Girls League Tag
The first game of the day, was the big favourites in the minor premiers Joondalup Giants taking on the well supported underdogs of the competition, the South Perth Lions. And while they showed plenty of grit and determination, they were no match for the female juggernaut that is the Joondalup Giants. The Giants controlled proceedings early, on the back of some great play from Ngamihi Monk with the ball in hand. But it was an overall team defensive performance that really shut the Lions down. The Giants suffocated the impressive Marnie Maguire, and while they did strike back with an amazing try to Leokadia Tairea, who went the length of the field in an amazing solo run, it just wasn’t enough. The Giants have setup a grand final date with arch-rivals the Ellenbrook Rabbitohs.
In the match of the day, the Alkimos Tigers kicked a penalty goal after the siren to defeat a gallant Rockingham Sharks, 16-14. The Sharks started quickly and jumped out to a lead courtesy of a long range try to speedster Te-ariki McRoy, but the Tigers soon answered back with a try of their own. With the game in the balance in the second half, Legend Mansell-Morisson, who had a monster game for the Sharks, strangled the game back with a quick fire double and it looked like the Sharks could almost stamp their ticket. But some late tries to Nathaniel Paora and Antonio Lawson brought it level with less than two minutes remaining. Chayse Berryman missed a relatively easy conversion, and it stayed at 14-14 and you could be forgiven for thinking we were heading into extra time. But with one more possession, the Tigers weren’t going to die wondering, and went on a long field jaunt, which ended with a high tackle penalty, 20 metres out on the sideline. Dreams are made of these, and Berryman got a second chance to win it, with a much harder shot at goal. And he made no mistake, duly converting the difficult penalty goal and sending the Tigers to their first ever junior grand final and a shot at glory against the Kalamunda Bulldogs.
For this fixture, it was a case of our stars versus your stars, with the South Perth Lions taking the points victory over the Fremantle Roosters, 26-16. Jahkayis Mabbett was the architect of this fixture, scoring 3 tries and laying on two more fort the dominant Hone Skinner in the middle of the field. With Jesse Inall, William Blair and Maddox Brocklehurst all touching down for Fremantle, they lacked the flow and consistency they had showed the week before with crucial errors and penalties marring their teams contest. Special mention to Lincoln Kemp who is as honest a player as you will see in attack and defence, but the Lions would not be denied. They will now face the daunting task of coming up with a game plan to defeat the undefeated minor premiers in the Rockingham Sharks.
In the U15 Boys, the North Beach Sea Eagles bucked their sliding trend in a dominant performance over the South Perth Lions, winning 34-10. It was a return to form for the Sea Eagles boys, who were too fast, too efficient and ultimately too good for the Lions. Darius Rogers was the standout, with a couple of half chances taken full advantage of, and his team mates followed, with Reuben Dickson and Jesse Rafferty showing their deadly ball running skill to great effect. For the Lions, it was a case of not putting their best foot forward this week, with Mataio Pora and Tahupotiki Awhitu-Kerei both trying incredibly hard, but just being unable to stem the Sea Eagles onslaught. Fabian Leituala was a willing ball runner, but their inability to stop the North Beach roll on just came back to hurt them. The Sea Eagles now have a big task ahead of them to over haul the Rockingham Sharks this Sunday.
And in the final game of the day, the South Perth Lions kicked clear of the Kalamunda Bulldogs to win 22-4 and setup a rematch of the major semi final against the Rockingham Sharks. In a game that was very different from the two these teams played the week before, defence was the order of the day, with both teams showing up on the tougher side of the ball. South Perth were typically ferocious on defence, after letting in 40 points the week before, to only let in a solitary try to young gun Jeremiah Grant on the right wing. And while Finn Cappon and Harlem Tata-Paaki tried hard they couldn’t get the points required to haul in the ruthless Lions. Jack Clutterbuck and Te Auturoa Awhitu-Kerei were both immense for the Lions, as they stepped up and led them to a strong victory that puts them in good stead for the grand final.