14 May 2011
Allez!: Trautmann drags three Uni defenders forward
Emirates Western Force back David Smith ripped the opposition to shreds in a storming Perth-Bayswater comeback, defeating University 33-27 at Pat O'Hara Reserve on Saturday.
A flat and error-prone home team stuttered and stumbled their way through two thirds of the game, and ref Hamish Miller came to the party with a string of controversial calls, penalties and cards to earn the ire of both sidelines at times in the game.
Trailing 19-6 early in the second spell and looking in every way inferior to a committed, enterprising Uni team, Perth-Bayswater lifted behind explosively inspirational centre Smith late in the game. Together with his Western Force team mate, fullback Alfie Mafi, Smith turned on a blistering attacking display and led the home team home for a thundering come-from-behind win that had the home crowd in raptures.
University started strongly and kicked a penalty after three minutes for an early 3-0 lead but Perth equalised after eight minutes when French wing Thomas Trautmann kicked an easy goal from in front for not rolling away.
Uni drew ahead a minute later with another penalty goal, then both teams lost a player to the sin bin following a bit of unpleasantness after 17 minutes.
Perth's scrum dominated Uni's but neither team could achieve much flow in a penalty-studded encounter, Uni extending their score with a sitter penalty goal for offside after 22 minutes.
Perth had more possession in the later stages of the half but too often spoiled it with errors and penalties, and then blew a certain try with a forward pass. It was left to Trautmann to slot another sitter penalty after 37 minutes and the home team trailed 9-6 with half time approaching.
Gaining leeway: Inside centre Mike Lee tested the Uni defence throughout
Perth could do nothing right as ref Miller kept a steady stream of penalties flowing Uni's way, finally gifting Uni a try in the corner from a tap penalty. The wide conversion gave Uni a healthy 16-6 lead going into the break.
The errors continued into the second spell, exceeded only by the penalty count, even Perth's powerhouse scrum conceding mystery offences while driving Uni's eight around like a shopping trolley. Yet another penalty after ten minutes extended a grateful Uni's lead to 19-6.
However, Perth rebounded with some inspiring attack led by Smith, and Uni lost their captain to the sin bin after conceding four penalties in defence of their line. Black tapped and ran, flyhalf Damon Cunningham almost slipping through before handing out to the forwards for a thumping try to prop Laione Mulikihaamea beside the posts. Trautmann slotted the sitter and Perth came closer at 19-13 after 16 minutes.
More penalties put Uni back on attack in Perth's 22 and their forwards mauled up for a try in the corner after 22 minutes. The sideline conversion missed and then from the kick off Smith opened up Uni's defence like a can of Watties baked beans, passed back in to Mafi and won the race to the kick ahead for a try. Trautmann landed a perfect conversion from a sharp angle to again draw the home team close at 24-20.
Thanks to Dave Withnell for the images
But Uni went back onto attack and landed an awkward drop goal for a greater margin at 27-20 with 12 minutes to play as the winning of the game continually slipped from a desperate home team's grasp. But straight away, a rare penalty to Perth gave the home team a quick tap and Mafi shot through a gap to score beside the posts. Trautman converted from in front for a knife edge 27-27 score with 7 minutes on the clock, Uni conceding another yellow card after charging the conversion early.
Perth-Bayswater stayed on attack and with three minutes to play, Miller awarded a penalty to Perth and Trautmann calmly landed a superb goal from a wide angle to steal the game from under Uni's noses, the Westaway Gang breaking into a spontaneous rendition of La Marseillaise on the Perth sidelines.
The turnaround in their fortunes led to some intemperate behaviour from Uni and one of the team was red carded for referee abuse. Trautmann added insult to injury with a final penalty goal and Perth played out the remaining two minutes with patient rugby for a memorable win.
Uni might feel a little hard done by after controlling most of the game only to have it snatched away, with considerable damage done by two Western Force players, but there are plenty of Perth-Bayswater supporters who remember a Uni side with FOUR Force players putting a serious dent on our finals ambitions with an upset win a couple of seasons ago. Let's call it karma.
Coach Rex George highlighted Smith's inspirational effect but said it wasn't all one way traffic.
"There were a couple of brilliant tries there that only those guys can score, and that's inspirational stuff that just set the boys alight.
"David didn't wait for it to happen, he made it happen, and that got the forwards running forward, the boys started enjoying their football and throwing it around.
"But I think having the stars in the backline made us a little bit complacent too.
"You could feel it in the warm up and in the shed before the game
"There were a lot of errors, we had no flow and continuity. University were dominating us, they came to play, they kept at it. They'll be there at the business end of the competition, they're a very composed side and very well trained.
"We broke away in the end and we were lucky. We needed some exciting stuff.
"At half time I told the boys, buckle down, consolidate and just go forward, win two or three phases and then feed it out and give the professionals some space.
"And the referee, I said to the boys he's the man in the middle, you have to look after him, don't let him be the deciding factor in the game."
Seconds won 24-19 over University.
Thirds continued to make rapid progress from a late start as a scratch team, losing 36-5 to University.
Filthy Fourths lapsed into an uncharacteritsic loss to University, 31-7.
Under 20s lost 27-19 to University despite a much improved performance from last week, with improved continuity, better defence, more positive attack with straight running from the backs, and fewer errors.
A failure to react quickly cost the team with Uni scoring several times from quick tap penalties, and a tendency to relax after scoring let the opposition back into a game that with a little bit of luck could easily have been won.
Best players were lock Grant Hgaha and centre Joel Phillips centre.
Under 18s scored their sixth win from six games to top their competition table, defeating University 28-24 in an enterprising, exciting game of rugby.
Under 18s led half 12-5 at half time with scoring even throughout the game. Good forward play with strong pick and drives laid the platform for the win that saw the team take its chances well and stay on top.
Man of the match was loose foward Jason Smith but the entire team are to be commended for an excellent team effort.
Tries were scored by blindside flanker Carlos Flutey-Clark, prop Harry Thompson, loose foward Jason Smith and wing Josh Wheeler.
Our defending premiers defeated Cottesloe/University 31-0.