For the second year in a row, the Fremantle Roosters will contest the WA Smarter Than Smoking Premiership Grand Final after defeating the North Beach Sea Eagles 28-18 during their major semi-final at Charles Riley Reserve on Saturday.
The reigning premiers ran in five tries to three to earn a week off and book their Grand Final berth.
“It was a great game today – we did what we trained to do and I’m happy with the win,” Roosters Manager Zac Speir said.
“We showed today if we pull together we can get the job done.”
Just seven days after playing out a thrilling 30-all draw to close out the regular season, both sides were at it again, this time, with their eyes firmly set on making the Grand Final.
With last week’s draw, North Beach had home advantage for the clash and needed just three minutes to get on the board – Ben Taylor dotting down after some clever build-up play from hooker Trent Trotter and five-eight Josh Toole.
The Roosters own the league’s most potent attack – scoring 766 points across 19 games and hit back soon after – captain Delane Edwards crossing after Simon Tabakanaca stripped Sea Eagles fullback Brad Sharpham of the ball in a dangerous area.
The play gave the visitors a lift and they soon hit the front as Manihera Eden’s quick hands sent winger Alan Cowan crashing over in the corner.
North Beach finished on the top of the ladder for a reason, however, and weren’t down for long – Kani Solomon offloading to Zac Bishop who put the hosts back on top 12-10 on the half-hour mark.
The game would take one more twist before the break – Brad Gibson bouncing off a couple of defenders to give Fremantle a 12-10 lead heading into the sheds.
After the change of ends, it was all Fremantle, as Speir’s men peppered the North Beach goal-line.
The Sea Eagles did their best to keep the Roosters at bay but were broken 12 minutes after the restart – Tarin Katu bulldozing his way over from close range to make it a 10-point game.
Trotter grabbed a late try nine minutes from time to set up a grandstand finish, but it wasn’t to be for North Beach as Te Puna Sellers clinched the game for Fremantle with a try just three minutes later.
With the win, Fremantle earn themselves a week off, while North Beach have a second chance to make the Grand Final during next weekend’s Preliminary Final.
They will take on South Perth after the Lions ended the Rockingham Sharks’ season with a 42-6 win at George Burnett Park – their eighth win in a row.