The Goose Step – Thursday 26th August 2021 – Part 2

Welcome to The Goose Step – Part 2 – FINALS PREVIEW

This feature goose step… young gun Bailey Millar from the North Beach Sea Eagles!
Send in photos of your favourite stepper’s to creedy@nrl.com.au to be our feature player.

PREVIEW

Friday –  All Flags Signs & Banners Women’s Rugby League Premiership
In the Cash Converters Game Of The Round, Major Semi Final, at Admiral Park, the Joondalup Giants put their perfect season on the line against the defending premiers, the Ellenbrook Rabbitohs. And what a game this will be. With a ticket to the grand final on the line, it should be an absolute classic matchup. The previous games between these teams have seem a 6-4 and 4-0 scoreline result in favour of the Giants. But we are now at the business end of the season and its time for teams to lock in.
The Giants should be well rested with a disrupted end of the season allowing them to try and get their troops fit. Star players Anneka Stephens, Rueben Cherrington and Crystal Walters have all found themselves in a spot of bother with injury as of late, but theres hope all will be fit for this matchup. Friday team lists will decide. But they will go into this clash confident regardless, with the form of Ese Tiakia undeniable this season. The experience of Chanelle Edwards and Kiri Smiler will be leaned on heavily to get this new Joondalup Giants team over the line.
The Rabbitohs are coming to this on the other side, being battle hardened with 4 tough games on the trot leading them into the finals. They have swept the competition, with their eyes focused squarely on this Friday’s game with the depth in their squad forcing girls to jockey for a spot in the final 20. While the usuals in Thompson, J Turner and Ah-Sam have been strong, there have been some new players making an impression in impressive outside back Ariana Ruru-Hinaki forcing her way into the side along with bookend Teryn Unasa. But they just ooze strike power with powerful Huia Turoa-Swannell and durable Mahinarangi Clair also in the mix. The question remains though. Will Ellenbrook force the Giants to play their high tempo points scoring game, or will the Giants grind the Rabbitohs into the ground like the previous two games.

In the Elimination Semi-Final, the stuttering South Perth Lions will be looking to stop the slide against what is fast becoming their arch-rivals in the North Beach Sea Eagles. Now this season you would have to look all the way back to round 01 and then round 15 to see their matches and it could not be a bigger contrast. Round 01, was a joint South Perth/Willagee side who blew away the new North Beach Sea Eagles 44-4 in a one sided affair. Fast forward to round 15, and 3 players from that fixture now playing for North Beach instead of South Perth. The Sea Eagles take the chocolates 28-8 in a ruthless application of middle dominance. Which begs the question… which teams will show up this weekend?
South Perth Lions have the pedigree. Melissa Thomas is in the form of her life at the moment, and if everyone is on board, is ably supported by Chersyh Leaf and Adalaide Fala Faamasuli in the forwards. The form of Tylah Edwards in the backrow has also been super impressive, showing a power and speed game that has developed immensley. But the key to their success must rest with the mis-firing backline. Aaliyah Tanonef is a hard working player, but they really need Tehani Tairea to take control of this side. With some talented backs in the fleet footed Taneka Doney-Vati, gutsy winger Gabby Canicosa and hot stepping Adrienne Acker, they have all the ingredients to blow sides off the park. But they need to put in a complete performance to get there.
North Beach Sea Eagles have the form. They have finished the year on fire. With the inclusion of the aggressive Tamika Jones and super smart Macey Simpkins late this season they have gone to another level. With also the experience of Danielle Parker, and exuberance of Brianna Young and Makaylah Savage coming in from Willagee, they have gone to another level. Emysen Robinson will still shoulder a huge responsibility on her young shoulders, but she now has the help she needed at the start of the year. With flyers Sinead Loundes and Raegan Woolley on the flanks, they can also punish sides from all over the field. Will they continue their fairy tale run another week? Or will South Perth bounce back to form.

Saturday – Fuel to Go & Play Premiership

Charles Riley Reserve
In the Consolidated Energy Key Game, the North Beach Sea Eagles defend their home territory against the eager to play South Perth Lions. And similar to the ladies, the game should be an absolute slug fest. This season they have split their games down the middle, with North Beach enjoying a 34-14 victory, only to hand the ascendancy back to the Lions in their next fixture 28-16. In their first meeting this year, it was a scrappy 12-12 draw. So the question is, which side will show up to take this fixture?
The North Beach Sea Eagles haven’t lost a game since their Round 11 loss to the Lions and head into this game as deserved slight favorites. Their hiccups in their composure have disappeared and they seem much more adept at closing games out. Cairo Takarangi is playing top notch football and has found his spark that has made him a deadly adversary for a long time. With Takarangi pulling the strings, Ben Taylor and Josh Benjamin have been in vintage form on the left hand side for the North Beach boys. But as with all battles, it will more or less be decided in the middle of the field. Unsung heros in Breen and Campbell have been huge for the Sea Eagles, along with the timely inclusion of Greg Lingard to stiffen their pack up in the middle of the field. Captain Adam Roy will lead them from the front with a brutal defensive performance, and he is arguably one of the most reliable players in the competition. A big focus will be on their kicking game this week. Their halves and hookers need to get this right as in tight ones, it can really decide a match.
The South Perth Lions look like they will be throwing the kitchen sink at the Sea Eagles in this matchup to book a one way ticket to a grand final, and while it is the easy road one wonders whether the Lions would mind having to play again. Minimum football due to a covid draw change have the Lions really healthy, and with all their troops on deck, but without much playing time or continuity. And one of the big draw backs for the Lions this year has been their slow starts in games. Just recently they were down 12-0 early against the Joondalup Giants, and have trailed in many of their games this year. They will want to be right on the ball from the get go, and will look for forwards Hiko, Noble & Green to lead them. Caleb Norton has been a massive piece for the Lions at hooker this year, and will be incredibly important along with classy playmaker Eddie Proudler and experienced fullback Harry Debique. But I believe a big performance from stand off Nick Holiday will be what the doctor ordered. He has been solid this year without being spectacular this season and a breakout performance may be around the corner.
In Reserve Grade, unbeaten minor premiers, the North Beach Sea Eagles, will look to keep their unbeaten season intact when they host a very different looking South Perth Lions side. The Sea Eagles have dominated sides off the back of ruthless forward play led by James Blake and Jay Roa this season, while classy operators Godecke, Byron and Cook have run up the score. But they face a different assignment this week. All the troops are in for the Lions, with Sullivan, Lilii, Wells-Talamavaio and numerous others with first grade pedigree being forced into the lineup. It will be a great test and probably preview of the grand final in two weeks. Will the Sea Eagles finally blink first? Or will the Lions changing line up not breed enough continuity in the roster?
In Val Murphy Trophy, we will see a great game of two completely differing styles. The minor premiers, South Perth Lions, mirror their premiership counterparts. Tough and rugged, they play a grinding style of football, which centres around middle of the field dominance and a tough defensive performance. Enter their polar opposites, in the Alkimos Tigers. The entertainers in VMT, they will play a brand of fast and energetic rugby league and rather than try and defend their way to victory, will be of a mindset that reads “catch me if you can”. Zac Wood vs Corey Broughton in the spine should go a long way to determining this one.
And in the Women’s League Tag, the unbeaten South Perth Lions will take on the Fremantle Roosters, in what many in this grade consider to be just an inevitable warmup to them meeting in two weeks. The stand out sides in the last month or so, the Lions will be hoping they have all hands on deck. With Smith and Carroll notable omissions in the last couple weeks, they have still got the job done with Suamili, Sneddon and Terrell using their experience to get them over the line. But the Roosters will not die wondering, with their high octane attack featuring Pears, Te-Ahuru and Higgins bristling with talent and speed.

Ken Allen Field
In the Elimination Semi-Final, the Fremantle Roosters will host their last game at Ken Allen Field, in what they hope is a huge performance, against the defending premiers, the Joondalup Giants. This season the Roosters got the Giants in a close one in Round 3, 14-12, but after that it has been all Giants. A 44-10 scoreline in round 08 was then followed up by a comprehensive away victory by the Giants 36-25, which will leave the Giants with no doubt about their ability to win at Ken Allen.
But finals time in the last 6 years has been Roosters time. With the Roosters winning 4 out of the last 6 premierships, they have developed a reputation for getting it all the click when the new competition begins, and this would be a nightmare match up for any club. They possess some names that are going to go down in NRL WA folk lore with their ability to turn games on their head. Edwards and Crotty are the keys, with one their glue in the middle of the field, and the other responsible for their flair and action on the edges. Ably supported by new guy, Paora Kemp and still underrated bookend Mitchell Kerr, they seem to have most people healthy and available at the right time. In the finals though, Duane Butler usually shows up to wreak havoc on the competition, and I’m expecting a huge game from the versatile back rower. We all know Fremantle won’t die wondering, and will fire plenty of attacking shots at the Giants.
The Joondalup Giants have found themselves in the 4th spot, and will have to do it the hard way if they want to go back to back. But the finals are a new competition, and they should get most of their healthy players back now. Brad Sparrow, Beau White and Chris Harrison have been notable absentees along with fifo worker Josh Houghton being in and out this season. And Nathan Searle is a few weeks back into it, and looked as sharp as every against the Sea Eagles last friday night. So the question now becomes a matter of who do they leave out? One of the more intriguing selection headaches will centre around the enigmatic Robbie Smith. With the ability to win or lose you a game, he hovers on the edge every game, and its an undeniable talent with the ball in hand. But forget the word safety when he is in the game. What I will say, is Browne and Marshall, along with Sheehan posses the most reliable kicking game in the competition and this team will defend their backsides off till that final whistle.
In Reserve Grade, the improving Fremantle Roosters will do battle with the Rockingham Sharks for the 3rd time in a four week period. And the Roosters have outlasted and out enthused the Sharks in both their last two fixtures. But discipline and composure is needed to win this one, and then challenge the top two. Both sides need to lower their error rate and stop giving away silly penalties to progress in this comp. Classy operators Ruamai Erueti and Rima Los’e will look to get the Roosters scoreboard ticking, but one to keep an eye on is Elahzaye Delaney for the Sharks. The winger is in rare form and could make a big difference this saturday, along with the hot stepping Will Ravatudei.
In Val Murphy Trophy, the Ellenbrook Rabbitohs will look to do a repeat of last weeks game against the North Beach Sea Eagles. In a tight affair, the Rabbitohs stole a 13-12 win with a drop goal from classy halfback Dylan Mahu getting them over the line. Both teams will look different this week though, with FIFO players in amongst all the pigeons. North Beach will rely hard on the experienced Alex Mauri and Jake Ryles, along with danger man Evander “Bubz” Richards who could play fullback to front row. Ellenbrook have got some class back this week, but centre pairing Feleti Mafi and Tuveia Leon will take some serious stopping.
And in the Women’s League Tag, the much improved Ellenbrook Rabbitohs will taste their first tag finals match up when they take on the defending premiers in the North Beach Sea Eagles. The Sea Eagles are doing the opposite of their norm, where they get on a roll heading into the finals, but they have stumbled, dropping games to the Giants, Rabbitohs and Roosters in the last month to be well below their best. The Rabbitohs however come into this full of confidence, forcing the Lions to a draw in between some impressive victories. Playmakers Miller, Marshall and Whaanga, along with the Robinson sisters need to get it right this week. Both teams will hope for no injuries on Friday night, but the Rabbitohs in particular will need Thompsons, Barker and Graham to come through unscathed to launch their tag run.

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

And keep the pictures coming!