THE BELL RINGER – Red Nose Round
By Donny Bell
Joondalup v South Perth #NRLWAGiantsLions
Round 11 of the Smarter Than Smoking Premiership and the Struddys Big Game on Red Nose Round will see the Joondalup Giants desperate for a win up against the red hot South Perth Lions. The Giants are now 2 wins behind fourth spot on the ladder and a loss here could see them 3 wins from fourth with only 8 games to make it up, when you also factor in their poor for and against you’d almost call lights out. A win on the other hand, sees them back within 1 win of the Lions and possibly the Sharks and it’s still game on. So this is a massive game for both teams. The Giants last weekend were better in the second half than they have been, but after being 16-0 down at halftime they were never really in the game against the Roosters. They did welcome back River Coleman, who played 14 top grade games in 2017, and Anthony Jefford, who’s a former Perth Kiwi representative who hasn’t played first grade since 2014. However with 7 changes from round 9 to round 10 the Giants will need to find some stability in their line up. For South Perth they are coming off another fantastic win to make it 4 wins on the trot and they did it this time missing 3 regular top graders, who were away on international duties. They look like one of the teams to beat in this competition, with a great mix of youth and experience. PK Te Wara starred in the win over the Sea Eagles, while youngsters like Aidan Carstairs and Kade McDonald were also very impressive. On exposed form you couldn’t back the Giants, but with their backs up against the wall, in their backyard when all the “experts” (like myself) have written them off tends to be when they are the most dangerous. This is the third meeting between these two teams with the ledger currently square at one win apiece. The live stream will be proudly supporting Red Nose Day from 3:30pm at with all games at Admiral Reserve.
North Beach v Willagee #NRLWASeaEaglesBears
The Bears were brave in defeat last weekend at home against the Sharks, but having potentially lost up to 4 players to injury from that game will mean the Bears will have to delve into their already shallow depth pool in search of capable replacements. Ricky Cathro was great for them last weekend, while Robbie Smith grabbed a double and was a constant threat despite two stints in the sin bin. The Sea Eagles on the other hand are sitting in top spot and will want to bounce back quickly from their tight 2 point loss to the Lions. For the Sea Eagles the Lingard brothers are both in great form with Austin really stepping up to his new role in the front row. Really looking forward to seeing the team that John Hough puts out this weekend as he may see this as an opportunity to get some further minutes into the young brigade of Jaylen Grey, Taine Boelen, Charlie Pulsford, Alex Harmer, Kristian Williams and Bowman Stein to name a few. I’m sure not all of those blokes will get a run, but they will be in the mix I’m sure. In the previous two meeting between the sides the Sea Eagles have won by a total of 100-24, so they will start as heavy favourites. Games are at Charles Riley Reserve with the main game at 3:30pm.
Fremantle v Rockingham #NRLWARoostersSharks
The Sharks scored with their first use of the football last weekend, but then seemed to switch off and allowed the Willagee Bears to control the tempo for much of the match, before over running a tiring outfit. They should welcome back South African international Willem Smith for this clash, while front rower Richie Hicks will be fitter for the run against the Bears. Ben Bolth should also not be too far away from a return, while Tevita Pomale could come back in for this important clash, so expect a stronger performance. The big positive for the Sharks over the last couple of weeks has been the form of Luke Hughes. The big unit was easily the Sharks best in his first stint and caused the Bears constant headaches, crossing for 2 tries and he is getting better every week. For the Roosters they haven’t been in the best of form through the second round of the competition, but did enough last weekend to get the win over the Giants. For the Roosters a few of their lesser known players have been growing in stature with Nikau Sollitt Mackey and Shandyn Moody developing into more than competent first graders. It’s that fringe depth that keeps the Roosters as one of the premiership favourites. One thing is for sure that these teams always manage to have close games with no more than 6 points separating the teams in their last 4 meetings. Games will be down at Ken Allen Field with first grade starting at 3:30pm