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Nedlands will lead the qualifying sides into the 2012 Pindan Premier Grade finals series after claiming the minor premiership with an impressive 89-12 thrashing of Wanneroo on Saturday.
While the Roo Dogs remained in the finals hunt up until a fortnight ago, they were completely outclassed by Neddies, who took the match 89-12.
Nedlands (73 competition points), who have qualified for their 30th consecutive finals series, will be joined in the first round of finals by Associates (72), Cottesloe (60) and UWA (56).
Cottesloe backed up last weekend’s win over Nedlands with an 84-11 annihilation of Rockingham at Harvey Field, while UWA snuck into the top four despite their 34-29 shock loss to the lowly-placed Kalamunda.
Associates will head into the finals with 11 victories from their past 12 matches after accounting for Wests Subiaco 44-29.
The match marked the farewell to Rosalie Park with Wests Subiaco relocating to Doubleview in 2013, however, the occasion was spoiled by Soaks running in six tries to the home side’s three.
Wests Subiaco head coach Dwayne Grace, who conceded that injuries had played their part in his side’s slide from second after nine rounds to finishing the season 14 points outside the top four, was pleased with his side’s final showing at Rosalie Park and for season 2012.
“Before the game we spoke about all the guys who’d worn the jumper at Rosalie and while it would have been good to get out there and have a good crack – and while our boys didn’t embarrass themselves today, I think Soaks will do really well in the finals.
“We knew coming out against them that it’d be very physical and we wanted to try and give it back to them a little bit.
“We’ve had a few injuries – which is no excuse, but we’ve been able to build the younger guys and give them more of an opportunity and hopefully we’ll be better for it in 2013.
While Soaks posted first points through an early Matt Dreyer penalty goal, it was Wests Subiaco who looked most dangerous with ball in hand. While winger Vincent Silulu was denied a try in the third minute when he was judged to have put his foot on the sideline, fullback Chance Bunce had no such problems when he fended off two feeble attempts at tackle to touch down for the first try of the match after just six minutes.
With the match spanning from end-to-end in what was an at-times scrappy affair, centre Junior Sifa stepped inside the Wests defence for Soaks first try at 12 minutes.
Flyhalf Teava Terangi posted two penalty attempts to give Wests Subiaco an 11-8 lead midway through the half, however, it would be the last contribution the playmaker would make after he suffered an ankle injury and was forced off the field just prior to half time.
Meanwhile Soaks were finding the ability to build pressure on their opposition and reaping the rewards through two tries within the final five minutes of the half. The first came after sustained pressure on the Wests line finally allowed scrumhalf Peter Du Toit to hit-and-spin his way over the line before a decision to run the ball out of their quarter paid dividends when No.8 Angus Cotterill linked with Dreyer to help put winger Cailan Richards over under the posts for a 20-11 half-time lead.
Wests No.8 Josh Beer, one of the best in a beaten side, returned fire five minutes into the new term when he took advantage of a three-man overlap down the left hand side.
However, any thought of a comeback was short-lived with another Dreyer penalty goal preceding two Soaks tries within two minutes, including Richards’ second, to give themselves a commanding 37-16 lead with 20 minutes remaining.
Wests Subiaco’s afternoon was summed up with five minutes remaining when centre Allan Wheeler attempted to chip over the Soaks defensive line but only succeeded in kicking into the waiting arms of opposite number Nigel Genia, who raced 30 metres for his first try of the match.
Despite this, Wests Subiaco was appropriately provided with the final say, when a bouncing kick sat up perfectly for a chasing Beer to go across for his second of the afternoon.
While realising his side needed to overcome a one-point gap to take the minor premiership off Nedlands, Associates head coach Andy Cole said it wasn’t a prime motivator in the match.
“The minor premiership was always a secondary thing, all we could control was how we came out and played today,” he said.
“Wests gave us good contest. They’re a young team on the up and it was very physical out there, but there are still some things we need to work on. Some of our turnovers were quite poor as was some of our option taking, but they’re things we can work on.
“I’m very comfortable with where we stand at the moment. We’ve got a few guys coming back off injuries and we’ll see what happens in the first week of finals in two weeks’ time in sunny Rocky.”