Perth Juniors 2021 – Grand Final Review

Girls League Tag
Well it was a battle of the northern female titans in the junior grand finals, with the Ellenbrook Rabbitohs taking on the Joondalup Giants. And its started with an enthralling contest, which went down to the wire. With some back and forth footy from both sides, it took a brilliant last tackle kick-chase from stand out player of the day, Leona Yusia, to break the deadlock. With the Giants looking for an opening, Tyrah Parekura-Schirnakc, Mya Walker and Destinie Mauchien all went really close to tying up the score. But they say your guns stand up on grand final day, and Koopu Mareikura was amazing for the Bunnies and she dotted down again to give what seemed like an unassailable 8 point lead. With Shamaia Grey and Ngamihi Monk going toe to toe in the contest, the Rabbitohs were not giving anything up easily in defence. The siren duly went in the background, with the Ellenbrook Rabbitohs taking the spoils on the day.

U13s Boys
Now in a grand final that was setup to be one for the ages, the Kalamunda Bulldogs shot out of the blocks, and withstood the late fightback from the Alkimos Tigers to win 12-8 in an absolute heart stopper. With the Bulldogs controlling all the early running on the back of some big running from Carter Nikora and Tamati Tawita Pou, they allowed the very talented Regan Black to dot down, and when player of the grand final Ricco Lilli scooted away for a long range try, it was 12-0 and it looked like it might be a long day for the Tigers. And if your the Alkimos coaching staff, your tearing your hair out, as they have been behind in every game so far in the finals and have left it extremely late in all their games to get in control. But the second half was all tigers, with Kaeden McQuoid and Chayse Berryman both going over out wide. Unable to add the extras they went searching for the match winning try late in the contest but were unable to come up with the winner. Dante Miria and William Vicencio try their heart out, but they ultimately fell short, and the Bulldogs ended up victorious.

U13s Girls
In a dominant display, the Ellenbrook Rabbitohs took their undefeated season form into the final against the Joondalup Giants, with a dominant 38-12 victory. Although things didn’t start well with the fleet footed Palace Koia touching down in the very first play to put the Giants up 6-0. But after that brief highlight, it all started to go wrong for the Giants. Dominant player Eston Tiakia went down early in the match, in what would be a massive toll for the Giants and they just couldn’t stop the Rabbitohs momentum. Ghaeddia Rihari, Leona Tusia and Deizjah Joyce all got on the scoresheet, with Rimu Pomare and Terina Te Tana controlling the play with an ease and matureness that belied their tender years. Manawanui Tuhakaraina provided a small respite when she barged over for a try in a wholehearted performance. And special mention goes to youngster Capri Beazley for the Giants, who proved its not the size of the outside that only matters, with a huge performance in a losing side, coming up with some stinging defensive tackles. But the Rabbitohs weren’t to be denied, with player of the match honours going to Leilani Tongi-Finau who was in everything for the Bunnies. Tackling and running herself to a standstill, she scored a double and was at the forefront of everything the Rabbitohs did.

U14s Boys
The very first set of the game was almost a preview of how the game was going to play out. The Rockingham Sharks had some very good carries out of their end, and then the ball found its way into the hands of Majah Peachey. And the player of the grand final, scored the first of his five tries as he dominated the whole contest against the South Perth Lions. A 34-10 scoreline showed the resolve of the Lions, who refused to go meekly into the night, as they fought the whole way. Hone Skinner, Gabriel Salele’a and Philip Saunderson where honest toilers for the Lions and tried all game. But the Sharks would not be denied. Peachey, who was ably supported by Kahao Huriwai-Brown, Tamarau Haimona and captain Rihare Te Rauna, were just too strong and classy for the Lions side. With some great running rugby league and offensive footy going on, it was great to watch from a neutral spectator, and the force that was the Rockingham Sharks side cannot be understated. One of the best young prospects the competition has seen in a long time, the ability to turn a precocious talent into a diamond will be the next step for Majah Peachey’s parents and supporters.

U15s Girls
Well in a day dominated by the Ellenbrook female sides, it was left to the U15s girls from Joondalup Giants to at least have a say in the ledger. And they left no doubt, with a powerful performance to defeat the Ellenbrook Rabbitohs 38-6. Dominating the contest from start to finish, the Giants were just too big and strong for a decidedly tired and smaller Rabbitohs side. Four try hero Amiria Edwards was huge for the Giants, along with sisters Sienna Hodge-Cekic and Paige Hodge-Cekic who were in the thick of everything for the Rabbitohs team. But it was one of the smaller girls in Tyrah Parekura-Schirnack, who caused issues with her speed and fitness out of hooker who recieved player of the day honours. She was a constant menace on both sides of the ball for the entire game. Captain Jessica Kaukau tried desperately, along with Raukura Tukiwaho in the forwards, but they were outclassed by a very good side in the end. Majesty Pomare scooted away to finish the game off with a well deserved try, but it was all the Giants in this one, as they took the spoils and gave some of their supporters at least something to cheer about on grand final day.

U15s Boys
The highly fancied Rockingham Sharks were pushed all the way in their Grand Final, before finally hanging on to win 22-20 against a very gallant North Beach Sea Eagles side. Dominant winners in their major semi final 2 weeks before, they Sharks were high on confidence and started the game in a hurry dotting down twice early in what looked like was going to be a repeat of the first fixture. On the back of strong running from Taitoa Te Rauna, William Lomana and Stacie Reweti they controlled the fixture and allowed player of the grand final, Landyn Johnson to work his magic with the ball. But North Beach would not go away quietly. Back rower Jesse Rafferty exploded in the second half, and dragged his North Beach team on his back to take the fight to the Sharks, and his team responded. With Rafferty scoring two tries, fellow forwards Manaia Te Tana, Reuben Dickson and Euston Eparaima came out with fire and brimstone and when Cody Wynne scored, it looked like the Sea Eagles might get there off the back of Latrelle Chase’s accurate goal kicking. But it wasn’t to be. The Sharks got the ball in good field position late in the piece and forced their way over, to send the trophy down south to the Rockingham club.

U16s Boys
But it wasn’t going to be all smiles for the Rockingham Sharks, as they were throughly ambushed by a more desperate and polished South Perth Lions side, with the Lions winning 26-10. The Sharks didn’t seem like they came out of the sheds, with the Lions pilling on 20 points before the Sharks troubled the scorers. Led by prop forward duo Tana Ariki Teaia-Harrison and player of the day Trae Tipoki-Ariki, the Lions were too fast and keen for the Sharks side. Jack Clutterbuck was impressive, showing amazing free running, and Mataio Pora and Jordy Tumoana were constant menaces for the Lions on the edge, both scoring a try in the contest. And while the Sharks got into the contest courtesy of tries to William Lomano and Taiatini Huriwai-Brown, who was their best on the field, they left it way to late to respond. Special mention to Hayze Perham, who tried tirelessly for the Sharks, but just couldn’t impress himself into the game. While the Lions had Casseus Lemarz-Hulbert and Te Uluaki Poasa both imposing themselves defensively, and making sure the Sharks forwards didnt dominate this contest.