2 April 2011
First grade chalked up four points for a win to open the 2011 season, downing Rockingham 13-12 in a gritty, error-ridden contest at Pat O'Hara Reserve today, completing a clean sweep for the club on the day.
Coming away with the win was one of the few positives the team should take from the game, both sides battling to string continuity together amongst non-stop penalties, knock ons and turnovers. Although both teams contributed mightily to the ordinary nature of play, referee Jac Burger could have used a little discretion for the first game of the season instead of pouncing on every hint of an error as though there was a Guinness Book of Records title up for grabs.
First grade were right up against it in the opening minutes, Rocky pummelling their line from an early penalty. But Perth kicked clear and took play downfield where flyhalf Damon Cunningham missed a long range penalty. However, there was no mistake minutes later when wing Erin Winiata touched down unmarked in the corner from a slick back line attack. The sideline conversion failed but Perth took a 5-0 lead after ten minutes.
Lapses of discipline continually gifted Rocky with territory and after 25 minutes the visitors kicked a difficult penalty to draw close at 5-3. Black sped back onto attack and looked good with the ball in hand but again conceded penalties to let Rocky off the hook.
Perth made headway to take the game into Rockingham's 22, shunting the visitors' scrum around but twice knocked on in prime attacking opportunties. Finally, Rockingham conceded a red card for a fairly innocuous spear tackle and new French fullback Thomas Trautman converted from in front to edge ahead 8-3 with half time approaching. But yet another defensive penalty handed Rockingham a three-pointer on the stroke of half time and Perth went into the break just 8-6 ahead.
Penalties continued to dominate the game as the second spell opened, Perth handing Rockingham an endless stream of possession through misdemeanours and only solid defence kept their tryline safe. But it was not enough to stop Rockingham converting a penalty for offside after nine minutes to steal the lead 9-8.
Trautman missed a difficult goal kick a minute later but the penalty mill kept churning Rocky's way and they added a fourth after 15 minutes to edge ahead 12-8. When it wasn't penalties it was knock ons, and far too much hard-earned possession was quickly gifted back to the visitors.
However, a penalty their way earned Perth a lineout ten metres out with a long, accurate kick from Cunningham and the black forwards rucked up powerfully for a bullocking try to prop Liaone Mulikihaamea. Trautman missed the angled conversion but Perth took the narrowest of leads 13-12 with 15 minutes to play.
Another prime penalty lineout a minute later was immediately knocked on but Perth maintained position to hammer Rocky's line as the clock wound down. Then Rocky almost scored with five minutes to play, intercepting mishandled Perth scrum ball to sprint 60 metres but were hauled down short of the line. Perth kicked clear but Rocky kept coming and had Perth supporters holding their breath with two late, long-range penalties that both fortunately fell short, and the home team clung to their narrow lead until the final whistle.
Coach Rex George named Mulikihaamea the man of the match.
Rex said he was happy to open the season with a win but lamented the team's inability to close the game out against a 14-man opposition.
"I thought we had an excellent start but we lacked discipline around the rucks and mauls," Rex said.
"Then Rocky came back in the second half as they often do -- I thought they scrambled well.
"Discipline was a problem for us and we've talked about the referee being in charge -- we've really got to work harder in that area. And we'll be working on holding onto the ball and stringing plays together.
"But I'm really happy with the four points, and there's a good feeling in the team.
"We're mssing three or four players today and we need a bit more fitness -- but I'd much rather we played poorly and won, than played well and lost at this stage."
Second grade defeated Rockingham 27-5, after leading 10-5 at half time. Seconds dominated long periods of the game but Rockingham competed strongly and were right in it in the early stages. Seconds opened the scoring with a try to fullback Paul Newman and Rocky scored to draw even at 5-5. Halfback Mark Hill scored to take seconds ahead 10-5 at half time. Tries to wing Russell Farrell, centre Sean Tamehana and flanker Joel Waenga wrapped up the game, with a conversion to James Rameka for the final score.
The fabulously talented athletic collective that is fourth grade limped home for a narrow 56-12 win over Joondalup, and more on that game when star wing The Fridge pecks his way across the computer keyboard for an in-depth report.
Under 20s opened their season with a 29-19 win over Curtin, after leading 22-19 at half time. It was a well contested game but the team has some work to do on defence. Tries were scored by prop Sam Smith, lock Bjorn Thompson, flanker Liam Burley, fullback Daniel Bezant and Nikora Parata-Peeni. Best forward for the game was lock James Eliasehewsky and best back was Daniel Bezant despite playing part of the game out of position.
Coach Mark Davis said that it was a good, hard first up game and Curtin were surprisingly competitive, but discipline was a major factor in the second half. The Perth-Bayswater forwards dominated but a combination of spoiling Curtin defence and rustiness from the home team hampered the outcome.
The Under 18 team scored a remarkable 33-0 win over ARKs at Pat O'Hara Reserve, scoring all their points in the first 15 minutes of play. The team enjoyed a dynamic opening stanza with great structure to their play and their patterns working exceptionally well but then lasped into increasing looseness and were unable to score any further points. Fullback Josh Wheeler was outstanding with a hat trick of tries, and man of the match was prop Harry Thompson with great work in the scrum, good running with the ball and some big hits in defence.