By Justin Fris
Saturday’s 2014 WARL Smarter than Smoking Premiership Grand Finals at George Burnett Park will be remembered as the day that delivered compulsive Rugby League viewing.
As the sun beamed down brightly on players and spectators from 9am, no one could have predicted the several climactic finishes later in the day.
The schedule was chock full of eagerly awaited matchups, with full summaries as follows:
U/14 SHOWCASE- Rockingham 40-12 Pilbara
The prodigious talent from the Pilbara travelled down to Perth for a fantastic experience. Against a quality Sharks side, the northerners gave a good account of themselves.
Despite the loss, Brandon Saena caught the eye of many key observers.
Leevai Sutton was best afield for the Sharks, who celebrated another win at George Burnett Park in September.
WOMENS LEAGUE TAG- Fremantle 22-0 Joondalup
Fremantle capped off a memorable year in women’s league, easily defeating Joondalup in the grand final.
The quality of football was impressive, but gamesmanship between the two sides was the real winner.
Some boys in other grades could learn a tip or two from you ladies!
Tries: Shanaaz Te-Ahuru 2, Lauren Chambers, Emily Calder
Goals: Lauren Chambers 3
PLAYER OF THE MATCH: Lauren Chambers – Fremantle
THIRD GRADE- North Beach 18-16 Joondalup
As the heat began to intensify, so did the third grade grand final. Trailing 12-4 at half time, Joondalup made an inspirational comeback and fell centimetres short of an improbable victory.
Beach’s ability to control the middle of the field proved the difference in the dying seconds. Dean Tamau and Maua Elasi were best for Beach, who gave the Joondalup defence nightmares.
Third grade was a breath of fresh air in 2014 and we look forward to an even bigger year in 2015.
NORTH BEACH 18
Tries: Nick Chase, Tainui Richards, Dean Tamou
Goals: Mick Kestel 3
Tries: Stephen Bennett, John Browne, Tyrone Davis
Goals: Daniel Sebine 2
PLAYER OF THE MATCH: Dean Tamou – North Beach
U/18 GRAND FINAL- Rockingham 23-22 South Perth (Golden Point)
Describing this match as ‘epic’ doesn’t even do it enough justice!
Rockingham raced to a 16-0 lead at halftime and looked destined for a crushing victory.
South Perth coach Damien Tahere changed the game at half time.
Speaking calmly to his players at all times, Tahere instilled a fatherhood-like bond on his players. And it showed in the second half.
With an opportunity to win the game off a fulltime conversion, the Lions’ luck ran out.
Golden point ensued, with Sharks halfback Liam Goodyear sending a 35m field goal through the uprights for the win.
Goodyear’s exceptional setup play ensured he was named man of the match.
Tries: Logan Barclay, Connor Hudson, Keelyn Tuuta-Edwards, Jayden Toelupe
Goals: Liam Goodyear 3
Field Goals: Liam Goodyear
SOUTH PERTH 22
Tries: Siailaoa Faafua, Savaan Tahere, Quintin Needham, Kyall Pepperell
Goals: Siailaoa Faafua 2, Akua Robert
PLAYER OF THE MATCH: Liam Goodyear – Rockingham
RESERVE GRADE- North Beach 22-18 South Perth (Golden Point)
South Perth and North Beach had been yo-yoing for supremacy all season long in reserve grade. Therefore it was fitting that this match came down to golden point.
The Lions led by 8-0 at half time and onlookers wondered where Beach’s spark would come from.
Enter Josh Rogers.
Rogers was unplayable in the second half, inspiring a Beach comeback that will warm the hearts of Sea Eagles fans over the summer.
NORTH BEACH 22
Tries: Matt Kaiwai, Nathan Roa, Jeremy Wallace, Ethan Williams
Goals: Josh Rogers 3
SOUTH PERTH 18
Tries: James Turner 2, Anthony Piggott, Pikari Te Wara
Goals: Anthony Piggott
PLAYER OF THE MATCH – WALLY STEIN MEDAL: Josh Rogers – North Beach
FIRST GRADE- South Perth 28-26 Fremantle
For the full First Grade match report click on the below link:
SOUTH PERTH 28
Tries: TK Kahaki 2, Brandon Timlin 2, Dean Shepherd
Goals: Adam Bartholomew 4
FREMANTLE ROOSTERS 26
Tries: Craig Madden, Tridant Pamatangi, Jordan Stringer, Wellington Tulilou
Goals: Zane Patrick 5
PLAYER OF THE MATCH – RON HUDSON MEDAL: Dean Shepherd – South Perth
The matchday experience delivered by the South Perth Lions on Saturday was a true credit to their club. Along with the WARL and stakeholders, they created an atmosphere that could be easily replicated in NSW or QLD.
It was a day that we will never forget and we can only now count the sleeps until 2015 kicks off!