Welcome back to the seventeenth and final Circular for 2022. We’d like to thank all of you, our readers, friends, supporters and players for prying open the Circular each week, and taking a look under the bow to see what the Oysters have been up to. This week is of course a special bonus edition of the Circular to wrap up our year. And yes, it most certainly has a happy ending...
If the Oysters were to liken this week to a seafood banquet, it could only be described as a Fisherman’s Basket of mixed emotions. Deep at the bottom, lay a comforting scattering of chips. Robust, hearty and readily available, the chips embodied the strong foundations on which our club was built upon, the starchy bond we’d all need to lean on to get through this most difficult week. To the left, one would find deep fried crab claws, the kinds that pinched our bellies, such was the nervous anxiety that poked and prodded our insides. Even the most hardened Oyster could not deny that this week’s grand final matchup against Manly would be a sizable mountain to climb. And yes, some sea animals might be gutted in the process.
Laying parallel, soft rings of orange crusted calamari, representing the kind and gentle guidance of our coaching and support staff. Ever present and wise, many did not realise just how fast their many legs were hurrying to arrange our big game day. And sitting pretty on the top of our fishermans basket of sizable proportions, sat a dish of Tartar sauce, representing the sweet tang of victory we’d experienced all season. But as every seasoned sailor worth their sea salt knows, there comes a danger in over-saucing your seafood treats. One must let the freshness of marine animals breathe, to truly taste the flavour of pure, unadulterated victory.
And so we gathered, 7pm sharp on the lawns of Easts Rugby Club for the final training of the season. Upon reflection, the Oysters were most certainly in a sterner mood than usual. As not a single sea mammal was late, Thursday’s training very much felt like Wynyard station, strictly business. Running play after play, line out after line out, there was less whooping and hollering this week, and certainly less dribble, as the Oysters game faces were focused purely on the prize of Saturday. We ended the session with one final huddle to round out the session, to hear some words from both Gus and Lachy, who regaled tales of what it means to be an Oyster. Some would say mid speech tears began to form, others will say it was rain. But I rechecked the BOM and there was no precipitation that night, so the rain was cleary man-made and fell from our tear ducts.
Exhibit B: Seond Rower H.Williams charing into the Manly defense
Saturday morning came and digital communications were blaring even before sunrise. The Oysters branch of sleep police had most certainly done their duties on Friday night, as Oysters appeared fresh and well slept come Saturday morning. Not a single Oyster was late to the Dudley to board the P&O Cruise Liner. And more than a few Oysters had boots polished and polos freshly ironed. Some even carried overnight bags, such was their confidence we had some fun and frivolous days ahead.
The highlight of the last bus trip of the season? The Oysters clan were surprised with a cherished gift from Lachy and Stace, a 13-minute Oscar worthy mastercut video which featured friends and family wishing us all the best for the big game. Videos were sent in from the UK, Wales, Sydney, Newcastle, Canberra, Melbourne and then some. We were even graced with a National address via military grade satellite connection, as one Oyster’s Dad sent us a message from a nuclear testing facility somewhere in the Northern hemisphere, with the kind of inspiring words that would motivate us to take over Merrylands oval. And then, the world! Gee’d up and ready to rip, we sailed into Holroyd Oval and the real work began…
Exhibit C: The Oysters defensive line primed and ready.
Match Report: The Game That Stopped A Nation
Grand Final day was upon us and the Oyster’s were ready with bells on at The Lord Dudley to depart to the historic town of Merrylands, to once again grace Holroyd Oval with a fine display of Oysters rugby for the second time in as many weeks.
The Oysters opponents were a well known and formidable one, with The Oysters coming up against Manly Savers for the McLean Cup glory for 2022.
To everyone’s surprise La Nina was still hanging about and this boded well for The Oysters after a season of being considerably agile due to the wrath of La Nina, it was an omen that the Oysters needed to be agile against the might of the Manly Savers team. As the heavens opened and the wind blew, it was comforting to know that this wasn’t something the Oysters hadn’t experienced during the year, with the final touches in the warm up being done by both sides, it was game time.
The Oysters must’ve finally listen to the coaches pre-game speech for once, because they came out of a cannon to start the game, with a quick turn over off the kick off and some enterprising phase play that saw Roy Harrison dart through slight gaps to pressure the Manly Savers try line in the first five minutes, this lead to Hamish Lorang knocking over a penalty right in front after continuous pressure from the Oysters attack.
It was end to end stuff from both sides, with Manly having a number of attempts to kick penalty goals, with a number of these missing. The Oysters defence was holding firm, even with the loss of Harri Greville to a hamstring injury after twenty five minutes, the Oysters defence held strong and attacking phase play was crispy, with some strong runs from Harry Williams, Nick Stubbs and Sam Brennan. In the lead up to Half time, the Manly Savers and Hamish Lorang traded penalty goals to go into the half time break at 6-3.
The Second half started the way that the first half ended, with Manly Savers continually holding onto the ball and kicking corners to play the field possession game and were able to kick a penalty goal to even up the scores to 6-all after five minutes. The sides continued to play end to end rugby with some enjoyable footy from both sides. As the sides traded opportunities, none of which were successful, the Oysters received a clearing kick with five minutes to go, where Dan Bottrell hit midfield followed by Dimi Tremopoulos breaking three tackles to ru through the middle of the Manly defence and put in what can only be described as a pin point grubber kick for Hamish Lorang to pounce and crash over to score an incredibly Oysters TRY!! To cap off the point, the baby giraffe and skipper himself, Angus McClelland nailed the conversation from near the sideline to put the Oysters out to a seven point lead (13-6).
The final five minutes, this can only be described as the most nerve racking viewing from the sideline, but the trust in the Oysters defence is what was so delightful. In this final five minutes, the injections of Lachy Argiris and Thomas Taylor really galvanised the Oysters defensive effort with the Manly Savers peppering the Oysters tryline for the entirety of the final five minutes. As the final play was called, the Manly Savers set up a scrum where they were able to swing it to their Argentinian seven’s fullback that was quick sticks, Gastron was able to get on the outside to put the reserve winger away, with Dan Bottrell, Angus McClelland, Thomas Taylor and Jack Remond covering to bundle the winger into touch and completing the game.
Oysties win, Oysties win 13-6….. Wow, what a ride and what a defensive effort from the oysters.
Exhibit F: Jubilant scenes as the referee blows fulltime
Huge congratulations to the Oysters squad and a massive thankyou to the supporters coming out to Holroyd to watch the team.
Coach James Wivell
The LBH Salami Outro
START TRANSMISSON -aaaaaand ACTION!
Well hello there. Take a few deep breaths - one, two, three. There we go - what a season hey? We have hardly stopped to pinch ourselves and are still buzzing from the premiership win and the festivities that followed. And oh how good they were! If there’s anything that the Oysties know better than running rugby, it’s how to party and celebrate accordingly! We are Sydney’s number #1 social rugby club after all. So without further ado here is some insight into the days that ensued Mickey Cup Glory.
Sweet sweet ecstasy for the Oyster players, supporters and staff as the final whistle blew to seal the deal for the mollusc men. The song was sung with jubilation and skipper McClelland was eloquent as always in his victory speech before hoisting the Mickey Cup high into the heavens. Now for those regular readers throughout the season, you will note the big bus energy is a staple in the Sydney Harbour habitat - so how best to celebrate than a bloody big bus back to the light brigade! Many a song was sung as we sipped tantalising Tooheys from Mickey. Cloud 9, no more, no less. The trip back was capped off with a rendition of New Beach Rd that Johnny Denver himself would be proud of, as we piled in for a photo at Ms Macquaries chair in front of our harmonious home front. It was a moment to reflect, smile and cherish one heck of a 16-0 season with the team.
We were greeted back at the LBH by wags, friends, families, the general public, and half of Allianz stadium who wanted to get in on the fun! And who could blame them! Beers and pizzas flowing, another recurring motif of the season that was. At this particular point in time our attention could only be drawn to Greek God Dimi, who produced a run and a grubber that The Eighth himself was incapable of. Needless to say the crowd exclaimed “Dimi Dimi Dimi a man after midnight”. But our man’s agility and finesse on the LBH stairs didn’t rival that of his onfield performance…..and many pondered if he would make it to midnight.
Gus Gould Stubbs knew the night must go on, there was so much left in the movie! And so with great vision opened up his arms and his lovely abode to the Oyster community. Dr Findlay Lapped it up! Grev opened up the pipes and signed a new deal to star as Elvis in the next biopic, whilst Mencinsky and Taylor had plenty of carbon credits left for the calendar year so opted to put them to good use. Elsewhere, Argiris emulated each and every running back the NFL has ever seen, Mannsie Jnr was cutting up the dancefloor and Brenno, well - he of all people would know about this, that and the other.
Morning came - the 2nd day. And as the Sun rose so did the Oyster. And we migrated to the warmer waters of Scruffy Murphy’s, for shandys galore. Make no mistake (I dare you to ask him) - today was Wiv’s grand final. And nothing was getting in his way. Austin Powers gets Loud and stays loud! It was great to see Stu, Alan and Chao reconnect from their wilder days yesteryear, and more so the TMCT (Teenage Mutant Coltie Turtles) had surfaced from the sewers below. A splendid court session was held - where Grev, Gus and Wiv embodied Mugabe and ran absolutely riot on us all. There simply was no pleasing the court. As the hours rolled on (Remond was limited to one word/hour), our jovial host Judd arrived, a little dusty I see - someone get this man a warm fish milkshake ASAP! They had run out of fish, but replaced it with kahlua and rum to produce the finest drink known to mankind - the burrcutter! As you can tell I could go on forever here, but let’s just say the worlds problems were all solved later that evening. If only the G10 were on hand to observe and take notes!
Exhibit H: The Oysters enjoying their Sunday Celebrations at Scruffy Murphys
Monday rolled around, and coincidental as it were many an Oyster had fallen foul to the man-flu, and so found there way to a lovely 5 ways rooftop to rendezvous and recover. The sun shined, Lorang mixed his words and his drinks (Shout out to Candy Warmer) and we were graced with the presence of a couple legends (and handy punters I might add).
Big ups to those Dolly Parton reinforcements who rolled in hot. You injected at a much needed time as a few sleeeepy boys drifted off from the reef back into their shell. The curtains closed on a pearler few days in true fashion - with a succulent Chinese meal. END TRANSMISSION
As another season draws to a close we would like to make special acknowledgement and give thanks to those who make this great club viable. To our sponsors, Scott from Greenstone, Rachael from Delaney Lawyers, Jason from Beach Club Vodka, David from Bisley Workear, The Bayfield Family from the Light Brigade, The Harveys from Brickfield Hospitality, Grant from Costin-Roe Consulting & Jack from South Sydney advisory we can’t thank you enough for your generous support of the club.
The coaching & management staff of James Wivell, Judd Harvey, Anthony McDougal and Nick Stace have done an outstanding job of herding the Oysters to training and games each week developing our skills and rugby knowledge and delivering the club its second premiership, thank you! To the committee abely led by Toby, thank you for giving the club direction and purpose. Our medical team of Nicole & Burdo thank you for keeping us fit and on the field! Thanks to Ian Stubbs for being there every Saturday taking the photos that you all so enjoy viewing in this circular each week. Massive shoutout needs to go to our supporters club led by Charles Biscoe barracking for the Oysters week in and week out, we love having you all down making some noise on the reef.
Finally to the 30 Oysters players who donned the field this year, thank you for putting your hand up and buying into the club and the culture. It takes a full & united squad to win a premiership and that could not be typified more than this season. We look forward to having everyone back next year for our 4th season.
September 17th: Oyster Ball
September 2023: Oysters Rugby World Cup France Tour (Enquire within anyone keen to join)
Editors Sign Off
Thank you for reading and coming on the journey with this year's circular. It has been a pleasure retelling our weekends at rugby to you. See you all next year.
Lyndon, Thomas, Nick & Gus.
Exhibit J: CHAMPIONS