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By Patrick Henning for RugbyWA
Associates has comfortably accounted for Cottesloe and booked a rematch against Nedlands in next week’s Pindan Premier Grade grand final.
Soaks ran out 39-5 victors at Pat O’Hara Reserve in Morley and will now turn their attention to the minor premiers.
Associates Coach Andy Cole was thrilled for his players in the wake of the impressive win.
“They’ve put a great effort in this season and to cumulate in a local derby and a grand final, its huge. I’m really pleased for the guys.” Cole said.
“We always wanted to face Neddies again. We didn’t think we put our best shot in against them last time so its huge, I’m really pleased for the guys.”
Cole said the game was ideal in terms of a grand final warm-up.
“It was physical, high tempo, Cott came out firing so it was the perfect warm up for us,” he said.
The Soaks boss was pleased with his side’s ability to hold their form for the full 80 minutes.
“We spoke about that in preparation for this game, we knew we had to play for the full 80 minutes and that’s what the guys did this week,” he said. “Its great preparation for next week.”
Fowler was unhappy with how the breakdown was played throughout the game.
“They put a lot of people in the break down from any angle and it was a free for all,” he said.
“We weren’t able to play the way we wanted to play because we couldn’t get the ball and even when we had our hands on the ball we couldn’t keep it.”
The match started with finals like intensity that one would expect from two teams whose season is on the line.
After five minutes Soaks were awarded a penalty five metres from touch on the 22m line. Fullback Matt Dreyer stood up and continued from where he left off last week, handing Soaks a 3-0 lead.
Minutes later Soaks established themselves in the Cottesloe 22 and after multiple phases an ill-disciplined Cottesloe conceded a penalty for offside. Dreyer obliged from straight in front and Soaks went to 6-0 after 10 minutes.
Some messy phase play worked out for Soaks as they drove forward and found themselves camped five metres outside the Cottesloe line.
The forwards put together multiple phase work before playmaker Kyle Godwin ran blind and evaded a would be tackler, diving over to score the first try of the game on the 20-minute mark. Dreyer missed the conversion but the score was 11-0 halfway through the first term.
Before long Soaks were again putting phases together on the Cottesloe 22 and ill-disciplined defence conceded a penalty straight in front of the posts. Dreyer slotted the three-pointer on the half hour mark and Soaks had established a strong 14-0 lead.
Cott fought their way back into the game and were able to hold possession in an attacking position resulting in a penalty being awarded 25 metres out directly in front.
They waved the points in order to keep in range of Soaks. However they were unable to score from the lineout as a resolute Soaks defence held on.
Another penalty conceded by an under pressure Cottesloe defence saw lock Nick Haining receive a yellow card on the stroke of halftime.
Dreyer landed the penalty from the 22m line and ten metres out from touch on the stroke of half time handing Soaks a commanding 17-0 lead.
Cott’s second half started with much more intent, with Dave Cloete putting Ed Melville into space allowing Cott to gain some field position.
They were awarded a penalty in kicking range, again opting for the lineout. A rolling maul from the lineout broke and allowed Rory Crowhen to cross the try line.
The conversion was missed from the sideline but Cott were on the board 17-5.
At the 64th minute Cloete fumbled a routine clearing kick and the ball bounced forward into the accepting hands of Godwin.
Soaks put the ball through a couple pairs of hands and winger Neville Halberg stepped inside to score the try.
The conversion was narrowly missed but Soaks had stabled the ship and retained their 17-point halftime lead, leading 22-5.
A strong Soaks scrum on halfway laid the platform for a backline move that took play to the 22m line. Godwin challenged the line and was met with a high tackle, a shot at goal for Soaks resulting.
Dreyer split the posts and Soaks extended their lead 25-5 with 10 minutes to play.
Cottesloe’s frustration was starting to show and another penalty was awarded to Soaks on the right hand touchline.
Dreyer missed the shot at goal but valuable minutes were shaved off the clock.
More pain was to come as Soaks lock Hemi Davies took the ball in a lineout on the 22 and broke straight through the defence, running to within five metres of the line.
The ball was then spun wide and Ammon Matuauto finished off the work, diving over the line in the 36th minute.
Dreyer added the extras and Soaks had a 32-5 lead.
Cottesloe deserved a consolation try but in a messy passage that in many ways reflected their day, centre Tobias Hoskins was held up over the line.
The scrum broke down and led to Emirates Western Force rake Ben Whittaker being shown a yellow card.
A rampaging Soaks weren’t done yet as strong phase play marched them down the field.
Replacement Michael D’Adamo crossed next to the upright to add one more try to the men in gold’s tally.
Dreyer added the extras and the referee blew full time, Soaks running out happy 39-5 winners.