By Erin Bunn
Pindan Premier Grade Match if the Round:
Palmyra (1) v Wests Scarborough (2) vs at Tomkins Park, Applecross. Kick off 3:30pm. LIVE STREAM HERE.
A top of the table clash headlines Round Eight of the Pindan Premier grade with ladder leaders Palmyra playing host to 2016 premiers, Wests Scarborough at Tompkins Park.
The Boars suffered their first loss of the season to Kalamunda at Bennett Park last weekend ending a 26 match winning streak dating back to Round Two of the 2016 season. A skilful try in the last ten minutes sealed the fate of the match; causing the biggest upset of the 2017 season to date. The loss has seen Wests relinquish top spot on the ladder, a position they will be looking to rectify when they face the Palms this weekend. Albert Nikoro was again impressive last week and they will keen to get plenty of production from former Western Force player Junior Palesasa.
Current ladder leaders, Palmyra, enjoyed a slim victory over Joondalup last weekend, defeating the Brothers by six points at HBF Arena. With many tipping Palmyra for the flag this season they stumbled with a loss to fellow contender Nedlands two rounds ago and coming up against the reigning premiers they will be keen to show that they are true contenders and not ‘flat-track bullies’. Mees Erasmus continued his stunning form last week and the powerful prop will no doubt be eager rip into the Boars.
Joondalup (6) vs Nedlands (3) at HBF Arena, Joondalup. Kick off 3:30pm.
After a disappointing loss to ladder leader Palmyra last weekend, the Joondalup Brothers will be looking to claw their way back into the top four when they face Nedlands in Round Eight.
After a couple of disappointing losses to Kalamunda in Round Six and Palmyra rubbing salt into the wound last weekend, the Brothers have dropped out of the top four to sit sixth on the ladder coming into their clash with ‘Neddies’. Starting scrum half, Johann Louw scored an impressive try as his combination with Sheldon Tarawa continues to flourish. Young hooker Ford Hemi has also been impressive this and his set-piece efficiency will be crucial.
After a weak start to the season, Nedlands have absolutely dominated their past few clashes, defeating UWA 38-19 last weekend and stealing the Rugby WA Cup from Palmyra in Round Six by a slim three points. With finals rugby in their sights, ‘Neddies’ will be coming into their clash with the Brothers filled with confidence and looking for another win to put under their belts. Captain and No.8 Tevin Ferris managed to sneak two tries past the Students’ defence last weekend and his ability to direct the forward pack around the park is a major key for the men from the Foreshore.
Kalamunda (5) vs Associates (4) at Hartfield Park, Forrestfield. Kick off 3:30pm.
Kalamunda are vying for their position in the top four this weekend when they face Associates at home.
No doubt feeling confident from their surprise seven-point win against Wests Scarborough last weekend, Kalamunda’s mid-season form seems to be putting them back into the finals contention. With help inspirational captain Russell Burges, and Future Force Foundation member Jordan Holgate, the Bulls held their own against a much fancied Wests outfit to knock them off in front of the Boars faithful. A repeat performance will be needed if the men in red and black want to secure a top four ladder position.
After a shaky start to the season, ‘Soaks’ have dominated recent contests against UWA, Wanneroo and Perth Bayswater sides. Currently sitting within the top four, ‘Soaks’ will need to maintain the pressure when they face a confident Kalamunda side this weekend in order to retain their finals ladder position. Full back Brendan Owen has been a fierce asset in the past few outings and his ability to get in open space along with Jack Webster will be key in exploiting the Kalamunda defence.
Perth Bayswater (10) vs Cottesloe (7) at Kingsway Reserve, Madeley. Kick off 3:30pm.
Perth Bayswater is still winless coming into their contest against Cottesloe at home this weekend.
Loss-after-loss has left the Numbats anchored to the bottom of the ladder but they will be keen to open their account on what will be a special day for the club. Perth Bayswater will be celebrating the 10 year anniversary of the Numbats 2007 Pindan Premier Grade Premiership, a year when the ‘Baysie’ Women and U19s also won flags. The match will also be club captain Jacob Buist’s 100th first-grade match.
The Gulls have had turbulent start to the season with only three victories coming into Round Eight. A crushing win against Wanneroo last weekend, 42 – 26, will hopefully give Cottesloe the confidence they need to move into the top six and be in contention for finals. Left flanker, John Monk was in hot form last week scoring a double last weekend and the two-blues will look for plenty of production from captain Kieran Stringer especially at lineout time.
UWA (8) vs Wanneroo (9) at McGillivray Oval, Mount Claremont. Kick off 3:30pm.
Wanneroo and UWA are desperate for a win with similarly disappointing starts to the 2017 season seeing both teams anchored to the bottom three of the ladder.
UWA come into Round Eight on the back of another crushing defeat against Nedlands last weekend, going down 38 – 19. The Students seemed to have regained their momentum after a good win in Round Six against Cottesloe but failed to hold their own under a dominant and confident Nedlands side. With an incredibly young backline, UWA looks to be a side for the future and while hungry for wins they will be happy with the work of exciting youngsters such as Jack Hardy and Rory O’Sullivan. Hardy, in particular, was impressive scoring a double last week including the try of the round with a spectacular chip and chase effort.
Wanneroo hasn't tasted victory since Round One of the season when they defeated Perth Bayswater, 32 – 12. Points will be at the forefront of the ‘Roodogs’ minds when they come up against Uni this weekend. Number 8, Shjon Barling, and outside Will Latu were two of Wanneroo’s best last weekend and their physicality with ball in hand will test UWA’s defence.