2022 NRL WA Season Review – Joondalup Giants

And our next club, the Joondalup Giants, who are one of our Premiership clubs.

Home Ground – Admiral Park, Heathridge

2022 Seniors – ALL GRADES – Men’s Fuel To Go & Play Premiership, Women’s Premiership, Val Murphy Trophy & Women’s League Tag

Highlights – It was an interesting year for the Northern Giant, excuse the pun. Let’s go with the Men first.

Off the back of a Premiership in 2020, and a heartbreaking loss in the preliminary final in 2021, they just couldn’t get it right in the Fuel To Go & Play Premiership, where they finished 5th. Although their never say die attitude was alive all year, and they could still make the playoffs with a win in the final round, in a tough away game to the Rockingham Sharks. The Val Murphy Trophy side was similar. Both teams just couldn’t seem to get their best players on the field at the same time with injury, work and other issues causing them to fight and scrape every week. But there was no shame in either side, with the Reserve Grade team finishing a respectable 7th and always having multiple players playing both games.

In the Women’s competition, the Giants are a colossus and the gold standard in the Perth Competition. Period. Their innate ability to compete in both the tackle and tag competitions year on year is exceptional. The Women’s League Tag side was the second best team all year and although outclassed by the monster that is Freo, many of the women were dual players, and succeeded in the tackle side of the game. What can we say about the Women’s Premiership. They were a penalty goal, and some insane defence from the Bunnies away from a Grand Final victory, but unfortunately just couldn’t get over the hill. But they were the only real threat to the green and red monster, and many people watching considered the Giants the better team for longer stretches in the Grand Final.

Players To Watch – Joel Irvine announced himself, in only his second season as a front rower, that he could match it was any of the big boys on his day, while American convert Travis Haney was super impressive in only his second season ever playing the sport. Special mention to Walter Paekau and his boys, who travelled every weekend from Kalgoorlie to add much needed numbers to the Giants was instrumental in both teams getting through the year.
In the ladies, Hayley Utia was a star in the league tag ranks, guiding the side with her trademark try scoring ability, along with Elle Warren, who showed she still has some serious pace when its called for. In the tackle side, without the Stephens name popping up again, Chanelle Edwards was a monster in the finals series in particular, bringing all her experience and power to bear, while Roimata Toa Amoa and Arnika Cave really gained admirers in their first year for the Giants.

2022 Juniors – 13s Boys & Girls, 14s Boys, 15s Girls, 17s Boys & Girls
Highlights – 
Mirroring the Seniors slightly the Giants were a powerhouse in the Girls competitions, while coming up with a bit of learning to do in the Boys divisions.

The 13’s Boys were in a learning stage, with their side full of heart but finding themselves running out of steam in most of their games. The 14’s Boys on the other hand were a dominating side during the season, only to find themselves on the wrong end of two incredibly close games in the finals series, but they will be better for it next year. And the U17s Boys were basically almost all 16. So they will be back next year in their actual age group and go for a monster crack at the other sides.

U13s Girls, U15s Girls and U17s Girls all made the grand final. Just shows the kind of pedigree the female sides have at the Joondalup Giants, with every female side making it to the big day (the only game not featuring a joondalup side, was the GLT in which they didn’t participate this year).
The U13’s went down in a heartbreaker against the Rabbitohs, and it was the same foe who was the runaway favourite in the U15 Girls and showed the rest of the competition how its done. And in the U17 Girls, it looked like a similar result might be on the cards, when the Titans came with all the fire to put the Giants in a world of hurt. But the Maroon and Gold girls refused to give up, and fought back to win an amazing game of rugby league, where both sides were utterly spent. U17 Girls Premiers, to give the Giant’s their only premiership.

Players To Watch
U13 Boys – Xavier Mauchien – 
Part of the Giants makeup, young Xavier hails from the Rapana/Smith clan and epitomizes the way the whole family attack the game. Not the biggest player in the world, but always gets up and goes 100% no matter where he plays.
U13 Girls – Capri Beazley – Another from a heavy Giant family, Capri was making waves in the U15 age group every week with her game sense and play making ability. Special mention to Peytton Wentholt who was a force to be reckoned with on the field.
U14 Boys – Isiah Rapana & Nathaniel Paora – Hard to split, and this was a special team with some good players. But the spine players in Isiah and Nathaniel pulled the strings for this outfit. With the ability to set up, or take the game on themselves, their development over the next couple of years will be crucial.
U15 Girls – Bella Houghton – Alot has been said about Bella’s heroics in their semi final, to carry the Giants into the Grand Final this year. But its the small stuff that sets her apart. Willing to do the 1 percent plays, the things no one else wants to do is the strength of this young prodigy.
U17 Boys – Leon White – Fast, brash with blinding footwork, Leon has the world at his feet. But consistency, injury and his ability to impose himself on a game have lacked at certain times. Next year he will be full blown 17 and there will be no excuses for this talented outside back to make a mark.
U17 Girls – Journey Kereopa – With a dominant and devastating forward pack in front of her, Kereopa was having a ball in 2022, but the step up to the senior stage is a steep curve and talent alone is just a small part. Can she transition her blinding speed and footwork to the older stage?

And that’s a wrap of the on field stuff with the Joondalup Giants for 2022, and we look forward to a bigger and better year in 2023 from the most northern Perth Club.

Stay tuned for other upcoming clubs.