Senior Preliminary Final Day Wrap

The Fremantle Roosters are off to the Women’s Premiership Grand Final. Read on to find out who will be joining them at Dorrien Gardens
Credit: Joondalup Giants Rugby League Club

Reports provided by Caleb Reedy!

Women’s League Tag: North Beach Sea Eagles 6-4 Joondalup Giants

Sea Eagles Cause Preliminary Boilover

A Sinead Loundes penalty goal in the dying stages sent the North Beach Sea Eagles Women’s League Tag team soaring to a Grand Final matchup with the intimidating Fremantle Roosters.

The Joondalup Giants WLT were looking to go to their 5th decider in a row, but were left wondering what might have been after a plucky North Beach side defended their way to a huge upset.

In what started out looking like a routine game for the Giants, the Sea Eagles threw a forward pass in their very first set of the game – and the Giants looked like they were going to punish them for it when Taryn Wylie streaked away and looked to put Hayley Utia in for the first try within 2 minutes, but unfortunately the pass went to ground.

Having survived that first scare, Baeleigh Robinson threw a lovely cut out pass to put speedster Loundes into space and she promptly went off on a 40-metre jaunt, only to be stopped by some desperate cover defence from the Giants. Unfortunately, it was about to go bad for the Sea Eagles. The Giants forced a turnover, and then on tackle one, the returning Elle Warren showed why you can’t switch off even for a second, as she went straight through the Sea Eagles line, to run 90 metres to open the scoring for the Giants.

In a weird turn of events, Amber Spence, who is considered one of the better goal kickers in the women’s game, hit the post from right in front. And boy did it come back to hurt.

Tensions immediately went to high alert as the Giants tried to up the tempo and the Sea Eagles knuckled down. The teams traded some contact penalties, but the Giants continued to dominate on their left edge as Wylie and Utia caused two clean line breaks. Only some desperate tags from Emysen Robinson at fullback denied the Giants two clear scoring opportunities.

In a rare bright spot in the first half for the Sea Eagles, a beautiful set move off a late short ball from Trudy Whaanga put Charmondelae Whaanga away on a 40-metre run. She beats Warren at fullback, but a desperate tag by Shenae Gillmor-Spence stopped the Sea Eagles 5 metres out from the Giants line.

But that’s where the good things ended in the half for North Beach, as the Giants went down the other end –  a Nyssa Turner intercept putting Jenny Eaio away, only for Charmondelae to tag her on the try line! A repeat set, two more penalties and another dropped ball from the Beach meant they have to continually turn away the Giants to end the half. They were lucky to only be down 4-0 at the half.

Unfortunately, the 2nd half began just like the first with Beach making an early error, and only a desperate tag from Trudy Whaanga on the line denied the Giants from extending their lead.

Suddenly, 10 minutes into the second half, the North Beach team came to life. A 30-metre kick return from Ina Little puts North Beach in their first attacking opportunity for the second half – and after this side get a penalty they don’t waste it. Whaanga pulling the strings for the young side, produces a deft inside ball to B Robinson, who sends it along the line to Caitlin Wikaira-Miller, (who in an interesting turn of fate plays for the Joondalup Giants tackle side) who then produced a sublime catch and pass on the run to put away Loundes in the corner! The kick pulls up short, but it’s game on and you can feel the intensity building.

For the next few mins, both teams go back and forward at each other with some great running play, which sets the stage for an amazing last five minutes.

The Sea Eagles, who look like they are finishing the stronger of the sides, give away not one but two late tag penalties, and set the stage for Amber Spence to take a penalty goal shot from 25m out and 15m in from touch…… and it sails to the right.

North Beach then move the ball upfield and Amy Tietjens put in a booming kick on the last tackle which puts the Giants back in their half. And on the return set by the Giants, their 5th tackle kick… sails out on the full to gift the Sea Eagles some final field position, and they look to make them pay!

Trudy Whaanga, who in a best on-field performance, sends E.Robinson through the line. She follows up in support, and gets the ball back from her and looks to have sealed the game… only for the pass to be called FORWARD! The Giants get let off the hook…. but then they throw a forward pass on second tackle!!!!

North Beach ball 25 meters out! With two minutes left on the clock and the Sea Eagles with all the wind in their wings pushing forward, the Giants are penalised for being offside. Up steps Loundes. 20 metres in and 20 metres out, Sinead calmly pilots the ball through the sticks and sends the North Beach supporters into raptures.

The Sea Eagles will join the Roosters in next weekend’s grand final, while the Giants will consider this another one that definitely got away.

Val Murphy Trophy: Rockingham Sharks 18-8 North Beach Sea Eagles

Apex Predators to meet in Val Murphy Final

The Rockingham Sharks Val Murphy Trophy side set up a Grand Final return date with the Alkimos Tigers, with a hard earned 18-8 win over a desperate, but ultimately wasteful North Beach Sea Eagles side.

Yuri Taipeti was the big difference, scoring the match-winner in the 59th minute and leaving three defenders in his wake while having a hand in a couple of other tries.

The Sharks didn’t have it all their own way, however, as the Sea Eagles were on the board within the first four minutes. A poor set off their own line left the Sharks putting in a poor kick on last tackle, and the Sea Eagles starting their set on halfway. Playing hard, fast and direct rugby league, Wayne Raymond made a defender miss and strolled over for an easy try and what the Sea Eagles thought would be a sign of things to come.

Fortunately for the Sharks, they steadied the ship and after a quick play the ball from Aaron Upu, Nick Grozinger got out of dummy half and put a smart grubber through the line. The ball took an awkward bounce for the Fahren Marsh as he was crunched in the tackle by the Grozinger who promptly dived on the ball as it pops out to score. It’s now 4-4 and game on.

Then in a funny couple of minutes, the below happens;

  • North Beach kick-off is not taken on the full.
  • The ball goes dead and Sharks to drop out.
  • Sharks miss-kick the dropout, and it goes short.
  • Falcons Alex Mauri and ends up back in the hands of Alestair Parmenter.

Anyway, in the ensuing set, Taipeti starts to stamp his presence on the game. A 40 metre run where he leaves four defenders on the ground – only a fantastic legs tackle from the Marsh stops him in his tracks. Unfortunately the Mitchell O’Brien makes a second effort to slow the play the ball down and is promptly sent to the sin bin and the Sharks use the numbers ascendency to their advantage. Blair Wilson runs through a simple arms tackle and puts the Sharks in front 8-4.

But again you know what happens. Absolute coach killer. Sharks drop the ball off the kick off. Fortunately, the Sea Eagles don’t throw much at them except for five hit-ups and a kick. So, thinking they need another go, the Sharks duly drop the ball on 2nd tackle to let Beach have another set on their line. They survive, but will be practicing their kickoff sets this week at training.

And yet again Taipeti comes into the game. Taking the ball on the edge, the mobile backrower throws a lovely cut out pass to Tuakana Hepi who puts a beautiful in and away on his opposition and then offloads to Parmenter who streaks away to score. 12-4 and no conversions are keeping the Sea Eagles in this one.

A dangerous tackle causes a bit of push and shove to finish the half, but the Sea Eagles have a lot of work to do to get back into this one.

Unfortunately, the Sea Eagles let winger Jonathan Rofe return the kickoff almost to half-way and put Sharks right on the attack. Luckily for Beach, Matt Pora’s cut out pass goes to ground and ends the attacking raid.

Five minutes into the 2nd half and the Sea Eagles make a double substitution at prop, and in come Cheryko Richards and Taine Boelen who both stand tall. Making 3 incisive runs between them they earn the Beach a penalty and a chance to attack the line, and a cheeky kick from Michael Wynne off the ground earns them another set. But again, the Sea Eagles are their own worst enemy and drop the ball on tackle 1.

Back and forth we go until 15 minutes into the half and Alex Mauri, much like his partner Trudy Whaanga in the previous game, takes over. Taking the ball to the line, he gives a great inside ball to Cameron Hoff who goes on a 40m run before he is tackled by Parmenter. Unfortunately again it breaks down as the pass from dummy half is behind the man and a knock on ensues.

But again the Sharks don’t think they have done enough defensive work, and promptly drop the ball on second tackle.

This time the Sea Eagles punish them. Mauri is instrumental, finding Iamafana Eri, who offloads back to Mauri, who then feeds the ball to his outside men, and finds its way to Hoff who scores a simple try out wide to put beach back in the game. 12-8

With this game going right to the wire, North Beach find themselves with a golden opportunity to score with 5 minutes to go. A slick ball movement to the right sees them in a try scoring situation but they are called back for a FORWARD PASS! Denies the Sea Eagles a try which would have at least tied it up.

With less than 3 minutes to go now, the Sea Eagles come up with great defensive set forcing the Sharks to kick from within their own 20m line. But a booming kick downtown by Eric Koroa forces the North Beach winger to bring it off his own line, and he looks to beat the oncoming defenders down the short side.. and is promptly bundled into touch!

Cometh the hour, and cometh the man. Taipeti receives the ball at second receiver and goes bang off the right foot, fends the inside the defender, and shows a clean pair of heels to beat the fullback and score under the posts. Game. Set. Match. Sharks.

Pora converts from in front to close out the game and set up a return bout with the Alkimos Tigers at Dorrien Gardens next week.

Reserve Grade: North Beach Sea Eagles 20-10 Joondalup Giants

Beach hold off the tide and see of fast-finishing Giants

The North Beach Sea Eagles reserve grade did enough in a couple of stints of football to hold off a gallant Joondalup Giants team to set up a grand final revenge match with the highly fancied Rockingham Sharks.

Heading into half-time 14-0 up and then scoring almost from the restart to make it 20-0, the Sea Eagles switched off and failed to deliver the killer blow to a plucky Giants team. Luckily they held on for a 20-10 victory.

The Sea Eagles started fast, with Tom Fry, who was close to the best on ground, use great late hands to but Debba Cook into space. Only a great tackle from Giants fullback Jeremy Browne kept them out, but the Sea Eagles rolled the ball in two tackles later for a repeat set. And as they say in league, repeat sets end in tries. And true to the old adage, the very first tackle off the restart saw Tye Saus, who has spent the majority of the year in 1st grade, bumped and spun off four would-be tacklers to score a great solo try. 4 – 0 to the Beach.

And then Beach duly switched off and allowed the Giants to control the next 15mins, with Joel Irvine and Hemi Kani making some big carries to take Joondalup into a great attacking position. Luke Turner also collects a poor Sea Eagle kick and goes on a 50-metre run, only to be pulled in by wily old veteran Jason Godeke. Beach go on to defend consecutive sets of 6 on their line, with some great reads from Juan Ryan and Kurt Wagner. Some sloppy play out of trouble leads to more drop ball, with Turner being denied by Ryan yet again, the North Beach winger coming up with some big plays.

And then in the 20th minute, the returning James Blake enters the game. And with his first hit up he skittles 3 defenders and offloads to a flying Justin Buckley, who beats the fullback and looks destined to score, only for Luke Turner to come up with an absolute screamer of a tackle on him 1 metre out from the Giants line. A quick play the ball by Buckley then sees it shifted through 4 sets of hands and hits Wagner in open space… and he drops it over the line!

Luckily for Beach, a few sets later they are back on the attack thanks to a couple of big runs to Fry, and Godeke earns them a repeat set. And Deba Cook makes the most of it, going to the line with ball in two hands and cutting straight through the Giants defensive line. 8-0 Beach.

Beach then end up with a penalty in their kick-off set, and this time its Cook’s halves partner Godeke that makes the Giants pay. Godeke takes the ball to the line and holds it up nicely for a late short ball to Dean Morgan who runs a great unders route to score. Buckley converts this one, and Beach go into the half 14-0 up.

At halftime, the message from the North Beach coach would have been simple – pick up the tempo and make no mistakes. It seemed from the restart they took note. Blake again makes two huge runs after the restart, and Tom Fry turns deliverer again, with a great line and then offload to Josh Nowlan who goes in untouched. 20-0 to Beach and this game is over… or so we thought.

Following the trend of other games on the day… the Sea Eagles drop the ball off the kick-off. Finally, the Giants make them pay. Hemi Kani picks up some nice second phase play from Irvine to score for the Giants and Macey Howarth converts. Its 20-6 and you can feel a momentum shift.

Some steady back and forth play sees Damien Phoenix from Joondalup and Beau Constable from beach both come up with great defensive tackles to stop tries. Back and forth, set after set, we wait for someone to break this game open.

And sometimes we look for our youth to answer. And Kyran Namana does just that for the Giants. Making a crucial tackle, he goes to marker and North Beach play the ball…. With no dummy half! Kyran duly makes them pay, diving on the ball, and the Giants take the hint. Browne throws a lovely cut out pass for Phoenix to score an easy try. 20-10 with 10 minutes remaining and the North Beach supporters are starting to feel a little nervous.

And then North Beach are offside from the kickoff! Joondalup go down for a trip into North Beach territory and get three repeat sets. Outside and inside, both teams throw the kitchen sink at each other. Beach hold them out, but then drop the ball on the 2nd tackle to hand it back to the Giants.

Replacement forward Sam Maurangi then makes a great run, beating the fullback and streaking away for what looks to be the start of another great comeback story, only for Juan Ryan to come up with a mammoth defensive effort from the wing. Ryan makes the tackle and shuts down the play and ultimately the season of the Joondalup Giants. With the siren sounding in the background, Beach do enough to book their ticket to the big show.

Women’s Premiership: Fremantle Roosters 26-4 Joondalup Giants

Polished Roosters too slick for Giants

A fired up and clinical Rooster’s Women’s tackle side has bundled the Joondalup Giants out of the competition with a clinical 26-4 victory.

The Giants, who have been the Women’s tackle benchmark since the competition came into its latest iteration, just couldn’t find enough points to go with the rampart Fremantle attack, who resembled their male first-grade counterparts at times.

It’s a fast and frenetic start with Keisha Marshall showing her trademark speed to make an initial linebreak, only to get collared by Joondalup captain Lana Hawkings who is coming across in cover and promptly forces a turnover.

These ladies can hit hard. A massive shot by Fremantle’s Claudia Foster on the Giants Moana Edwards forces an error and Fremantle go back on the attack.

Fremantle’s Kayla Webb makes a 30m run off the scrum, which is followed up by another scything run from Marshall, only for a forward pass to stop the Roosters momentum. But the signs are ominous.

Back and forward for the next 15 minutes gets the Giants back in the game and with the introduction of Raewyn “Rae-Rae” Hinemoa Tuheke puts the giants in great field position with some blockbusting runs.

And Anneka Stephens, playing in the halves for Joondalup comes to the fore, cutting across the back of the ruck, throws a lovely cut-out pass to Turiti Galeki who puts winger Jamie Redding away to score…. But its called back for a FORWARD PASS!

The Roosters now, having absorbed that pressure, get the message to up the tempo. Hope Parata-Kingi gets the ball at first receiver and goes bang off the left foot and straight through the line. She angles away from the Giants fullback, only for Shaniqua Pokere to make an amazing desperation tackle 3 metres out from the try line. Fremantle duly spread the ball over to the right wing for what seems like a certain try to Bethany Gayton, only for Ngawai Pokere to come up with a brilliant try saver 1 metre out! Two amazing mother/daughter try savers there.

Fremantle kept the pressure on, and Foster goes close to scoring on two occasions only to be denied by desperate defence from Stephens and the diminutive but heroic Macey Simpkins keeping the score at 0-0.

Unfortunately, after defending five straight sets on their line, the Giants get the ball back, and a poor kick chase lets the Roosters dictate, and Marshall returns the football 40 metres to heap more pressure on the Giants. And on the siren, Joondalup finally cracks as Roosters second-rower Daryl Wickliffe spins out of two tackles to score under the posts. Fremantle took a 6-0 lead into the break.

From the restart, what seems to be the theme of the day, we have another coach killer. The Giants drop the ball on the second tackle, and the Roosters make them pay. Quick hands from Claudia Foster and Parata-Kingi, and centre Cherysh Leaf goes over in under two minutes to push the score to 10-0.

But again…. A team drops the ball from the kick off…… (pausing for effect here). Luckily for the Roosters though, enforcer Mariah Bell comes up with a bell-ringing hit on a giants player, rocking the head back and causing an error in the play the ball. And two tackles later, Marshall puts the foot down and cracks this game wide open, coasting past the Giants fullback to score under the posts from long range. 16-0 and looking like a bridge too far for the Giants now.

With the game devolving a bit with some niggle, Joondalup tried to muster up a fightback. Some nice hands from Stacey Hendricks to Chanelle Edwards, and back to Caitlin Miller looks promising, except for an amazing triple effort from the Roosters Webb, who gets involved in 3 different tackles to stop the movement.

And again the Giants fightback is shortlived. After Bell tackles a Giants player into touch, Daryl Wickliffe picks up the ball from the scrum and goes blindside, beating three would-be tacklers to score and make it very hard for the Giants to come back. At 20-0 it would take something special with 10 minutes left.

Keisha Marshall then ices the game for the Roosters. Getting the ball one off the ruck, she goes bang in behind the markers and shows way too much pace for another 60+ metre run. With the game iced and 26-0, the Giants are playing for pride now. Giants go short… and SIMPKINS recovers! With no time left on the clock, Stephens receives the ball from an offload and lays on a nice kick for Galiki to score a consolation try in the corner.

Fremantle finally found the form they are searching for all year and storm into the final to play the heavy favourites for the title, the Ellenbrook Rabbitohs, while the Joondalup Giants complete an unhappy day for the club.