Amazing Roosters To Much To Handle For Brave Sea Eagles

And the Fuel To Go & Play Premiership Premiers are the Fremantle Roosters, who produced not just an amazing grand final, but a top notch full season, along with two almost perfect finals games, to overcome a gallant and brave North Beach Sea Eagles side, who can hold their head high to push the Roosters to raise their game yet again. It was a great end to a wonderful season, and showed that Rugby League as a product is still amazing in the West.

With the Roosters on a mission in 2022, they had one goal and anything less than that was going to be considered a failure, and that was to win the Premiership. The squad itself gave up jobs working away, along with being ultra consistent with training and committing to the team, the club and its new facility in a huge way, championed by their coach Delane Edwards.

The defending premiers in the North Beach Sea Eagles, had a lot of personnel changes this season along with the coach and then more hardship. Gun Bowman Stein got hurt in round 15, and along with a host of other injuries, they looked like it would be hard to even get to the final game of the season. But they shocked a highly fancied Rockingham Sharks team last week, and people were wondering if they could repeat the dose.

It was a punishing a quick start to the game, with both team asserting their dominance in the middle of the field. Onisimo Tagicakibau locked horns with opposite Brody Whitehead early and often as the sides felt each other out. And the game was on a knifes edge as the teams battled for superior field position. The old war horses in Adam Roy and Duane Butler really got to work, churning through a mountain of work on both sides of the ball, and urged their teams on, while the collective kicking games of Kerr, Kemp, Takarangi and Wallace looked to get the upper hand in field position.

And then bang! The first try appeared out of nowhere. The Roosters gained the ascendency slightly and crossed over to the North Beach half, where they put in a attacking chip kick which looked like it was handled fairly easily by Kahan Joyce-Vaughan, only for him to get his pocket completely picked by late call up Regy Manu. Manu showed his value as he manufactured a beautiful one on one steal and ran to dot one down for the Roosters and Paora Kemp stepped up to nail the conversion for the Roosters to lead this one 6-0 early.

And in typical Roosters fashion they went bang bang in a fairly quick hurry. After a penalty put the Roosters straight back on the halfway line, Takaroa Peneha show why he is a former Ron Hudson medallist, when he just went straight through the Sea Eagles line. Fast with great feet and super strong, he took young fullback Bailey Millar on, and Millar was brave and did enough along with youngster Ryan Woolley to stop the big man.

But it didn’t matter in the end. With the Roosters now deep in the attacking zone it was only a matter of time, and three plays later the ball ended up in the hands of Tuakana Rangihaeata one off the ruck, and he stepped back against the grain and reached out despite the attention of 3 defenders and banged the ball down for the Roosters second try. Kemp again made no mistake of the conversion. And with Fremantle up 12-0 early, people were wondering if it was going to be a long afternoon for the Sea Eagles faithful.

They needed an injection of attitude and energy. They lost Te Relli Whaanga early and with Jayden De Vorms getting a head knock and not taking any more part in the game, things were looking bleak for the boys from the North. Trent Trotter was about to change all that. Being interjected from the bench, he brought the maroon and white back from the grave and gave halves Cairo Takarangi and Jeremy Wallace room to breath and work their magic. The Sea Eagles would need to be next to score and probably the one after that to have a chance.

And this time it was the Sea Eagles who went back to back. After some nice lead up work from Kayd Donkin and his partner Keiran Tarrant, Wallace got the ball in a great area and put in a beautifully weighted kick for Kahan Joyce-Vaughan to leap above the pack and score out wide. And while Solomon missed the conversion, less than five minutes later the Sea Eagles were in again, with Takarangi this time mirroring his halves partner and putting in a great kick for youngster Woolley to score, and at 12-8 the Sea Eagles were right back in this.

If you were a Sea Eagles supporter, a 12-8 scoreline would have been a god send come half time, but the Roosters were not done quite yet. With Edwards injecting into the game at hooker, and Trotter on the other side, both teams started to really open up and ask questions of each other on the fringes. The delivery of the ball was incredible as it was swung from one side of the field to the other on both teams as they looked for an answer before half time.

And with the Roosters on the attack they answered. A big run from Ezra Taomia and then Bjorn Crotty set the Roosters up for a big backline shift. Tuakana found Kemp, who goosestepped, found Regy Manu and with a two on one made no mistake with the delivery and found Kerrod Hignett who tiptoed down the sideline and put the Roosters back out to an 8 point lead which is where it stayed at halftime. Roosters led 16-8 against the Sea Eagles at halftime.

The second half seemed to see both teams find their rhythm and it became a real battle of wills. With both teams going set for set for a long period of time, it seemed like the grind fest was going to be which team blinked first. And while in the past Fremantle have been labelled a flashy side, they were up to it this game. Eventually getting on top in the contest, they eventually gave the ball to the scary and impressive Joseph Pou’hila who made his mark in the second half.

Breaking out in the second half, he collected the ball on his ten metre line and beat three defenders and looked like he was going to score for all money. But once again Bailey Miller showed his worth again. Coming from the clouds he forced Joseph to slow and beat him, which gave Jason Godecke, who had chased back enough time to stop the big man. Unfortunately on the next play Fremantle spread the ball wide, and while Kani Solomon was able to stop the ball movement, he stayed on too long and ended up in the sin bin. With Paora Kemp knocking over the two points, it was now 18-8 and the Roosters had 10 minutes with a numerical advantage.

And they would take advantage fairly quickly. Giving away any advantage this Roosters side is suicide, and with 12 men they would be almost impossible to deny. And when Sonny Kerr’s beautiful cut out pass found the big man Po’uhila, who cracked the line again, linked up with winger Wiremu Paki, who switched back to the inside and found Kerr doing what all good halves do and backing up in support, to basically put the game to bed with the Roosters leading 24-8.

And in the end sometimes its just not your day. With an errant Roosters kick being fumbled by north beach again, the Roosters ended up with the ball in the Sea Eagles danger zone with no time left. And with Edwards at hooker, he fired a rocket directly into the arms of player of the match Duane Butler’s arms, who crashed over the line with three defenders hanging off him to seal a memorable game and victory for the Roosters. With Edwards kicking the conversion the Roosters led 30-8 with no time left.

A great win for the Roosters, and pure relief in the words of Delane Edwards, while the Sea Eagles can hold their heads high. Injury and concussion along with their ability to even hold the Roosters for such a long period of time can only be respected and admired at this level. What an amazing season we had in the NRL WA Fuel To Go & Play Premiership. Rugby League really is the greatest game of all.

Grand Final – Fremantle Roosters 30 def by North Beach Sea Eagles 8

Roosters – Tries – Regy Manu, Tuakana Rangihaeata, Kerrod Hignett, Sonny Kerr, Duane Butler
Goals – Paora Kemp (4), Delane Edwards (1)

Sea Eagles – Tries – Kahan Joyce-Vaughan, Ryan Woolley