Welcome to The Goose Step – Part 2 – PRELIMINARY FINALS PREVIEW

This feature goose step… Greg Lingard & Andrew Jeffrey!
Send in photos of your favourite stepper’s to creedy@nrl.com.au to be our feature player.

PREVIEW – George Burnett Park, Karawarra – Saturday

Fuel to Go & Play Premiership

In the Consolidated Energy Key Game, the North Beach Sea Eagles will get a shot at redemption when they take on the Joondalup Giants in a northern rivalry classic. Its a shot at the Grand Final up for grabs in this one, and neither team will leave anything in the tank. A trip to take on the impressive South Perth Lions is in store for the winners. For the losers…. it’s better luck next year. These teams have faced off three times this year, with one tight victory a piece and a draw. So its closer than close between these two rivals.

The North Beach Sea Eagles were average at best on the weekend just gone. It was a two pronged problem. Firstly South Perth were good defensively and suffocated the life out of the Sea Eagles attack. Secondly, it was a fairly predictable offensive performance. It seemed an un-north beach like attack, with them basically rolling through the motions, rather than throwing different looks at the Lions defence. Rather than trying to win, it seemed they were trying not to lose. They will need to get back to themselves this week against another big defensive side in the Joondalup Giants. They welcome back Kani Solomon, and he is normally threat with his hot stepping footwork tough for any defensive line. This will hopefully take the pressure off the other centre, Ben Taylor, as it means he won’t be the only focal point in attack. It also frees up De Vorms to inject himself from the bench, as he normally does as a dangerous impact player. But the spine needs to come to the party as well. Takarangi, Lindegaard and the hooking combination of Buckley and Aiesi need to be dominant and creative, like they have been at different points in the season. Its finals time, and being just good isn’t enough anymore. Luckily they have great pedigree in the backrow, with Josh Benjamin, Adam Roy and Bowman Stein in sensational form and will look for them to lead.

The Joondalup Giants come into this game after scooting to a big lead and hanging on for dear life against a fast finishing Fremantle Roosters. As the defending premiers, last year they took the easy route to the grand final, skipping this game. Since they finished fourth they need to officially do it the hard way, but they seem up for the challenge. They came out hard in their semi final, in a similar fashion to how the Lions did in the major, and if they maintain that intensity they will be hard to hold back. Dominant play in the middle of the field on the back of Searle, Irvine and Houghton will be a trademark, but they will be without a massive piece in Beau White, who has been arguably the form front rower in the competition this year. While creativity and point scoring has been a problem in some sense for the Giants this year as well, they seem to have come to life with Jeremy Browne particularly hitting form at the right time, adding a nice foil for Taurean Sheehan and David Martin in the middle of the field. But they cannot afford to fall asleep like they have in certain parts of the game. Last week, they made multiple errors in crucial spots coming out of trouble and will need to cut those down, with Beach on the hunt for that grand final spot.

All Flags Signs & Banners Women’s Rugby League Premiership

In the Cash Converters Match Of The Round, the Joondalup Giants will be looking to restore their wounded pride against the North Beach Sea Eagles in a case of the old guard versus the new kids on the block. A task against the imposing Ellenbrook Rabbitohs is in store for the winners in the grand final, but both teams have fairly good form against the Bunnies. But its a contrasting case for the two sides. The Giants will see a loss this weekend as a fail, for a season full of promise, as they went undefeated throughout the regular season. While the Sea Eagles are on a high and rolling along, with a nothing to lose attitude after sneaking into the 4 this year in their first season. With two games this year both going the way of the Giants, the Giants will still be handy favourites coming into this game.

The Joondalup Giants were not their usual selves in the major semi final, conceding an astonishing 36 points. Normally very strong defensively they were just out paced last weekend by a very quick Ellenbrook Rabbitohs teams. But they welcome back a couple of stars this week. Anneka Stephens and Reuben Cherrington have been named and they don’t only add pace, but serious defensive starch on the edge. Another vital part is they allow Ese Tiakia to return to the middle to bolster the Giants pack. With these changes they are a very different outfit in attack as well, with both players halves. Warren would return to her natural position at fullback, where she can get some free running, and it will inject centres Stacey Hendriks and Tamara Parekura into the game in better positions with more time. This will be a very different Giants side from last week, and you never want to play great sides after they have been humbled, so I expect the Giants to really show up this week.

The North Beach Sea Eagles are loving life at the moment. They were basically written off mid season, and have been given a new lease on life towards the back end. The girls look like they are enjoying their footy and the feel around the team is they aren’t afraid. Winning or losing is not the important part for this side, they just want to go out and give it a good go. And those teams are dangerous. The injection of Tamika Jones and Macey Simpkins has been telling in their late season form, but the mid season switch of a revitalised Danielle Parker and her daughter Brianna Young were a god send to the Sea Eagles side. Now to go along with Loundes and Woolleys speed, they have some tough nuts in the middle who can mix it with the best of them. Young in particular has been ultra impressive with her performances, as she only needs to worry about her job. But the key piece her will be electric playmaker Emysen Robinson. At a young age, the side will look to her to lead this side around, along with using her kicking and passing game to good effect.

Reserve Grade
Showing some love to the lower grades as well. The South Perth Lions will take on the Fremantle Roosters in a clash where the Roosters are considerably huge underdogs. And rightly so. The Lions finally have their first string side on the field and pushed the undefeated North Beach side all the way to the final buzzer, in what was a credit to both teams. The Roosters… well they did what needed to be done against the Rockingham Sharks, in what seemed a level below compared to the other reserve grade fixture. They will need to give much more and complete at a much higher rate to go with the consistent Lions side this weekend. But finals are funny things. South Perth will boast a great lineup which includes the experienced Isaac Thomas, livewire Zac Wood, reliable Blaze Hulena and talented Luke-David Wells-Talamaivao at hooker. Its a first grade worthy spine and would have any side worried. But Fremantle will have some talented game breakers of their own, with a backline bristling with talent. Ruamai Erueti at fullback, will be supported by the Parkinson brothers, the unpredictable Rima Los’e and dependable Chris Turner. But the one to watch for mine will be Junior Tokoni who runs every ball and makes every tackle like it will be his last. The makings of a good game here, can the Roosters upset the Lions party at home?

Val Murphy Trophy
Minor premiers South Perth went down last week in a tight battle against the Alkimos Tigers, but they were not humilated at all. They defended their tails off all game, and even when down to 12 men they went up to another level and showed great grit. They run into an Ellenbrook side, who were more workman like last week than their usual brash self, with an 18-10 victory over North Beach. In a game that didnt reach great heights, the Rabbitohs controlled proceedings and led the whole game in a mature performance. And they would have had the Lions in their sights for a while now as last time they met, the Lions humbled the Rabbitohs by a 30-0 scoreline in a devastating performance. Key for the Lions has been their reliable experienced halves in Matty Pora and Jad Meale, but Vix Ulukita and James Bennett are the unsung heroes for this side. Doing the hard yards in the middle, they both get through plenty of work and lead the way for this side. The Rabbitohs will fancy their point scoring potential in this one with young gun halves Dylan Mahu and Fedz Jones feeding the devastating centre pairing of Tuveia Leon and Feleti Mafi. Will the Lions be too good defensively for the fancy Bunnies?

Women’s League Tag
It was a boilover last weekend as undefeated and hot favourite minor premiers went down to the Fremantle Roosters, and set themselves up with a tricky assignment against the high flying Ellenbrook Rabbitohs. The Lions were beat out of the blocks by a fast Roosters side last week and will be ready to go from the whistle this weekend. The Bunnies will look more refreshed than they have all year. No tackle game the night before this time, they will field their full strength lineup against the dangerous Lions. But the Lions are stacked and finally have their main side. Carroll is in at fullback, with both Smith sisters, Suamili, Howes and the Taiwhati girls. Along with these guns, the emergence of Johnson and Sneddon has shown the Lions can hurt you almost anywhere.  But Ellenbrook are a awkward matchup as they don’t play conventional tag. They are a rugby league side playing league tag. With Thompson, Barker and Graham calling the shots, Clark-Manahi has shown her value in the middle of the field. Add in the experienced Tau and pacey Barnett, this game really is up for grabs. Last time they met, you couldn’t seperate either side, with a 12-12 draw. Will this start the day with golden point?

Anyway, its an amazing weekend of local rugby league so get down and support our local clubs!

And keep the pictures coming!