Smarter Than Smoking Premiership Season Preview

Rockingham Sharks Coach Darren Shaw is after consistency from his side in 2018 after a mass-overhaul of players during the offseason.

Last year’s Minor Premiers will have a very different look this season after losing some key players.

“We’ve lost so many players, there’s not that many left from last year,” he said.

Geordie Connelly and top try-scorer Steven Widders are two of seven players no longer with the club, with a list of players also unavailable through injury.

Captain Reece Potter (Achilles) is expected to be sidelined for the season, while young-gun Tyler Hunt (back) and back-rower Brandon Wright will also miss time.

“We want to be consistent with how we play this year,” Shaw said.

Speaking ahead of his side’s Grand Final rematch with the Fremantle Roosters on Saturday to kick off their 2018 season, Shaw hopes his side can put up a good fight.

“Freo are always a really tough side,” he said.

“I think both sides will look to complete really high – you don’t want to turn the ball over and be defending early on.”

Despite the exodus of players, Shaw believes new English halfback Jack Wray can have an impact this season.

“Jack came through the Hull system. It might take him a little while but we’re hoping he’ll come forward and have a good season for us,” he said.

Their Round One opponents, the Roosters, will be full of confidence after claiming their second Premiership in the last three years.

The Roosters have managed to hold onto the core of their Premiership side, headlined by Grand Final Man of the Match, Delane Edwards, who will take on a player-coach role in 2018.

Edwards scored 12 tries last season, including the winning try in last year’s final, and will lead the attack alongside Taiapa Graham who led the team with 17 tries.

As part of the NRL WA season launch, all six teams will compete in a Triple-Header following the completion of the West Coast Pirates SG Ball game against the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs.

In the 1pm kickoff, Willagee Bears will return to Premiership action when they face North Beach Sea Eagles having secured promotion from Reserve Grade last season.

The Sea Eagles will again look to Ben Taylor for points after the centre led the league with 19 tries last campaign.

In the 2.40pm game, Joondalup Giants take on South Perth Lions.

The two teams will look unrecognisable from the side’s which squared off in last year’s Elimination Final, with player exits and injuries taking their toll.

The Giants will be without young talents Christian Smith and Zan Pomare who have moved over East to play in the Queensland Hastings Deering Colts Cup, while the Lions will be led by the new coaching style of Hayden Fisher who replaces Justin Nixon at the helm.

All of the games will be played at Dorrien Gardens on Saturday 7 April.


Pirates v Bulldogs – 11am

Sea Eagles v Bears – 1pm

Giants v Lions – 2.40pm

Roosters v Sharks – 4.10pm