Rabbitohs Defeat Arch-Rivals Giants In Grand Final Epic

The Ellenbrook Rabbitohs are once again the Women’s Tackle Premiers after defeating a brave and gallant Joondalup Giants team 18 – 14 in a golden point extra time period thriller. The Rabbitohs, who have made it 5 premierships in a row in what might be an unprecedented run in any grade in Western Australia, were made to work extremely hard by the Giants who can consider this one, one that got away.

It was a bruising encounter from the start with both teams looking to impose their will upon the game. Back and forth both teams traded shots, with the forward packs really aiming up. Joondalup started big with Kiri Smiler and Chanelle Edwards really looking to match it with the younger pair from the Bunnies, Natalia Tearoa and Aliyah Grey. With both teams getting stuck into each other, the whole crowd sat in amazement at these female athletes.

While Giants looked like they had the better of the early running, with gun Anneka Stephens really causing issues in the middle of the field along with playmaker Shenae Gilmor Spence, it was the Ellenbrook Rabbitohs who scored first through gun hooker and two try hero Paihau Pomare. After some great forward lead up work, and a quick play the ball to Paihau, she beat the markers from the ruck and score a fairly simple try to put the Rabbitohs in front, with Tiarne Barnett’s conversion unsuccessful, and the Bunnies leading 4-0.

And once they got a roll on the Bunnies went bang bang and looked like they might go on with it. After some good runs from Ariana Hira-Herangi, and Women’s Players Player Mahinarangi Clair, the Rabbitohs looked for a shift out to the right, and the ball found its way into the hands of winger Tiarne Barnett, who made no mistake with the put down out wide to put the red and green further in front to lead 8-0, and with people wondering could the Giants stay with the defending premiers.

From this point on the Giants seemed to get a shot of energy. With Valuese Tiakia and Lana Hawkings injected into the game, the maroon and gold ladies made all the running late in the first half. Time and again cracks appeared with Roimata Toa-Amoa and Stephens cutting loose. But they couldn’t get a result before the siren blew, and they had to settle for a penalty goal on half time. Striking it true, Arnika Cave nailed the penalty goal and the Giants trailed the Rabbitohs 8-2.

After half time, it seemed imperative that the Giants had to be the ones to score first. And if anything they definitely looked more likely. With Cave and Taryn Wylie starting the Joondalup sets off right, it was only because of the great defensive decision making of Bobbie-Lee Barker and Turiti Galiki-Koiatu on the edges that were denying the Giants any passages out there. But there were definitely cracks appearing in the Ellenbrook armour.

And finally it happened. After some sustained pressure, Roimata Toa-Amoa got the ball on an edge, off a sweet pass from Stephens, on the Rabbitohs line and fought her way through the attention of three defenders to score and bring the Giants level, and the atmosphere in the crowd turned electric.The belief seemed to be alive for the Giants, and with Cave nailing the conversion, the score was tied 8-8, and maybe the tide was turning.

This seemed to lift the Rabbitohs to another level and boy did they respond. Aliyah Grey in particular took it personally and with the help of some strong running fro Trilleen Pomare and Juraea Turner, they wrestled the game back from the Giants in a big way and looked like they were going to run away with it. A linebreak from the Bunnies from a nice short ball from Amiria Clark-Manahi paved the way, and surely enough from a quick play the ball is was Paihua Pomare again who benefitted as she dove over and sent the Rabbitohs supporters ecstatic. With Barnett making no mistake with the conversion, the Rabbitohs led 14-8 and it was up to the Giants to respond this time.

And while they were stubborn and causing headaches when they had the ball, with Stephens and Tiakia leading the way, they were still having problems stopping the red and green machine. And with 5 minutes left on the clock, it looked like Trilleen Pomare had taken it away from them. Recieving the ball on an out line, she skinned two defenders and got into a two on one situation, and floated a ball out to Barnett in support on the right touch line, only for the ball to be spilled, in what would have been the game winning try.

With time running down and it looking grim for the Giants, they needed someone to stand up. Everyone was out on their feet and almost everyone was exhausted. And it was the unheraled veteran in Chanelle Edwards who ended up with the ball in her hands. With the clock counting down and everything on the line, she rumbles and bumps off several Rabbitohs defenders, and bangs it down over the line in one of the most insane finishes to a women’s rugby league contest we have seen in Western Australia, which gives Arnika Cave a chance to tie it up and send it to golden point. After what seems like an eternity, Cave duly slots the conversion to send the game into golden point extra time.

In the first period of extra time, the teams square off again with the Giants getting the upper hand and then the whistle blows! Giving a penalty for the Giants and a chance to send the premiership up north to Joondalup for the first time. Taking all the time she can, Cave lines it up. A slightly hard kick than the previous conversion, but still well within her range, she steps up to the ball and slices it as it goes to the right of the posts. Which draws the first half of extra time to a close.

In the second period, both sides traded shots in the middle of the field, without getting into a dangerous scoring position. with neither side gaining the upper hand. Both sides look tired, but still continue to battle hard, in a no mistake football contest. Which sends us into a 3rd and final continuous period of extra time.

And from the start of the third period, it finally looks like the Rabbitohs have wrestled the momentum back. They look the more dangerous and force the issue to the Giants ladies. And then enter our player of the game, Trilleen Pomare. On last tackle, she receives the ball and looks to put an attacking kick in, but with the defence looking exhausted, she chooses to run, step, step and then gas her way to the try line, leaving no less than four Giants clutching at thing air as she races into score, and send the Ellenbrook team and their supporters to ecstasy. Heartbreak for the brave and gutsy Giants. Jubilation for the Rabbitohs as they go 5 time in a row premiers.

Grand Final – Ellenbrook Rabbitohs 18 def by Joondalup Giants 14 (Golden Point Extra Time)

Rabbitohs – Tries –Paihau Pomare (2), Tiarne Barnett, Trilleen Pomare
Goals – Tiarne Barnett (1)

Giants – Tries – Chanelle Edwards, Roimata Toa Amoa
Goals – Arnika Cave (3)

Player Of The Game – Ellenbrook Rabbitohs #4 – Trilleen Pomare