10 July 2011
Attacking force: fullback Alfie Mafi
Perth-Bayswater first grade blew a golden opportunity when it lost a hard, close game 18-10 against Wests-Subiaco, the team placed third in the RugbyWA club competition.
Perth-Bayswater led 10-3 at half time after one of its better halves in the season, lifted by the silky running skills of attacking fullback Alfie Mafi of the Western Force.
But once again a disappointing second half of errors and penalties handed the momentum back to the opposition and the opportunity was lost.
Perth opened well with a string of attacking phases, Maafi in full flight, and earned a penalty kick when Wests were caught offside. Centre Thomas Trautmann landed the difficult goal across a stiff easterly for a 3-0 lead after four minutes.
The game continued between the 22s with Wests making a little more of the play than Perth as both sides ran attacking ball and defended ably. Trautmann had another penalty chance from a similar position after 20 minutes but narrowly missed.
Wests had a good chance on the half hour with a penalty lineout and a series of phases in Perth's 22 but knocked on. Perth responded by running the ball from their line and when they gained a penalty on Wests 22, right wing Brendan Anderson finished a quick midfield tap and run with a scything attack to score beside the posts. Trautmann converted the sitter and Perth were 10-0 up with minutes until half time.
Hopalong: inside centre Clayton Cassidy steps it up
Wests finally got on the scoreboard with a wide penalty kick on the stroke of half time and the home side went into the break 10-3 in front.
Perth opened the second spell strongly but Wests came back to hammer Perth's line, only to eventually concede the robust defence was too much for them, opting to kick a second wide penalty and draw closer at 10-6 after 14 minutes.
Worse was to follow, Perth somehow making a complete mess of clearing from a defensive scrum, conceding the ball to Wests in a turnover, and allowing an insultingly easy try to be scored in the corner. This time the sideline kick was well astray but Wests took an 11-10 lead after 18 minutes.
Perth created some good chances but also gave away turnovers and made errors, gifting a pedestrian Wests team with undeserved opportunities. The visitors eventually scored from a tap penalty beside the posts and converted from in front to go ahead 18-10 with 12 minutes to play.
Perth battled hard as the clock wound down but could not string together enough phases for a cohesive attack and Wests held them out for a close win.
If this was an example of how the third-best team in the competition plays, there is nothing stopping Perth-Bayswater being up there with them but self belief and a little composure.
In other grades, seconds maintained a healthy fifth position in their competition despite a heavy 40-8 loss to Wests, thirds also lost badly to Wests 43-7, under 20s had a bye, under 18s also had a bye along with most of the rest of their competition as it is once again turning into a complete shambles, and the women's team again provided the only bright spot of the day with a comprehensive 54-5 win over Kalamunda.