The South Perth Lions celebrated Pikari Te Wara’s 150th First Grade game with a 40-18 win over the Rockingham Sharks during Round 18 of the WA Smarter Than Smoking Premiership on Saturday.
The Lions ran in seven tries to three in what was their sixth straight win.
“I’m pretty pleased with how we went,” South Perth coach Hayden Fisher said.
“Every week we’re trying to focus on little things we can improve on and I think we did that in areas today.”
Coming into the game as the form team in the competition, the Lions dominated all the early ball but were kept scoreless during the opening 10 minutes as the Sharks’ defence held firm.
The Lions finally broke the deadlock after 13 minutes as hooker Isaac Thomas dotted down under the sticks.
The home side doubled their lead just minutes later as fullback Kade McDonald spread the ball wide and found centre Patrick O’Keeffe who crossed in the corner.
The Sharks came into this contest having lost six of their last seven games and struggled to create any clear-cut try-scoring opportunities in the opening half-an-hour.
It took until the arrival of star fullback Logan Barclay, who arrived late to the game because he was stuck in traffic to kick the visitors into life.
Within minutes of coming onto the field, Barclay was involved as Rockingham shifted the ball wide off the back of a scrum for winger Tom Halliday to touch down on the right flank.
Rockingham then went back-to-back as English halfback Jack Wray’s cross-field kick found his compatriot Halliday who rose highest to score his second try in just four minutes to lock the game up at 12-12.
They would be level for just two minutes, however, as Harry Debique carved through the Sharks’ defence on the stroke of half-time to stroll over untouched.
The Kiwi halfback converted his own try to give the hosts an 18-12 lead heading into the sheds.
It took just three minutes for the Lions to pad their lead after the restart – Eddie Proudler setting up Shannon Coleman to restore his side’s 12-point buffer.
The Lions average over 30 points a contest and hit that barrier shortly after as Jarrad Smith got on the end of Thomas’ grubber kick into the in-goal.
Rockingham captain Andrew Jeffery pegged one back for the visitors before Tyler Thomas grabbed a late double to make sure of the points and extend South Perth’s winning streak to a league-high six games.
In other results around the grounds, the North Beach Sea Eagles kept hold of top spot with an 18-14 come-from-behind win over the Joondalup Giants while the Fremantle Roosters defeated the Willagee Bears 76-0.
The WA Smarter Than Smoking Premiership regular season wraps up next week with Rockingham needing to beat Joondalup by 15 points to book their spot in the finals, while Fremantle just need to outscore North Beach by more than a point to secure the minor premiership.