Crunch time for Joondalup and Rockingham

Credit: South Perth Lions

The Joondalup Giants and Rockingham Sharks do battle this weekend in a game which will go a long way in deciding who will play finals football.

Both sides own an identical 6-7 record heading into their WA Smarter Than Smoking Premiership Round 14 clash at Admiral Park, with the Sharks currently occupying the last finals berth on points differential.

With just six games left, Joondalup utility Gus Marshall knows the importance of a win.

“We’re sitting level on points, so a win kicks us two points clear of them,” Marshall said.

“There’s been a lot of talk about this – it is an important game to put us in that finals contention.”

The Giants come into this fixture having won two of their last three games, while the Sharks have lost three on the bounce.

“It’s a must-win for both teams, but hopefully we can do the job required and get the two points to jump into the top four,” Marshall said.

“They’re coming up with a point to prove. Their form isn’t too good at the minute, but on any given day they can turn up and perform.”

In team news, the Giants will be without forward Jason Rapana, with Marshall set to earn his first start of the season following his return from an ankle injury that kept him sidelined for over a year.

“Hopefully I can put together a few good minutes,” he said.

“I’m obviously coming back from the injury layoff, so hopefully I can do what’s required for the team.”

The Sharks, meanwhile, welcome back hooker Andrew Jeffery who was a late withdrawal from their last-minute loss to the South Perth Lions last weekend, with Josh Neal missing out.

In Saturday’s other games, the North Beach Sea Eagles host the Fremantle Roosters in a top of the table clash, while the South Perth Lions take on the winless Willagee Bears in Ellenbrook.