GULLS FLY INTO GRAND FINAL
Saturday, 28 August 2010 7:30pm
by Rick Boyd for RugbyWA
Cottesloe earned the right to defend their premiership title when they defeated favourites Associates 14-3 at Hartfield today in the preliminary final of the RugbyWA club competition, sponsored by KWIK Transport and Crane Hire. The Seagulls threw away the script after consecutive losses to Palmyra and Nedlands, exerting total forward control over the game and restricting the frustrated Soaks team to scraps of possession.
Cott led 11-3 at half time and never looked like relinquishing their stranglehold over the game. Cottesloe surged onto attack from the kick off and flyhalf Dave Cloete did what he does best six minutes in with a superb penalty from the sideline on the 22.
Cottesloe were back in it from the kick off, and ran quick phases up to Soaks' line where Western Force inside centre Mark Bartholomeuz set up number 8 Nick Haining for a try wide of the posts. Cloete missed the angled conversion attempt but it was all Cott 8-0 after ten minutes.
Soaks swarmed back and earned a penalty in front of the posts for coming in the side of the ruck after 16 minutes, and fullback Zack Holmes popped over the sitter. But Cott cancelled it out two minutes later when Cloete slotted an angled penalty goal from the 22 for offside.
Cott stayed on attack and ran multiple phases from side to side of the field but were unable to crack Soaks' steady defence. An exchange of inconclusive positional kicking brought up the half hour but Cott continued to dominate possession. They had all the ball in the world to play with but unproductive lateral attacks between the 22s brought them no closer to Soaks goal line until half time intervened.
The Seagulls took up the second spell where the first finished, Cloete missing a sideline penalty attempt three minutes in.
It was all Cott as the half continued, an endless supply of possession allowing them repeated phases of attack in Soaks’ half, but without result despite a couple of useful moves by Bartholomeuzs. However the ever-reliable Cloete was on hand to boot another moderate penalty chance for obstruction after 12 minutes, extending the Seagulls' lead to 14-3.
Soaks broke over half way as the game approached the final 20 but it didn't last, Cott locking them back in their half for Cloete to uncharacteristically bounce a sitter penalty goal kick off the posts.
With 15 minutes to play Soaks finally broke the shackles to surge downfield and assault Cott's line for five minutes. But several knock-on’s and penalties robbed them of momentum at key times and Cott returned play to half way to steady the game back their way.
Barty narrowly missed a handy drop goal attempt as the clock ran down, and a late fracas marred the concluding stages as the frustration boiled over. Soaks hooker Siliva Siliva was shown red for striking while Cottesloe lock Matt Battishall was sin-binned with a yellow card for his part in the push and shove.
The Seagulls kept up the pressure until full time and win a place in the grand where they’ll be hoping to get one over another fierce rival in Nedlands.
The Premier Grade result was foreshadowed in the reserves where Cottesloe seconds downed Associates 33-24 to set up another grand final against Nedlands.
Cottesloe coach Ian Fowler said his basic message to the team going into the game was to play for eighty minutes.
“Last week, after the first twenty we really dropped off,” Fowler said.
“We were playing like we were twenty points behind. We had to get back the intensity we had during the season.”
Cottesloe’s forwards were the key to the club’s success in the preliminary final and reversed the trend in which they had struggled in two previous losses to Associates during the season.
“I thought we had parity in the scrums, but they got over us towards the end,” Fowler said.
“We did a bit of work and it worked out today. There were no second chances and the boys really had a crack.
“We were able to get a really solid platform off first phase. We had a motto of win the ball, keep the ball.”
Fowler praised Associates’ fitness and their defence that restricted the Seagulls to a single try.
“They defend laterally, they push you to the sideline,” he said.
“They do it well, it was good defence by them to restrict us to that one try. But that’s all you need in a game like that, it was a war of attrition between two very fit sides, and they probably had a bit on us at the end.
“They’ve had a fantastic season. Bear and his crew have done an awesome job with the team.”
Fowler said he was particularly impressed with his team’s attitude in the game, including their intensity and chat.
“Our defence forced a lot of errors. Soaks didn’t necessarily play poorly, we just put a lot of pressure on them.”
KWIK Premier Grade Preliminary Final
Cottesloe 14 bt Associates 3
Reserve Grade Preliminary Final: Cottesloe 33 bt Associates 24
Under 20's Preliminary Final: UWA 17 bt Nedlands 3
Under 18's Preliminary Final: Perth Bayswater 31 bt Associates 24
3rd Grade Black Preliminary Final: Kalamunda 14 bt Wests Subiaco 11
3rd Grade Gold Preliminary Final: Arks 29 bt Curtin Uni 21
4th Grade Black Preliminary Final: Wests Subiaco 31 bt Nedlands 14
4th Grade Gold Preliminary Final: Southern Lions 10 bt Mandurah 5
4th Grade Blue Preliminary Final: Cottesloe 45 bt Midland 3
Women’s Grand Final: Perth Bayswater 29 bt Cottesloe 10
U20's Div II Grand Final: Wanneroo 23 bt Perth Bayswater 5
South West Grand Final: Dunsborough Dungbeetles 21 bt Margaret River Leeuwin Gropers 7