Bill's Match Report

WANNEROO v UWA at UWA Sports park 17th July 2021


STARTING FIFTEEN:

1 Marcus Cutler

2 Scott Cornell

3 Andre Roux

4 Luke Callan

5 Brad Campbell

6 Andrew King

7 Darcy Hinkley

8 Mark Cornell

9 Jared Deacon

10 Ethan Riley

11 Bailey Payne

12 Porikapa Tukaki

13 Jordan Grattan

14 Jaylen Grey

15 Jeremy Wallace

BENCH:

16 Luke Burnett

17 James Brown

19 Kyle Seear

20 Brayden Karangaroa

22 Nathan Tahu

23 Justin Talemaira

24 Setefano Launiuvau

25 Mauie Te Tana


This is a ‘must win’ game for Wanneroo if they are to stay in the top six after the split.

The Roo Dogs are currently in 6th place on 34 points, but Kalamunda are breathing down their necks on 33 points. Kala play Curtin today, and without meaning any disrespect to Curtin, it is expected that the Bulls will win with a bonus point. That will put them on 38 points. If Wanneroo beat Uni without a bonus point they will go to 38 points too. But the Dogs have a percentage of 258 against the Bulls 91. So, its game on.


GAME:

Wanneroo put their wares on the table at the opening whistle and launched an attack that took them Uni’s 22 where their aggression earned them a penalty. Ethan Reilly kicked for touch, but the ball fell short. Uni returned it, the Dogs ran it and Marcus (Nemo) Cutler drove into the defence, closely followed by Andre (Beats) Roux. Their bone jarring hits gave Jared Deacon time to give fast ball to his backs, who attacked on their right, before switching play to the left. Captain Andrew King ran onto a pop pass and bounced a would-be tackler backwards, before presenting the ball. Jared sent it to his right, where it was lost in the tackle, but the ref was already playing advantage and awarded a penalty to Wanneroo. Jordan Grattan stepped up and slotted the kick over from 30 metres.


University 0 – Wanneroo 3


Ethan kicked the drop out into touch for a Uni line out. They gave quick ball that was sent out to a midfield runner. He tried to power his way through but unfortunately for him he met the rock and a hard place when he ran into Mark Cornell. Uni did well to recycle the ball and had another go on their right, but the Dogs defence forced them back to the middle of the park. Jordan pressured their ball carrier into an attempted kick, charged the ball down and followed up. He got possession and took off for the line in a powerful run and although he lacked close support, he still managed to present the ball in the tackle. The cavalry arrived and drove the ball on for another two phases, where Uni got pinged for offside. Jordan sent a low trajectory kick over the black dot and Wanneroo was up again.


University 0 – Wanneroo 6


Uni regrouped and upped their work rate, but the Dogs matched them and it was stalemate for a while. They traded line outs, penalties and turnovers until Uni managed to string a few phases of play together. Their potential attack came to pieces when Brad Campbell forced a turnover and Jared gave the ball to Ethan, but his touch finder missed. Uni countered with some particularly good running that took them to the Wanneroo five metre line where they got a scrum feed. Wanneroo demolished Uni’s set piece.


I’m very sad to say that Uni lock, Timothy Wallace, got injured in the scrum and play was held up for safety reasons. Eventually he was stretchered off and taken to hospital by ambulance. We all hope Tim is ok and it isn’t serious.


On resumption, Uni got the scrum feed and gave a crash ball to their fly half. He hit it up fiercely but got stopped on the line, where the ref penalised Wanneroo. Uni opted for another scrum and this time their No 8, Ben Taylor, made a break from the base and went for the line. When he got tackled, prop Hebron Tuialli, did a pick & go from the breakdown and flanker Connor O’Sullivan followed up with another charge that was held at bay.


Wanneroo’s excellent defence was rewarded with a scrum feed and then a bent arm penalty that saw Ethan kick for touch. His kick was short and Uni ran the ball fast and wide for three phases, until they lost it in the tackle. Jared gave the resulting scrum ball to Porikapa (Tee) Tukaki, whose run set it up for Ethan to clear the lines. Uni’s fly half ran their throw in ball through the middle of the park, with close support from his No 7. Their efforts enabled the ball to get out to their winger, who made it into the corner before he was tackled into touch. Wanneroo gave the throw in ball to Jaylen (Skinny) Grey who had a run, but lost the ball in the tackle. Uni got the scrum feed and got shoved back, but the ref penalised the Dogs for boring. Their Lock, Jack Bromley, kicked three points.


University 3 – Wanneroo 6


The game was developing into a rip roaring, full-on contest with both sides contributing to a high level, hard running and entertaining game. Uni have won 11 games out 12, but were being tested and stretched to their limits today.


Ethan restarted with a precision kick that bounced into touch. Uni attacked from the line out, but pressure by Kingy forced them to kick for touch. Jared fed the line out ball to Ethan, who made a useful break that was continued by Jordan and then driven on by Luke Callan, before being sent out to Bailey Paine on the wing. Bailey ran, chipped the ball over the advancing defence and regathered it, but lost it in the tackle. Uni’s backs ran their scrum ball but seemed to panic when Wanneroo’s defence raced up to confront them. The Dogs pressure earned them a scrum feed on Uni’s 5 metre line.


Ethan gave the scrum ball to Jordan, who cut inside and laid the ball back when he got tackled. His forwards carried it on before it was sent back to Ethan, who copped a high neck tackle. He kicked the penalty ball for a line out and the game continued at breakneck speed with both sides pushing themselves to the limits. Uni’s


No 8 broke from a scrum on the halfway, ran to his right and drew the defence before passing to his half back. He fed his support runners who crashed the ball up, recycled it quickly and managed to find a rare opening in the Dogs defence. This momentary lapse was covered by Jeremy Wallace, whose brave tackle stopped Uni’s progress and earned his team a penalty. Unfortunately, Jeremy hurt himself in the tackle and had to be replaced by Nathan Tahu.


Bot teams attacked constantly and gave their all, in a brawling, ding-dong battle for supremacy. It was physical, fast and brutal, with no place for the meek. Every metre was bought by toil and perseverance, allied to skill, speed and teamwork. I’d say that Wanneroo had the edge on Uni (I may be biased) but Uni absorbed tremendous pressure without cracking. It was the ultimate arm wrestle with no clear winner at this stage.


Uni forced their way into Wanneroo’s 22 where the Dogs got in their faces, but the ref said they were offside and penalised them. Uni’s No 5 kicked for the posts from 30 metres but missed. Uni caught the Dog’s drop out ball and kicked it deep to Skinny who caught it and ran it back. He slipped in the wet and did well to present it at the ensuing breakdown. The Dog’s clearance kick missed touch and Uni’s full back countered immediately. His enterprising run was followed by four phases of crash & bash, but Wanneroo’s was defence was impregnable. The Dogs were looking confident, dangerous and composed.


HALF TIME: University 3 – Wanneroo 6


Uni resumed with strong-arm tactics and tried to hustle their way through the centres. Wanneroo contained them until they switched play to their right and made it into the Dogs 22. They sucked the Wanneroo defence in before changing their attack to their left and raced forward. A dangerous moment was brought to a halt by a Bailey Paine tackle that forced a knock on by Uni about 10 metres from the Dogs try line.


The packs engaged ferociously, but this time the Dogs went backwards and the ref penalised them for dropping the scrum. Uni opted for another scrum. The Dogs pack dug in on this one and Uni ended up losing the ball. It was sent out to Jordan who took off for Uni’s try line with quick support from Nathan. They made good yards up the wing before Uni managed to pull them down. Support players from both sides launched into the breakdown to contest the ball, but the ref penalised the Dogs for going off their feet.


Uni took a quick tap and passed the ball out to their left, where full back (and ex Wanneroo player) Aidan Higo was waiting. Aidan ran straight and did a textbook draw and pass, before running a nice line and getting the ball back. He took it on again, drew the defender and fed his winger who outflanked the Wanneroo defence for a converted try.


University 10 – Wanneroo 6


This was a stunning setback for Wanneroo, who had been so composed and controlled. But they resumed with confidence and used a line out ball to set up an attack. Jared fed Ethan who made a break before slipping the ball to Kingy, who drove it into contact. Beats carried the ball on from the breakdown and made ground before setting it up again. The Dogs progressed up the wing before moving the ball to Jordan in the midfield. He went for the line and almost made it before being brought down. Wanneroo kept the ball alive, and their forwards drove it into the Uni defenders before releasing it to Jared. Quick hands saw it transferred to their left wing where Kingy had positioned himself. He matched Aidan’s draw and pass with one of his own, before putting a little grubber kick in behind Uni’s cover defence. Skinny timed his run perfectly to claim the ball and go over for a beautifully executed try. Jordan added the bonus points with a wonderful strike from wide out.

University 10 – Wanneroo 13


Wanneroo had replied in the best possible way and continued to press their claim for a spot in the six with some consummate attacking play and fearsome defensive hits. Jared sent a line out ball to Ethan, who gave it to Kingy for a jaunt. Jared gave Kingy’s breakdown ball to Luke and then to Brad in consecutive phases. They gave their team enough time to get the ball to Bailey out wide in a bit of space. He made a break, before feeding Nathan, who was right up his clacker. Nathan raced away and when he got tackled, Bailey was on hand to clean out. Uni were desperate and got penalised for killing the ball on the halfway. Jordan went for a kick at goal and gave it a cracking go, but the ball just drifted left at the last.


Uni responded with some powerful drives and elusive running that Wanneroo had to work hard to counter. The home side got a scrum feed, but once again their set piece got dismembered and the Dogs got another penalty 45 metres out. Jordan went for goal again, but like the previous one it drifted away.


Wanneroo were still working like demons. Skinny made a fabulous run and Captain King, who seemed to be in everything, was leading from the front. The teams traded kicks and Wanneroo got a line out. Darcy claimed the ball and gave it to Jared. He passed to Ethan and he combined with Tee to create another attacking opportunity. Jordan made a break but took a hit that dislodged the ball. Uni got the scrum feed, pushed Wanneroo back and the Dogs got penalised into the bargain.


Uni kicked for the line out and sent the throw in ball quickly to their midfield where flanker, Connor O’Sullivan, had positioned himself. He took the ball at top speed, on a perfect line, and his run took him past two defenders. They had no time to react and had to watch what was an excellent try. Bones put it into context when he said “He went through them like a hot curry’. Their lock converted the try.


University 17 – Wanneroo 13


Uni tightened their game and began to use shorter passes. They put a high ball on Bailey, who leaped for it, but was challenged by a Uni chaser and the ball went into touch. Uni ran their line out ball cleverly and got into the Dogs 22. Wanneroo held them at bay, but the ref saw an offence and indicated it, while letting play continue. Eventually when Uni couldn’t break through the Dogs defence, he brought play back and Uni kicked a penalty right in front.


University 20 – Wanneroo 13


Ethan’s drop out was long and Uni returned the ball for a Wanneroo line out. The Dogs lost their own throw in and Uni capitalised on the mistake by hammering their way forward a couple of times before kicking to Wanneroo’s 22. The Dogs returned the ball to the halfway for a Uni line out. The throw in was taken high in the middle of the line and Uni’s pack set up a driving maul. Wanneroo contested it well but got penalised for their efforts. Uni kicked to the corner where Skinny leapt high and tapped the ball back into play. I didn’t see what happened next, but the ref awarded a scrum feed to Uni on the Wanneroo 5 metre line. Their number 8 did a pick & go from the base, fed his scrum half, Brendan Vorster, and he passed to his winger. The Dogs defence stopped him on the line, but he got the ball back to his scrum half who dove over the top of the ruck for a try.


University 25 – Wanneroo 13


Wanneroo showed a never say die spirit and desperately chased everything, but it was all over red rover.


FINAL SCORE: University 25 – Wanneroo 13


The Roo Dogs may have come second, but they came second to the best team in the competition. They played some marvellous rugby, dominated most of the play and put University under enormous pressure for sixty minutes or so.

It looked like they could get the result that would keep them in the top six.


But University showed why they are top of the ladder by absorbing the pressure and coming up with a solution to their Wanneroo problem that enabled them to claim their victory.


We could debate the ‘what ifs’ of this game and of the game’s leading up to today, but I think it would be a negative attitude. Wanneroo players, coaching staff and management should be proud of themselves for the improvements they have made this season so far. We should also be proud of our young players who have come through our juniors and transitioned into the senior grade.


Let’s look to the future and think about the second round.

There is another challenge waiting for you.


Bill Watt


Ps: congratulations to Grason Makara on scoring his inaugural try for the Western Force on Friday.


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