2024 NRL WA Premiership Preview – Round 14

By PETER ROWE

 

Friday night football comes to the Fuel to Go and Play Premiership for round 14 when the Fremantle Roosters host the South Perth Lions under the lights at Treeby Oval.

 

Top of the ladder Roosters, buoyant after their big win over the Giants last weekend go into this first versus last clash with the Lions confident they can maintain their position as favourites for the premiership this year, but beware the resurgent South Perth team, after they gave the Rockingham Sharks a mauling in round 13.

 

South Perth coach Marty Collis knows it will be big ask but his side is full of confidence after their win over the Sharks.

 

“We’ve got Corban Daniels back in the centres, so that’s a big addition, but we are missing forward Blair Young and winger Karra Wiringi,” Collis confirmed.

 

“Last week’s big win gave everyone a boost and we need to repeat that sort of performance against the Roosters. It won’t be easy, but if we can complete our sets and our half combination is working, then there’s every chance.

 

“We had a lot of opportunities to score points last week because of opposition errors. I’m not sure if we’ll get them this time around but we have to be ready. Fremantle are a very good side.”

 

Roosters captain Duane Butler is aware of the danger the South Perth side bring and knows his sidewalk have to be at their best.

 

Centres Joe Po’uhila and Eli Beattie are both out with work commitments and Taipa Graham is still struggling with a niggling hamstring. Halfback Sonny Kerr is also out, having been hospitalised two weeks ago with pneumonia.

 

“There’s a good feeling around the club right now, we’re two points clear at the top, but we know we have to maintain our lead as we head towards finals,” Butler said.

 

“There are tough games ahead of us and South Perth is the first of three we face. Every game is a must win. They (South Perth) have improved as the season has gone on and we know how dangerous they can be.

 

“But we have improved week on week, we completed 80 per cent of our sets in the second half last week and we need to continue that way.”

 

The game has been moved to Friday evening (8pm) to help promote the women’s tackle competition, with Fremantle’s women playing Ellenbrook Rabbitohs earlier at 6.40pm.

 

At Blueforce Park Rockingham Sharks will be looking to restore some pride after their surprise loss to South Perth and again will make changes due to injuries as they fight to stay in second spot, with North Beach hot on their tails.

 

Brody Gilchrist is out after surgery this week but centre Sirla Pera returns following an enforced week off with a head knock.

 

Coach Tom Murphy will make a few changes with hopefully strike players Logan Barclay and Brandon White returning.

 

“We’ve discussed last week’s game in a really good honesty session and we’ve moved on,”Murphy said.

 

“Everyone is onboard with what we are trying to achieve and while this is another tough game we have to be up for the fight.

 

“Beach play an up-tempo style with speed and have good structure and if we are to beat them we have to complete our sets and limit our errors – especially unforced ones. Discipline is key and be defensively set for whatever they throw at us.”

 

North Beach hope to welcome back exciting centre Jaylen Grey from a stint in Queensland and will also have forwards Shane Gillham and Brody Whitehead available.

 

But young halfback Darius Rogers will be missing after spending a week at the National under-18s championships in Coffs Harbour and centre Ryan Woolley is out with a hernia injury.

 

Back rower Tyler Moeau is also missing, sitting out his third week of suspension, but coach Phil Douche is happy with his squad.

 

“We are always going to have a few ins and outs at this time of the season, but we’re pretty strong,” he said.

 

“We have to be wary of Rockingham, I’m sure they can’t wait to get out on the field and clear their heads.

 

“It’s battle for top two spots now – us, Freo and Rocky. It will be probably go down to the wire.”