2024 NRL WA Premiership Preview – Round 12

By PETER ROWE

 

South Perth Lions coach Marty Collis is hoping the final 15 minutes of his team’s performance at Joondalup last weekend will help stimulate his side to their first victory of the season at home to North Beach Sea Eagles on Saturday in round 12 of the NRLWA Fuel to Go and Play Premiership.

 

The Lions came close to victory at Admiral Park with Collis impressed with the effort at the back end of the 26-22 loss.

 

“I saw a lot of positives from the final 15 minutes,” Collis said. “Unfortunately we made too many errors earlier in the game and that was what cost us the points.

 

“But we learnt a lot from it and I think we will be ready for what North Beach throw at us on Saturday.”

 

The Lions hope to have fullback Corban Daniels back in their lineup but forwards Caleb Norton and Jarred Smith are both doubtful with injuries, Norton with a calf strain and Smith still with a troublesome ankle.

 

Jayden Wilkinson limped from the field last weekend with a knee injury that will keep him out of contention for a few weeks and new signing Samisoni Langi is battling an ankle injury to be fit for the game.

 

“It will be tough as it always is against Beach,” Collis admitted.  “We have to improve our completion rates to compete with the top three right now.

 

“I think Fremantle completed 12 of 15 sets against us recently and Rockingham were similar, whereas we were only about eight from 15, so you can see where we need to improve.

 

“Beach are quick around the ruck, so we have to stop their momentum if we want to win.”


Photo – Karmel Potter-Green


Momentum wasn’t there for the Sea Eagles last weekend in their loss to Fremantle, so coach Phil Douche took his side back to basics with skills training during the week.

 

“Game management, I’ve been saying this for a few weeks, it’s our Achilles heel, so we have be better if we are to get back to winning ways,” he said.

 

“I’m looking for improvements in a number of areas – nothing massive or spectacular- but finding consistency again.”

 

The Sea Eagles welcome back forward Shane Gillham and lock Bowman Stein, but Douche expects to make a few changes to last week and was hoping young halfback Darius Rogers would make it through his Combined Affiliated States representative game at the State of Origin showdown in Melbourne on Wednesday evening unscathed.

 

Douche spent some time during the week in front of his TV screen watching video of previous South Perth games, such is his professional approach to the competition.  “It’s part of the game at this level now, has to be done,” he said.


Photo – Libby McMillan

Rockingham coach Tom Murphy was also watching the same video, this time checking out their opponents on Saturday, Joondalup Giants.

 

Murphy returns to the side after four weeks out with injury and welcomes back Brody Gilchrist and Kelvin Coleman, refreshed after a week off.

 

“It was good to get the week off but we now have a run of five weeks with games, so it’s important to get off to a win as we move into the business end of the season,” Murphy said.

 

“Joondalup are a physical side and they will always test you, so we have to match that physicality. It’s nice to get some faces back, but we still have a few out, so I have to manage that.”

 

The Rockingham game will game kick off at 4.30pm, a little later than at George Burnett Park and Giants coach Darren Smith will be without several players from last weekend’s win over South Perth, most notably halfback Taurean Sheehan and forward Payden Porter.

 

“We’ve got a few out but that’s the nature of the game right now,” Smith said.

 

“Confidence is good after our win last weekend, but I know we will have to hit our straps early to be in this game. It will be physical, so we need to ‘hit and stick’ and stay with them.

 

“Keelyn’s (Tuuta-Edwards) a threat and he drags defenders in and creates space for others.”

 

Smith is hopeful hooker River Colman will be available as his side attempt to keep momentum heading towards a potential finals’ spot.

 

“We know we have work to do and defence wins games, so we will have to stay in the game for the full 80 minutes, work for each other keep up the energy levels,” he said.