2023 NRL WA Premiership Preview – Round 13

By Peter Rowe

North Beach Sea Eagles coach Phil Douche knows a win over the Rockingham Sharks is vital if his side has any chance of grabbing second spot on the NRLWA Fuel to Go and Play ladder.

But Douche knows it won’t be easy with previous encounters between these two sides physical affairs.

“Last week I was reasonably confident, but this week I’m nervous,” Douche said.

“Rockingham are not far off being a very good side and that worries me.”

Douche will welcome back Keiran Tarrant and Kallum Gulliver-Brown in the forwards, the latter returning from representing South Africa, but will lose influential hooker Trent Trotter and Dean Morgan, both away for work.

“We’ve got a bigger pack this week ad we will need it against the Sharks,” Douche said.

“Ted (Shand) and Tyrone (Cranston) will continue in the halves. I was very happy with them last week, so we will keep the same pairing.”

The Sea Eagles two season-starting halves, Jeremy Wallace and Kade McDonald are both still sidelined with injuries. Wallace has an ACL issue and McDonald a grade 2 MCL, but Douche is hopeful they will be fit for the finals.

The Sharks still mathematically have a chance to make the four, but would have to rely on other results going their way over the last three rounds of the regular season.

“It’s been a tough season but we’re still there battling away,” coach Tom Murphy said.

“When we played them a few weeks back, it was a battle and both sides had a few injuries.

“I expect a battle again. Beach are a well coached side and they play a good brand of structured footy.”

At Admiral Park both Joondalup Giants and South Perth Lions will be pushing hard for a win that helps their playoff hopes.

The Lions are currently third on the ladder, on the same points (14) as North Beach, with Joondalup just a point behind.

“It’s such an important game,” assistant Phil Brown said. “To get that second spot where you get another chance if you lose your first playoff game is so important.”

The Lions look like losing centre Corban Daniels with a pectoral injury for the season and fellow centre Josh Adu faces a late fitness test.

But club stalwart Eddie Proudler looks like returning after a spell overseas and will probably come off the bench.

“It’s great to have Eddie back as that gives us more options, but as a team unit we know we have to be better than last week,” Brown added.

“That means increase our intensity and tighten up on defence, especially at the start of each half.”

Joondalup coach Taurean Sheehan said his side needs to win.

“We obviously will watch what happens elsewhere but we can only control what happens in our game,” he said.

“We’ve a couple out and a couple in due to work commitments, but it’s our last regular season home game of the year, so we want to make sure we end on a positive.”

NRLWA Fuel to Go and Play Premiership Round 13

North Beach Sea Eagles v Rockingham Sharks  – Charles Riley Reserve, 3.30pm

Joondalup Giants v South Perth Lions – Admiral Park, 3.30pm