Bill's Finals REPORT

Ladies Grand Final Saturday 10th October 2020

Waneroo Divas v Kalamunda Kweens at UWA

Wanneroo Team:

1 Sera Ah-Sam

2 Lani Lawrence – Beattie

3 Frieda Ah- Sahm

4 Jenna Jordan

5 Ngaio Paruru

6 Esther Kalepo

7 Maraea Green

8 Rangipipi Kahui

9 Pareana Taikoto

10 Nicole Gordine

11 ?

12 Teagan Pressland

13 Tamika Jones

14 Kayleigh Mead

15 Rebecca Liliana Pantaleoni

16 Awhini Porter

20 Kini Lucas

21 Lillee Wearing

22 Emily Kahwajian

23 Dixie Jones

24 Karla Thawley

Coach Junior Muna

Manager Dixie Jones

Wanneroo raced out of the blocks and immediately put a stranglehold on Kalamunda. The Divas high work rate and pressure kept the Reds pinned inside their own 22 and fighting for a minor share of the ball. The evergreen Esther Kalepo was given an early ball, carried it strongly and fought her way to within five metres of the try line. Her support players took the ball, but knocked it on and a scoring opportunity went begging.

Kala got the scrum feed and decided to live dangerously by trying to run the ball from behind their try line. But their execution left a lot to be desired and they flung a couple of wild passes that were so bad the ball went to ground. It was all on for the Divas, who grabbed the loose ball and from the side line it looked as though an easy score was on the cards. But they failed to capitalise on their opportunity and got penalised for holding in the ensuing ruck. Kalamunda were struggling and obviously very relieved that they had managed to slip off the hook.

Wanneroo created another good passage of play, but got pinged again and lost their momentum. The Kweens tried to break out, but the Divas defence was comfortably up to the task. Teagan Pressland epitomised their determination with a smother tackle that totally nullified Kala’s efforts. Play continued with the greens running well, until Esther copped a head high tackle and the ref awarded a penalty that Wanneroo kicked for touch. The Divas pulled a scintillating line out move that saw a dummy jump in the middle of the line which allowed Frieda Ah-Sam to race from the back to the No 2 position, take a low ball and bust through the Kweens line. It deserved to be rewarded with a try, Unfortunately, the ref deemed the ball not straight and gave a scrum feed to Kala.

The gift didn’t help the Kweens one little bit, because they kicked the ensuing ball straight down the Divas throats. Wanneroo were definitely in charge at this stage. They created good opportunities, but didn’t make best use of the ball, their field position or their superior play. They could possibly have been a couple of tries up by now, but for their own errors. At one stage, the Divas pack drove the Kalamunda scrum backwards over their own try line, only to be penalised for pulling it down. Another try gone begging. The Kweens must have been punch drunk, but to their credit they weathered the storm and eventually put a move together that enabled them to break out of their red zone. They sent a fast ball out wide to their left winger, who found a bit of space and finally got the Kweens into the Divas half for the first time in the game. Wanneroo were caught flat footed, but managed to scramble back and put the brakes on the ball carrier. The ref saw an offence at the breakdown and pinged the greens. Kalamunda reacted quickly, with a tap & go that sucked in the close defenders, before sending a fast ball out to their back line. Their backs strolled through a fractured defence line for the opening try of the game. The conversion missed.

Wanneroo Divas 0 – Kalamunda Kweens 5

Wanneroo had plenty of chances while they were in control, but had failed to take them. The Kweens had managed to survive against all odds and the pendulum of play was now fairly evenly balanced. Both sides created and wasted opportunities after resuming play. At one stage, the Kweens had an overlap and their winger just begging for the ball, only for her to be ignored. The Divas had passages of play that were wasted by knock on’s and lost ball. Half time arrived without any further score.

HALF TIME - Wanneroo Divas 0 – Kalamunda Kweens 5

During the break, coach Junior Muna, urged his team to be more clinical, to stop running into opposing players and use the space instead. It was sound advice.

Sarah Ah-Sam caught Kalamunda’s restart kick, took it into contact with close support and set up a good attacking platform. The backs ran the ball from a second phase drive and won a penalty at the next tackle, which they kicked for a line out. Esther took the throw in easily and Pareana fed it out smoothly. The backs ran confidently and Kala struggled to stop them. Eventually they resorted to illegal means and the ref gave the Divas a penalty. The Divas opted for a line out, from which their pack had a couple of hit ups before releasing the ball. The backs took it on, but lost possession in the tackle.

It was now Kalamunda’s turn to make the running. Their half back made a sniping break and looked to be heading for a try until a great tackle by Rebecca slammed her into touch and denied her a moment of glory. The Divas line out ball was then stolen by the Kweens and they had another good looking run that was again cut down by an excellent tackle. This time it was Teagan doing the honours. But the writing was on the wall. Kala’s backs had another go and scythed through a hesitant Wanneroo defensive line to plant the ball for a converted try

Wanneroo Divas 0 – Kalamunda Kweens 12

The tables had turned and the Kweens were now on top and they ran hard, with confidence in each other. Wanneroo were rattled and disjointed and it showed when a Kalamunda player ripped a maul ball from them and hit a gap to score another unconverted try.

Wanneroo Divas 0 – Kalamunda Kweens 17

The Divas restart drop out was totally miscued and it set the scene for their ensuing play. They never lacked effort, but they made constant errors that gave Kala an unearned ascendency. The Divas pack won a line out ball under pressure and skipped it out to their midfield players, who instigated four good phases of play that resulted in Kala coughing up a penalty. Wanneroo’s kick missed touch and the ball dropped straight into the hands of a Kweens player. She moved the ball swiftly to her right and Kala ran unimpeded to score out wide near the touch line.

Wanneroo Divas 0 – Kalamunda Kweens 22

Kalamunda restarted with a long drop out that was well fielded by Esther. She got clobbered but managed to hang onto the ball. Pareana got back to help and took the ball forward, winning a penalty in the process. She took a quick tap & go and her forward support players set up another three phases before releasing the ball to the backs. Unfortunately the backs dropped it and the Kweens got possession. They sent the ball out to their left wing, who made another good attacking run. Wanneroo’s cover somehow got across and not only did they stop the attack, they also won the ball at the breakdown. The Divas took the ball on again and again, but they couldn’t breach the Kweens defensive wall no matter how hard they tried. Kalamunda were awarded a penalty on the Divas 22 and confidently opted for a scrum. Their ginormous Number 8 picked the ball from the base, made a break and headed for the line. The green defenders lined her up, but she threw an outrageous dummy that fooled everyone and went over for an unconverted try.

FINAL SCORE: Wanneroo Divas 0 – Kalamunda Kweens 27

Unfortunately, today wasn’t the Divas day. They started well and dominated the game for the first quarter, but they were unable to convert possession and position into points. They lacked nothing in effort or heart, but for some unexplained reason their composure wasn’t there when it really mattered.

Obviously it’s disappointing for them and their coaching / management staff, but let’s not forget that they made it to the Grand Final and deserved to be there.

It’s been a tough year for women’s rugby in WA with C19 and a shortage of players and teams. Lesser people may possibly have called it quits. So I say congratulations and thank you to our wonderful ladies and to the rest of the ladies in their comp. Let’s look forward to better things next season.

I apologise if I got the names and numbers wrong, but I copied them from RugbyWA’s match program. I’m also sorry that I couldn’t name some of the Divas players, but I was a fair distance from some of their play and couldn’t make out their faces or the numbers on their jumpers. Sorry girls.

Bill Watt

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