The Goose Step – Thursday 12th August 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… Vix Ulukita from the South Perth Lions!
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, at The Kwinana Local Stadium, a vastly improved Rockingham Sharks side showed massive fight, but were unable to overcome a classy South Perth Lions team. In what was a great game of footy, some mature play from Aaliyah Tanonef in attack and defence, led the Lions to victory. For the Sharks, Lauren Lambert was impressive from hooker, delivering the ball with accuracy and speed to their dynamic forward pack, but they still lack a bit of maturity in their game that will only come with time. Bookends Ravatudei and Teariki were huge again for them, and Williams at fullback was a revelation, with her game positioning and speed being a real feature. What she lacks in physicality she makes up for with a willingness to be involved and holds no fear. For the Lions, Melissa Thomas was her usual destructive self, but the massive improvement of backrower Tylah Edwards is a welcome surprise. Devastating on the right edge, she takes huge pressure off her fellow forwards and will continue to be a weapon for the Lions moving into the finals. I’d like to see Tairea start to use her running game more effectively in the coming weeks.

And in the second game of our friday night double header, the North Beach Sea Eagles contained just too much speed for the Kalamunda Bulldogs, running out 30-14 winners. While Kalamunda started fast, and dominated the early proceedings, the young Sea Eagles side warmed into the contest to outlast their blue and white rivals. The slogan speed kills is apt here, with Raegan Woolley saluting with a hatrick and Sinead Loundes getting in on the action as well, with their trademark pace out wide proving a feature of the contest. With spearhead Emysen Robinson controlling the contest, the addition of mother-daughter duo Brianna Young and Danielle Parker gives the Sea Eagles another level, along with the incredible dangerous Makaylah Savage. For the Bulldogs, this is one that got away. They controlled this contest well early, with strong running from Tuialii and Roache really dictating play and giving Cope and Marshall lots of time. But a few errors allowed the momentum to swing, and got out of the Bulldogs grasp.

Saturday – Fuel to Go & Play Premiership

Kwinana Local Stadium
In the Consolidated Energy Key Game, the Rockingham Sharks put their season on the line against an equally desperate Fremantle Roosters team But the Apex predators were out foxed by the Chooks ,with the Roosters running out 38-18 winners. Sublime performances from Paora Kemp and Delane Edwards as the primary playmakers were the big difference in the contest that showed some free flowing rugby league from both teams.
The Sharks to their credit didn’t die wondering. A strong double to and overall performance to Sirla Pera in the centres kept them in the contest, but they were in an up hill battle to go with the attacking prowess of the Fremantle outfit. Josh Jerome showed glimpses of his enormous talent, which at times have had sharks faithful scratching their head about hot to get the best out of the enigmatic playmaker. And bookends Sam Pera and Keiran Crowe were honest toilers in the front row, continually showing up play after play. With their finals push gone, they play for pride now, and I hope they Sharks continue to show fight in their final two contests.
With Mitchell Kerr a late withdrawal, the Roosters looked to this bench with Rihari Clarkin playing a decisive role in their victory after playing for their reserve grade earlier in the day. But it was their expansive game plan that shone through. David Wilson benefited with his strong running on the wing getting him over for two tries, with Wiremu Paki a menace all day on the edge. It was also a much more polished performance from Richie Hicks in the front row, with strong defence accompanied by a smarter game with the ball in hand. They will need all their players firing heading into the finals series.
In lower grade news, the Roosters outlasted the Sharks, falling over the line in a close one 28-24. Watching the Roosters as a supporter or coach must be both exhilarating and scary, as their side continually puts their hand close to the “self destruct” button every game. Ruamai Erueti was classy, showing great touch and ability to score a double and set up some others. For the Sharks, Alistair Parmenter continues to show he has amazing value. They will need to fix up their discipline as they hang on the edge of the 4.
In the Val Murphy Trophy fixture, the Mandurah Storm came back down from the highs of last week, with a 34-4 loss against the Rockingham Sharks. While neither team will play a part in the finals this season, the Sharks will have an eye on next year, with centre Leeroy Strickland showing some amazing power and speed on his way to a try scoring double. For the Storm it wasn’t the euphoria of last weekend. But they have unearthed a strong contingent of players, with Allam Tambu, Melvin Konena and Smith Wangi all great additions.
And in the Women’s League Tag, the Fremantle Roosters flexed their muscles after a couple of off weeks, with a 26-0 victory over the tricky Rockingham Sharks. The Roosters controlled this game with strong defence, while unleashing the dangerous Shanaaz Te-Ahuru whom they need to find a way to get into the game more often. The Sharks have played at a high level this last month, and looked slightly tired, especially after a big contingent played in the close loss in the tackle the night before.
In the other WLT game at Rockingham , the Willagee Bears were full of running against the Mandurah Storm and ran out 50-0. The fast Micklyn Paul scored 4 tries on her way to a big victory.

Admiral Park
In the MND Awareness Game, the Joondalup Giants hosted the North Beach Sea Eagles. And it was the Sea Eagles that came out on top, with a tough 14-4 victory against the Giants. It was a wet and slippery track, which made it a slugfest in the middle of the field. With both packs going head to head, it was the Sea Eagles that came out with the points victory in this contest. With a 2-0 scoreline at halftime, the chances were few and far between for both sides, but the Sea Eagles were able to outlast the Giants in the second half.
The Giants welcomed back Ron Hudson medalist, Nathan Searle in the forwards and while not possessing his usual punch and minutes, he will be much better for the run. It was a bit of a different make up, with Domanyc Fidow-Kele playing his first game in Premiership this year. But they missed Lee Te Maari and his dynamic play on the edge. After starring in the middle for the beginning of the season, Irvine looked to have some timing issues on the edge and will look to keep improving. But the Giants won’t panic, and will move on from this defeat.
For the Sea Eagles, it was a very tough performance. They didn’t give an inch, and Alec Campbell was huge in the middle of the field. A dominating presence he made life easier for his spine players to control the game, and Adam Roy on the edge has made their right side a brick wall. Bowman Stein continues to be a menace in the middle of the field and the good form of Buckley and Aiesi is justifying their faith in keeping Stein at lock. And probably the most pleasing thing for Beach supporters was the solid play from young Bailey Miller. Thrown into the fire against a physical Giants team, he showed steel and toughness which belies his small frame.
In Reserve grade, the Sea Eagles may have not been happy with what I wrote about them last week, with a ruthless 42-6 victory over a hurting Joondalup Giants side. With the Giants missing plenty of troops, the Sea Eagles were ruthless. On the back of a monster performance from James Blake, Beau Constable grabbed a treble of tries, and Kyani Byron showed his signature speed. For the Giants, the equation gets tougher, as they look to keep their faint finals hopes alive.
And when you have the pedigree of the Joondalup Giants in Women’s League Tag, your not going to surrender without a fight. And they duly saluted over the North Beach Sea Eagles, 12-4, to leap back into the top 4. Tries to offensive star Hayley Utia and the evergreen Karina Spence. along with the reintroduction of Elle Warren keeps the Giants in the hunt. North Beach look a little bit out of sorts. Still with the weapons and caliber to hurt sides, their flow and team work seems to be missing. They now are in a battle to stay in the 4 themselves and will need to work it out.

George Burnett Park
In the top of the table Val Murphy Trophy clash, the South Perth Lions scored a tight 10-4 victory over the previous ladder leaders Alkimos Tigers, to jump them to the top of the table. It was a grinding contest, which suited the structured South Perth Lions, and they frustrated the Tigers into basic errors. Jaiden Wilkonson was big in the middle, and was duly rewarded with a try, while Kenny Siliniu was a menace in the middle of the park when introduced  in small stints. For the Tigers, they went away from their structure and panicked late in the game, but only need some slight adjustments. If they can produce a full 60 minutes of football, they will be incredibly difficult to beat.
In the other VMT clash, the Ellenbrook Rabbitohs bounced back from a shock loss to the Storm last week, to defeat the Kalamunda Bulldogs 30-14 and secure themselves a finals spot. It was a tough loss for the Bulldogs, who will now need the Sharks to do them a favour and defeat the Sea Eagles to give themselves a chance at the finals. Michael Davis and John Bruce were big for the Bulldogs, while a couple of pieces of individual magic from Darnell Tawhi and Tuveia Leon kept the game safe for the Rabbitohs.
A warning shot was fired in the Women’s League Tag on the weekend as well, with the South Perth Lions scoring in the final stages to steal a 12-12 draw against the Ellenbrook Rabbitohs. The Rabbitohs will be silently furious that they didn’t come away with the points, with Kailey Thompson’s kicking game the defining factor for the bunnies. For the Lions, it was obvious how much they missed Grace Smith. They lacked cohesion and their last tackle options were mediocre. If not for Carroll’s blinding speed and game sense, they would have come away empty handed, but they will be looking to rectify that moving forward.
And in the other WLT game, the Alkimos Tigers recovered from a slow start to finish over the top of the Kalamunda Bulldogs 24-4. While the Bulldogs faded out of the game, the incredible speed of young Alkira Dane was a sight to see, and with a 100 metre dash featuring in the last couple of grand finals (juniors & seniors) there are calls for the Women’s to have a head to head race. For the Tigers, it was a great team effort, with Harlee Horomona showing her trademark speed, and Donna Hati causing all sorts of issues in the middle of the field. Finally defending as a unit, the Tigers will be looking at a big show in 2022.

PREVIEW

All Flags Signs & Banners Women’s Rugby League Premiership

In the Cash Converters Game of the round, the North Beach Sea Eagles will be looking to frank their new found form, looking to do a hit and run mission against the South Perth Lions. North Beach have improved immensley in the second half of the season and will look to use their speed and flair to steal the point against the strong Lions outfit. Donna Huinga will take big responsibility as the Sea Eagles leader, as they look to cover the power and speed of the Lions pack, boasting Cherysh Leaf and Cheryl Armitage, who both had amazing games last week.
The second womens premiership game at George Burnett Park, features the ladder leading Joondalup Giants facing an awkward game against the Kalamunda Bulldogs. With the Giants locked into top spot, they will be looking to play themselves into some form against a battle hardened Bulldogs side. The Bulldogs are a tough matchup at this time with a big forward pack led by Tuialii and Campbell and there will be some sore bodies in this contest. Look for the Giants to play the speed game with tyro Crystal Walters leading them around.

And down at Lark Hill Sportsplex, the Rockingham Sharks will once again test their credentials against second place Ellenbrook Rabbitohs. The Sharks have been the big improvers this season, but can they take the step from plucky underdogs to genuine contenders this week. With a forward pack boasting Buchanan, Ropiha, Ravatudei and Teariki, they need to be at their best this Friday night. The Rabbitohs, coming off a bye, will be looking to continue their form, which saw them blow away the Lions 44-0 two weeks ago. They welcome back Mahinarangi Clair, to compliment them, but its the class in halves pairing Juraea Turner and Kailey Thompson that should be the difference in this contest. The form of Tiarne Barnett and Ariana Ruru-Hinaki has been electric for the Rabbitohs, as they have become more of a speed team this year as well.

Fuel to Go & Play Premiership
The  Consolidated Energy Key Game this week sees the South Perth Lions hosting the Joondalup Giants at George Burnett Park. Due to a quirk in the draw, the Lions have come off a bye, and go into another one next week before finals, so will be looking to fine tune their lineup and get themselves ticking along moving into the final series. A win will guarantee them a top 2 finish and that all important two bites of the cherry. They will be refreshed and ready to go. But the Giants are hurting a bit. Slightly injured and missing some troops, they still have a chance of finishing in the top 2, but face a must win game. And they will need some players to step up and will be sweating on the fitness and availability of players such as Andy Walker.

And at Blueforce Park, the Sea Eagles will be looking to holding their impressive form against the stuggling Rockingham Sharks. A danger game for the Sea Eagles, the Sharks don’t mind this trip to North Beach and will be playing with nothing to lose, as that is literally where they stand right now. Watch for beach to try and play a bit more expansive as they look to get their attacking structures right in what should be a relatively open affair. With Chazz Palmer currently toiling away in reserve grade, Kahan Joyce Vaughan and Bailey Millar will need to continue performing to keep the noted speedster in reserve grade. For the Sharks, its an opportunity to play with no pressure and let the kids really show their stuff.

And if you manage to record or snap a good goosestep, please feel free to let me know.