7 August 2011
Perth-Bayswater first grade demonstrated two unfortunately familiar things in their 49-34 loss to Associates at Pat O'Hara Reserve on Saturday.
That they have the ability to threaten any side in the competition; and that they are consummate masters of their own demise.
Once again the team showed glimpses of destructive attacking attitude and prowess, and dominated most of the second half in a bustling, motivated, bonus point loss. And once again they repeatedly let Soaks off the hook with basic errors, foolish penalties and defensive lapses.
The game got off to an atrocious start with a penalty to Associates in the first minutes, and then a foolish attempt to run defensive ball out from deep gave Soaks a simple turnover and they raced in for a try out wide. The conversion went over and Associates shot to a 10-0 lead after three minutes.
Soaks were in again after 12 minutes, a penalty scrum on the 22 allowing them to ruck up to the line where their halfback darted over for a try beside the posts. The easy conversion was narrowly astray but the visitors went ahead 15-0.
But Perth stuck to their task and after gaining ground with a penalty lineout, threw the ball wide where wing Clayton Cassidy scored on the overlap. Centre Thomas Trautmann missed the difficult conversion and Perth trailed by 15-5 after 18 minutes.
The margin was quickly restored when Soaks gained a penalty lineout ten metres out and from an ensuing ruck their flyhalf scored in the tackle close to the posts. The conversion took Soaks out to 22-5.
But Perth stayed at it, attacking through the backs from a lineout on halfway, prop Laione Mulikihaamea bursting from the ruck 15 metres out to bullock across the line for a try. Trautmann added the difficult conversion for a 22-12 scoreline on the half hour.
The scoring continued just two minutes later when Perth conceded a penalty, were marched 10 metres for backchat, and Soaks surged over for a try beside the posts. The sitter conversion was duly landed.
Perth were on the scoreboard again just before halftime when Trautmann landed a monster 45 metre penalty goal from a Soaks ruck offence, but predictably Soaks immediately earned a long range penalty and converted it to go into the break 32-15 up.
Perth battled hard to open the second spell and ran wide from a tap penalty with quick passing down the sideline for a try out wide to fullback Alfie Mafi after four minutes.
Perth were on fire as they demolished a Soaks scrum and Mafi slashed through the visitors' defence and dashed 30 metres to score. Trautmann added the extras and suddenly the game was wide open at 32-27 with 30 minutes to play.
Soaks inched ahead with a penalty five minutes later and then broke through with a try down the sideline after 15 minutes, followed by a very dubious conversion.
But Perth were right back on the job, a missed Soaks touchfinder giving Perth position and a tap penalty starting a series of phases finished by heavyweight prop Samuel Taleni with a thumping midfield charge and a try midway to the sideline. Trautmann slotted the conversion perfectly and it was back to 42-34.
Perth dominated territory and possession as the game entered the final 20 but were too rushed and handed Soaks possession, followed by a penalty and the visitors scored at the other end of the ground, and converted for a winning 49-34 score with ten minutes to play.
Perth stayed on attack and pinned Soaks in their half, but despite a couple a brilliant runs by Mafi, Soaks hung on to win.
Thanks to Dave Withnell for the images. See more at www.davewhitnell.com
In other grades seconds lost to Soaks 50-5, thirds lost to Associates 34-7, fourths defeated Associates 50-5, Unders 20s went down to Soaks 41-0, Unders 18s defeated Mandurah 31-14, while the Women drew with arch-rivals Wanneroo 10-10.