Round 9 Wrap-up
Round 9 of FMG Premiership rugby saw all our Senior teams in action at home across the Friday night and Saturday afternoon. Our women kicked-off the weekend on Friday looking for their second win of the season with a game under lights vs UWA. Our Senior Men’s Grades were hosting Wanneroo, who were bolstered in Premier Grade by the inclusion of Western Force players Tim Anstee and Grason Makara into an already strong line-up. A loss would deal our Top 6 aspirations a massive blow, so there was plenty to play for in front of a large crowd of the club’s Major Sponsors. Rounding out the weekend’s fixtures were our Colts who were looking to continue their hot form vs. the visiting Mandurah Pirates.
To kick off our Round 9 coverage we start with our ATA Women’s Community Grade side, taking on UWA in a Friday night blockbuster. We started the game slowly, conceding two tries in the first quarter without any score of our own. However, after a quick regroup, pep-talk from coach Drew and a settling of nerves, we were able to work our way into the game in the second quarter and hit the scoreboard with two tries of our own. The second half of the match was where we really started to pull it together as a team, scoring a further four tries, converting one and holding UWA to a scoreless fourth quarter. It was a huge team effort that displayed our developing character and the true never say die Baysie spirit we’ve embraced. It was our first win over UWA and our second win in a row. Special mentions go to Rachael Davis on playing her first game of the season, and to our Woman of the Match, Tara McDonagh! Thank you to everyone who braved the cold to come down and support us, as well as to the lovely volunteers who opened the canteen and bar for the evening. We really appreciate all the support you give us. Bring on Palmyra next week!!
Moving onto Saturday afternoon, the weather played ball and the rain stayed away for Round 9 in the U21 Colts competition. The Mandurah Pirates sailed up the freeway seeking fortune, but the Perth-Bayswater boys were not going to allow a surprise attack, even if the opposition did appear to have some pretty big fire power!
Coming off a bye then a long weekend, Coach Mason encouraged numbers to training to maintain momentum from our clutch win versus Associates and the boys looked ready. As the game commenced our boys slipped immediately into attack mode, putting the visitors on the back foot early. This early pressure forced a Mandurah defender to infringe, and a quick kick to the corner from the resulting penalty led to an attacking lineout 10m out. The throw hit its mark and our driving maul was cynically pulled down. With the referee penalising accordingly, captain Tama Mason called for another crack. This time the forwards worked a brilliant set piece move, working the drive, with tight head prop Zsen Falakoa then wrapping to the blindside catching them out and scoring untouched in the corner. A very well worked move, clearly the extra training having paid off. Half back Mekhi Kona slotted the tough conversion kick from the sideline, and we were away, 7-0.
After a slightly scrambled kick reception our boys recomposed themselves, with the Numbats working quickly back into Mandurah’s red zone. Keeping the pressure on (this time in the scrum, winning a tight head against the feed), the backs flew into action with quick passing and centre Isaac Evans straight hard running, crashing through the line for another try. The missed conversion kick saw the score 12-0 in the 14th minute. Once again with wind in our Baysie boys’ sails and through great tactical kicking, we continued to pin the Pirates in their own half. When we did get our hands back on the ball, some solid passing and strong carry saw Zsen smash his way over for his 2nd try! More icing on the cake from Mehki saw the score now move to 19-0 at 24mins mark.
In a rush of blood, perhaps trying to lift his team, a Pirates player a took out the ball receiver in the air, and the referee showed no hesitation in asking him to walk the yellow plank for 10 minutes. The numerical advantage aided our attack and allowed us to work another fantastic team try, this time with winger Mythiaz weaving some magic outside to in, then passing to our scrumhalf Mehki tracking inside to score and kick his own conversion. 26-0 at 29mins. Then once again… big pressure, a solid scrum and a slick back move had our left winger Jayden flying into the line for another try for the Baysie Colts. With Mehki again adding the extras from the sidelines, it was Perth Bayswater 33, Mandurah 0 at the half.
Mandurah came out in the second half determined to turn the ship around. The Baysie line held, with good tackling and pressure on the Pirate’s lineout. Mandurah dug deep and kept hold of the ball and eventually the ref awarded a penalty. Using their healthily sized scrum to secure clean ball and create space for their backs, they quickly swung it wide, with a strong run from their centre, they scored in the corner. No conversion, 33-5. However, our boys were no done, and with a certain Numbat prop in particular developing a taste for ‘meat pies’… so on the back of a slicing dash by no 13 Isaac we again had them pinned down in their red zone. The boys kept hammering away and the final nail in the coffin was again the leg-driving front row try machine Zsen Falakoa, scoring his hat trick in a man of the match performance. The was the final score Perth Bayswater 38, Mandurah 5. Next up Joondalup at home!
On to Third Grade, where Coach Robbie Rua assembled his small army (with an average age of about 65 35!!) to take on a tough Roodogs outfit. The team were feeling fresh after a week off, and ready to tear it up.
Our boys started fast with Olsen running like someone was chasing him to cut off those luscious locks… however, it was he who did the cutting, slicing straight through the Wanneroo defensive line. Quick ball on the back of this linebreak allowed our back row to put on some ‘razzle dazzle’ before Wade cut past two Roo defenders to score. With good field position and pressure, the lead grew to 10 with a penalty in front converted by Yane. The first half finished 10-0 in our favour, with the scoreboard looking far better than Jason “Legs” Bastaja’s busted-open head: fair to say I think his promising modelling career may now be over.
During the break, Coach Robbie Rua decided to change things up and inject some impact players from our bench. One “impact player”, suffering from a bachelor party the night before, took himself off after a 5-minute cameo from a questionable “injury”? The second half brought with it a few scrappy moments on attack; however, the boys defence was easily our best of the season so far (although, there is still room for growth, unlike Legs hair which is never growing back…). Despite our sterling defensive efforts, the Roodogs did finally break over to see the score move to 10-5. We started the 3rd quarter of the match the stronger, with Peter running through for a well-earned ‘meat pie’. This comfortable lead however was short lived, as the Roodogs countered soon after with a try of their own, bringing the score back to 17-10. Wanneroo were really upping their intensity the longer the game continued, and I think they could almost sniff an upset. Our boys knew that they had to BRING SOME ENERGY to secure the win.
The final stages of the match saw us under immense pressure 5 meters out from our try line, and with the referee spotting something he did not like, he pulled the ‘Cheddar Cheese’ from his pocket, resulting in our big man Olsen watching the rest of the match from the sideline. From the resulting penalty the Roodogs again tried to muscle their way over, but they still could not breach our try line.
Wanneroo persisted with their pick and go or one off the ruck attacking methods on the far side of the paddock, and with an allegation of foul play, our man Evan was issued with a red card, seeing us play out the remainder of the game with 13 men. Play restarted with a scrum, Wanneroo looking to take advantage of our weakened forward pack, however luckily for us not long after a Wanneroo knock-on saw the final whistle to go to signal the end of the game and another Baysie Third Grade win. Yet again Kelea brought the energy for the winning song that was sung loud and proud. Perth Bayswater 17, Wanneroo 10.
After a few weeks of drama surrounding our Reserve Grade side, which included a heartbreaking ‘after-the-siren’ loss to Kalamunda at home, followed by a heavy defeat to Wests away, and conjecture around the coaching set-up going forward, the boys turned up on Saturday wanting to make statement. We knew heading into this round it would be a tough fixture, up against a top 4 side, but there was also a quiet optimism in knowing we are a far better team than our Win/Loss record this year would suggest, and we were buoyed by the strong line-up we were taking into the match, highlighted by the inclusion of the club’s spiritual leader in Jake Buist, making his return from a thankfully short-lived retirement. The first half was a tight affair, with neither side able to grab a clear ascendency, and dominated by physical defence from both sides. We scored one unconverted try, they scored one converted try, so the halftime score was 5-7 to Wanneroo. Our scrum dominated over both halves, but we were unable to turn this dominance into points, although our forwards were close to scoring from a rolling maul which would have given us the lead. Instead, it was Wanneroo who were next to score, stretching their lead out to 7. In somewhat contentious circumstances the conversion was adjudged as missing, despite protest from the kicker, and the score remained 5-12.
From here our boys could have easily dropped their heads and said, ‘it’s not our day’, instead they found another gear and really started to put some pressure back onto Wanneroo. This culminated in winning a penalty 20m out, duly converted by Thompson, shaving the lead down to 4 points. With time running out and memories of the Kalamunda heartbreak fresh, it was time for the universe to square our ledger, and it did with our forwards driving over the line with the game clock at 69’ and Sam Faoagali emerging from the bottom of the pile with the ball in hand. The missed conversion was academic, with the scoreboard reading Perth Bayswater 13, Wanneroo 12. Well done boys, a just reward for the effort. Next up Palmyra away, which is shaping as our toughest test this season.
Heading into the afternoon’s Premier Grade main event the club was 4 wins from 4 Senior games over the weekend, and expectation was high from the large crowd gathered at “The Burrow”, including many of our Major Sponsors. We knew Wanneroo would be tough, comfortably sitting within the top 4 of the FMG Premier Grade competition, and with some big inclusions including Tim Anstee and Grason Makara released from their Western Force duties. The underlying pattern of our games this year has generally been slow start/strong finish, however this week we got off to a flyer, with Ben Buist crossing out wide in the 5th minute of the game. We were unable to add the extras from a tight angle, score 5-0. The quick start continued soon after when Ty Newsome-Smith managed to break the line and then link-up with scrumhalf Josh Stops running a great support line, Josh managed to find further support on his left, and a few passes later the ball ended up with open side Matt Faoagali who continued the break deep into the Wanneroo 22m. Unfortunately, Wanneroo were able to scramble and reset their line, and with the immediate opportunity gone, we turned possession over a few phases later and let them off the hook. The rest of the first half was very tight. Wanneroo were able to get their hands on the ball more and hard and direct running asked plenty of questions of our defence. The heavy defensive load put pressure on our discipline, and we cracked on a couple of occasions giving them opportunities to convert two very kickable penalties, but fortunately they missed both, letting us off the hook. They did manage to get on the board shortly after though, when a well weighted kick pulled up just inside the in-goal area. Fullback Andrew Ramsden was first to the ball, forcing it dead in a momentary lapse in concentration. Under the new rule changes, this resulted in a goal-line dropout instead of from the 22m. This gave the ball back to Wanneroo in a dangerous position, and sure enough a few phases later Grason Makara crossed in the corner. Wanneroo scored again before half time to take a small lead into the second half, but the game was still there for either team to win. We started the brighter after the break with second half substitute and regular goal kicker Otu Mausia slotting a 45th minute penalty, and then Chris Saulala crossing the line 2 minutes later, which Otu duly converted. Our final score for the day came in the 71st minute, with Otu kicking another penalty giving us an 18-13 lead with 9 minutes left to play. Wanneroo were able to march up the field on the back of a few penalties, and the last passages of play unfolded deep in our 22m and pinned onto our line. The boys defended with great commitment, and continued to repel the Wanneroo forwards as they continually tried to muscle their way over the line, however after several phases and having been unable to force a mistake or turn over, Wanneroo were able to shift the ball wide for Grason Makara to again cross in the corner and tie things up at 18-all. The visitors had the chance to break Baysie hearts with a conversion attempt from the sideline after time had expired to win the game, but they were unable to convert this opportunity, and 18-all is how it finished. There was plenty the boys did right on Saturday and the effort again was exceptional, but discipline still seems to be an issue at times, and you cannot help but wonder what could have been with a more disciplined approach, and cooler game management at the death to ice the game – easy to call from the comfort of my couch as I write this…
We go again this week away at Palmyra, in what is shaping as a massive game for us and one that will likely determine whether we can finish in the Top 6 or not.