Round 15 Wrap-up

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Aug 9, 2022 | News

Round 15 Wrap-up        

Round 14 of the Premiership rugby saw our boys earn a hard-fought win against Nedlands down at the Foreshore. It was however a win that came at great cost, with a serious knee injury sustained by Reesjan Pasitoa late in the closing stages of the game ruling him out for the rest of the season. We wish him well for his upcoming surgery and rehabilitation and will look to support him however we can.

Starting with our ATA Community Women’s 10s, which saw another great weekend of women’s rugby with Perth Bayswater hosting UWA. Our girls received top billing this week, running out straight after the boys Prem Grade match, affording the girls the opportunity to play under the lights in front of a large and lively crowd. Coming to the end of the season we see some awesome Improvements from both teams. Great structure and communication throughout. 3 minutes in and Perth are already on the board, courtesy of a try to skipper Bridget Meade. From then on it was all a go. The team’s shared possession of the ball evenly throughout the game, largely going try-for try throughout. Speed and determination was in abundance from both sides with multiple runaway tries recorded. A close game that eventually saw UWA run out 48-39 winners. Anahera Te Rahui with a hat trick by the end of it. Also, player of the match Eve McKay with some great hit outs in the middle pod making metres for the team. Special mentions to Ash Featherston on her first try of the season. Always a great game of rugby against UWA. This is what community 10s is all about. Teams like this motivate us to keep digging harder at training whilst also having fun. Thanks, UWA for coming down. Let’s finish the last 2 rounds with a bang!

Moving onto Premier Grade our matchday 23 looks strong despite the mounting injuries. Whilst we’ve lost Reesjan after last week’s injury, we welcome Issak Fines-Leleiwasa into the side for the first time this season. Jake Buist is also back via the bench, although brother Ben is still a week or two away with his ankle not yet sufficiently recovered to be named. Otu Mausia also returns to the side from international duty with Tonga. The start of the match sees UWA controlling possession and earning an early penalty in the 9th minute converted by Caleb Young. UWA knock-on shortly after the restart and provide us our first opportunity to attack. From the first phase on the back of the scrim win we spread the ball wide through Tavish to Otu who breaks the line and then sets up Nathan and then Danny who is pulled down 1m short of the line. From the next phase Josh passes to Nuku who crashes over. Otu’s conversion attempt from 5m to the right of the right-hand post is caught in the wind and it drifts outside the left-hand upright, the score remaining 5-3. We are the next to score 15 minutes later as a UWA lineout is overthrown and caught by Dante Tatafu who flicks a ball inside to Matt Faoagali, who goes straight through his opposite number in Luca Tizzano and runs 40m unchallenged crossing over under the posts. Otu’s conversion moving the score to 12-3 in the 27th minute. UWA win another penalty in the 33rd minute, via a dubious not releasing penalty 23m out and slightly off centre. The jackaling UWA player was on his feet, but was not on the ball at all…  Caleb Young converts again, 12-6 in favour of Perth Bayswater.

With 4 minutes left to go in the half we manage to pinch another UWA lineout on the back of an error and release our outside backs down the righthand touch line. Danny chips ahead and Nathan gets a kind bounce able to run onto it without even breaking stride, and then passing back outside to Danny. I thought Danny would have had the gas to score on the outside, but he cuts back inside towards the support. We rush things a little here only 2m from the line and lose our shape a little. The ball comes loose, but we are awarded a penalty for UWA offside. Otu takes a kick tap and kicks to Sam George out on the left wing, but the ball bounces dead in goal. We do get another chance before halftime though and we make sure of it this time. Stopsy fires a ball over to Nuku, who attracts 2 defenders and then tips it on with soft hands to Brand who crosses under the posts. Otu makes no mistake with the conversion pushing the score to 19-6 at half time.

UWA earn the first great attacking opportunity of the second half, courtesy of a penalty against Matt Faoagali for being off his feet at the breakdown. This was another interesting interpretation, given Matt was on his feet with hands on the ball, was cleaned out, and released the ball. UWA put the ball into touch with our 22m and win the resulting lineout. From here they go a number of phases through the piggies before finally getting the ball over the line. It was disappointing to see one of the UWA carriers not called from crawling, considering he had two goes at it in full view of the referee (was picked up by the commentators and everyone on the sideline…), but in the end Reggie Churchwood was awarded the try, and the score moved to 19-13 on the back of the successful conversion.  It took another 7 minutes for us to restore our 13-point advantage, courtesy of a ‘silky’ show and go from Jake Strachan, finding a weak outside shoulder in the UWA line around the 13-channel and slicing through for a soft try. Otu added the extras move the score to 26-13.

Oh if it only it stayed that way…

To be fair to UWA they kicked far better than we did throughout the game, and their scrum had us under pressure many times throughout the game, and they did hold the majority of the possession throughout the game, with our buys having to play long stretches of the game (especially the first 10 and last 15 minutes) without the ball. However, when we did have the ball, we looked far more threatening with it, both in the loose with strong carrying from Nuku, Brandon, Dante, Iona, and Matt in particular, and in the outside backs where we routinely cut them to pieces.

We probably had a chance to ice the game with 22 minutes to play on the back of a big Brandon Olow line break. We maintained possession with a pick and go from Nuku who offloaded to Issak, and with UWA at 6s and 7s and our boys queuing up out wide, he looked instead to turn it inside to Ty Newsome-Smith who was not expecting it. There is no blame to be apportioned to either player: it is just one of those sliding-door moments where we’d love to have that one over again and go wide instead of inside. Its likely we would have scored and opened up a 20-point lead, instead we cough-up possession and hand the ball back to them.

From here things start to slide… UWA lift their intensity and accuracy in a much tighter largely 10-man approach to the game. We don’t match them, and we start to look tired, falling off tackles opening up to easy metres and having to defend for large stretches within our 22m. The referee also attempts to blow the pea out of his whistle, pinging us regularly for not releasing (again despite the defending player not actually making a play for the ball and the tackled player not being afford any opportunity to place the ball), scrum infringements, and anything else he gets a sniff of. The yellow card against Matt Faoagali with 10 minutes to go was probably borderline, and really changed the complexion of the last 10 minutes.

UWA scored with 15-minutes to play on the back of yet another penalty. On the back of a lineout 5m out from the line they probed via their forwards for a few phases after their maul collapsed, and then passed the ball out to their 10 O’Sullivan who managed to step through and get the ball down under pressure from a number of Black defenders. The dagger to the heart them came with 7 minutes left to play on the back of a UWA scrum 5m out directly in front. With Matt in the bin, Nuku shifted to the side of the scrum and Chris Saulala (on one leg) packed in at 8. We had no answer when the shove came and UWA were able to pick the ball up and crash over. The conversion from in front giving UWA the decisive 1-point lead.

We had one final chance to get something out the game with a long run putting us on attack in the UWA half, but again the referee blew it up for not releasing, again without the defending player being on the ball….

Our boys tried hard, and I would never question their commitment to the cause, or the effort put in, and whilst there are probably a few things we could potentially feel aggrieved about, at the end of the day we needed to manage the referee and his interpretations around the breakdown better, and we needed to find another gear when they lifted in that last 20 minutes, and we didn’t.

We will go again in a week against Wests at home again.

Baysie Hard!

 

 

 

 

 

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