NRLWA FTG&P Premiership – Round 12 Recap

By PETER ROWE

When the going gets tough, the tough get going, so the song says, and it certainly proved that way at Poet Kennedy’s Franklin Offshore Stadium on Saturday evening as a James Blackburn try 13 minutes from time proved the difference as the Rockingham Sharks defeated the Joondalup Giants 14-10 in an arm wrestle of an NRLWA Fuel to Go and Play Premiership clash.

 

The Sharks, still missing several key players, came back from 10-4 down in the second half as first centre Logan Barclay crossed on the left edge before Blackburn found a gap on the right side to seal the points.

 

It was disappointment for a Giants side who had come to play and pushed their opponents all the way in a game that both sides were capable of winning.


Photo – Libby McMillan

“We lost a couple of players before the game and that needed a reshuffle, but the boys dug deep and deserved something from the game, but it wasn’t to be,” coach Darren Smith said.

 

Kurt De Amyand was first to find the whitewash after 11 minutes and it stayed that way for 20 minutes before back-rower Zien Careuth drew the visitors level.

 

And when speedy fullback Travis Haney avoided the clutches of Barclay to race for the try line Joondalup thought they had a chance to spring a surprise victory.

 

But Barclay made amends on the hour when he picked up speed and found a gap in the Giants defence to race over and with Keelyn Tuuta-Edwards’ kick finding its mark the game was locked up again.

 

Errors from both sides offered up chances before Blackburn’s try set the scene for a dramatic last period of play where the Sharks tried in vain to increase their lead as Gus Marshall rallied his side to look for a try that would level the scores.


Photo – Libby McMillan

It was not to come as the Sharks held on to stay second, on for and against points difference, on the ladder, with the Fremantle Roosters still on top spot.

 

“Tough, tough game,” Smith added. “It could have gone either way. There was plenty of effort, we just need to sort out the little things and get it right for finals.”

 

Sharks coach Tom Murphy agreed on the ferocity of the game. “It was tough out there. And we had to battle to stay in the game and then take the breaks to secure the victory,” he said.

 

Third placed North Beach Sea Eagles turned in a super second-half performance to inflict another defeat on South Perth at George Burnett Park, with five unanswered tries, to emerge 54-14 winners.

 

Centre Jesse Rafferty was their man of the match, scoring four, with hooker Drew Lloyd crossing for a double in a win that had coach Phil Douche very happy.

 

“Yes, especially the second half,” Douche said.  “The boys stuck to the game plan, worked really hard and we got the win.

 

“Korey Craig had a couple of great kick returns that set us up and our middles built a platform that saw the points scored.

 

“We’ve got a few out injured, so we had to shuffle the side again, so it was very pleasing to get the win.”

 

Rafferty and Lloyd gave the Sea Eagles a three try lead before centre Corban Daniels, Karra Wiringi and Jarred Smith pulled the Lions back into the contest\, but halfback Kurtis Everett scored three minutes before the break to give the visitors a ten-point margin.

 

The home side then failed to push on in the second half, as Rafferty scored again in the 47th and 56th minutes before Lloyd, forward Tom Fry and winger Te Ra Hare Ahuriri completed the scoring.

 

“We got off to a poor start and it’s always tough coming from 18-nil down that early in the game,” Lions coach Marty Collis said.

Photo – Karmel Potter-Green

“But Corban, Sony (halfback Langi) and Ethan (second rower Gourgaud) worked well down that left edge.

 

Collis knows it’s been a steep learning curve for many of his youngsters this season, admitting his side only completed 50 per cent of their sets in the second half.

 

“We completed seven in the first half and scored three times, but it fell away after halftime and I think Beach were at about 80 per cent – hence the scoreline,” he said.

 

“We need to learn to build and keep pressure on opponents or we will, as was proven late in the game, get punished. We looked good for 15 minutes, but we need to be on form for 80.”