WA Smarter than Smoking Premiership Round 5 Preview
By The Bellringer
It’s a strange ladder we’ve got heading into round 5. The Fremantle Roosters are already a couple of wins clear of everyone else, then we’ve got 4 teams in equal second spot and they’re all a couple of wins clear of the Willagee Bears.
North Beach v South Perth #NRLWASeaEaglesLions
That means that this weekends clash between the North Beach Sea Eagles and the South Perth Lions is very important for these teams to try and keep up with top placed Fremantle as well as consolidating a spot in the top 4. This is the Cash Converters Big Game of the round and will be brought to you by the North Beach Sea Eagles sponsor O’Rourke Realty Investments. The Sea Eagles are coming off back to back losses, but they had excuses against the Giants and there were a number of good signs last week against the Chooks. The key player that will dominate the majority of North Beach conversations throughout 2018 will be Josh Toole. If he is fit and available you would always expect the Sea Eagles to be very hard to beat. The other keys for North Beach are Zac Bishop and their forward pack. Bishop allows Adam Roy to play as a running forward and he along with the likes of Greg Lingard and James Blake can get North Beach rolling which should allow more early ball to get to the dangerous centre pairing of Kani Solomon and Ben Taylor. The North Beach reserve grade side also offers lots of hope about the depth of the Sea Eagles. Look out for the likes of Beau Constable, Bowman Stein, Alex Harmer, Jaylen Grey and Taine Boelen to push for top grade selection in the coming weeks. South Perth arrested their 2 game losing streak by beating the Willagee Bears last weekend, but there would still be concerns about whether they can put in a full 80 minute performance. They led at halftime in games against Fremantle and Rockingham only to be run down and last week they went the other way and only led by 2 at halftime thanks to a late try. The Lions have players like Eddie Proudler and PK Te Wara making their way back from injury and once they get back to full match fitness we should expect some more polished, complete performances. The Lions are one of the most recognisable teams in the competition in terms of the names on their team sheet. We all know what most of them are capable of and you should expect them to be one of the top teams in the competition, but they need to keep players on the field as they’ve struggled with injuries over the last couple of seasons. Live stream courtesy of Local Media Services Company will start at 3:30pm if you can’t make it down to Charles Riley Reserve or if you’re going to one of the other games in round 5.
Fremantle v Joondalup #NRLWARoostersGiants
Every first grade team is taking one of their home games to the home of the Ellenbrook Rabbitohs in 2018 and the first team to do that is the 2017 premiers the Fremantle Roosters. They will head to Charlotte’s Vineyard Sports Pavilion for this clash with the Joondalup Giants. The Giants will be desperate to bounce back after suffering a heavy defeat at the hands of Rockingham last weekend at home. They’ll be without prop Josh Houghton due to work commitments and Oliver Callan will be missing again through suspension. Callan in particular is a big loss, because it’s one that Joondalup really doesn’t have cover for. Their only potential cover is 100 gamer Macey Howarth, but he does appear to be their best option at 7. Callan will be back next week, but the Giants seemed to struggle to contain the pace and agility of the Sharks outside backs. It doesn’t get any easier this weekend up against the Fremantle Roosters, who welcomed back the prodigal son Sonny Kerr last weekend. Kerr will get fitter as the weeks roll by meaning the Roosters will only get better, which has got to be scary for opposition teams. On the negative side of things the Roosters did lose boom centre three quarter Taiapa Graham in the win over the Sea Eagles and he will miss at least the next few weeks this will either see Kerrod Hignett move into the 4 jersey or possibly Daniel Tuimoala and for a team that always seems to struggle in the lower grades Delane always seems to find players that can come in and play their role in the top side. This game will also kick off at 3:30pm in Ellenbrook with the hosts appearing in both Reserve grade and Val Murphy Trophy against the Roosters.
Rockingham v Willagee #NRLWASharksBears
The Sharks will look to continue their form against the winless Bears. The Bears can’t seem to take a trick after losing their most dangerous player in Stevie Aull during the ANZAC Challenge game they last week lost another experienced player in Andrew Bannister to a serious, season ending injury. They were really competitive for the opening 40 minutes against the Lions last week and they will again compete hard against the Sharks. Rockingham’s greatest enemy will be complacency and if they take the Bears lightly they could get a shock, however that has never seemed to be an issue for the Sharks under coach Darren Shaw and they tend to be fairly merciless in these games where they’re expected to win. They will also want to put on a good showing for departing Anthony Bowman, who will play his last game in sharks colours this weekend before heading home. The search will start next week for a partner to Jack Wray, but for this week the Rockingham side will look to celebrate the contribution Bowman has made to their side over the last 18 months. This game will have a later start, so fans of the game can tune into the live stream before this one kicks off at 5:30pm at Franklin Offshore Sportsplex.