NRLWA FTG&P Premiership – Round 10 Recap

By PETER ROWE 

 

The NRLWA produced another thrilling draw at the Franklin Offshore Stadium on Saturday afternoon as the Rockingham Sharks and the North Beach Sea Eagles fought out a 26-26 draw in round 10 of the Fuel to Go and Play Premiership.

 

And it wasn’t without excitement as the Sea Eagles jumped to an early 20-0 lead after 20 minutes of play.

 

The visitors, playing quick from the ruck football with lots of possession, stunned their opponents and on the back of several penalties had the home side staring down the barrel of a potential big loss as back rower Brody Whitehead dived on a clever grubber kick that was spilled to score before hooker Drew Lloyd and lock Ted Shand added more points. 

 

Centre Tyler Moeau grabbed a fourth to increase their lead, during a period of the game coach Phil Douche said he was extremely pleased with.


Photo – Libby McMillan

“There were some big positives from the first 20 minutes and we stuck to our game plan and were calm in our approach which was key,” Douche said.

 

“Then we lost our centre and they (Rockingham) took advantage of that and went ‘bang, bang, bang’ down that left edge and it was game on.”

 

It certainly was game on as the Sharks got some possession and the game became a half of two halves, turning around the deficit with tries from second rower Brandon White, lock Marcelle Loader to halve the deficit before Braydon Burdett came off the bench to score his first try for the Sharks.

 

At 16-20 the momentum had swung back to the Sharks and from the kickoff they positioned themselves to attack the North Beach left edge again, with a break from Burdett setting up powerful centre Logan Barclay for his first of the day.


Photo – Libby McMillan

Captain Keelyn Tuuta-Edwards kicked the conversion and amazingly the home side, from 20 points down, went into halftime break two points up.

 

Rockingham coach Tom Murphy said he had told his team not to panic and that “the tide will turn”.

 

“I think the penalty count in those early moments was 6-0 to them, so we had two dig deep and stay in the game,” he said.

 

“We had to trust our systems and once we got some ball we knew we could score points.”

 

Douche was also talking systems to his side.

 

“I knew the second half was going to be a wrestle and we had to be in that fight,” Douche said. 

 

“I told them if we roll over it will end 40-20 to them so we had to dig deep.”

 

Both sides dug deep with no score for the first 30 minutes of the half, each probing for a gap, and with each defence standing firm.

 

“Our execution wasn’t great the first 20 minutes, with some poor kicking, but we adjusted and we came through,” Douche added.

 

“But both teams should be very proud of that performance. It was top quality. Credit to everyone.”

 

Then with less than ten minutes on the clock Drew Lloyd dived over in the corner from dummy half and the visitors were back in front.

 

But the never-say-die attitude of Rockingham was always going to give us a thrilling finale and when Logan Barclay dived over in the right hand corner it was all square.

 

Tuuta-Edwards missed a difficult conversion from the touchline and one play from the kickoff brought a thriller of a game to an end. 

 

“A great advert for the game in WA from two top sides,” Murphy added.

 

“Defensively we again showed in that second half what we can achieve against a mobile and fast pack. 

 

“The big positive for me was our resilience – how we came back from 20-0 down to level it. That was good to see.”

 

At George Burnett Park the South Perth Lions’ hopes of a repeat of their 2014 Grand Final win over Fremantle were dashed as the Roosters kept pace with the Sharks and the Sea Eagles to record a 36-12 victory.

 

15 of that 2014 side gathered to celebrate that win a decade ago and thought history might repeat itself when Corban Daniels scored early, but the Roosters quickly responded and it was one-way traffic from there.

 

New signing Samisoni Langi couldn’t make an impact as the Lions pushed to get back into the game but did grab a second try through fellow half Jayden Evans.

 

“We only completed 53 per cent in the first half,” team manager Paul Brown said. “It wasn’t our day.”

 

Veteran Daniel Green was outstanding for the home side, as was captain Ethan Gourgaud but Brown knows they need a win next week against Joondalup.


Photo – Karmel Potter-Green

“It’s a must win for us to stay in the race for the finals,” Brown said.

 

“This result was disappointing, we couldn’t hold on to the ball and then we couldn’t defend the turnovers.”

 

Delane Edwards kept new boy Langi under control, ensuring he had no space to work and scored the Roosters first try before a hat-trick from winger Kaelin Heremaia-Phillips ensured the points would be heading Fremantle’s way.

 

Sonny Kerr, Jesse Day and Nick Riggs finished off the scoring as the Lions tired.

 

“Fair play to South Perth, their No. 3 Della Kannawalle had a great day and kept our centre Joey (Po’uhila) at bay, but once we settled into our rhythm it went our way,” captain Duane Butler said.

 

The Roosters head north for another battle next weekend against joint leaders North Beach, while South Perth go in search of their first win of the season at Joondalup.