Round 7 Wrap-up
Round 7 of FMG Premiership rugby saw our Premier, Reserve, Third Grade and Colts teams all return home to Pat O’Hara Reserve after the better part of a month’s absence. Our Senior Grade sides were taking on Kalamunda, whilst Colts were looking for revenge against ‘Soaks after a 43 – 22 loss to them in the season opener.
Starting with Colts, the boys were coming off a very tight loss to the table Nedlands, but were looking to use the home ground advantage and a raucous crowd to knock over the second placed ‘Soaks. The game was building up during the week to be a big one, and it definitely delivered! We started the game strongly, with awesome defence and pressure from the boys setting a tone early which we were able to maintain as a constant theme throughout the whole game. The defensive pressure started to turn into more possession, and plenty of spark in attack. Our boys used that spark to notch our first try of the match, scored through Devontay Tauiti, with a classy finish along the touch line. Continuous pressure through accurate execution in attack and at the breakdown soon had us reeling in more points, with Luke Holt-Brown finishing a brilliant try with some quality passing from multiple ball-runners through the middle and making it two tries in quick succession. Unfortunately, neither try was converted, meaning we were not getting full value for the ascendency we had, and we were leaving the door open for ‘Soaks to work back into the game. As if on cue, ‘Soaks boys did start to dig deep and work their way back into the game, scoring a try to quickly close the margin to 10-5. We were able to meet this challenge, and with growing confidence through our defence and pressure, we started to lift our level, seeing some awesome gameplay with ball in hand, culminating in Devontay Tauiti scoring another beauty along the touch line fending-off multiple players off, the score now 15-5. The closing act of the half was a penalty received in front of goal that we duly slotted over making the half-time score it 18-5. ‘Soaks were never going to let us just take this one, and their boys came out after half time fired up, and really started taking the game to us scoring two converted tries to take the lead 19-18. To add to the drama our boys went a man down with 25minutes to go, with Bailey Payne earning the ire of the referee and seeing red. It was looking like perhaps it was not going to be our day after all, and perhaps another heart-breaking loss was on its way. However, with the game on edge. awesome defence from our player of the match Jonathan Araya Aliivaa and the rest of the team lifted our energy and kept us in the contest, and with us only being a point down our boys knew that if they held strong, we would get another chance to score. Pegged down on our own try line, and having been a man down for 15 minutes we managed to win a penalty to get us out of trouble, and bring a huge sigh of relief from the growing crowd. We continued to pour everything we had into our defence, hitting hard and harassing at the breakdown, and we started to turn this defensive pressure into penalties and ‘Soaks mistakes. With two minutes to go we managed to work out way inside ‘Soaks 22m and earn a penalty right in front of the sticks. Despite the pressure of the score and the clock, up stepped Devontay who calmly slotted it over and we were back in front! Our boys regathered off the restart, and were able to calmly retain possession for the resulting phases. ‘Soaks desperate to turn the ball over infringed and were penalised, which allowed us to tap and kick the ball out, icing the game and ensuring a well-deserved win. Final score Perth-Bayswater 21, Associates 19.
The next game covered, saw our Third Grade looking to bounce back after their last start loss to Nedlands against a physical Kalamunda outfit on field 2. In a game of “what could have been” we looked the better side for the most part, but we struggled to build consistent pressure or execute for enough phases to turn Kalamunda’s big forwards around. We seemed to lack our usual penetration from our ball runners and found ourselves playing Kalamunda’s style of rugby rather than our own. We went into half time a try a piece, with Olsen Rere scoring for us early. However, we were unable to convert ours from out wide, whilst Kalamunda converted theirs and added a penalty, for a 10-5 Kalamunda half-time lead. The second half saw more of the same. We looked good in patches, but just as we threatened to break the game open, we would come undone. We did manage to lock the game up at 10 all with Jerome Brown finishing off a great move out wide, however unfortunately Robbie Rua’s conversion attempt from the sideline smacked into the middle of the crossbar. Despite plenty of time left in the game neither side was able to trouble the scoreboard again and 10 – 10 is where it finished. Certainly not a disaster of a result, but the boys know they are capable of much better and I would be surprised if they were not a little disappointed with that one. The draw sees us slip to 5th on the ladder, with the opportunity to find some confidence against the bottom placed Wests this week before taking on 2nd placed Wanneroo at home in a massive Round 9 clash.
In Reserve Grade Perth Bayswater welcomed Top 4 side Kalamunda Bulls on Saturday with our boys looking to bounce back after a tough loss, but much improved performance last week against Nedlands. We started strong, with great structure and skill leading to Will Martin scoring a nice break away try, his first ever for Baysie to boot. The boys followed up that effort quickly with Jonah Chase using his speed and power to break Kalamunda’s defensive line and cross over. Kalamunda returned fire by working their way down to the 5-meter line and doing what they do best, pick and go, driving over and giving them their first points of the day. Soon after Liam Becker restored our advantage, showing his speed and scoring off of a scrum as Kalamunda let him straight through. Kalamunda replied soon after, scoring again just before half time largely due to some missed tackles and great offloading by Kalamunda to keep the play alive. Baysie opened the second half with a nice line break by Pousea, leading to young gun colt Jayden scoring under the sticks. Unfortunately, this is where we let our foot off the throttle and started to make things hard for ourselves. A lack of discipline combined with fatigue invited Kalamunda back into the game, as and we started to crack under the pressure of their constant attack and weight of possession. Strong defensive performances from the likes of Ben Buist and Clancy Lagan-Brown were not enough to stem the Red and Black Kalamunda tide, as they scored late back-to-back tries in the dying minutes of the game. The final one with the final play of the game being particularly hard to take, as it was the first time all game that Kalamunda hit the lead. An absolute heartbreaker, in the end but one that the boys should be proud of and one they can learn a lot from. Final score Perth Bayswater 27, Kalamunda 31.
In the main event of the day, our Premier Grade men were back at home in our first match at Pat O’Hara since the ANZAC round, and taking on Kalamunda. To up the stakes the teams were also playing for the Paul Trophy, which was held by Kalamunda, and we wanted it back… I’m not sure what it is with these Perth Bayswater vs Kalamunda games, but after a 10-10 draw in Third Grade, a heartbreaking after the siren 4-point loss in Reserves and remembering back to the last years Semi-Final loss in extra time, from a +50m penalty goal, fans on both sides were expecting a tight one. The early exchanges were exactly that – tight… characterised by strong defence by both sides and no clear ascendency. The first drama of the day came via a couple of early knocks to Brandon Olow and Iona Vili. Knowing how important they both are to our side, and how detrimental losing one or both early would be to us, there was a collective sigh of relief from our supporters when after some treatment they were both able to re-join the defensive line. The first points in the match came in the 11th minute courtesy of a penalty and Otu Mausia’s left boot. Kalamunda responded with a penalty of their own through fly half Braydon Forrest, 3-3. In the 19th minute Otu converted another penalty to make it 2 from 2 and restore our 3-point advantage. Kalamunda were the next team to score, capitalising on an overthrown Perth Bayswater lineout, with their 7 Dane Sawers receiving an offload and scooting away to dot the ball down under the posts. Try converted, 10-6 to Kalamunda. Over the next 10 minutes Tavish Meade did is best to spark a response from our boys, In a one-man highlight-reel, Tav made an excellent tackle in cover defence as they tried to get on our outside, carried strongly into contact and then made an excellent front-on tackle to jolt the ball free and win us a scrum feed. From the scrum win Nuku was able to make one of his trademark bullocking runs advancing the ball to within 25m of the Kalamunda try line, but unfortunately he lost the ball in contact handing it straight back to them. From the resulting passage of play Kalamunda manage to advance the ball to within 35m of our try line, and despite their players diving straight in off their feet at the breakdown to seal off the ball this goes uncalled. Kalamunda clear the ball from the ruck and spread it wide to stretch us out, their left winger manages to break our line and then bump Danny VaeVae off as he comes across in cover defence, he gets caught short of the line but manages to pop the ball to their supporting blindside flanker who manages to touch down in the corner. The try is unconverted, and we go to the half-time break 15-6 down.
We start the half strongly and some quick ball movement sees our 14 Victor Paul brake on their outside. He is pulled down short and the referee is very quick on the whistle to penalise us for not releasing. The next significant action is again courtesy of Otu’s left boot, converting another penalty, and obviously relishing the much more pleasant kicking conditions compared to what he faced last round at Nedlands. Kalamunda put plenty of pressure on the kick restart and catch it cleanly, putting us straight under pressure in our 22m after just scoring. Kalamunda convert this pressure into a penalty in their favour and they are immediately able to restore the buffer to 9 points, going 18-9 ahead. The next few minutes again sees some very tight high-quality rugby played, punctuated by a questionable scrum penalty against us. The real excited comes via Otu Mausia, who is having a standout game at 12, taking the ball to the line, stepping through and making his way over the line to score… or we think he has scored? The referee appears to award it, but then consults with his assistant and instead call the ball held up. However, it does not take us long to get back on the scoreboard. After winning a penalty and putting the ball into the same corner we were just denied in, Dante makes no mistakes with his lineout throw and or boys are driving a maul towards their line from 5m out. Kalamunda deliberately collapse the maul resulting in a yellow card and a penalty try. The score is now 16-18 and we seem to be coming home with a wet sail again. Our lead is restored 4 minutes later when the referee (finally?) calls Kalamunda for going off their feet at the breakdown, and Otu slots the penalty from 30m to make it 19-18 (and 4 from 4 from the tee) with 20 minutes to go. Soon after Nuku makes another clean break, bursting through Kalamunda’s defensive line and is pulled down finally 1m from their try line. We manage to stay patient and not try to rush things, and after a few pick and go efforts, we spin the ball wide for our replacement winger to score in the corner. Otu misses his first (and only) shot at goal for the game, but we are still ahead 24-18. The next 5 minutes or so of game time becomes a real arm wrestle with neither side able to assert any real dominance, but it’s becoming clear that Kalamunda are not going to roll over and we will need to play this one out for the full 80 minutes. We earn a penalty inside Kalamunda’s 22m and Otu converts his fifth for the day, and we lead 27-18 with 5 minutes to play.
The frantic finish
Kalamunda again hoist an incredibly high restart and harass our catchers into spilling the ball. They have the ball 25m out from our line on the attack but lose the ball in contact. Max Veech somehow manages to dive on the loose ball and pop it up to the supporting runner in one movement (and despite tracking him down for an explanation after the game, I am still not really sure how this was humanly possible?) Otu is then able to release replacement wing Liam Becker down the touchline who displays some real pace to get on the outside of his opposite and find some space, put through an (almost) perfectly weighted grubber kick, and beat the fullback to the ball. In what would have been the match sealing try Liam dives at full stretch and under significant pressure from the fullback and tries to scoop the ball from just short of the line and carry it over with him, but unfortunately knocks-on… Instead of celebrating the match sealing try we are instead lining up to defend Kalamunda from a scrum on their 5m line. With nothing to lose they run the ball from within their own in-goal, and manage to break down the far touchline. In what will later feature in the FMG Premier Grade tries of the round, they manage to go end-to-end and score under the posts. They take a quick drop-kick conversion and close the gap to 2 points with time still for the re-start – so it is still very much game-on. This is a nightmare scenario for anyone that witnessed the heartbreak of our extra-time loss to Kalamunda in last year’s finals series, or the after the siren loss in the Reserve Grade game earlier in the day, and you could cut the tension on the sideline with a knife. Kalamunda manage to break again from the restart, and it looks for a moment that the feared nightmare is about to come true… We turn the ball over at the breakdown and Otu kicks it deep to try and play the remainder of the game at the other end of the field. They counter and make a half break again… my heart cannot take it… but they lose the ball in contact. Surely, that is time up? No!! The referee decides we still have time to pack the scrum. The Kalamunda pack puts everything they have left into this one last shove to try and win the ball, but Ben Buist and Max Veech will not yield, and the ball comes out the back and is passed to Otu who puts it into touch, and that is the game. Perth Bayswater 27, Kalamunda 25, and with that we cap our third come-from-behind win for the season and regain the Paul trophy. What a game.
In the final matched covered for the Round, our ATA Women’s Community Grade team travelled to Harrisdale to take on ARKS. Whilst sadly our ladies did not get the first win they have been chasing it was another week of huge improvements in the team’s play, structure and communication, and there was a lot of positivity on and off the field. A highlight of the game was having Ashleigh Featherston taking the field for her game as apart of the team. Ash showed a great amount of confidence, and really gave it her all! A shout out to a few of the ARKS ladies who came over to play for us as we were unfortunately a little short on numbers this week, which really highlights the sportsmanship being shown by the clubs in this competition. All the ladies looked great in their crazy socks for the ARKS Ladies fundraiser. Let’s do it all again next weekend Baysie Ladies!
That caps what was another fantastic round for the club, which success on and off the park. We look forward to Wests this weekend away at Bennett Park, and for those that cannot make do not forget to watch the Premier Grade Men as the match of the round on Stan from 3:30pm.