After a fantastic carnival atmosphere at home in Round 1, and big wins against ‘Soaks in both Premier Grade and Third Grade, expectations were high leading up to this week’s Round away to UWA at “The Library”.
Unfortunately due to a combination of illness and injury our ATA Women’s Community Grade side were unable to field a side this week. It was particularly unfortunate with our Women also due to play at UWA, the first time the scheduling has seen our senior Men’s and Women’s team playing at the same venue, meaning the large travelling Baysie crowd were denied the opportunity to see them in action. We wish the team well in their recovery and look forward to cheering them on next round.
After putting 50+ on ‘Soaks last week, our Third Grade team put in another classy performance against a better quality of opposition, notching a comfortable 36 to 14 win. We started and ended the game strongly, but there were periods of the game in between where we weren’t as clinical as we could have been, and we kept them in the contest. Still, the season is shaping up nicely for Robbie and team with good numbers, and a great vibe around the squad, and a growing sense that this year could be anything, of the team stay humble and keep working for each other.
In a recap that could have easily been lifted directly from last week, the afternoon’s next game saw Reserve Grade lose another close one that could have easily gone the other way. Despite being all over UWA in the first half, dominating possession, territory and looking the most likely to break the game open, oranges instead saw the teams locked at 3-3, after both teams traded penalty goals. Some poor options and discipline saw us fall behind, and despite working our way back into the game and over the line it was too little too late, going down in the end Perth Bayswater 10, UWA 18.
In the afternoon’s main event, our Premier Grade team looked to capitalise on last week’s strong showing and had high hopes of silencing “The Library”. Unfortunately we were very slow out of the blocks and conceded two fairly soft early tries, both from rather innocuous looking kicks that we should have been able to defuse. From there things didn’t get much better, with some untimely injuries, questionable referee law interpretations and ill-discipline combining to rob us of any continuity or flow and saw us slip to 22-0 down and really staring down the barrel. Two late tries right on the stroke of half-time – one a lovely bit of skill from wing Nathan Hardwick to chase down the kick-off restart, catch it clean, and go straight, and the other a show sheer bloody-mindedness by co-Captain Otu Mausia to cut through some heavy traffic – saw us bring the score back to 22-12 at the break. The second half saw several first half themes continue. The referee continued to regularly find fault in almost everything we did, and our discipline continued to cost us dearly. Examples being a 45’ minute penalty goal to push the score to 25 – 12 and a Yellow Card for a no-arms tackle subsequently upgraded to Red, seeing us down to 14 for the remainder. The team showed a lot of character in not dropping their heads despite this adversity, and in continuing to try and work their way into the contest, and their efforts were rewarded with a penalty goal of our own and a late converted try to co-Captain Joe Annan. A 10-10 second half is probably a fairer indication of where both teams are at currently, which makes the final result Perth Bayswater 20, UWA 32 particularly tough to swallow.
No doubt the team are looking forward to getting back home on the 23rd of April for Round 3 against ARKS and the chance to atone.
* Colts had the BYE