NRLWA Westpac Womens Premiership – Round 09 Recap

By PETER ROWE

Ellenbrook Rabbitohs turned around a 16-point deficit at home to Joondalup Giants on Friday night, coming back from 22-6 down at halftime to record a remarkable 24-22 victory to close the gap on their opponents at the top of the Westpac Women’s Premiership.

 

A game of two halves saw the Bunnies take an early lead after just two minutes through Sera Ah-Sam before Jeune Kelly Biddle and Anneka Stephens took control of the game with back-to-back tries.

 

Biddle added second on 17 minutes as she broke through a gap in the Ellenbrook line and raced for the line, with Stephens adding the conversion.

 

Stephens then increased the lead as she ducked through one tackle and dived through another to roll past a third to score as the Giants showed why they were top of the ladder.

 

When winger Ngamata Moekaa added fifth try in the corner two minutes before halftime the game looked over, but with Stephens off the field with a broken nose, the second half turned completely as the Rabbitohs began their fightback.

 

Mahina Clair was first on the scoreboard four minutes into the second stanza before Taliana Mika (48th min) and halfback Kailey Thompson pulled them level – and it was Thompson’s four conversions that won them the game.

 

“We had to dig deep because we missed so many tackles in the first half,” Thompson said. 

 

‘I know they lost Anneka but we just concentrated on what we had to do, played what was in front of us and once we got a try after the break we just got on a roll and kept going.”

 

Thompson praised her forwards for laying the platform for the win, especially mum and bub duo, Sera Ah-Sam and her daughter Frieda, who was named player of the match.

 

“They were awesome, as were all the team.”

 

For Giants coach Kurt Lahtz  it was a different story. 

 

“We collapsed in the second half and it wasn’t expected,” a disappointed Lahtz said.

 

“We went away from our game plan to play the edges and tried to match it with their forwards up the middle and it didn’t work.

 

“Anneka went straight to hospital and we’ll miss her for a few weeks, but we will regroup, we have a few players returning, so we will learn from this.”

North Beach Sea Eagles continued to improve with a solid 26-16 win over Fremantle Roosters in the second game of the double header at Charlotte’s Vineyard, with Willow Leach the star of the show, scoring two tries in her first start at hooker.

 

Just 17, and a newcomer to the game this season, Leach helped set up the win, with further tries coming from Hineriu Thompson (2) and Ada Cox in a game that was try for try until the Sea Eagles capitalised on Fremantle errors to seal the points.

 

“Our defence was much improved and Charmondelae’s (Whaanga) kicking really helped us gain territory,” coach Trudy Whaanga said.

 

“Confidence is good and we now have to keep improving to ensure we make the finals.”