WA Smarter than Smoking Premiership Indigenous Round Preview
By The Bellringer
Rockingham v Fremantle #NRLWASharksRoosters
Round 6 of the Smarter Than Smoking Premiership is indigenous round and the Cash Converters Big Game of the round is this one between the Rockingham Sharks and the Fremantle Roosters. In terms of indigenous players the Roosters have Shandyn Moody and Ken Cobbo who have both played first grade in 2018 in line for selection, but will most likely line up in the reserve grade game while the Sharks have Kieren Crowe and Josh Jerome looking to line up for the home side. We are through the first round of the competition and after every team has played each other our 2017 grand finalists sit in first and second. The Roosters though are the benchmark. They are undefeated so far in 2018, they are the best attacking and the best defensive team in the competition, so they should rightfully start as favourites in Rockingham. However, when these teams last met in round 1 Rockingham were fairly poor. They had a slow start to the season, yet they only lost that day by 2 points. It’s fair to say that with 3 wins on the trot the Sharks are looking like a better team than the team that showed up to Dorrien Gardens that day. They are building nicely, but they said farewell to the influential Anthony Bowman last week. On the positive side for Rockingham though is that John Taituha is considered a good chance of returning which will fill that void at 6. Meanwhile the Roosters are coming off a game where they gave up a 20 point head start to the Joondalup Giants before finishing with a flurry of points to win. If they start that slowing against the Sharks there will be no way back for them. They have some injury concerns of their own with Taiapa Graham suffering a torn rotator cuff expected to miss the next month and a half. Also likely to be bout for another month is Duane Butler, while it’s unlikely we’ll see Sonny Kerr again before he heads back over east. Brad Gibson has also been carrying an osteitis pubis injury, but it’s unlikely he’ll sit out, instead looking to put up with the injury as long as possible and get it seen to at the end of the season. The live stream will be brought to you by Rockingham Sharks Game Day Sponsor Port Kennedy Auto Parts from 3:30pm, with Women’s League Tag (WLT) at 11:30am, Val Murphy Trophy at 12:40pm and Reserve Grade at 2:00pm at Franklin Offshore Sportsplex.
South Perth v Joondalup #NRLWALionsGiants
The Giants thought they had the game sewn up last week leading 20-0 in Ellenbrook and few could have imagined that they would end up losing the game by 20 points. In a tight competition the Giants have lost back to back games by 20 points or more and they are desperate to turn their ailing form around in South Perth. Ollie Callan is back this week after a 3 week suspension and he will make a huge difference to the balance of their side. George Nalesoni will be fitter for the run last week after missing a couple of games with an eye injury, so their middle third once again looks imposing when you add in Nathan Searle, Adam Smith, Fernando Ekeroma and possibly Te Awaiti Kihi. The Lions themselves will be looking to arrest a dangerous form slump as their only win in their last 4 outings was over the Willagee Bears and they trailed for the first 39 minutes of that game. The Lions will hope to welcome back Dale Westerduin and Scott Jones who missed last weeks clash, because if they don’t get more from their forward pack the Giants will simply roll through them. The day starts with WLT at 11:30am at George Burnett Park and that is followed by Val Murphy Trophy at 12:40pm, Reserve grade at 2pm and the main game at 3:30pm
Willagee v North Beach #NRLWABearsSeaEagles
North Beach were really impressive last week on the back of a controlled performance from halfback Jeremy Wallace. Wallace is a young player that seems to be growing as a footballer every week. He’s composed, doesn’t overplay his hand, has a good kicking and passing game and is very good defensively. Add to that the sublime form of centre Kani Solomon and the X-factor of Josh Toole and the Sea Eagles are building an exciting young team. The big question mark on the Sea Eagles is up front as they seem to be relying on veterans like James Blake and Ben Dickson, with a makeshift 9 in Adam Roy. Jake Keating was arguably the best player on the park last Saturday and Greg Lingard is a very talented player, but neither will strike fear into the heart of opposition sides. Dave McCullough is a player of some size that could be important for the Sea Eagles if he can get match fit and become a regular. This week they take on the Willagee Bears who have been very competitive in the last few weeks for 40 minutes, but they haven’t been able to sustain it into the second period of the game. They are a workmanlike side with a fairly decent spine, but it’s unlikely they’ll have the class to contain the Sea Eagles in this game. The positive for them will be that their reserve grade side has the bye this week, so they won’t have any players backing up and will all start fresh. All matches at Webber Reserve with the Ellenbrook Rabbitohs taking on North Beach in Val Murphy and Reserve grade at 12:40pm and 2pm respectively, before the Bears take the field