Welcome to the Goose Step!
Well the ladies have had their turn. Time for the lads now.
This versions Goose Step Star… Justin Buckley in his ANZAC colours from the North Beach Sea Eagles!
With the senior finals action kicking off this week, lets have a look at the games!
Fuel To Go & Play Premiership – Saturday – 3:30pm
Treeby Community & Sports Centre, Treeby
Minor Premiers – Fremantle Roosters
Major Semi Final – Roosters vs Sharks
Well this game should be a ripper. The two heavyweights of the competition will go toe to toe in the major semi-final for a chance to go straight into the grand final. Alot of people talk about the pros and cons of having a week off, or playing all the way through. I’m not going to weigh in on either side, but I will say this. If you win this saturday, your definitely in the grand final. And there is no disputing that.
The Roosters are the entertainers of the competition and have earned that title over the last decade with their ability to hurt teams from anywhere on the field. Their ball movement, lateral play and ability to keep the ball alive has proven a horrendous matchup for teams in the past. But they have added a very hard defensive edge this year, one that I’m sure they are super proud of. Their ability to now grind as well as blow teams away has been very impressive. Rangihaeata at the back has been a revelation, and this years captain Duane Butler has led the way in terms of getting through the work. But its the unsung heroes that have elevated them this year. Tagicakibau, Tabakanaca and Day have been immense, along with Kerrod Hignett who has been their Mr Fix It this season. And while not as young as he once was, the mind and body continue to be willing for Coach-Player Edwards and he can still win a game on his own.
On the other side we have the enigmatic Sharks. Have they had their best line up on the park at all this season? Some smart people don’t think so. Injury, work and form have caused them to shuffle their lineup basically all season, but its the finals now so its time to really front up. Two weeks ago the Sea Eagles stole a game off them, and then last week they were dominant in their ending the Giants season. But even then they fell asleep at times. Enter Tom Murphy. His professional approach has taken some pressure off Keelyn Tuuta, especially in a leadership role. The spine will be key though. Is Tyler Hunt available all finals? Scott and Trego have been okay without setting the world alight in the season, so they need to tighten that up this weekend. But they are lucky to have a couple of guns outside them. Fui was electric last weekend and has had a season to remember, and Pera on the other edge was strong last week, and will be looking for another big game to really prove his quality.
Blueforce Park, Charles Riley Reserve, North Beach
Elimination Semi Final – Sea Eagles vs Lions
So while a lot of people have basically given the trophy to either the Roosters or Sharks, there are two teams at North Beach this weekend who will have their pride on display as they look to give this finals thing a run for their money. North Beach have already beaten both the Sharks and Roosters, and will have no fear of either, while the Lions have the highest casualty ward in the competition and will be looking for the “next man up” policy to really show why the foundation club can still win this season.
Last week the Sea Eagles probably seemed the more likely to win this fixture. But a lot can happen in a week. Stein is out. Gillham didn’t get cleared to play. So instantly they have two state caliber players watching instead of playing. And they are a huge part of their tough middle. But there is still some serious pedigree there. Solomon and Takarangi recently celebrated their 100th First Grade game for the club, and both players experience and playing ability have not diminished but have been polished with age. Add to that two young guns in Millar and Woolley who can provide the flair that they need, and the Sea Eagles have still got alot to offer. And their no nonsense pack won’t take a step back. Donkin in particular looks like a hell of a player and is just starting here in WA, and has a partner in crime in Tarrant who has massive respect in this competition.
Lets get one thing out of the way. Last week for 40 minutes, they were right in the game with an on song Fremantle Roosters, which is a very hard thing to do. And it might also be the best 40 minutes from a halfback, in Eddie Proudler, that has ever been played in WA. And he will be the key again. Their captain and the best half in the state at the moment will bear the brunt of the responsibility. Don’t get it twisted. Coach Green is a good player, but he will admit he isn’t exactly a stock standard five-eight and does his best work when he runs the football. The Lions will look to go down the middle this weekend, and hope their edge stands up defensively. Norton has had a good season, while Noble and Young are solid guys in the middle. Watch or them to hit blindsides or change the angles in the middle of the field this weekend often, in what should be a desperate match up.
Val Murphy Trophy – Saturday – 2:00pm
Treeby Community & Sports Centre, Treeby
Minor Premiers – North Beach Sea Eagles
Major Semi Final – Sea Eagles vs Roosters
It was a bit of a wierd finish for the top two sides in this years competition. Both teams knew they would finish in these spots a few weeks ago, with the fight for 3rd and 4th a highlight of the VMT competition over the last month or so. The Sea Eagles dropped a game to the Bears, while the Roosters got beaten twice by the Lions in the final 5 weeks. But its finals time so they will be all systems go this weekend.
The Sea Eagles are the monster of the VMT, or “Reserve Grade” competition. They lost to Willagee Bears three weeks ago, and the trivia question for the day was, when was the last time they got beaten? With huge depth and player numbers at the club, they are the deserved favourites in the finals, and they’ve got some serious players. Deba Cook can still turn it on when it calls for it, and they have added the FIFO talents of Trent Trotter, who some would still argue is the best hooker in WA. Add in Bryon, Wade-Whalan, Mason in the backs and they are deadly all over the field. And with some handy players back across the club, who stays in Premiership and who drops down will be incredibly interesting and will only add to their immense depth.
Roosters are a wierd one. They were epic earlier in the season and were absolutely flying to set themselves up in the top two and stay planted there. But they have stumbled slightly to finish the year, and the question is did they get hot too early? Only they can answer that, and this weekend is the time to do it. One thing we do know is they have points in them. Erueti, the Days, Setu, Los’e. But the keys will lie with their skill players this weekend. Foster needs to elevate from nice part player, to leader, and the Parkinsons need to get out there demand the ball. Sanders, Upson and Co will get the team in a position to fight for this one. Its time for the Roosters to really stand up and be counted.
Blueforce Park, Charles Riley Reserve, North Beach
Elimination Semi Final – Lions vs Tigers
In the final month of the competition, the Lions and the Tigers have grown up alot. The Lions have had players missing, suspended or injured, and yet they have managed to do what good teams always do. And that is win. The Tigers have basically done the same thing. With potential coming out of their ears, they have settled and put away teams below them in a professional fashion. Both teams will come in hard for the right to keep going this week.
South Perth Val Murphy Trophy are a proud side. And they will come out with fire and brimstone this weekend knowing their season on the line. And its not new for them, as they have known they needed to win a lot in the last month to keep the Bears and Sharks off their back. They aren’t the fanciest side, and subscribe to the theory “You have to beat us, we won’t just lose”. Strong and direct, they play a fast but simple game, which is predicated on them winning the battle in the middle of the field. While the likes of Fletcher and Jones get it done in the middle of the field, their dangerous spine of Hulena, Lewis and Tumoana will take the responsibility of putting the points up on the scoreboard for the red and whites.
Alkimos are a real danger side in the VMT, and one of those wild card teams you know the Roosters and Sea Eagles would like to see the back of. Capable of almost anything they have got some serious pedigree of their own, and while during the season getting their best side on the field was an issue, its finals time and the boys will be taking the next three weeks off to try and win a premiership. All the Jones brothers have featured in finals series for other clubs in previous years, while Davey Martin and Luke Turner just recently won a Premiership Trophy with the Giants. Add on top of that Broughton, Wanahi and Pomare, and this northern team could really cause some issues if they can put it together. What a game this one will be.
And thats the wrap! The weekend newsletter will be out tomorrow with the team lists! Get down and enjoy some serious rugby league this weekend!