Southern Lions reaping the rewards from early season success

· WA Premier
by Rugby WA Media

The Southern Lions Premier Grade team have gotten off to a flying start in the 2019 Premier Grade taking away four from five victories to start the year after this weekend’s one-point victory over heavyweights Cottesloe. 

Not letting a round four loss to UWA put out their fire the Southern Lions ran out onto ‘The Nest’ ready for a fight.  

It was the big boys up front who carried the Lions early delivering the first points of the match only six minutes using a plethora of forward hit ups proving too strong for Cottesloe.

After securing the ball and consolidating phases it was a sneaky blindside that finally secured the points with the try coming in the left-hand corner.

The Lions put on show some formidable defense arguably the best we have in the competition, forcing Cottesloe to play the long game and look to fly-half Ben Meredith to secure some an early three pointers for his team.

Cottesloe continued to get close to their line but the first up tackles from the Southern Lions men just weren’t falling off, a number of failed try attempts saw the away team get back on the front foot.

Only 25 minutes in to the first half the Southern Lions looked to strike again powering through their forwards keeping control over the ball using the pick and drive game.

Crashing over again the visitors were able to get their tails up and take control.

Winger Joel Lamatoa stepped up to the tee and extend the lead with the conversion, nailing his first kick of the game further extending Southern Lion’s lead to 3-12.

Shortly after both teams started to drop their discipline giving away easy penalties, Cottesloe really took advantage of the boot tacking on two easy penalty kicks slowly drawing back into the match.

As the half closed both teams went to the sheds sitting at a score of 9-12, Southern Lions clearly getting the jump on Cottesloe in the first half.

Coming out of the sheds hot Cottesloe looked to take the match back, with a quick outside pass from halfback Tim Parks fullback Jason Badenhorst was put into space almost scoring behind the sticks.

Defense was the name of the game for the Lions in the second half crossing the line throughout.

However, a penalty kick right in font gave Southern Lions the opportunity to retake the lead in the second half slotting it through to go up by one.

In the final minutes a quick penalty gave Cottesloe the opportunity to take back possession and a chance to steal the game.

Despite a brilliant down field kick the Southern Lions were able to steal the following lineout with style, a testament to the hard work they’ve put in their set piece.

The work rate put in by the Lions forward pack the entire match was of the highest standard and now the men up front had a chance to give their team the game.

Bringing it in close halfback Kyle Fell was able to keep control of the ball allowing his team to finish on their terms.

After a quick kick to the sideline the Southern Lions finished the match remaining a point up finishing off the best defensive game we’ve seen in the Fortescue Premier Grade so far.

 

Head Coach Brad Fell praised his teams efforts on the weekend outlining again the work done by his forward pack.

“The game against Cottesloe was by far the boy’s best performance where they showed belief and confidence against a quality Cottesloe side who never gave up and had serval opportunities to win the match.”

 “The forward battle was a torrid encounter where the boys fronted up and took on the much talked about Cottesloe forward pack.”

 “Our backs showed some glimpses of what they can do and also lacked no courage in committing to rucks if they were needed.”

“From here the team backed this up with some determined defensive display.”

The round five win for the Southern Lions can be seen as a big stepping stone for what is to come for the evolving club.

Having a big pre-season program and hosting many off-season events seems to have paid dividends to the hardworking club.

“Our success this season comes down to an off season where we as a club identified areas we needed to get better and put in place strategies to work through the process,” Fell said.

“Once the preseason began the focus was getting numbers for our senior teams and ear marking areas of weakness.”

The boys themselves deserve some real credit here, they’ve bought into our coaches are trying to develop and they are keen to learn.”

“The leadership group within the team are prepared to challenge the coaches on different things which makes for a good debate to achieve a collective outcome, hopefully this allows the boys to take control of their own destiny.”

“Yes, it has been a tremendous start for our premier side but the season is only just beginning and there is a lot of miles to swim before we can be satisfied with our efforts.”

“It is also just as vital that our success is not just based on our senior team because as a club it is crucial all our other teams’ seniors and juniors are getting their share of success.”

The Southern Lions will look to build on this performance as they face Curtin University this weekend at their home ground, Success Sportsplex.

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