The Goose Step – Junior Grand Final Wrap Up

Welcome to the Goose Step!
Well its all done and dusted. And we have had some amazing games this season.
This week we look back at the Grand Finals just played at Treeby Community and Sports Centre, Treeby.

Ellenbrook Rabbitohs 28 def Fremantle Roosters 0
Player Of The Grand Final – Teiana Mainwaring (Rabbitohs)
Well the day started off with the Girl’s League Tag. And I can tell you right now, the Rabbitohs did not have it all their own way. The Roosters came out with fire and brimstone and actually did all the early running. Young Alyssa Sanders and Simone Lyndon were tearing through the Ellenbrook defensive line on long breaks, and if not for the absolute speed of Mainwaring, they would have been down two tries early. But when the Rabbitohs got into their stride they were simply a little too classy. Terina Tetana was causing issues early, and Shamaia Grey and surprise ball player Ellexus Hoff ball movement was just too much for the young Roosters. A strong season for the Rabbitohs leads to premiership glory, while the young Roosters while upset, will look at this as a small block in the road, as they look to continue to improve. The Roosters are a side to watch for in 2023.

U13 Boys
Fremantle Roosters 26 def Willagee Bears 16
Player Of The Grand Final – Elias Tsakalos (Bears) 
Another game, where the underdogs exploded out of the blocks. While the Roosters scored first, the Bears fired the more meaningful shots in the first half, courtesy of some strong running from Drake Neville and captain Awara Metekingi Pu-Tamainu. And while they were seriously over powered and the smaller team, the heart of the bears ball runners was on show for all to see. Kingdom Koia and Blaise Stewart showed no fear of their larger opponents, and Elias Tsakalos led the way with a heroic performance for the Red and Black. But alas the Fremantle Roosters were not the minor premiers and favourites in this game for no reason. Aziah Collard and Gabriel Hei Hei were hurricanes in a bottle, causing issues everytime they touched the ball. Montana Setu is also a contradiction. A great runner and with size to boot, he actually uses guile, superb ball handling and a beautiful kicking game to play into the fixture. With the Roosters really playing a great team performance they were deserved premiers, while the young Bears will be a force to be reckoned with moving foward.

U13 Girls
Joondalup Giants 26 def by Ellenbrook Rabbitohs 30
Player Of The Grand Final – Kylah-Rae Tuheke Kupa (Rabbitohs)
This was a back and forth titanic affair between two great sides who desperately wanted to win. The Giants came out firing, only for the Rabbitohs to answer back instantly in a tic tac toe game. While the stars for the Giants were great in Capri Beazley and Peytton Wentholt, there were some other stealing the spotlight. Psalm Suifili and Charlotte Kora got through a tonne of tough hitups and caused big problems for the Ellenbrook defence, but Chontay Nicho was an absolute stand out for the Giants. Coming up with stunning cover tackles and brilliant runs, she was lifting everyone around her in a wholehearted performance. But while the Giants tried hard, ultimately they fell short, as Tuheke Kupa and Palace Koia’s class shone through. Like in the GLT, surprise playmaker Ellexus Hoff controlled the play, with Ateca Ravatudei showing her fast feet and deception skills. In the end, the Rabbitohs were able to hang on for back to back U13 girls titles, while the Giants remain their biggest rivals in the female space.

U14 Boys
Kalamunda Bulldogs 34 def South Perth Lions 14
Player Of The Grand Final – Fatani Fatanitavake (Bulldogs) 
The Bulldogs really came to play in this one, and while at their best the Lions could match them, they were left a bit shellshocked from the initial onslaught and never recovered. Andrew Ralph, Ty Paton and Isaiah Kalolo toiled hard in the middle of the field for the Lions and fullback Tadhg McNamara was the pick of the players in a beaten side. His tireless carries and ability to continue to show up were admirable, while Lexdon Cooper showed flashes of his talents. But the Bulldogs would not be denied. Their potent mix of big power forwards, smart halves and fast backs was on full display in the grand final. Fatanitavake was amazing, with his power running contrasted by soft hands and his ability to play before the line. With Dozion Laumpama and Jonah Marr getting over the advantage line, it was the spine of the Bulldogs that sealed the deal. Jacob Scoon, Cassius and Ricco Lilii, Tygah-Joe Grant and Regan Black were as close to a perfect spine as you could get. All complimenting each other with communication, creativity and smart decision making, they shut the game down quickly in the second half to own this match. A first class performance from the Bulldogs, the Lions can still hold their heads high.

U15 Girls
Ellenbrook Rabbitohs 44 def Joondalup Giants 0
Player Of The Grand Final – Kaea Rukuwai-Bekkers (Rabbitohs) 
The Rabbitohs 15 Girls are a scary team. The most complete and dominant side we have seen in recent seasons, it was a brave Joondalup Giants who took the field and had a run at beating the tough favourites. Led by inspirational captain Bella Houghton, Paige Hodge-Cekic and a bunch of the young U13 girls backing up, they simply couldnt resist the obvious power and class of the Rabbitohs lineup. The front row of Shontay Hokianga, Macalice Hogan-Tule and Rukuwai-Bekkers was just undeniable in the middle of the field. This allowed Jessica Kaukau, Rimu Pomare and Terina Tetana to work their magic on the edges and give class players like Yusi, Tukiwaho and Mainwaring the space they required to utilise their speed. A big victory for the Bunnies and promising signs for the Giants for years moving forward.

U15 Boys
South Perth Lions 10 def by Rockingham Sharks 20
Player Of The Grand Final – Rihare Te Rauna (Sharks) 
In the U15 boys, the players a starting to really look like men. Strong. Fast. Brutal collisions. And this game was no exception, and unfortunately the Lions left a bit in the sheds for this one. They kept pace with the Sharks early, but the middle period of the game before and after halftime was completely owned by the Sharks, and that’s where the win was setup. Gabriel Salele’a tried his best offensively to keep the Lions in it, and Khan Pokere’s kicking game was immense, but they lost the battle in the middle of the field against the power game of the Sharks. While Blake Woodrow can hold his head high in a mammoth defensive effort, the power from down south seemed to have the Lions always on the back foot. Te Ngaio and William were massive early, and Antonelli, Peachey and Te Rauna showed their ability to use the momentum in their favour in a brilliant back row performance, which allowed halves Huriwai-Brown and Haimona to play some beautiful football out the back. Special mention to fullback Tyreece Thomason, who was brave and continued to attack every kick that came his way with the same intensity. Worthy winners, the Sharks and Lions rivalry will continue.

U17 Girls
Kwinana Titans 18 def by Joondalup Giants 28
Player Of The Grand Final – Sienna Hodges-Cekic (Giants) 
Now the Titans bravery cannot be understand. Injury and availability limited them to just 10 players for the contest. But they didn’t come up with excuses and turned up time and again for each other. And the early exchanges were fierce, with Jamie Cameron leading the charge for the Titans, with some brutal shots and hard carries. Chloe Amataiti was a forced to be reckoned with out there and Kadia Tairea’s sniping runs belied her size as her team was buoyed by her strength. But the Giants looked like they were going to be too strong. Rosie McGehan and Sienna Hodges-Cekic led a barrage of power running from the Giants, with captain and hooker Tyrah Parekura-Schirnack having a field day. Journey Kereopa’s injections into the game were decisive with her speed causing a big issue. And at 22-4 to the Giants you could forgive the Titans for giving up. But the Titans were definitely not done, and some brave game play from Taliana Mika and Kaliyah Murphy got them to 22-18 with all the momentum. But with the play of the day Donna Hati of the Giants threw a player over the sideline in a desperate defensive play, and the rest is history, with Kereopa sealing the deal. What a fantastic look into the future of our Women’s competition!

U17 Boys
North Beach Sea Eagles 24 def by Rockingham Sharks 16
Player Of The Grand Final – Jayden Evans (Sea Eagles) 
While the U15 Boy’s team is starting to look like men. The U17 Boy’s are already there. A huge encounter with big men on both sides of the field, the stage was set for an intense encounter. The Sharks game plan was simple but effective. Go hard and fast with and without the ball at anything in a Maroon jumper. And they looked at times to be breaking free in the contest. Power running from Hirawani-Leef and Putere Koro in particular put them in prime positions for Ransfield and Huriwai-Brown to use their own running game to poke holes in the defensive line. But the Sea Eagles resolve was strong. With Anderson-Hiroti and MacDonald answering fire with fire in the middle, it allowed Williams and the sublime Rogers to control the game. And then enter Jayden Evans. The player of the match exploded to leave no doubt about the result, with his trademark bursts from hooker so emphatic that he was beautiful to watch in his movement. The player of the whole day in the eyes of many, his contribution to the game pulled the Sea Eagles to the apex, with the Sharks having no answer for his scything runs. But even at 24-10, the Sharks never gave up, with Archilles Packer scoring a brilliant solo try late to put everyone on notice about his potential. An amazing game to finish, and what a way to end our junior grand final day.