Fortescue Premier Grade Round Nine Preview

Wed, May 17, 2023, 7:08 AM
Rugby WA Media
by Rugby WA Media

UWA sit unbeaten on top of the Fortescue Premier Grade table, but the chasing pack will be looking to close in as the competition hits round nine on Saturday.

The ladder leaders are 11 points clear of second-placed Palmyra and 12 and 13 respectively ahead of Cottesloe and Associates who make up the top four.

UWA, who have played one more game than the chasers, travel to Pat O'Hara Reserve to face Perth Bayswater who will be on a high after their 75-point thrashing of Kalamunda in the last round.

Palmyra face Southern Lions at HBF Park (kick-off 5.30pm) in the curtain raiser to the Western Force's crucial Super Rugby Pacific clash against the Brumbies and Associates are at home to Nedlands.

The Associates - Nedlands clash will be live on Stan Sport while Kalamunda v Wests Scarborough is the feature match on the RugbyWA YouTube channel. 

Cottesloe will be hoping to extend their unbeaten run to three when they host eighth placed Wanneroo Districts who are coming off the bye.

It has been a mixed season for Cottesloe.

They opened with wins over Nedlands and Kalamunda, but lost three on the trot to Associates, Joondalup and Wests before getting back on the winning path against Perth Bayswater and Southern Lions.  

Cottesloe coach Ryan Westaway said the loss of key players for several weeks with injury including playmaker Darcy Eason and captain Tobias Hoskins had hurt them.

"We certainly missed those two blokes but the last two games were gutsy performances," Westaway said.

"We have key guys coming back in the next few weeks and our best rugby is ahead of us.

"It's a matter of keeping guys on the park."

Westaway stressed the importance of consistency.

"I told the boys it is up to us to put back-to-performances together and start being consistent week-to-week with our performances," he said.

"We are back in the winner's circle now and it's up to us to keep building from here.

"We play our best footy when we stay structured and keep in our shape.

"We've got an exciting backline and our forwards have really stepped up the last couple of games.

"Our forwards have laid a good platform which gives our backs quick ball to play off which is where we play our best footy."

Bonus points could prove crucial in the end of season countdown to finals.

"It's very tight but what has helped us, compared to previous seasons, is we have picked up bonus points," Westaway said.

"The three games we lost were within seven points so you've almost got another win there."

Westaway said he was expecting a tough game from "a young and enthusiastic" Wanneroo side.