GET OFF THE FENCE its MID SEASON
Thanks to the BELL Ringer
“The break could not come at a better time for the Fremantle Roosters. The top of the table Roosters have just suffered their second loss of the season and the toll is a costly one with key playmaker James Aspden assisted from the field early in the second half. Adding to the loss of Aspden was an injury the week before to hard working front rower Bjorn Crotty and the impending departure of middle third enforcer Jarrod Thompson to highlight just the key concerns for Fremantle fans as we enter the second half of season 2017. The silver lining however is that the Roosters will have the best part of a month to put their house in order before the season re-commences. The Smarter than Smoking premiership will take a back seat to the affiliated states championships in Adelaide and also lower grade round 1 action, before a general bye round as the NRL comes to WA with the NZ Warriors taking on the Manly Sea Eagles. Then upon resumption the Roosters take on winless Kalamunda. By the time the Roosters take on North Beach in round 11 they may have both Crotty and Aspden back on deck and depending on the results of other games they may have their 3 point break on the rest of the competition restored as they look to propel themselves towards a minor premiership and a real tilt at their ninth Western Australian premiership
In contrast to the Roosters the break couldn’t come at a worse time for the high flying Rockingham Sharks. 4 wins in a row with 3 of them against the team on top of the table when they beat them. The Sharks have all the momentum heading into the break, but facing a fortnight without footy Darren Shaw’s Sharks will be hoping they can maintain the rage when the season gets back underway. Key men Anthony Bowman and Caleb Reedy picked a good time to rest their weary bodies and they should both be back to 100% fitness by the time the Sharks lock horns with the North Beach Sea Eagles on July 8. It was the embarrassment of a loss to the Sea Eagles back in round 5 that saw the Sharks spring to life and the Sea Eagles would love to be the team to once again turn out the lights. Look for Reece Potter and Ben Bolth in particular to take this clash personally as the big men up front were badly beaten last time these two teams met.
South Perth join the rest of the competition in their praise of this fortnight away from top flight footy in Western Australia. They are a team that has struggled with injury during the first half of the season and will look forward to welcoming back some of their stars for their vital round 10 clash with the Joondalup Giants. Despite their horror run with injuries the ever reliable Lions are right in the hunt in 2017, just 2 points away from top spot. The Pride will look to come together over the next fortnight as they hope to mount a charge towards a record twenty first premiership title, but the other 5 teams will prove to be significant stumbling blocks in that quest.
The Joondalup Giants have literally limped into fourth spot at the break. The good news for the Giants is that their fate is in their own hands. If they can keep winning they will play finals footy for just the second time since 2010, if they can’t turn their season around their chances will go the way of the dodo bird. Like the Lions they will be hoping to welcome a host of injured stars back to the top grade for their must win clash with the South Perth boys on July 8. Christian Smith who has been missing since the last gasp win over the Lions in round 5 would be a big addition to the team if he can get fit with Eddie Tini, Trazan Rihia and Gus Marshall leading an all star casualty ward. Almost every team in the competition has had their backs against the wall and been written off at some point in 2017 and one feels that right now it’s the Giants that need to respond to their critics and they won’t get many better chances than in front of their home fans against the Lions.
North Beach will be sick of hearing about that one time they got beat 64-0 by Fremantle, but it must be mentioned to give context to their gritty performances over the last 3 weeks of the competition. One of the competitions glamour clubs the Sea Eagles are rarely beaten that badly, but they showed how much pride is in this club by bouncing back to comfortably account for Kalamunda, outlast Joondalup and then push the Lions all the way. The Sea Eagles like most clubs will welcome the opportunity to re-group and then hopefully get their premiership defence back on track upon the resumption.
Kalamunda have struggled to compete with the other five teams during the opening 9 with 9 straight losses. The Bulldogs though will be buoyed after competing well for 40 minutes against the Joondalup Giants and posting more points than they have done all year with 3 first half tries. 2017 is a fait accompli for the Dogs, but they’ll be hoping to see continued improvement in the back half of the year to give them something to build upon for 2018 and beyond”