2023 NRL WA Premiership Review – Round 10

By Peter Rowe

North Beach Sea Eagles and South Perth Lions both got their seasons back on track with wins to leave Rockingham Sharks stuck at the foot of the ladder after a thrilling round 10 of the NRLWA Fuel to Go and Play Premiership on Saturday.

In a defensive battle of attrition where only two points were scored in the second half, North Beach emerged victorious -16-6.

“That was a battle, we only had one man left on the bench at the end and I had to rotate forwards into centres,” Beach coach Phil Douche said.

“But we defended superbly and took what little chances there were – which proved decisive.”

After a 20-minute battering from Rockingham, where they couldn’t get across the try line, the Sea Eagles opened the scoring in the 22nd minute through Brock McCaskill.

And six minutes later fullback Bailey Millar chased down a long kick to score in the corner to extend the lead to eight.

“That gave us some breathing space,” Douche said. “Bit we knew Rockingham would hit back.”

And hit back they did, within three minutes, as centre Phoenix Paeu crossed and when captain Keelyn Tuuta Edwards kicked the extra two points the Sharks were back in the hunt.

McCaskill then ended that hope with the final try of the game on the halftime siren to set up a second half arm wrestle.

Errors from both sides saw the game see-saw from one end to the other, with the Sharks missing several opportunities to score before frustration finally saw two sin-bins to the home side that gave the visitors the edge and  four minutes from time a penalty saw them home.

“They (North Beach) scored two long range tries after we had most of the first half possession and that really hurt us,” Sharks player-coach Tom Murphy said.

“We lost Kelvin Coleman with a knock and that didn’t help, but we just couldn’t get across the line.”

It was a different story at George Burnett Park where South Perth and Joondalup went toe-to-toe in a tryfest of a match, the home side hanging on at the end to win 36-32.

“We scored, then they scored, it was a real topsy turvy game,” assistant coach Paul Brown said.

Centre Tere Cameron-Ramea scored a double for the home side, as did fellow centre and the game’s MVP Ethan Gourgaud, to help secure the points, with further tries from Tyler Thomas, Caleb Norton, and Brandon Timlin.

“It was nailbiting stuff at the end, Brown admitted.

“Joondalup scored with three minutes left to make it a four-point game and then laid siege to our line, but the boys held out.”

It was a second consecutive loss for Joondalup, something that player-coach Taurean Sheehan was hoping to avoid.

“We were first to score and then it was try for try, but sadly we let it slip at the end,” Sheehan said.

“I could see the disappointment on the players faces in the rooms afterwards. They were upset.

“It means we are still in the mix and have to fight for points to securer a playoff spot.

“I’m hoping it was our wake-up call.”