a fluid link to his outside men. Biggest chur of the day though goes to Nash Steward who turned back the clock to his much thinner days, much drunker days and had an absolute blinder, scoring 3 and setting up 3 others

. Merrylands 50 – Rockdale 22


Merrylands vs Brothers 30/4/2011


3rd grade

Joel Parsons is a useless load of horse shit.

This is obviously true when you consider Merrylands 3rds have failed to beat Brothers 3rds all last year but did so this time with a fair amount of ease.

The weather had somewhat cleared come kick off time and the ground was in reasonably good condition. This was good news for the Wolves as Brothers 3rd grade are known for having, although aging a bit these days, quite a big, experienced forward pack. The Wolves on the other hand fielded a very uncertain forward pack. Benjamin “I used to be first grade captain” Davis and Bicks Hicks were making their first appearances for the year while in a desperate bid to relive the glory days Mark Taivairanga slotted in at the unfamiliar inside centre roll.

The Wolves got off to a fairly slow start with Brothers dominating early possession and using their vast experience to apply pressure to the Wolves line inside the first few minutes. The Wolves held out against the onslaught and after Kenny “no mistakes” Bladwell won a turn over mid field, the Wolves opted to run the ball out with Rob King throwing an incredible cut out ball that put the Wolves outside backs into open space with Brian “Dancing Queen” Thompson receiving the last pass to run in under the posts untouched.

Bothers 3rds are a very successful team having won the 4th grade title last year in 3rd division and as so like to complain when things don’t go their way. And in this game things didn’t go their way. After the first try the Wolves secured the bulk of possession andd where a constant threat with Big A.J Tuara his usual devastating self and Mark T and Rob King causing chaos out wide. Brothers found fault in everything the Wolves and the Ref did while Merrylands just kept on doing what they do best, scoring points and having fun. Bicks crossed shortly before half time to send the Wolves into the break 14 points up.

The second half was a little more even then the first. Brothers managed to cross first but  Merrylands struck back through Kris Gemmel and than managed to hold possession for the bulk of the half seeing off their more fancied opponents for a well deserved win. Special mention to Jake, Jerry Keen’s nephew, who put in a great performance and keeps getting better with every game despite the fact his uncle is trying to teach him everything he knows……..Merrylands 21 – Brothers  12


2nd Grade


Todd and Liam Parsons are moronic idiots. So to are Mick Parker, Mathew Briggs, Tim French and Nash Steward. Any one that would even consider going to some jackass wedding during rugby season clearly has mental health issues.

Aside from all that it was a good day for second grade. With a much changed team, due to the above mentioned morons, the Wolves faithful were a little nervous about the 15 players the Wolves put out. Half the squad, including Ben Davis, Jerry Keen, A.J Tuara and Jayson Waters, had already played a match, a few boys had yet to play much this year like Paul Burgen and the Amazing Disappearing Danny and the bulk of the back line were new faces.

It didn’t take long for the Wolves to put all those fears to bed as they begun tearing holes through what was an all fresh Brothers 2nds. Kelly Phillips mustered his outside backs well and the new boys like Alex Seini found so much space at times it seemed like it was an unopposed training session. In the forwards Shane continues to improve putting in a solid performance along side the ever green Benjamin Davis and Tuama Territo gave his opposite front row no end of troubles in the tight stuff. Jayson Waters showed a lot of heart and skill, after backing up from a full game in 3rds, scooping up the ball at full speed and in traffic after a Brothers chip went wrong, racing out into open pastures then finding Kelly Phillips who finished off the move under the posts.

The Wolves went into the break some 18 points up and made several changes to allow players a bit of rest before the crucial up coming first grade game. In the second half the Wolves created just as many chances as they did in the first half but with the changes in personnel, failed to make the most of them,only managing two tries. Brothers made the most of a fatiguing Merrylands pack to put some respectability back in the score line, crossing for 3 tries of their own but it was all to no avail as the Wolves 2nd grade posted their second win of the season. Special mention to Benjamin Davis who had an absolutely mind blurringly good game, Danny and Burgen for grudgingly sharing the open side flanker role though both wanted to bludge on the blind side. Also thanks must go to Jake Moses and Loni Masters who managed to drag their cousins/friends down for a game on a day when the Wolves knew they might be short of man power…….Merrylands 26 – Brother 17


1st Grade


This was always going to be a difficult match. Brothers were undefeated and the Wolves were without at least 5 regular first graders. The backline in particular was very unsettled with Joe Ngwini moving into the centres, Loni Masters at halfback and 3 new faces out wide.

Make no mistake, Brothers are a very good side. They got off to a gift start when, under pressure from a scrum only 15 meters from the Wolves line, Loni Marsters threw a regretable ball over Luke Ansell’s head and into the in-goal. The ball was cleaned up by Baz Nichols but from the insuing 5 meter scrum Brothers scored out wide. Not long after the kick off the Wolves again suffered from their own hand, knocking the ball on at the back of a ruck then giving away a ruck penalty to end up meters from their own line and under all sorts of pressure. This time the boys put up a better fight holding Brothers at bay for several phases and a line out, but they eventually cracked as the Brothers backs crossed for a second. The Wolves forwards were more then getting over their blue and yellow opponents but were harshly managed by the referee many many times. This allowed Brothers to enjoy plenty of good field position and with what amounted to a make shift Wolves backline, the points for Brothers kept coming. The intensity and aggression was always good from the Wolves, especially from Joe Ngawini, who was unlucky to be penalised for a rippa of lifting tackle on Brothers big fijian winger, and Pete Whihongi, who contiues to show some amazing, aggressive running, but the Wolves could not seem to get the messure of the Brothers backs. The half time score was 31 – 0 to Brothers.

At half time Coach Kelly gave the boys a calm, positive speech, telling them their was along way to go in the season and the game and as long as we could get some points on the board and cause some damage in the second half, all would not be lost.

The boys reacted to the inspirational words like true champions. The early going was still a little untidy by the Wolves were holding possession a lot better and their defence had learned it’s lessons from the first half covering the Brothers backs well and knocking them backwoods in the forwards. Then the Wolves finally got their break. Merrylands got a penalty near half way and Luke “Ribbed for her pleasure” Ansell put the ball in the corner, Luke Schofileds won the insueung lineout and the forwards went on a relentless pick and go drive toward the line with Jade Taivairanga finally crossing a few feet left of the posts. The points seemed to lift the Wolf 1’s and before long the boys had crossed for another 5 pointer, this time after some nice work across the back line with Joe Ngawini getting the reward.

With a new air of optimism the boys begun throwing caution to the wind and it came off well more often then not, most notably for Baz Nichols who made a fantastic, venomous run from fullback straight through the heart of the Brothers defence. Kelly Phillips came on with about 15 minutes to go and his talk in the backline and enthusiasm in defense drove the Wolves to close the gap even further, winning the second half 27 – 10.

Although this was the Merrylands 1st grades first loss of the season the mood in the sheds and on the bus after the game was of asured optimism. The Wolves know Brothers are the bench mark side. But they also know that if they can get their best 15 on the pitch and get a few more good weeks of work under their belts than they can hand Brothers band of heartless mercenaries the loss they deserve…….. Merrylands 27 – Brothers 41


16/04/2011 Merrylands vs St George

3rd grade

For reasons only he can understand Joel Parsons selfishly decided to have his wedding right in the middle of rugby season. Even more inexplicably stupid he insisted that all of his brothers and friends attend his bucks! As a consequence the Wolves travelled to their second away game of the year aware numbers would be an issue.

The Wolves got off to a terrible start in even more terrible conditions, letting the Saints in for two quick first half tries before gathering themselves to finish the half only 14 points down. Young Hader showed some awesome skills in his debut in the number 15 jersey tackling one of St George’s biggest and hardest runners in full flight and cleaning up well whenever the opposition kicked long.

In the second half Kris Gemmel and A.J Tuara produced some devastating running to give their backs the room they needed to get the ball over the line and the Wolves were soon back in the hunt. The two sides than traded tries with goal kicking the only thing keeping the Wolves snouts in front.

But alas tragedy struck. With only a few minutes left on the clock and the Wolves very much dominating possession the ref blew a very suspect penalty within spitting distance of the posts and to all the Wolves supporters dismay the Saints kicker slotted the winner and handed the Wolves 3’s their first defeat of the season. Special mention to young Hader who had a stellar game at fullback and Rua Kaitoa for strong a performance in his first game back. Also big ups and many churrs to Oska Ah-Wong who showed real club spirit by playing in the unfamiliar 5/8 roll……. Final score Merrylands 21 St George 22

2nd Grade

With a large number of players missing in action due to the selfish, mongrel actions of Joel Parsons, seconds were always going to find it tuff. The 3rd graders that backed up for a second game, Kris, Rua, Oska, Kave, A.J, Hayden and co all have the clubs deepest thanks and gratitude.

Like 3rds,2nds  got off to an atrocious start letting the Saints cross for an early try before coming to their sense and stemming the tide with a try to Mark T who was making his first appearance for the year after suffering a very suspect off season injury. Just before half time Coach Moses decided to inject himself into the fray and it had the desired effect with the Wolves winning tight heads seemingly at will. The set piece dominance continued after the break and the Wolves found themselves 2 tries up with only 10 minutes to go after Mark T put a perfectly waited cross field chip into the in goal that resulted in a spectacular try.

Unfortunately it was about this time the fatigue of having already played a game and the mistakes that come from a very unsettled line up began to take there toll. The Saints picked up a very lucky intercept try and from the following kick off managed to break a few tackles and cross the Wolves line again to put themselves ahead.  Though the Wolves never gave up, especially A.J Tuara, Oska Ah-Wong and Mark Taivairanga, the Saints simply had too many fresh legs and 2nd grade followed 3rd grades lead posting their first loss of the season. Big ups to Dan “the Mule” Baldry for making a cameo at half back… Merrylands 22 – St George 31

1st Grade

The atrociously moronic, selfish, tosser actions of Joel Parsons and his stupid, pointless wedding also cost the Wolves 1st grade several starting players including Todd “No Tries this week” Parsons, Michael “not as angry” Parker and Nash “lucky to get his spot back” Steward. With captain Kaitoa William and Peter Whihigongongi also unavailable it looked like it might be a hard day for the Wolves.

As the teams ran out it was plainly evident from the sidelines that the Wolves were the far smaller team with St George fielding a monster pack of forwards and only a slightly smaller backline. To be honest I would be surprised if there was a single guy in their starting side under 100kg’s. But the mismatch in size only made Merrylands far superior skills, pace and rugby smarts seem all the more amazing.

After weathering some early heat the Wolves maintained some good possession and with it they cleverly sucked the rather dim St George forwards into giving away some stupid penalties. That allowed them to make easy meters and once within sticking distance the Wolves were lethal. Exam Brown continued his awesome form sprinting away to cross for a well worked backline try. This trend continued with the Wolves applying plenty of pressure on the St George try line and the Saints unable to cope. So much so they lost their 5/8 to the sin bin for repeated infringements. With the St George defence now a man down the Wolves made them pay as Jade “no nudi run for me” Taivairanga crossed for an easy try off the back of a five yard scrum. Loni Masters stepped into Nash Stewards vacant gaol kicking shoes and handled the tough conditions like a Master slotting two from two in the first half.

The second half was one of the most amazing halves of rugby ever seen at this level. The Saints used their local knowledge and immense size to pin the Wolves on their own goal line for pretty much the entire half. Their gorilla like team relentlessly hammered away at the Wolves but the Wolves defence stood up time and time again. Dilon Hodgson, Arana Rissetto and Michael Pinkerton justified their selections in first grade with some simply heroic tackling and superhuman like willingness to pick themselves up out of the mud and pull down their far bigger opponents over and over and over and over over and over and over and over over and over and over and over again. Out wide Kelly Phillips showed his unmatched experienced, continually showing up at just the right time to save the day for the Wolves. Baz Nicholson and Joe Ngwini matched the Saints aggression with some maniac hits and staunch words.

But what really made the Wolves perfect defence possible was their domination at the set piece. Luke “the chosen one” Schofield caused the Saints lineout havoc while at scrum time Levi Sciascia and Frank Waiomio slowly but surely drove their opponents into the ground to the point were Jerry Keen, making his 1st grade run debut for the year, was able to steal a few important tight heads.

In the end the Saints became so frustrated with not being able to get over the line they lost their heads and earned themselves two yellow cards and a red. After the bell the Saints showed their moronic, ugly side as the shaking of hands erupted in to punches with the poor, innocent Baz Nicholson coping one in the eye. Big Ups must go to Dilon, Pinko and Loni for stepping up and having blinders. Also lots of churrs to Kelly Phillips  who had an amazing game at inside centre and Luke “Dommy” Ansell who paid the ref off at the start of the game so he would ignore his blatantly shit hands…..Merrylands 14 – St George 0


Merrylands vs Rouse Hill 9/4/2011

3rd Grade

From what we’ve seen so far, and admittedly we’ve only played against 2 clubs, it looks like a few of our fellow 4th division clubs are going to struggle for numbers. Consequently the Wolves 3rd grade have found themselves playing against teams slightly stacked teams with 1st grade and 2nd grade talent. Now Merrylands as a club can hardly complain about this sort of occurrence as we ourselves have been more than a little guilty of this misnomer from time to time (the unstoppable 4th/3rd grade of the last few years in particular) but this year the Wolves have plenty of numbers so our 3rd grade has been forced to fend for themselves. And they have performed magnificently.

Today’s game really showed the gulf in class between a Merrylands team that has slogged it out in a higher division against stronger clubs for a few years and a Rouse Hill team that is trying to cope in a higher grade. Although the final score only showed a 7 point difference between the two teams the Merrylands Wolves where never really in trouble. The opening 15 minutes saw the Wolves totally dominate possession, launching sweeping raid after sweeping raid, gaining overlaps seemingly at will. Rob King showed what a 5/8 that consistently puts the ball in front of his runners can do to an opposition with A.J Tuara and a constantly improving Brian Thompson running riot out wide scoring two awesome tries in the first half to give the Wolves a healthy lead going into the break.

In the second half the Wolves made some changes and that, coupled with a healthy lead, saw Merrylands lose some intensity and let the Renegades put some respectability back on the score board. Special mention needs to go to Jason Wayters who debut at half back and had an awesome game, tackling well above his weight and providing great service to his back line. Also Dean Gammidge has improved out of site not only getting on the front foot in the scrums but also finding a useful running game and tackling in close like every big prop should…Merrylands 31 – Rouse Hill 24


2nd Grade

Tim French. Super Star. 5 meters out, dummy, try. BOOM!

With such a positive atmosphere at the club at the moment, competition for second grade places is fierce making super coach Jade Moses job both challenging and enjoyable and allowing him to put out a second grade team that would challenge, if not soundly flog, most 1st grade teams we’ve played.

Straight from the kick off the Wolves were firmly in control with Jerry “suspect thumb” Keen and Harley Nicholson showing plenty of aggression up front and Big Tama Territo and Conrad Brown getting the ball going forward. Rob King played the first half for seconds and once again gave great service to his outside backs with the likes of Mathew “red on your head” Briggs, Alby Chapman-Barber and Benji “Black Caviar” Cakau reaping the rewards out wide. Despite his reluctance to play in the backs and his continued insistence that he is now far, far too fat, Joel Parsons also played his hand well. Any time a teams wingers score multiple tries the centres can rest assured they have done their job.

The Wolves completely outclassed the Rouse Hill second grade and to be honest writing reviews for games like these are hard. Everybody played well and the fact the Wolves kept them to 0 is very pleasing. Special mention should go to Shane. After a year or so away from the game, and even than still being a rookie, he has accepted the challenge of playing second grade and is getting better and better each week. Same can be said for Ali Jawad who has stepped up from 3rds this year and has brought his own burst of positive energy and is always willing to play when ever and where ever super coach Jade Moses asks………..Merrylands 47 – Rouse Hill 0


1st Grade

At the start of the year when we got confirmation of which clubs would be in our division Merrylands senior management all believed Rouse Hill would be the pace setters in 1st grade. They have won the last million or so 5th division titles and have taken out several Taki Toa’s so their quality was assured.

The Wolves started the game with an unexpected, very welcome, extremely sexy bonus when Merv Wolf, the Merrylands Wolf, ran the team onto the park. His mere presence not only got many of the Wolves ladies fans warm in the panties but also put the fear of god right up the Renegades first grade squad.

That said his presence seems to have distracted the Wolves first grade outfit with the Renegades getting the better of the opening half hour. With Rouse Hill playing fairly tight rugby and getting a few lucky calls from the ref the Wolves struggled to get their hands on the ball, but they tackled well and did not allow Rouse Hill to score any points. How ever when the Wolves did get their paws on the ball they showed the Renegades how it’s done. Levi Sciascia, who has excelled at loose head prop this year, won a turnover in mid field and the ball flew from the ruck through debut 5/8 Liam Parsons hands to a quick moving Ex Brown who put Benji “Black Caviar” Cakau out into the open and under the posts. That was pretty much the story of the first half with the Wolves forwards soaking up wave after wave of Rouse Hill forward attack, playing patiently, tackling aggressively until a turn over chance arrived than spinning it wide quickly giving Nash “5 years ago” Steward and Joe “Richie is probably better the me now” Ngawini ample space to cause havoc.

In the second half the Wolves managed to control possession a lot better. The forwards almost never turned over possession, allowing Pete Whihongi and Jade Taivairanga to play an open, running game which in turn offered Toddy “Pink Shoe” Parsons so much space at number 9 that a one point he managed to throw a world record 15 dummies before going in under the posts untouched.

Although the points dried up slightly in the second half the Wolves managed to keep their concentration in defence, only allowing the Renegades one try and never really looking troubled. Special mention needs to go to Arana Rissetto. He was the regular first grade second rower a few years back but due to work commitments has surrendered his spot to younger guys. Today saw him make his first run on in first grade in a few years and he had a blinder, proving faultless off the kick offs and cleaning up efficiently around the park.

Luke Schofields has grown to become probably the best forward in the club and may prove to be the best in the division. His speed and fitness coupled with his immaculate line outs have allowed the Wolves to feel no real effects from the loss of last year’s 1st grade captain Ben Davis.

Also Kelly Phillips has shown amazing coaching skills so far this season. The pre-season trial program was thrown into chaos with several clubs pulling out of confirmed trial days yet Kelly has managed to keep the squad positive and make exactly the right selections to see the clubs flag ship team make a perfect start to the season picking up maximum points from the first two games……..Merrylands 40 – Rouse Hill 5


2/4/2011 Merrylands vs Rockdale

3rd grade

Training leading into the first round had been inconsistent at best and there had been a few changes in the coaching ranks that left the side more than a little under done. We had never played Rockdale in normal competition but from facing them in the Taki Toa we knew they were predominately a Maori Club so playing them at their home meant they would probably have plenty of big, mean looking talent running around. This combined to make for a very nervous Merrylands senior management…..we sensed an ambush.

The game got off to a hectic start with both sets of forwards exchanging shots for the first 5 minutes with the supposedly retired Kenny “No Mistakes” Bladwell leading the way with some of his physics defying, god damn amazing round the legs tackling of blokes 10 times his size.

With a strong breeze blowing off Botany Bay onto Merrylands backs the boys new they needed to put plenty of points on the board while they had the advantage. And the backline didn’t disappoint. Liam Parosons was kicking well from 5/8 and with plenty of good field position coming from that the backs managed to put two tries on the board before the Amazing Kenny B barged over to make it a 3 try andvantage at  half time.

Coach Ngwini was concerned that perhaps it wasn’t enough points with the breeze as strong as it was, but he need not have worried. Rockdale failed to use the wind as well as the Wolves and Merrylands managed to extended their lead in the second half to finally run out winners 39-7.

Special mention needs to go to Daniel Padini who made his debut as half back and provided great service in trying conditions as well as save the day when the ref stupidly told the boys a missed penalty kick is out of play.


2nd Grade

Jake Moses: Traditional. Smart. Effective.

Jake has been charged with what many a learned mind considers one of the hardest jobs a man can take on, coaching second grade. Inevitably you get a huge mix of talents, motivations and mind sets and it’s always hard to try and make things work so that everyone gets at least a little of what they want out of it. On saturday Jake gave us a glimpse of what his formidable intellect and astounding rugby knowledge is capable of.

The forward pack was reasonably settled with good numbers turning up to training on Thursday. The back line however was a different story. Tim French, the long serving second grade number 9,  was the only back to show his face at training. This didn’t faze Jake.

He did exactly the right amounts of grovelling, demanding and threatening to ensure a decent, if very underdone, back line took the field.

All though the final result was a 14 all draw the boys walked away with a positive feeling. If the can come to a place like Rockdale and play in very trying conditions with little or no preparation and only concede 14 points than surely the only way is up for the Wolf 2’s?

Big Ups to Gregy for playing two games, Tama Bush for playing centres and Pinko for starting seconds after a year off.


1st Grade


With Lonny Masters pulling out a few hours before kick off a quick reshuffle saw Michael Briggs pushed into the centres and MICHEAL PINKERTON!!!!!!!!!! coming into the second row. PINKERTON IS BACK!!!

Rockdale were fielding an enormous forward pack that probably out weighed the wolves by 50 kegs a man so the boys knew defending in tight would be tough and getting any go forward ball through the forwards would be even tougher. Pete Whihongi and Jade Taivairanga showed some powerful form early in the match while Toddy “Two Tries Party Boy” Parsons controlled  well from number nine in trying, windy conditions wearing very fruity foot wear.

The Wolves had first use of the breeze but looked to have failed to put it to good enough use. With only 10 minutes to go in the first half they had failed to register any points. But the big Rockdale forwards had blowin themselves out trying to keep up with the far fitter, far smarter Wolves pack. The boys managed to put on two tries before half time and went into the break sure they could lengthen the lead in the second.

For the first time all day Rockdale used the breeze well and put the ball into the corners but the new Wolves back 3 of Bazza, Joe and Nash were up to the task. They defended strongly when called upon and returned kicks aggressivelyly with Joe crossing for 3 tries and Bazza pulling off several of his infamous kamikazezi hits. Nash only managed to chip kick the ball straight to several Rockdale players and miss most of his conversion attempts.

With 15 minutes to go the Wolves were 32 points up and in an effort to keep players fit several changes were made. This combined with the sizable lead saw the Wolves drop there intensity a little with Rockdale managing to put on several late tries through their godzilla like forward pack. The Wolves though were never really in trouble winning comfortably 32-19


16/10/2010 San Loui Obispo vs Merrylands

Talley Fields, Arroyo Grande

California, U.S.A

With roughly a week of hamburgers and beers under their belts and only a few training sessions as a unit the boys made their way to the Talley fields unsure of what to expect. Earlier in the day we were met by the SLO captain and prop John and he was a big boy. The wolves were a little nervous.

After a 15 minuet ride through some beautiful vineyards the boys arrived at the playing fields and were greeted by some of the most amazing, lush, carpet like grass we had ever seen. Truly just to see the grass was worth the trip!

Both sides eyed each other off from across the field trying to get a sense of what the game might be like. At first glance the SLO team didn’t lack for size. The props were big and their flankers looked sharp. And to be honest they looked a little fitter then us.

The Wolves lost the toss and kicked off and from the very first ruck it became clear to both sides this wasn’t gunna be a leisurely stroll. In the early exchanges SLO attacked the ball at the ruck with venom and were keen to put some shots on the Wolves. The boys managed to hold onto possession and get a few lucky calls from the ref (who every one agreed was one of the best refs we had had all year) and were soon in a position to launch their first raid.

After some smooth handling and a lovely ball by Marc T, Star streaked through a hole to open the scoring in favor of the Wolves. Briggs slotted the conversion from the side line!!

From the re-start the boys managed to find some holes around the ruck and pushed their way deep into SLO territory again. Todd “Party Boy” Parsons was playing half back and seeing his chance he threw a trademark Parsons dummy and strolled through the gap as the nearest SLO defender could be heard crying (in a horrible American accent) “Oh you f@#ker”

Most of the first half was a similar story with the Wolves controlling possession and putting on 4 tries

In the one-on-one exchanges SLO had more then enough to go with the Wolves, but there lack of rugby up bringing showed when ever the Wolves managed to put a few phases together and run a few lines in the backs. Star especially showed what running a straight line can do to inexperienced players.

For the last few minuets of the first half SLO managed to hold onto the ball and with the clock ticking down crossed the line but were disallowed for a dropped ball. They managed to pull themselves together and score a good forwards try before the break.

A combination of SLO learning from their mistakes and holding possession better, all the Merrylands players trying to get on the score sheet (Pete, Briggs, Jade and Frank the biggest culprits) and SLO having twice the replacements the Wolves did meant the game evened out in the second half.

Mid way through the second half Usa scooped up a long kick deep in Merrylands territory and with the defense almost on him pulled off the kind of jink and swerve only Fijians can and took off down the field, racing past several full stretch defenders. But alas with the line only meters away the cover manged to drag him down and over the side line. From the ensuing line out and ruck the wolves managed to turn over possession and scour again.

Not long after with the game almost at an end Eddie Wihongi ran a great line on Marc t’s inside, got a good ball from the 5/8 and took off for an electrifying 55 meter run to score next to the post and light up the crowd.

There were a couple of other highlights during the match. One involved Macr T running into his own posts and Ben Davis lieing on the ground screaming like a fat kid thats lost his cake ,but we won’t go into those here. You will have to ask someone that was presant for the full stories.

The final score was something along the lines of 48-12.


For those that didn’t come along you missed a truley awesome occasion. To walk onto such a beautiful pitch, in such an ammazing setting, on the other side of the world and play a game we all take for granted against a group of blokes who think rugby is the greatest thing they have ever discovered is some thing that will live with the 17 Wolves lucky enough to make it forever.


11/9/2010 Grand Final Campbell Cup

Merrylands looked like making it here from the first time a ball was kicked in a 3rd grade match this year. Blue Mountains looked likely to be their opponent from around about the same time. This was always going to be a good game. The conditions on Saturday were perfect. The ground was in great shape. There would be no rained out G.F this year. No dust bowl to contend with. Just good fast rugby.

The Wolves drew first blood with Tauonga “that’s still not it” Waetford scoring on the overlap early. The infamous 3rd grade Wolf backline was looking sharp.

Blue Mountains were playing their regular kick and then pressure type game but it seemed obvious to most watching that in these perfect conditions and with the Merrylands bench looking full, keen and powerful they were going to need to be a little more proactive if they wanted to wrestle the title away from the reigning premiers. And so the game opened up. The first half was a blur of running that belies the interval score line of 10-6. It was awesome to watch.  It really could have been a first grade game with the skills on show and the level of willingness of both units.

The second half seemed to be heading in the same direction. The Wolves got a couple of early breaks and found themselves in good field position after only 10 minutes. And like the true champions they are they made it pay with Tauauoga Waetford crossing for another well worked overlap try after some awesome build up by Con Viali and Texas.

The game see-sawed again for several minutes with Mountains desperate not to go any further behind and the Wolves keen to put a G.F to bed early for a change. Once again the Wolf backline sparked and Kelly “I’m not playing next year” Phillips took off down field after being put in to the clear by Richi “The number 1 Ngawini” Ngwini. The forwards sensed there moment. Con Viali went close, so did Beau Moses……but not as close as Texas who crashed over next to the posts to put the Wolves 3 tries up.

You could sense that perhaps the Mountain Men didn’t have the points in them to come back from here and they knew it. Texas’s try started and avalanche of points as the Mountain Men lost the killer instinct and the Wolves rained down on them. Tanga scored again, then the artist formally known as Todd Parsons. Then Con.

Todd Parsons scored a contender for try of the season. Mountains had the ball for a 22 re-start and it looked like they had caught the Wolves unaware with only Todd and Taounga covering one side as the kick off floated to them and a wall of hungry Mountain Men came running at them.  As Tom Cruise once said “hesitation will get you killed”. Toddy flew for the ball, leapt, took it, put on a bit of a studder (that actually looked a little retarded) and a fend and broke through to score. Awesome.

In the end the score blew out to 34 to 8 for the Wolves and so the celebrations begun. Matangi Aerenga showed why some people consider him the Martin Luther King of his generation with a powerful, stirring victory speech that will be remembered for a long time to come.

There were a lot of good performances.

Big Tama has been one of the finds of the season. Not only has he picked up man of the match awards every week but he has been keen to play when ever and where ever he is asked. He spent the majority of the season in 4ths but with the warm weather threatening to slow down the likes of Beau and Jake Moses he headed the call to play up and had a blinding game staying on for most of the game and holding up the tight head side of the scrum with ease.

Chris Magele showed why the higher grade coaches are keen to see more of him next year with some great runs and career ending tackles. Bazza found himself in the unusual position of flanker but approached it just the way we all thought he wood…..a hundred miles an hour.  Marc T came on late in the game and slotted into the second row, showing everyone why his considered one of the better 5/8’s going around. He also may be in line for an Oscar with a mesmerising display of acting ability. After missing a simple catch from a kick off he blundered his way into the nearest Mountain player, screamed like a small child and managed to earn the Wolves a penalty. Well done big man.

Texas. What a legend.  He has played a role in so many Merrylands grand finals most of us barely remember a time when he wasn’t here. He had another outstanding game.

Usa had a bit of an interrupted season with a shoulder injury putting an end to his early season form. He was keen to show his son, Joel, just what the old man in capable of and was given a chance late in the match out on the wing and pulled off an amazing cover tackle to rival Scott Satler.

Well done boys, how about 2nd grade next year?



4/9/2010 Merrylands vs Blue Mountains

To be honest it’s hard to know what to say about this game. Losing to a team that is better then you in a big game like this doesn’t hurt too bad. Losing to a team you and everyone at the ground (including the opposition themselves) knows your better then is a bit like a rugby boot……hard to swallow. Losing to a team you should have destroyed if a few more folks made the commitment is a bit like Possum……. really, really shit.

With the conditions wet and muddy the game was always going to be full of kicking. The early advantage was swinging the Wolves way with some great kicking from Moses and Liam. That combined with the Wolves lineout working well insured there was plenty of pressure heaped on the Mountain men early and it soon payed off with Kristan crossing for a five pointer and Briggsy slotting a penalty. Blue Mountains didn’t really seem to have any answers to the Merrylands defense and were content to simply kick and hope….. but unfortunately for us they got lucky.

Blue mountains managed to get a try and a penalty in the first half from simple mistakes  the back that led to the Wolves losing 40 or 50 meters of territory, territory I don’t think they could have run or even got with kicks had we not made mistakes.

The second half was much of the same with the Wolves pressing hard and Mountains simply trying to soak up pressure and kick when they had the ball. Once again Mountains managed to get lucky on a kick, gain big territory and score a simple over lap try……..but the boys didn’t give up.

Anthony “A.J” Tuara made up for his late start to the game by scoring an awesome set move penalty tap 5 meters from the line. For all of you that were not there you missed out. Set moves by forwards from penalty taps years and years ago used to be some thing all sides had up there sleeve but they are a rare treat these days.

From the kick off there was only a few minutes left and Mountains resorted to some questionable tactics to slow the game down. They dropped half a dozen scrums and fained injuries at the drop of a hat. The Wolves were finally awarded a penalty for the unsportmen like behavior a few meters from half way. With Merrylands only needing 3 points to hit the front Briggs was asked to have a shot. The crowd held it’s breath as one, but alas it took a slight detour and missed by a hair. Still the boys kept going and looked to really have the ascendency as the game drew to a close.

Then with the ref spotting a dubious knock-on out wide by the Wolves a scrum was called with feed to Mountains and the ref told the boys it was last play of the game. The front row of Tubbs, Levi and A.J gave it there all and the Mountains scrum went wheeling backwoods. The ball seemed destined to end up on the Wolves side for one last hurrah………until one of the Mountain props, in full site of just about every single person at the bloody ground, stuck his hand in the scrum and flicked the ball back.

The Wolves at once and all as one turned to the ref expecting an obvious penalty and maybe even a sin bin but he simply waved play on, one of the Mountains forwards hacked the ball into touch and it was all over.

There will be a lot said about this season for 2nd grade so I wont say too much here.

It sounds like a cliche but there was a core of fellas who have put in all year and they stood out in this game too. Moses and O’lando played awesome. Tubbs and Parker were tireless. Briggsy was maybe best player on ground and showed what he can do when he gets aggressive.From memory I think he cover 4 positions during the coarse of the match. Kristan, Tama and Arana played a proper muddy rugby forwards game. Big thanks needs to go to Bicks who was stuck on the wing on a hard day for even the most experienced back, Deano who was called up at short notice and played like he was there all year, and Joshy who heeded the call for outside backs and had a very safe game under the high ball.

Like 1st grade, 2nds have some planning to do in the off season but with eh talent we have I’m sure they can go one better next year and make the G.F……….final score 15-13 to Blue Mountains


21/8/2010 Merrylands vs Brothers


4th Grade

Shit. Bugger. Shit.

To put it simply 4th grade needed to win to make the semis but alas could only manage a 4 point loss. Blacktown on the other hand managed a 1 POINT win over Hawkesbury Valley and our fate was sealed.

In an effort to secure the win the Wolves rolled out some heavy artillery (first and second graders) and also opted to leave Steve Mac out of the side completely but still got off to a slow start with Brothers kicking a penalty and a field goal early in the first half. Hopes among the 4th grade faithful sawed though when Todd “I drink cigarette buts and tips jar juice” Parsons threw a trade mark Parsons dummy from the base of the ruck and ran in under the posts untouched.

Despite having no possession and some very, veRY, VERY dodgy ref calls the Wolves managed to hold on to their lead until about 5 minutes from full time when the brothers squeezed in a try next to the corner post.

The disappointment was etched over all the Wolves faces. Special mentions need to go to Ben Davis and Nash Steward. Despite both having long and distinguished 1st grade careers they added nothing to the 4th grade team, in fact they probably let them down. Ben missed a couple of tackles on big, slow 50 year old men and then lost his temper and questioned one of the oppositions sexuality despite being awarded the penalty?!?!?! Nash…… many bloody times do we have to say it…….NO MORE F@#KING CHIPS!!!!!!!!!!!!!…………… score 11-7 to Brothers


3rd Grade


With the Wolves playing ranks for the day being based on quality not quantity the 3rd grade team that ran out looked even more deadly then usual. I’m not going to bother to go into too much detail of how the game went and how certain tries were scored………because there were so many I cant remember.

Probably the high light of the match was one of the Brothers second rowers slotting a field goal. I didn’t see any of you tough guy, smart ass Wolves players slot a 3 pointer?!?!?!

Demolition job…….70-17 to the Wolves


2nd Grade


The boys started the day confused and worried. Their Fearless leader Chris had decided to pull out of today’s match, a very important match, a match that could see them into the major semi, a match that could even see them take out the minor premiership, a match they were looking to to set up their run for the tittle because …………………he had a sore tooth?!?!?!?!

Despite this set back the boys rallied behind their Capitan A.J and quickly jumped out to a sizable lead. The Arana Rissetto Plane was cleared for take off as the big, veteran lock crossed for two classic support player tries. Mathew “nobody knows I’m Maltese” Briggs had a barnstorming game out wide crossing for a couple and setting up a bunch more. Jade Taivairanga, worried that he was one of only 2 first grade players yet to score this year, made a cameo in 2nds and smiled with blessed relief as he managed to cross for quite the handsome try, only to be told lower grade tries don’t count for 1st graders.

Big games were also had by Bicks Hicks, Liam Parsons and O’lan