It was second time lucky for the North Beach Sea Eagles as they booked their WA Smarter Than Smoking Premiership Grand Final ticket with a 30-22 win over the South Perth Lions at Ken Allen Field.
A week after losing their major semi-final to the Fremantle Roosters, North Beach weren’t to be denied during Saturday’s Preliminary Final – piling on six tries to secure their first Grand Final appearance since 2016.
The Sea Eagles will now face the Roosters next Saturday to decide the premiership.
“I’m really pleased with the boys,” North Beach coach John Hough said.
“Into the Grand Final – so let’s push forward for that.
“We’ve just got to make sure we’re focussed and ready for next week.”
Looking to bounce back from last weekend’s disappointing major semi-final loss, North Beach jumped out of the blocks to score first – Kani Solomon brushing off his man to grab his 18th try of the season within six minutes.
The Sea Eagles controlled the early stages of the game and were rewarded with their second try of the afternoon when five-eight Josh Toole showed off his dancing feet to touch down.
The game then became a battle in the middle of the park, as South Perth grew into the contest.
The Lions came into this game on a run of eight straight wins and got themselves on the board five minutes before the break – Eddie Proudler crashing over.
With the final play of the first-half, the Lions roared to take the lead as halfback Harry Debique’s perfectly weighted kick was gathered by a flying Kade McDonald to score.
The try was the West Coast Pirates winger’s 18th of the season as South Perth took a 12-10 lead into the sheds.
Debique turned provider again just nine minutes after the restart- setting up Daniel Green for the first points of the second-half.
North Beach won the minor premiership for a reason, however, and hit back immediately as Chazz Palmer scored in the corner off the back of a scrum feed.
A bit of Greg Lingard brilliance then shifted the momentum in North Beach’s favour, as the forward carved through South Perth’s defence to dot down under the sticks.
Lingard’s hard work was almost out wiped straight away as Toole dropped the ball from the restart, but North Beach’s defence held firm.
The five-eight made amends for his drop just six minutes later as he stretched his side’s lead with his second try of the game.
Takarangi had the chance to give North Beach an eight-point cushion but hit the upright with his conversion.
The Kiwi would get the final laugh, however, crossing for the game-sealing try four minutes from time.
Pikari Te Wara scored a late consolation try for South Perth, but it wasn’t enough to stop North Beach from booking their second Grand Final appearance in three years.
North Beach 30 (Solomon, Toole (2), Palmer, Lingard, Takarangi tries). Takarangi 3/6 conversions.
South Perth 22 (Proudler, McDonald, Green, Te Wara tries). Debique 3/4 conversions.