PALMYRA Rugby Union Club opened its 2017 campaign with a resounding 41-27 victory over archrivals Cottesloe in round 1 of the RugbyWA Premier Grade season.
In near perfect conditions at Harvey Field, both teams traded early penalty goals before new signing David Neilson opened up the defence from just inside his own half to send his younger brother Jackson over for a try.
The Palmyra forwards dominated the early exchanges and a short time later Palmyra crossed again for another try, to take a commanding 17-3 lead midway through the first half.
On the stroke of halftime Cottesloe scored an opportunist try in the corner, with former springbok fly half Peter Grant converting to make it 17-10 at halftime.
In the second half the Palmyra forward pack – led by Joel Winterburn and Mees Erasmus – dominated the opposition, with prop Erasmus picking up a loose ball near halfway before charging down field to score under the posts.
Both teams then traded tries midway through the second half with Palmyra finally overcoming a gallant Cottesloe 41-27.
Palmyra had six try scorers for the match, with Toots Waenga bagging a hat trick.
David Neilson made an impressive debut to win man of the match honours.
Neilson constantly troubled the opposition getting the better of his opposite number Grant with a number of line breaks and his overall direction of play.
Young gun Tahere Reha made his Premier Grade debut off the bench following some impressive form for the Western Force under-20s this year.
In other games, the reserves hammered Cottesloe 45-12 and the colts dominated the Cottesloe Colts 48-7.