NRLWA Westpac Womens Premiership – Round 08 Recap

By PETER ROWE 

 

A rejuvenated North Beach Sea Eagles showed they are ready for the run-in to the finals with a 24-20 win over the Ellenbrook Rabbitohs on Friday night in an NRLWA Westpac Women’s Premiership round eight double header at Charlotte’s Vineyard.

 

The Sea Eagles jumped to a 12-0 lead in the first half thanks to a double from winger Sinead Loundes and another from coach Trudy Whaanga’s sister Charmondelae Whaanga, before the Rabbitohs found the try line three minutes into the second half.

 

Loundes looked quality down the right edge, scoring twice after Beach, looking good with the ball and relatively solid in defence, had set up the platform and when a kick into goal was missed by the Ellenbrook defence Whaanga pounced on it to score.

 

“We had numbers back and it was really good to see,” coach Whaanga said.

 

“We’re back on track after a shaky start to the season when we struggled for players, but confidence is now up and we have to keep the momentum going to make the finals.”

 

Ellenbrook looked stunned at the break but once they had points on the board they began to roll, with skipper Kailey Thompson opening their account after an unlucky North Beach fumble ten metres out.

 

Player of the match Brianna Young, who had been out for three weeks with injury,  increased the North Beach lead, spotting a hole in the Ellenbrook defence to break through on a long run, a try she was delighted with after the game.

 

“I saw the gap and they (Ellenbrook) weren’t coming up so I bolted through,” she said.

 

Juraea Turner then closed the gap again, but the Sea Eagles regrouped, found second wind and energised to set up April Allen to score.

 

This game however, was not over yet as the Rabbitohs made good use of possession against tiring opposition and Thompson added a second with seven minutes left.

 

Tia Hauraki finished their night with a score in the left hand corner, but with less than a minute on the clock it was game over as a delighted Beach coach began to see some fruits from the efforts put in on the training ground. 

 

“We capitalised on their errors and it was a disciplined performance,” Whaanga said. 

 

“We still have a few out injured. We had 19 registered before the season started before injuries hit and it was tough. But now I can see some light. They played really well tonight.”

 

Rabbitohs captain Kailey Thompson was disappointed her side could not win in front of their own supporters and wished she could trade her two tries for two points.

 

“It was a tough night. We made too many mistakes in the first half. I think we won the second half 20-12, but as we all know the game is over two halves and the first half we just weren’t in it enough,” she said.

 

“The next four games for us are crucial. We had a chat in sheds afterwards and we know we have to learn from this one and be positive – next week it’s another big game against Joondalup.”

 

In the second game of the night leaders Joondalup Giants were pushed all the way by the Fremantle Roosters, eventually winning out 24-16, with a double from Mata Moeka’a and singles from Zion Taurima, Jeune Biddle and Renae Parekura.

 

“We controlled the first half well,” Giants coach Kurt Lahtz said. “The players stepped up in what was a tough game.

 

We didn’t win the ruck in the second half and let them back into the contest, but we did enough to get the points.

 

Lahtz said he was pleased with many aspects of his side’s performance, and praised skipper Anneka Stephens for her leadership on the park.

 

“She had a solid game and steered us around the field,” he said. 

 

The Giants were also missing several players, something Lahtz said was a challenge to manage.

 

“We’ll have three players back in two weeks after injury layoffs and that will help on the run-in to the finals,” he said.

 

“Our goals is to be all there and ready for the end of the year, when it really counts.”

 

Zoe Podmore crossed for the Roosters in the 18th minute and Keisha Marshall (38) and Tiegen Higgins (46) were their second half scorers in a highly entertaining game.