NRLWA FTG&P Premiership – Round 09 Recap

By PETER ROWE 

 

What a difference a week makes.  Round Nine of the NRLWA fuel to Go and Play Premiership proved once again that on any day any team can turn up and win – or draw – as the Joondalup Giants almost pulled off a shock win over the Fremantle Roosters  at Admiral Park.

 

After losing heavily to North Beach in round eight, the Giants stood tall to bounce back from a 16-10 halftime deficit to lead 20-16 with seven minutes to go as the Roosters went in search of a last minute miracle.

 

“That seven minutes felt like an eternity and when they had Jesse Day sin-binned I thought we had a chance,” halfback Taurean Sheehan said.

 

But with barely a minute on the clock winger Nick Riggs found the try line after some sustained pressure to level it – with a kick to come.  

 

The siren had gone and it was left to five-eighth Paora Kemp to kick the winning two points – but the kick hit the post and bounced back into play.  A 20-20 draw, disappointment for the visitors, but a confidence boosting point for Joondalup, again missing several key players.

 

“We still had a few out and brought some kids in from reserves and I’m so proud of how they performed,” Sheehan said.

 

“After the disappointment of last week at North Beach, although we didn’t win, it was a big positive for us.”

 

With minutes to go the Roosters stepped up. “Yeah, we finally decided to play again,” injured captain Duane Butler said afterwards.

 

“We played well for the first 10 minutes, then made too many errors for the next 60, before we got it sorted.

 

“But credit to Joondalup, they really stuck it to us in the middles, it was physical and their line speed was lightning fast.”

 

The Roosters had jumped to a 16-0 early lead through Kemp twice and Kaelin Heremaia-Phillips and looked comfortable before the Giants started to roll, and at halftime held a four-point advantage  – but Gus Marshall and Taurean Sheehan, aided by hooker River Colman and  fullback Travis Haney pulled them back into the contest.

 Winger Tyran Davis and centre Mitch Haggart crossed early before a break from River Colman at dummy half caught the Fremantle defence off guard and an inside pass to the speedy Haney saw the home aside draw level.

 

Then a big 50-metre cross field kick from Marshall found space for winger Leon White to put them in front.

 

Nick Riggs scored that all-important leveller late to set up Kemp for the kick – and the rest, as they say, is history.

 

At Port Kennedy Sportsplex the Rockingham Sharks got their season back on track with a 40-6 victory over a young South Perth Lions, thanks largely to a superb hat-trick from Logan Barclay and superior ball handling skills as heavy rain turned the contest into a one-side affair in the second half.

 

“We were in the game at halftime, 12-0 down and thought we had a chance,”  Lions team manager Paul Brown said.

 

“But Rockingham played better wet weather footy and came home strong.”

 

Barclay had given the Sharks that two-try lead before the break and rounded off a superb night with this third late in the game.

 

Backrower Zac McEntyre found the whitewash with a couple of opportunist scores after South Perth errors as the rain continued to fall, with centre Sirla Pera and big impact forward Fortez Williams also crossing to take the Sharks back to the top of the ladder.

 

“We struggled to control Keelyn Tuuta-Edwards (the Rockingham five-eighth) in that second half and he hurt us,” Brown said adding his starting one-to-six had an average of just 19.

Photo – Libby McMillan 

Hooker Jarrad Smith put points on the board midway through the second half for the visitors, but it wasn’t enough to stop the Rockingham charge.

 

“It was a contest in the first half and South Perth pushed us hard,” Sharks player-coach Tom Murphy, who is still sidelined with injury, said.

 

“But we completed 12 of 15 sets in the second half, held on the ball and won well. 

 

“I was impressed with the way we adapted to the weather and really pleased for Logan *(Barclay), who was superb on the night and our big prop Fortez (Williams), who came off the bench and did well.

 

“It took discipline to get through the game, especially in the second half when the rain just kept coming. The boys stuck to the plan.”