NRLWA FTG&P Premiership – Round 08 Recap

By PETER ROWE

 

Two Rockingham old boys conjured up four tries between them to help beat the Sharks at Treeby Oval on Saturday as Fremantle secured a 32-18 win to force a three-way logjam atop the NRLWA Fuel to Go and Play Premiership.

 

With North Beach beating Joondalup 52-6 the Sea Eagles edged both the Roosters and the Sharks on points difference with 12 points after eight rounds.

 

“We are starting to find momentum, but there’s a long way to go,” injured Roosters captain Duane Butler said. 

 

‘We were sloppy in patches and there’s still plenty of work to do.”

 

Prop forward Julian Wilson Wyllie grabbed a double, as did winger Kaelin Heremaia-Phillips in the win, but  it wasn’t straight forward for the Roosters, who celebrated a century of games for lock Bjorn Crotty.

 

After early exchanges Wilson-Wyllie opened the scoring, racing on to a short pass from Crotty to cross before Rockingham bounced back when Kelvin Coleman picked up a wayward kick to race 40 metres to score.

 

Jayden Solomon put Fremantle back in front and fullback Tuakana Ranghaeata found a huge hole in the visitor’s defence to add another.


Photo – Libby McMillan

A high kick in windy conditions then allowed Heremaia-Phillips to collect and score as the Roosters went in at the halftime break with a healthy lead.

 

But it took 24 minutes of the second half as both sides battled for supremacy before another score was recorded, this time forward Kelepi Liu on a short run to find the whitewash for the Sharks.

 

“We spoke at halftime about what was needed and it worked,” coach Tom Murphy said. 

 

“Credit to Freo, they scored the points, but I was proud of our second half performance. A lot of effort. Some things didn’t go out way, but we stuck at it.

 

“We have some defensive work to get back to, as we’ve conceded too many tries in recent weeks, but that will improve.”

 

Some big hits, that could be heard from the nearby Kwinana Freeway, excited the crowd and the Sharks, still missing eight first team players through injury, thought they were back in the game.

 

A  line drop-out kick saw Heremaia-Phillips latch on to a pass in the corner to add another four points for the home side and a comeback slowly ebbed away.

 

Big forward Fortes Williams barged across eight minutes from time as the Sharks recovered, but tired legs saw a final try from Wilson Wyllie seal the points for Fremantle.

Photo – Libby McMillan
 

“Fair play to Rockingham, they won’t go away,” Butler added. “They have some quality there and it’s always a battle when we play them.”

 

Byron Devene made his debut as a first grade referee at Charles Riley Reserve, overseeing a second-half try fest from North Beach as the Sea Eagles overcame a poor first 40 to blitz the Joondalup Giants 52-6.

 

“I was disappointed with our first 30 minutes of football where we conceded penalties and kept turning the ball over,” North Beach coach Phil Douche said.

 

“We had a chat at halftime and adjusted and I think we played our best second half of the season.”

 

Gus Marshall opened the scoring, diving on as loose ball, after seven minutes before it took another 20 minutes for the home side to level, fullback Korey Craig  picking up the ball at the back of the scrum to race around and find a hole on the right edge to score.


Photo – Karmel Potter-Green

Centre Ryan Woolley added another and Craig his second to give the Sea Eagles a 16-6 lead at the break.

But Douche admitted he was frustrated with his side’s performance and made some changes – that worked.

 

“We were much better after the break, our speed around the ruck improved and halfback Kurtis Everett gave us good kicking options.”

 

Everett broke free from the halfway line four minutes into the second half to increase the lead and back rower Tyler Moeau was another long distance break to add another as the Giants struggled to contain North Beach in defence.

 

Mackenzie Martin pushed the scoreline further out with ten to go before Darius Rogers scored from an 80 metre break and winger James Rafferty finished the day with a try in the corner seconds before the siren.

 

A frustrating day for the Giants, but one veteran halfback Taurean Sheehan offered mitigating evidence for. 

 

“It was probably the worst week for player selection for us this season,” he said.

 

“Injuries and players away working. No excuses on the result, Beach deserved their win, but it’s a tough ask.”

 

One positive from the game came in the shape of young forward Jack Bullard, a player who has a big future in the game in WA.

 

“Week by week he’s getting better,” Sheehan said.  “He’s got great attitude, is learning all the time and it’s good to see a young forward stepping up into senior football and making a mark.”