16 April 2011
For the second week in a row, Perth-Bayswater first grade had the chance to steal a cliffhanger match with a kick on the bell, but the rugby Gods weren't smiling on them this week and Wanneroo escaped with a close 16-11 win over the home side at Pat O'Hara Reserve.
With minutes to play and trailing by two points, Perth-Bayswater were awarded a penalty in front of the posts and 35 metres out. However, flyhalf Damon Cunningham steered one his easier kicks wide and instead Wanneroo worked downfield to kick a penalty of their own for the winning score to retain the Bill Watt trophy.
It was ironic that the loss came after Perth-Bayswater's best performance this season, dominating the first half and earning plentiful possession to lead the Roo-dogs for most of the match.
First grade opened the match strongly and dominated early play, but missed an early scoring chance when Cunningham failed with a penalty goal shot after five minutes.
However, Perth continued to keep Wanneroo locked inside their own half until the 23 minute mark, when the Roo-dogs worked downfield and made the best of their own scoring opportunity with a penalty goal to lead 3-0.
The return of lock Brent Murphy helped possession
Normally reliable referee Daylan Waetford issued the first yellow card of the day after 25 minutes to send Perth's right wing to the sin bin, and continued to chuck cards around during the match like an all night poker game. The referees have clearly launched on their traditional early season campaign to "come down hard" on misdemeanours, with the usual consequence of a bunch of sin binnings for innocuous penalty offences.
Perth brought their loyal followers to their feet after 32 minutes, when Force Academy halfback Ethan Carlisle shot through from the base of a ruck, catching the Wanneroo defence off guard, and kicked ahead for Nick Richards to scoop up the ball and score in the corner. The sideline conversion missed but Perth took the lead 5-3.
Then on the stroke of half time and hard on attack, Cunningham was successful with a penalty kick and the home side went into the break with an encouraging 8-3 lead, hvaing had most of the territory and possession.
The second spell opened with a Wanneroo penalty goal to reduce the lead to 8-6 and to add insult to injury, Waetford sent another Perth player from the field for hands in the ruck, as Wanneroo evened up the possession stakes.
Perth had their chances with another missed penalty attempt after 12 minutes but Wanneroo were soon back hammering Perth's line with the help of more penalties, however stout defence held them out. The momentum of the game swung back and forth, Cunningham sending Perth further ahead with another penalty goal after 27 minutes, and a close but well deserved win seemed on the cards.
Thanks to Dave Withnell for the images
Then Wanneroo turned over Perth ruck ball and rushed across field for a try in the corner to draw the game at 11-11 with ten minutes to play. The sideline conversion took the visitors ahead 13-11 and Perth's desperate attack was not helped when Waetford decided that 30 metres sideways constituted advantage, and Wanneroo were rewarded with attacking possession after knocking on.
However, a repeat of last week's cliffhanger win over the Bulls was on the cards when Perth received their penalty with minutes on the clock, only to see the chance go begging and the Roo-dogs kick theirs to wrap up the game 16-11.
Still, the team is making good progress and there are no premierships awarded three games into the season. If the steady improvement continues and the team continues to gel, the signs are all good.
Coach Rex George was disappointed with the result but happy that the team was proving very competitive this season.
"We have to be in it for eighty minutes," Rex said.
"Discipline around the ruck let us down, and Cunningham had a poor day with the boot -- be he won it for us last week and you have to take the good with the bad.
"In the first half we should have scored a couple of times, but we had a couple of forward passes and a knock on on the line.
"It was there for the taking and we had our chances, but Wanneroo were desperate for their first win, they just wanted it more.
"But they defintely knew they'd been in a match. It's going to be a very tight comp.
"But we're still second equal on the ladder, and we got a bonus point, so we're happy."
Seconds continued to impress with a strong 20-17 win over Wanneroo on an unusually hot 34 degree April day at Pat O'Hara Reserve.
Wanneroo made all the early play to go ahead 10-0 with two tries and Perth seconds saw virtually nothing of the ball until midway through the first half. Then fullback Mark Gaskin, newly returned from Britain, finished off a back line move with a try to draw closer at 10-5.
Seconds saw more of the ball as the game progressed and French wing Matt Talaud scored just before half time to draw the game 10-10 going into the break.
Seconds dominated second half territory to take the game to Wanneroo, continually driving them back with long touch-finders by Gaskin. The team was frustrated by two good try scoring opportunities bombed through rushed handling out wide but halfback Mark Hill put them ahead with a penalty goal later in the half.
An attacking run by athletic lock Jake Buist led to a try by reserve Sean Tamehana midway through the second spell, and Hill converted for a healthy 20-10 lead to seconds. However just before full time the black pack conceded a tighthead and a foolish penalty to hand the Roo-dogs a try close to the posts, finishing the game with a closer 20-17 score.
Fabulous Fourths defeated Palmyra 22-10. Many, many more details to follow.
Under 20s lost 26-14 to Wanneroo after trailing 19-9 at half time, with three penalties to fullback Dylan Johnson. They scored again in the second half with a try to lock James Eliasehewsky but poor defence and lack of communication cost them, and the loss of Johnson to injury kept the momentum going Wanneroo's way.
Under 18s edged Wanneroo 26-24.