Harvey Norman Premiership Round 14 wrap-up

Lions into sudden death

Defending premiers South Perth Lions have been pushed down into fourth place going into the finals, with each week now being a sudden death play-off for the club. Rockingham Sharks, who were assured of second place and a home qualifying final, showed no mercy in the last home and away game. They won 30 to 26 and while challenged, always seemed in control.

The Lions lost captain Jon Phipps to the sin bin with 12 minutes left on the clock. He was leading them into a late challenge and his loss was critical at the end. A win would have kept them in third spot and a double chance against the Sharks again next week.

Rockingham went out to a 12-nil lead 20 minutes into the game through tries to Alan Cowen and Caleb Reedy, but South Perth kept attacking and got back to within two points at the half time break.

After the break Cowen went over the line again in the first two minutes in a repeat of his effort at the start of the game to give the Sharks an eight point advantage. To South Perth’s credit they responded twice in the next 10 minutes to take the lead 20 – 18.

Reedy scored his second try at 60 minutes to take back the lead for the Sharks and another try by Talatala after Phipps left the field gave the Sharks a 10 point lead. They managed to hold on for a win even though the Lions scored again with five minutes to go.

Rockingham coach Martyn Wood thought it was a great win but felt with a 12-nil lead in the first half, they should have held control better than they did, while Nathan Johnson, coach of South Perth, believes critical ball handling errors hurt them.

Blake Nicholls with some good hit ups and Caleb Reedy with 14 points led a well rounded team effort for the Sharks. The Coleman brothers Kallum and Shannon played well for South Perth.

Fremantle Roosters jumped into third spot beating Willagee Bears 56 to 26. While they rested some key players against the lowly placed Bears, they needed South Perth to lose to give them the advantage of getting into the qualifying final. There was just 12 points the difference at half time, but the Roosters did what was required of them.

It was good to see the spirited finish for Willagee, coach Paul Abercrombie is hopeful that he has turned the tide and with some good off season recruiting will see a better effort in 2013.

Joondalup Giants finished their season in style with a 30 to 18 win over Kalamunda Bulldogs. The Giants have shown some good form at times through the season and will be happy to finish their campaign on a strong note. The mercurial Bulldogs will have to regroup if they are to be a force in the finals.

Next week sees the first round of the finals of the Harvey Norman Premiership with Rockingham playing Fremantle in the qualifying final with the winner earning the right to play North Beach in the second semi. South Perth come up against Kalamunda in the elimination final.

Game Results (subject to official Team Sheets)

First Grade
Fremantle Roosters 56 – Willagee Bears 26
Rockingham Sharks 30 – South Perth Lions 26
Joondalup Giants 30 – Kalamunda Bulldogs 18
North Beach Sea Eagles bye

Premier Grade
Willagee Bears 32 – Fremantle Roosters 12
South Perth Lions 42 – Rockingham Sharks 10
North Beach Sea Eagles 48 – Southwest Warriors 16
Joondalup Giants 46 – Kalamunda Bulldogs 38

Under 18
Rockingham Sharks 38 – South Perth Lions 20
Joondalup Giants 52 – Kalamunda Bulldogs 20
North Beach Sea Eagles 26 – Southwest Warriors 0

Fremantle Roosters 28 – Willagee Bears 6
South Perth Lions 14 – Rockingham Sharks 0
Kalamunda Bulldogs 8 – Joondalup Giants 8
North Beach Sea Eagles 14 – Southwest Warriors 0