NRLWA FTG&P Premiership – Round 02 Recap

By PETER ROWE

 

A much-changed North Beach Sea Eagles held off the South Perth Lions at George Burnett Oval on Saturday to stay undefeated after two rounds of the NRLWA  Fuel to Go and Play Premiership, a late try earning them a 30-26 victory in an open game.

 

With fullback Bailey Millar and halfback Darius Rogers missing coach Phil Douche was forced to make several changes to his side, but got the early advantage when a South Perth error from a kick allowed Trevor Owens to open the scoring in the opening minute.

 

“The wind was a killer,” Douche admitted. ”I was happy to go in at halftime 14-10 up. It was swirling and causing a few problems.”

 

Justin Buckley and Jesse Rafferty on the half hour added more points to take the visitors into the sheds ahead at the break.

 

Halfback Ed Shand added another with Corey Craig and Owens again crossing to settle the nerves but the Lions, who suffered a game ending injury to centre Keiren Paish, never gave up.

 

“Credit to them, they turned up and gave us a game,” Douche added. “Every time we scored they did and we couldn’t really pull away. Errors and not sticking to the game plan didn’t help us.”

 

South Perth team manager Paul Brown was proud of his side, despite the loss.

 

“We made errors but we were still in the game at the interval,” he said. 

 

“Our completion rate was 70-75 per cent but dropped balls and basic errors didn’t help.

 

“At the end, because of injuries to Keiren Paish (neck)  hooker Jarrad Smith (ankle), forward Blair Young (broken thumb) and Joey Halpin (shoulder), we didn’t have much in reserve, so for the lads out there to keep them to within one try was a great effort.”

 

Winger Keiren Liss (2), forward Tim Noble, Tere Cameron-Ramea  and club legend Daniel Green scored, with Green filling in at five-eighth to earn a man-of-the-match performance.

 

North Beach, with so many changes, were often clunky going forward, but Douche was happy to get the points. 

 

“We have the bye next week, so it will give me a chance to iron out a few things,” he said.

 

At Port Kennedy Sportsplex the Rockingham Sharks got their season under way with a 28-10 win over the Joondalup Giants, but they were made to fight for the points, with a big first half defensive effort that set up the platform for the victory.

 

“We had to battle to survive an early onslaught, but credit to the boys, their defence held firm,” coach Tom Murphy said.

 

“The wind didn’t help and we have a few new combinations and that will take time to settle, but I’m happy with the points.”


Back rower Brandon White opened the scoring after 17 minutes, finding a gap 10 metres out to break through before Giants levelled three minutes later through centre Brad Sparrow.

 

White then grabbed a second but the Giants, with probing kicks from halfback Gus Marshall, levelled on the half-hour thanks to Sparrow again, after a period of pressure that saw a defiant Sharks defence keeping their their opponents at bay.

 

Captain Keelyn Tuuta-Edwards grabbed a third just before the break to give the home side a slender lead, but the Sharks kept the Giants scoreless in the second half as tries from centre James Blackburn, Kelvin Colman and a big dive for the line from giant prop Fortez Williams sealed the win.

 

“It was pleasing to keep them scoreless in the second half and Johnny (McLoughlin) drove us around the park and led from the front with his tackling,” Murphy added.

 

“AJ (hooker Andrew Jeffrey) had an impact off the bench and Kelvin Colman showed his versatility in a number of positions.

 

“The win was good but there’s a lot of work to be done. We will keep on improving.”

 

 

Giants’ halfback Taurean Sheehan was frustrated with his side’s error count but also saw positives from the game.

 

“Fatigue set in a bit later in the game and there were lots of errors, me included, so we know what we have to do to improve,” he said.

 

“We’ve all been very honest with each other. We were struggling with our shape and combinations and we’re not an 80-minute team yet, but that will come. There’s plenty of positives to take out of our first two games, so we prepare for Fremantle next weekend ready for another big battle.”