Welcome to The Goose Step.
This week it will be in two parts as we attempt to give our senior finals the previews they deserve in part 2, but this will be the wrap from last weeks finals games.

This week’s feature goose step… Kani Solomon from the North Beach Sea Eagles!
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, and the Major Semi-Final, the undefeated Joondalup Giants took on the defending premiers Ellenbrook Rabbitohs for the right to go straight through to the grand final. And the Giants were shell-shocked by the full strength Rabbitohs and barely fired a shot as they were defeated convincingly 36-4. The Giants had a number of crucial outs, but were still beaten in the middle of the field convincingly by the rampant Rabbits. With Mahinarangi Clair, Aaliyah Grey and Sera Ah-Sam completely dominating the fixture for the Rabbits, the composure of Kailey Thompson, Tiana Graham and Juraea Turner was telling as they cruised to a big win and will enjoy the week off. For the Giants, Heather Matoe and Ese Tiakia tried incredibly hard, but could not stem the tide from the fixture. Will Stephens, Walters and Cherrington be ready for this weekend’s preliminary final? Time will tell, but coach Costello knows they have to be much tougher in the middle of the field, especially this week against the hugely improved North Beach Sea Eagles.

In the Elimination game, the scrappy South Perth Lions fought and defended their way all the way to the final whistle in a back and forth match with the North Beach Sea Eagles. In a fascinating affair, the lead changed multiple times, with both teams firing shots. Melissa Thomas and Adalaide Faamausili Fala kept the pressure up for the Lions, while Brianna Young and Tamika Jones answered for the North Beach Sea Eagles. South Perth took the lead towards the middle of the second half 10-6, with a deftly placed crossfield kick and it seemed that might be enough. But North Beach answered in identical style with a nicely placed kick to the left winger evening up the contest. And while extra time seemed like it might be on the cards, the Lions actually found themselves in good field position, and on the fourth tackle, they took a shot at field goal, which went agonizingly to the left of the posts, and gave the Sea Eagles a seven tackle set with less than two minutes remaining. After defending all the way to the last tackle, the ball found its way into the hands of play maker Macey Simpkins, who swept to the short side, and eventually found winger Raegan Woolley, who did just enough to beat the oncoming defence and score in the corner, to send the North Beach faithful into ecstasy and set up a mouth watering preliminary final with the Giants.

Fuel to Go & Play Premiership – Saturday

Charles Riley Reserve
In the Consolidated Energy Key Game, the major semi final saw the North Beach Sea Eagles take on the might of the South Perth Lions. The Lions were well rested and came out the tougher and wanted it more, as they grinded to a 20-6 victory. The Lions will take quite abit of confidence from the performance, as they haven’t played a lot of games in the last month. But they came out hard, and defended incredibly tough all game, which has not been their go for most of the year. The Lions also avoided the dreaded preliminary final, with a ticket straight into the grand final.
Starting with the Sea Eagles here. I felt like watching their performance, that they lacked a bit of zip. A bit of flair. It seemed like they were trying not to lose more than going out to win, and they will need to fire more shots this weekend coming against the Giants. They had some workmen like performances in the middle from Bowman Stein and Greg Lingard, while Jayden De Vorms seemed the most likely of the side to crack the game wide open in a top performance. But they didn’t offer enough variation in a average performance. With attacking weapons in Taylor, Takarangi, Saus and young gun Bailey Millar, they need to throw some different looks at the defence this weekend coming. When the game was slipping away, they were also guilty of trying slightly too hard, coming up with basic errors. The Sea Eagles get another chance and will want to rectify their attacking woes this weekend.
The Lions while not throwing the ball around with abandon, were impressive in the way they shut the Sea Eagles out of the contest. On the back of a supreme performance from their forwards, Tim Noble set the platform with Daniel Green and Ethan Gourgard getting in on the action, both with workmen like performances. Mason Hiko, who is arguably the best big man in the competition at the moment, just added to the Lions strength on the field. When they skipped to their big lead the experience of Ed Proudler, Harry Debique and a improved performance from the much maligned Nick Holiday, just shut the North Beach team out with a strong kicking performance. It was exactly the kind of game the Lions thrive off, with a true grind battle suiting them far more than the Sea Eagles outfit.
In the Reserve Grade contest, the Sea Eagles showed they can do it tough as well as flashy, with a tight 24-20 victory over a much improved South Perth Lions side. North Beach had some big outs with the indomitable James Blake and handy Dusty Hume missing, but they had no excuses, with Ryan Woolley grabbing his first ever try in the senior grades in this contest. Jason Godecke was amazing on the day, with a real captains knock leading the Sea Eagles to victory, while some classy touches from Deba Cook showed he is far from a spent force. For the Lions, big men Toby Sullivan and Paddi Lilii showed the Sea Eagles can be troubled in the middle of the field, and young brother Luke-David and Ben Wells Talamaviao didn’t die wondering, with some great play on their edge. The Lions will be hoping to get another shot at the Sea Eagles in next weeks grand final.
In the Val Murphy Trophy fixture, the Alkimos Tigers booked their ticket to the grand final with a 14-8 victory over the tough South Perth Lions. The Lions actually scored first in this contest with a great left to right shift. They dominated the first half, with their big men standing up and their halves in Pora and Meale leading them around the field. But the half-time siren seemed to will the Tigers into action, and with good ball and field position on their side, they surged to lead the contest. And when the Lions were reduced to 12 men the game seemed slightly out of reach. With Corey Broughton and Tui Lasike bringing all their knowledge to the fore, they secured their spot. And while the Lions never gave up, their lack of points in the first half, while dominating the contest, will need to be rectified. While happy with their great defensive performance, they will look to use a bit more freedom with the ball.
And in a clash of the titans of the Women’s League Tag competition, the South Perth Lions were out enthused by the Fremantle Roosters and suffered their first defeat of the season with a 14-10 defeat. It kind of felt like it was coming, with some holes showing in the last month in the Lions armour, but people say, better to get a loss there than in the grand final. Fremantle scored first on the back of some great ball playing from Taylor Kerr to put Simone Johnson away to get in front, and its a lead they never relinquished. When Caitlin Pears and Teigan Higgins put the Roosters further in front, it looked like the flood gates may open up. But in true South Perth style, Shayla Taiwhati and Brooke Carroll combined to bring the game back in touching distance. But they couldn’t bridge the gap and now have an interesting assignment with a confident Rabbitohs team.

Ken Allen Field
In the Elimination Final, the Fremantle Roosters were desperate to leave their spiritual home with a finals victory over the Joondalup Giants. Unfortuantely they left it too late, and the Giants sprinted out to a lead and never relinquished it, with a 20-16 victory. It was a roaring attacking contest, with both sides throwing multiple shots in a back and forth affair. Fremantle in particular left nothing on the rack in terms of their ball movement, and the veterans from boths sides really showed up to make their mark in this years finals series.
The Giants it was a typical tough defensive performance in the second half that got them home. After skipping out to their 20 point total, they spent most of the second half on their own tryline turning away the Roosters attacking sets, time and again. It was a testament to their attitude and resilience with the “One More Round” mantra echoing through the team. Losing form forward Beau White to a horrific leg injury, and then second rower Andy Walker to a suspected shoulder problem, the Giants team refused to yield and earnt their ticket the hard way. Jeremy Browne was incredibly impressive in a best on ground performance, turning back the clock with some scything runs, with his trademark footwork from years gone by rearing its head all game. Ably supported by David Martin at lock, and with Gus Marshall’s top notch kicking performance, Joondalup now go to the preliminary finals with a chance to go back to back still alive.
For the Roosters, they cannot be accused of leaving anything in the tank. They threw everything, including the kitchen sink at the Giants line, particularly in the second half, with ace Delane Edwards a standout. Although he looked clearly injured and struggling, he was a constant menace with his trademark footwork and strength a key component to the Roosters cause. Takaroa Penaha, Bjorn Crotty and Mitchell Kerr were also huge in the middle for the Roosters, and probably outpointed their Giants counterparts in the middle of the field for large parts of the game. But while the Roosters flair and power was on show for everyone to see, they lacked the precision that has seen them dominate the competition over the last 5 years. Along with this, their last tackle options, particularly while attacking the line, were almost non-existent as they were visibly frustrated when being turned away time and again. But they can hold their heads high, and we hope they open their new facility in 2022 with the same attacking gusto.
In Reserve grade, the Fremantle Roosters and Rockingham Sharks played out a frustrating game for both supporters. Rampant with errors and penalties, at one stage both teams seemed like they were trying to let the other team win it. And the first two minutes of play showed the erratic nature of the contest. The Sharks kicked off, and it bounced out, gifting them the ball in great position. The Sharks duly dropped the footy, and then less than 60 seconds later, the Roosters are scoring under the posts with Rihari Clarkin finishing off a long range try. At one stage both sides looked to someone to bust the game wide open, and the Sharks relied heavily on the electric footwork of Will Ravatudei and impressive ball skills of Charles Taniqoki. But the Roosters found a way in the end with fullback Ruamai Erueti and Clarkin stepping up when the Roosters needed it. Although the Roosters know they will have to improve significantly to match it with the South Perth Lions this weekend.
In the Val Murphy Trophy, the Ellenbrook Rabbitohs controlled proceedings against the North Beach Sea Eagles to take the game 18-10. The Rabbitohs scored early and kicked out to a 10-0 lead at halftime, thanks to a dominant performance in the middle from tandem hookers Andrew John and Daniel Hohepa. But the Sea Eagles wouldn’t die wondering and hit back hard in the second half with two tries, off the back of some big running from Nathan Roa and Hafoka Tonu to trail 12-10 and seemingly all the momentum. But following the kick-off, centre Fred Mahi picked an intercept on tackle four, to end the Sea Eagles fightback and send the Rabbitohs into a preliminary final against the South Perth Lions. With Shaan Evans and former Sea Eagle Carl Te Wani both having huge games in the forward pack as well, the Sea Eagles were slightly disjointed all game and just couldn’t get their flow right.
And the in the Women’s League Tag, the Ellenbrook Rabbitohs played a frenetic game of back and forth with the defending premiers, North Beach Sea Eagles. And it was the Rabbitohs who had the last say, as they scored right on full time to out point the Sea Eagles with a 16-14 victory. In a big defensive opening, it was 20 minutes before points and Beach struck first through Emysen Robinson and Ada Cox. This woke up the Rabbitohs, who retaliated right after the break, with Kailey Thompson and Amiria Clark-Manahi using their speed and vision to fight back. Trading tries, back and forth, it looked like the Sea Eagles had earnt a victory similar to the night before, when Raegan Woolley dotted down with less than four minutes remaining. But the Sea Eagles, dropped the ball off the kick off set, and Bobbie-Lee Barker made them pay when she threw a perfect cut-out pass for Sandy Tau to touchdown and send the Rabbitohs into a big game with the South Perth Lions.

PREVIEW to come in PART 2!

And keep the pictures coming!