The South Perth Lions maintained their perfect start to the 2019 WA Smarter Than Smoking Premiership preseason, defeating the defending champions, Fremantle Roosters 34-10 at George Burnett Park on Friday night.
Playing under lights, the Lions roared home to make it two wins from two preseason games, leaving Game Day Manager Angelo Tsakalos a happy man.
“I am very happy – we’ve been slowly building through the preseason,” Tsakalos said.
“We’ve got some depth and new recruits who are going well so far.”
Also playing in their second preseason hitout of the year, it was the Roosters who were the first to score, however, as Blake Hignett touched down in the corner after 16 minutes.
The ever-reliable Bjorn Crotty converted from the sidelines to give the visitors a 6-0 lead.
Fremantle’s lead would last just four minutes, as South Perth winger Josh Anstis shrugged off a couple of weak tackles to score a superb solo try under the sticks.
Last year’s leading points scorer, Harry Debique knocked over the extras to level the score up at 6-6.
That’s how it would stay until 15 minutes before the break.
Playing with pace and tenacity, the Lions hit the front as Jarrad Smith burrowed his way over from dummy half to give his side a 12-6 lead heading into the sheds.
After half-time, it was all South Perth, with the hosts scoring a pair of tries in the opening ten minutes after the restart including one to Debique, who sliced his way through the Roosters defence to dot down.
New Lions recruit Will Smith then bagged his first four-pointer for his new club, as the South African international intercepted a pass to go 60 metres untouched.
Cody Laughton’s try 15 minutes from time capped off a strong performance from South Perth, and despite Fremantle’s Cassius Read crossing on the siren, the Lions held on for a 34-10 win.
“They’re only trial games, but really happy at the moment,” Tsakalos said.
“After the two trial games, [confidence] is good, but we’re going to stay humble because it’s a long season.”
On the flipside, Roosters Manager Zac Speir says his side must make improvements before the start of the home-and-away season.
“We didn’t go too well tonight,” Speir said.
“There were some good things to come out of that game and some bad things.
“We’ll go back and enjoy our Easter break and get ready for Round 1 against [North] Beach.”