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!
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This week’s feature goose step… James “Sully” Sullivan! What a beauty!
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Saturday – Fuel to Go & Play Premiership
The Joondalup Giants continued their form resurgence with a strong victory over the lacklustre South Perth Lions 26-6 in the Consolidated Energy Key Game. The Lions again were slow out of the blocks, as they were unable to stem the tide in the first half and trailed 18-0 at the break. A stand out solo effort to the American Travis Haney, where he beat numerous tackles on a 70 metre jaunt to the line was a highlight for the Giants. For the Lions, they had their chances to score in the first half, but are still lacking a cohesiveness that has been a hallmark of theirs for previous years.
It isn’t all doom and gloom for the Lions, as their defensive structures eventually allowed themselves to get back into the game in the second half. A monster performance from Mason Hiko, at times on one leg, was a shining light with and without the ball. He isn’t just the best looking guy in the game. He can play as well. Along with Edward Proudler, who was immense in a full game performance, and the dangerous Tyler Thomas, the Lions did have a few bright spots. But the question remains. Is Edward Proudler better used in the halves? I hate to keep harping on the obvious but whether its running the ball or marshalling the troops, they look more effective when he is out of the hooker position. Especially with able deputies in Norton and Thomas?
For the Giants, captain Taurean Sheehan was immense again, and ably supported by the Brad Sparrow, who continues to grow from week to week. Sparrow, who was not really on the radar early in the year by other sides, has become a monster on the right edge for the Giants. And in the absence of some heavy hitters in the middle, Joell Irvine and Beau White continue to show how much value they are to the Joondalup side. With a settled spine they will continue to roll on in the back end of the season.
In lower grade news, Joondalup Giants got their first win of the season, with a heartstopping 26-25 victory over the Lions. Club stalwart Adam Smith was fantastic for the Giants, along with new man David Coleman, who was a revelation. For the Lions, who were missing quite a few with injuries and fifo all over the place, the returning Patrick Lilii was an imposing presence, and Tremayne Kamso continues to provide great service from hooker.
In Women’s League Tag, the South Perth Lions were far too fast for the improving but outclassed Alkimos Tigers, winning 60-0. In a dominant performance, they played low mistake, high intensity footy, which is the hallmark of their side this year. Grace Smith was a standout, directing the troops with ease.
And the Joondalup Giants did enough to see off a spirited performance from the Kalamunda Bulldogs. The Bulldogs, wearing their indigenous jerseys, looked the more likely of the sides early on. But a halftime rev up from the Giants coach did the trick, with the Hayley Utia in particular proving too much for the Bulldogs defence. Youngster Alkira Dane was big for the Bulldogs, scoring a double and looking dangerous with the ball every time.
The Kwinana Local Stadium
It was a long day for the Sharks faithful at home over the weekend. While brave and refusing to give up on the season, they fielded a very different looking lineup against a very strong and settled North Beach side. And it was always going to be a hard battle, with the Sharks going down 40-12. North Beach are on a bit of a roll now and will look to take their good form into their big game against the Lions this week coming, while the Sharks will welcome the bye with the hope of getting some injured and missing players back in the side.
For the Sharks, they were missing plenty of troops. No Wilson-Wylie. The Barclay boys missing. No Josh Bransby. Tyler Hunt injured. Add that to the players that have moved away or transferred out. Its crazy to think the amount of talent on the sideline. A shining light this year has been the introduction of the Pera brothers, who have been strong in their games.
For North Beach it was business as usual as they put the foot to the floor against their weakened opponents. With Bailey Millar debuting in first grade as a late reserve, they dominated this game from the outset, with their well drilled side too strong for the sharks. Bowman Stein continued his good form, with his work ethic a highlight. In a minor note, they will be slightly annoyed to have conceded 12 points in a game they would have wanted to be a shut out.
With the Sharks decimated in Premiership, their reserve grade side fielded a very new looking lineup as well, and were thoroughly outclassed 62-12 by a ruthless North Beach side. With strike all over the park its very hard to think they will get toppled this season. Would Sportsbet be doing the early payout?
In Women’s League Tag, the Sharks caused problems for the Sea Eagles but still went down 18-10 against the reigning premiers. Putting the Sea Eagles off balance, the Sharks were in this game all the way through, but just couldn’t find enough points to land the killer blow, with the North Beach ladies hanging on, and staying in the top 2.
Ocean Road Reserve
The WLT game of the round was played out between the Fremantle Roosters and Ellenbrook Rabbitohs down in sunny Mandurah on saturday. And it didn’t disappoint. With the Roosters in supreme form, they held out the surging Rabbitohs 8-0 in a tight struggle. With the game in the balance it looked like the Rabbitohs had scored to make a game of it, but were denied due to a penalty, and they effectively ended the fightback.
And the Willagee Bears got on the board this season with a 50-0 victory against the still improving Mandurah Storm. The Bears ladies enjoyed the room afforded them in this game and duly kept the scoreboard ticking over.
While all this was happening, some 11 a side games were played between the Mandurah Storm, Ellenbrook Rabbitohs and the visiting Albany Sea Dragons. All the games were tight affairs, with lots of fast and free flowing footy between all the teams. While obviously unfit and not having much game practice, the Sea Dragons were a very athletic, flowing football team that impressed many of the people watching.
All Flags Signs & Banners Women’s Rugby League Premiership
In the Cash Converters Game of the round, the Joondalup Giants host the Ellenbrook Rabbitohs in a top of the table clash that should set mouths watering. A conversion seperated the teams last game and the winner will move to the top of the ladder. With matchups between Stephens &Thompson, Ah-Sam & Edwards, Pomare & Walters, this will be a game to see.
On the back of the main game, the other contest might be just as intriguing. The Kalamunda Bulldogs will hope to end their losing run against the Willagee Bears. With no tackle last weekend both sides should be fit and rearing to go. Look for the coming together of the big forward packs here, with their last game ending in a 12 all draw.
And at Blueforce Park, the Sea Eagles will hope the weeks off haven’t dented their momentum, when they take on the vastly improved Rockingham Sharks. The last time they played, it was a 10 all draw, so both sides seem to be evenly matched. Will one team announce themselves as the most likely to jump into the 4?
Also at North Beach on Friday Night as a matter of interest. An Under 15’s trial game will be taking place, which will have a bearing on the WA State team, which will go touring at the end of the year. With some amazing talent on offer, it will be worth going out to have a look at the next generation.
Fuel to Go & Play Premiership
The Consolidated Energy Key Game this week sees the refreshed Fremantle Roosters back at home against the Joondalup Giants. The Giants are on a roll now, with two strong victories, while the Roosters are off back to back losses. The question that will be on everyones mind will be, what will the Roosters team look like? And I assure you sometimes not even the Fremantle coaching staff know until late. With ins and outs like crazy what we do know is stalwarts like Mitchell Kerr and Alan Cowan will continue to have a go no matter the circumstances. For the Giants, its full stations go, with the good form of Chris Harrison and Ben Matthews a boon to the Harbin coached side as they continue to strive for more depth in the squad.
And the North Beach Sea Eagles host the South Perth Lions in what is a key game for both teams. The Lions in particular need a bounce back game and will be sweating on the fitness of Green, Judge and Puru. While certainly not the deepest roster the Lions have ever had, they still show plenty of pride in the jersey and will expect the next person in line to do the job. North Beach will have the opposite problem. With the slated return of some top line players, there is pressure on everyone in the squad to perform. With young up and comers like Aiesi and Millar starring, its keeping everyone honest and developing competition for spots. They are in a great position this season.