The Goose Step – 2023 Senior Semi Final Edition – Women’s

Welcome to the Goose Step!

I know its a bit late, but I wouldn’t forget about the seniors. Starting with the ladies who kick off tonight.
With the senior finals action kicking off this week, lets have a look at the games!

Women’s Tackle – Friday – 6:40pm & 8:00pm
Charlottes Vineyard Sports Pavilion, Ellenbrook
Minor Premiers – Ellenbrook Rabbitohs

Major Semi Final – Rabbitohs vs Roosters – 8pm
Well there is a buzz around in the Women’s Competition. There is genuine belief that the trophy could be clawed away from the Rabbitohs. But as the saying goes, they are not just going to give it to you. And with the loss they probably needed last weekend out of the way, they will be ready for this one. A remarkable 5 trophies in a row already sit at the Mansion. Can they go for 6 here?

The Bunnies have been here many times before. They know what it takes, and they have the artillery to get it down. The usuals are still there in the form of Women’s Players Player Mahinarangi Clair and superstar Juraea Turner. They have also added some serious class in 2023. Mariah Bell comes over and will lineup at the back this weekend, with the Kereopa sisters, Zakiya and Journey out wide to add some serious firepower. But its some of the power up front that has done them so well in the past, and with Frieda and Sera Ah Sam the bookends, along with the return of the powerful Layna Nona Busch in the backrow with the hardest hitting player in the competition in Hera-Barb Malcolm Heke, the Rabbitohs are still a scary proposition.

Well the Roosters are back with a vengance this year. It was a learning year last year for the Roosters, with new players and a new coach, but they have launched a full assault on the competition in 2023 and will want a straight shot into the grand final here, with a very dangerous preliminary awaiting. State U18s star Phoenix Mahaki has transitioned to seniors, with the impressive Donalda Paekau showing her great athletic ability in her first year as well. Claudia Foster is back in town, and with the return of Kateraina Horner from a long term layoff is a massive plus. Add in the fact their depth is fantastic, as they can afford to leave Kani, Mourish and Gayton on the bench and you realise they are ready to go full till tonight.

Elimination Semi Final – Giants vs Sea Eagles – 6:40pm
In the elimination game we have the fired up Joondalup Giants, coming off a big dominant win against the Rabbitohs, up against the North Beach Sea Eagles, who just haven’t had the numbers to compete against the big three consistently this year. Can they switch it up and cause a massive upset against last years runners up.

The Giants have spent almost all season figuring out what does and doesn’t work for them. And still they will make a few changes this week because of injury/availability. Arnika Cave goes to the back, and while she has been steady they will still want more from her as a ball runner. Ace Zion Taurima partners impressive U18s Captain Topaz-Jean Porter in the centres but the key will be in the halves. Game winners Anneka Stephens and Jeune Biddle partner up in an explosive pairing, ably supported by the improving U18 rep Tyrah Parekura-Schirnack at hooker. But it is the form of forwards Chanelle Edwards, Kiri Smiler and gun second rower Amiria Edwards, who have the Giants excited about finally overcoming the mountain and grabbing a premiership.

For the Sea Eagles, they have nothing to lose. And will play like it tonight. Not many are giving them a chance against the Giants, and that can be a great motivator. And they have their own gun players who can make a difference on the field. April Alan has been a solid fullback since she stepped into the senior ranks, and her pace is still high class. Add in the “Swiss Army Knife” Emysen Robinson, who is getting better every game, and the great form of the ball playing Melodie Toby and if you fall asleep, then the Sea Eagles can really hurt you. But it is at hooker that they will be looking. Anahera Te Rahui is a upper level talent who needs to take it upon herself to get it done tonight, and she certainly can.

Women’s League Tag – Saturday – 11:30am
Treeby Community & Sports Centre, Treeby

Minor Premiers – North Beach Sea Eagles

Major Semi Final – Sea Eagles vs Titans
The two dominant teams in this years competition. Only one loss a piece, and a monster for and against. They faced off just last week, with the Titans getting the better of the Sea Eagles in a close heart stopping contest. Will that be a psychological advantage for the Titans, or will the Sea Eagles use it as motivation?

The Sea Eagles are the Ferrari of our competition. They have the class and the speed on their side as they ran roughshod over most teams for the majority of the season. Emily Arriagada-Magoffin has come in and added a burst of speed and intelligence to the already strong group. Baeleigh Robinson is the leader and her experience in tag is crucial, although she has some firepower around her in Ada Cox, Latoya Chase and the ever present Charmondelae Whaanga. Keep your eyes on youngster the much improved Emily Wallace. She has proven a great finisher in her own right and cause some serious problems.

And the new girls on the block are the Titans. But to call them a new side means you haven’t watched any Tag in WA in the last few years. If the Sea Eagles are the Ferrari, then the Titans are the Bentley. Classy and reliable, they might not possess the out and out pace of a sportscar, but they contain all the skills and nous you’d expect from a classic. Shayla Taiwhati is the leader, and will steer them around the field, while the dangerous Hereripene Williams and Rachel Toby will take shots at the opposition all day. Noi Phondongnok is also at the club, and is super experienced and will lean into that knowledge, while Huhana Falwasser cannot be underestimated around the ball.

George Burnett Park, Karawara
Elimination Semi Final – Lions vs Tigers
In the elimination game we have a bell ringer, with two very different sides in terms of strength, but both with a big point to prove in what has been a big season for League Tag again in 2023. Which Lions side will show up? And can the Tigers go another step on what was a good season last year?

The Lions are back after missing the finals last year, and are itching to get stuck in this weekend. With Grace and Claire Smith in the lineup they keep that class, and add U18 halfback Beth Norton, who is going from strength to strength this year. Ball playing dummy half Shayla Williams is also in the side, and helps their ball movement along with the continued play of veteran Michaela Turner-Wallace. But its the new speedster that has taken them to a new level. Charlotte “The Bolt” White is an absolute racehorse in the clear and the tigers will need to be on their game everytime she gets anywhere near the ball. They will be primed and ready.

Last year, the Tigers were a bit of a surprise making it into the last 4. This season, they deserve to be here. Included in this class as a top 4 side, they have dominated the other sides, and beaten or been in the game against their fellow top 4 teams all year. Fullback Louise Smith seems to get better every year, while the growth of some of their fringe players such as Briana Bunce and Apryl Rowe has been very impressive. But their fate rests on the ball playing ability and leadership of Kennedy Joe-Solomon and Anneka Stephens. A team that can hurt you from anywhere, their kicking game has been super impressive and a large reason why they are where they are.

What a weekend for the ladies! Get down to the games for some great rugby league!