The Goose Step – Friday 30th July 2021

Welcome to The Goose Step.
Week to week, we will provide a wrap up of Rugby League in Western Australia along with a quick preview of the week coming up!
All out of the mind of yours truely, so please be kind in your reviews and on social media!

This week’s feature goose step… Tiegan Higgins of the Fremantle Roosters!
Send in photos of your favourite stepper’s to creedy@nrl.com.au to be our feature player.

REVIEW
Friday –  All Flags Signs & Banners Women’s Rugby League Premiership
In the Cash Converters Game Of The Round, again at Admiral Park, the Ellenbrook Rabbitohs took their frustration for last weeks loss out on the South Perth Lions with a 44-0 win. The Lions were a different looking side with a few notable outs and were no match for a rampant Rabbitohs side. The Rabbitohs welcomed back Juraea Turner, and she delivered a professional performance on the right hand side, linking with Tiana Graham with aplomb. Paihau Pomare was dangerous from hooker, and with Kailey Thompson pulling the strings, they will be ready when the finals come. For the Lions, Melissa Thomas was again a standout, but without her forward partners had to shoulder too much of the burden. A couple of bright spots for the Lions though, with youngsters Shiane Kani and Taneka Doney-Vati showing they will grow in ability, with some great runs.

Also at Admiral Park, the Joondalup Giants saw off an improved but still inexperienced North Beach Sea Eagles team, 24-0. The Giants look a settled side, and while they still can improve offensively, with Stephens, Tiakia and Walters in the side they can provide enough individual punch to force themselves over the line. Of great improvement is their centre pairing, with Stacey Hendricks and Tamara Tarau huge improvers over the past month, and announcing themselves as a premier centre pairing in our women’s game. For North Beach, they just turned over a little too much ball, and still lack a bit of class in the forwards. But it was nice to see some new players, with Briana Young impressing in her new game in a new strip. With Macey Simpkins and Tamika Jones also new to the beach jersey, they can finish the year strong and hopefully keep building for the future.

Saturday – Fuel to Go & Play Premiership

George Burnett Park
In the Consolidated Energy Key Game, the Fremantle Roosters rebounded to deliver a 34-24 victory over the improving but still seemingly unbalanced South Perth Lions side. With both sides missing a few starters, it was left to some young and inexperienced part timers from the Roosters to prove the difference off the bench, with the points victory going to the Freo substitutions.
For the Roosters, Mitchell Kerr proved he is still probably the most underrated player in the competition. Deputising for the unavailable Bjorn Crotty at lock, he was immense for his team in the middle of the field. With extremely tough runs and hard work in defence, he added some ball playing to his repertoire and got his team over the line. Another bright spot was the strong play of Joseph Pouhila in the centres. Normally a backrower, he was a tyrant out wide for the Roosters, causing all sorts of problems for the Lions. And Cooper Sanders is definitely a player of the future, with his work ethic a huge boost off the bench. You can tell he is loving the trust Delane and co show in him, maturing into a very good first grade player.
For the Lions, it wasn’t all bad. The left hand attack was very good. Proudler was very dangerous, and Tyler Thomas is enjoying a bit of a renaissance in terms of some good form, and Tere Cameron-Ramea continues to improve in every game. But the right hand side was a bit stuttering in terms of fluency after a good game last week, and will need to improve. I also think they have a bit of a balance issue. Luke-David Wells Talamvaio and Isaac Thomas were both on the bench, and with Caleb Norton in amazing form and the engine to match, it becomes a bit of a juggling act for the side. I would also love to see Toby Sullivan start. Speaking with some Lions faithful on Saturday during the game, they commented he seemed to spend his nervous energy on the bench and was slightly flat by the time he got on the field.
In lower grade news, the South Perth Lions, on the back of a ruthless performance from Jordan Jacobs, were much to strong for the Fremantle Roosters. While I thought the Roosters were good, and completed fairly well, they just didn’t have to the firepower to go with the Lions. Young Tamati Foster has all the skills to be successful but really needs to be “the guy” on the field. And Ben Wells Talamaivao loved being inside Jordan Jacobs on the day for the Lions, with Jacobs making everyone around him have more room and time.
In Val Murphy Trophy, the Lions were at their clinical best against an average Ellenbrook Rabbitohs. A great team performance from the Lions, they were led by best on field performance by Jack Turner, who was a constant menace through the middle of the field. The centre pairing known forever more as “The James’s” were also fantastic. For the Rabbitohs, there were no excuses and they will look to rebound this week, but injuries have done them no favours.
In Women’s League Tag, the South Perth Lions proved they are the side to beat with a 32-10 victory against a strong Fremantle Roosters. The Lions just showed too much pace and composure for the Roosters. Taiwhati and Carroll dominated the contest, while the Roosters will take solace from the fact that they matched it in patches with the red-hot Lions. Kiarhnie Atwell was a bright spot for the Roosters, with dangerous her dangerous running game coming to the fore.
And Ellenbrook jumped into the top 4 with a 50-0 blitz of the Willagee Bears. Te Rehia Palmer was bagged a hatrick, with Kailey Thompson and Bobbie-Lee Barker bagging doubles in a professional performance from the Rabbitohs.

Admiral Park
Life just got incredible hard for the Rockingham Sharks, who surrendered on the weekend to a rampaging Joondalup Giants, 56-0. The Giants were in a mood against the injury riddled Sharks, who played a “quicksand” kind of game, where the harder they tried the worse things seemed to get. Unable to stop the flow or momentum, the Sharks were constantly barraged and defending their line against a tireless Giants effort.
For the Giants, everyone played their part and they showed no ill effects of missing players. Tyran Davis filled in beautifully at the back, with his direct running a great foil for creative types Browne and Sheehan. And the injection of David Martin at lock looks like it has plenty of merit with his scything runs and able ball playing in the middle of the field causing all sorts of problems. The story for the Giants was the 4 try blitz from interchange forward Josh Houghton. Big, fast and brutal, Josh showed no mercy close to the line, pushing off defenders with abandon as he exploded into the game off the bench.
The Rockingham Sharks day could be summed up in one play, with young Nathan Boffey streaking away for what looked like a long range try, only for a desperate cover tackle from Travis Haney to force the ball free on the tryline. One thing I will say, the kid has got some serious pace, as the three chasing him were Haney, and noted speedsters Robbie Smith and Luke Turner, and for him to make it all the way to the try line is an epic effort. Young half Hayden Wood had a day to forget, with an error riddled performance. But he tried hard to the final whistle taking big responsibility on his shoulders and will learn alot from the performance. Jona Mato and Gethin Thomas who were also gutsy in the loss..
In Reserve grade, the Sharks and Giants played out a 22 all draw, with the outside backs from the Sharks doing the damage, and the forward pack of the Giants dragging them back into the contest. The draw was a just result for the back and forth game, with both teams realising how important a win was on the day. The Giants will rue the result however, with 4 rounds remaining, they face the unenviable task of playing league leaders North Beach twice.
In Women’s League Tag, the Sharks sent ripples through the competition, with a 12-10 victory over the Joondalup Giants, forcing them out of the top 4 and in a massive fight to stay alive. The boot of Kiara Gilchrist was the difference, with the two piloted conversions getting them home on the back of a special performance from Hereripene Williams. Hayley Utia again tried hard for the Giants, but they will lament that loss, with a tough run home on the cards as well.

Blueforce Park
The North Beach Sea Eagles maintained their position in the top 4 of the Val Murphy Trophy competition, with a hard earned 22-16 victory over the ultimately wasteful Kalamunda Bulldogs. The Bulldogs had chances to take this game by the scruff of the neck, but made crucial errors at inopportune times, and the Sea Eagles hung on for a tight victory.
In the other VMT game at the venue, the Mandurah Storm earned plenty of admirers again, with a tight 26-14 loss to competition favorites Alkimos Tigers. The Tigers were made to work for it by the plucky Storm side, who produced a never say die performance their supporters can be proud of. With the Storm improving every week, and 4 rounds remaining, the question is not can they win, but who will they defeat?
And in the Women’s League tag, the Alkimos Tigers enjoyed some free running with a 56-0 win against the Mandurah Storm. The Storm are even lower on numbers then usual, but continue to show up and not give up in their games. For the Tigers, they will target some late season victories against Bulldogs and Sharks, the finish their season on the right note.
And the North Beach Sea Eagles were clinical, to score a 32-4 win against a brave Kalamunda Bulldogs team. The Bulldogs have really improved over the last month, and will be looking to keep building to come back bigger and better next season. The Sea Eagles are tightening up their ship with eyes on the finals in the next 4 weeks.

PREVIEW

All Flags Signs & Banners Women’s Rugby League Premiership

In the Cash Converters Game of the round, the Ellenbrook Rabbitohs will host the Kalamunda Bulldogs up at Charlottes Vineyard Sports Pavilion in Ellenbrook. The Rabbitohs will be looking to emulate the last time these teams faced off, coming away with a 54-0 victory. For the Bulldogs, they are a vastly improved outfit. With the mid seasons pick ups of Tui Cope, Cheyenne Campbell, Gabrielle Mouat and Alma Leach, they improve their depth in a big way and won’t die wondering with their huge forward pack looking for a brutal contest. The Rabbitohs will looked to play fast, with big games from outside backs Bobbie-Lee Barker, Tiana Graham and Ariana Ruru-Hinaki. Ariana in particular has been impressive for the Rabbitohs at fullback, showing size is not everything.

Fuel to Go & Play Premiership
The  Consolidated Energy Key Game this week sees the Rockingham Sharks host the South Perth Lions, and its almost last chance saloon for the luckless Sharks. With the Lions on 13 points, with 2 byes in hand to finish the year, they will look to shut the door on the Rockingham Sharks finals chances. Look for a big game on under pressure half Nick Holliday, who must be feeling the heat from young Luke-David nipping at his heels. For the Sharks, everything that could go wrong, went wrong last week, and they hold no fears of any teams at home. Look for an improved performance from their spine to try and save this season.

And the North Beach Sea Eagles come off their bye with an eye on holding onto top spot against the dangerous Fremantle Roosters at Ken Allen Field. Its almost finals time, and in the last 5 years, finals team is Freo time. They hit some nice form last weekend against the Lions, and will be looking to hold that trend this weekend, while the Sea Eagles would have enjoyed a week off to recover from a bruising loss to the South Perth Lions. North Beach’s spine will need to improve from their last performance, with Freo finally finding some continuity in theirs. Sonny Kerr being back last week was a huge plus, with his ball playing and kicking game essential to the Fremantle season.