THE BELL RINGER – Round 4
by Donny Bell
Fremantle v North Beach #NRLWARoostersSeaEagles
The Round 4 WA Smarter Than Smoking Premiership Cash Converters Big Game of the round. These teams are in first and second spot on the ladder. For Fremantle the key will be how their players pulled up from the City v Kiwi ANZAC Challenge game last weekend. The Roosters, as you’d expect, had more representatives than any other club and Duane Butler picked up a knock, but completed the game as did Taiapa Graham who came off in the last quarter with cramp, before going back on late when Willagee’s Stevie Aull succumbed to a knee injury. North Beach didn’t have as many involved, but they will be sweating on the fitness of some of their big men after losing both starting front rowers early against Joondalup a fortnight ago. The key for them will be Josh Toole. We saw in the ANZAC Challenge that if he is on, he can win games almost by himself. The key to Toole’s performance will be getting his forward pack to lay a solid platform to give him the space he needs to weave his magic.
The live stream will be brought to you by Fremantle Roosters Game Day Sponsor Sterling and Currency from 3:30pm, with round 3 of Women’s League Tag (WLT) (11:30am) and Reserve Grade (2:00pm) with round 1 of the Val Murphy Trophy (12:40pm) part of a packed program at Ken Allen Reserve.
Joondalup v Rockingham #NRLWAGiantsSharks
The Giants were impressive in round 3 in their come from behind win over North Beach, as were Rockingham, also coming from behind to get their first win of the season over South Perth. In 2017, this game was the start of the rise for the Sharks to the minor premiership as they started as underdogs after an unimpressive loss at home only to thump the Giants 47-12. The Sharks again will enter this game as under dogs due to the fact that they’ve lost their 3 first string prop forwards in Reece Potter, Ben Bolth and Richie Hicks. This has forced Ezra Taomia to step into a starting role, Julian Wilson Wylie has moved from the back row into the middle and Damien Worth has also had to go up a level to keep the Sharks competitive through the middle of the field. The Giants though may also be missing a few key men through that all important middle third with lock Oliver Callan serving a 3 game suspension and prop George Nalesoni battling an eye injury, but there is something in the water out Joondalup way as they always seem to be able to unearth a big man. They still have the likes of Nathan Searle and the ever reliable Adam Smith as well as adding the impressive Fernando Ekeroma and a fighting fit Josh Houghton. The replacement of Oliver Callan will be the most important decision for coach Darren Smith. Macey Howarth seems the most logical option as a high work rate back rower, but the Giants stocks in the halves are fairly shallow to partner Leighmon Hohaia Katene. The other option for Smith could be to go with 3 front rowers playing in the middle third and a sizeable bench to try and rotate them and keep them fresh, then pray no outside backs get hurt. WLT starts the day at 11:30am before the opening round of Val Murphy trophy at 12:40pm, then reserve grade at 2pm and finally the main game starting at 3:30pm
Willagee v South Perth #NRLWABearsLions
We head to Bear Park for this match up between the Willagee Bears and the South Perth Lions. The Lions will enter this game as favourites, but the Bears will draw some hope if they can stay in this game during the opening 40 minutes as the Lions have given up first half leads in their last 2 games. The Bears will be hoping their most potent attacking weapon in Stevie Aull recovers from a knock to the knee he sustained in the ANZAC Challenge game. The Lions on the other hand will be sweating on the fitness of both their big men with Scott Jones and Shannon Coleman late scratching’s from that ANZAC Challenge game. Just the two games at Webber Reserve with the Bears taking on the Ellenbrook Rabbitohs in the bunnies first game in the reserve grade competition at 2pm while the main game starts at 3:30pm.
The Lion’s Val Murphy Trophy team will open their 2018 campaign in a stand alone game at Hartfield Park in Forrestfield against the Kalamunda Bulldogs at 3:30pm