Joondalup hopeful of Giant crowd

Credit: Tom Campbell

Joondalup Giants Coach Darren Smith hopes for a huge turnout when his side hosts the North Beach Sea Eagles on Saturday night in Round Three of the Smarter Than Smoking Premiership.

The North of the River derby will be played under lights at Admiral Park, with the game scheduled for a 6pm kickoff.

“It’s always a big game and is great under lights,” Smith said.

Last year the game attracted just shy of 1,000 fans.

“The time slot attracts a bit of a different crowd. People are a bit more festive by the time 6pm comes, so it’s usually a really good crowd,” Smith said.

The Giants head into the clash in high spirits after collecting their first win of the season last time out against Willagee Bears.

The Giants ran in six unanswered tries to claim a 32-0 victory.

“I was a lot happier with our distribution and our organisation,” Smith said.

“We’ll get better each week.”

Smith praised the performance of teenage debutant Ollie Callan, and says the West Coast Pirates captain looks a natural at First Grade level.

“He had a fantastic game last week and got Man of the Match and was unlucky not to get a try,” he said.

“He fits in really well.”

In team news, Joondalup welcome back prop forward Nathan Searle and centre Rodney Mauga, while winger Bryce McRobert is suspended.

Their opponents, North Beach, come into the contest full of confidence after winning their first two games of the season.

The Sea Eagles have run in a league-high 12 tries, and have an impressive +40 points differential after wins against the Willagee Bears and Rockingham Sharks.

A large part of their early success is down to the form of centre Ben Taylor, who leads the league with 22 points and two tries.

“They’ve got some names you’ve got to watch, but at the end of the day we just need to turn up and play a complete game,” Smith said.

In other games, Willagee will be out for their first win of the season against a Fremantle Roosters side gunning for their third victory in a row, while last year’s minor premiers Rockingham will look to get off the mark in 2018 against the South Perth Lions.

Both games are 3.30pm kickoffs on Saturday.