Fortescue Premier Grade Round Nineteen Preview

Thu, Jul 27, 2023, 7:48 AM
Rugby WA Media
by Rugby WA Media

After a weekend of shocks and close-run wins there is plenty of intrigue ahead in the battle for Fortescue Premier Grade final spots.

It may not have come as a surprise that red hot favourites Palmyra beat Nedlands to open up their lead over UWA to seven points at the top of the ladder.

But the way they swept Nedlands aside in the 65-5 win would have come as a shock to some followers of the game.

The result all but ended the Foreshore club's finals aspirations.

UWA were stunned by Southern Lions, the 24-22 defeat leaving them with just a losing bonus point.

They need players back from injury in a hurry as the chasing pack closes in, knowing a bye in the last round could decide their fortunes.

It was all change in third and fourth.

Associates, 38-21 winners over Kalamunda, and Wests Scarbough, who beat Joondalup Brothers 29-16, both jumped Cottesloe who had the bye.

Perth Bayswater are not out of contention after scraping home against Wanneroo Districts 32-30 with a late penalty to go level on points with Cottesloe.

With just four rounds remaining there are sure to be more twists and turns with a number of crucial clashes in the run home.

Top dogs Palmyra will be expecting a good haul of points.

They play Wests at Bennett Park in this weekend's Stan match of the round before entertaining Southern Lions, travelling to Kalamunda and ending the regular season at home to Cottesloe.

UWA hope they have accumulated enough points but the upset by Southern Lions is a pointer to problems with squad depth.

They have a tough run against three of the current top six clubs, Associates and Perth Bayswater both at home and Cottesloe away.

Crucially the bye in the last round means they will have no influence on the make-up of the ladder at the death.

Associates are pushing UWA in third and after that game face a potential banana skin game away at Nedlands.

They end with two home games they would expect to win against Joondalup and Southern Lions - but will be wary of the Lions after they blindsided UWA in the last round.

Wests have a mixed bag but will be confident of picking up points.

They have the tough encounter against Palmyra, are at home to Kalamunda, have a crucial clash away to Perth Bayswater before finishing at home to Wanneroo.

Cottesloe, who slipped out of the four with the bye, will be looking to pick up points in their next two games, home to Southern Lions and away to Wanneroo, before facing the current top two sides UWA at Broome Street and travelling to Palmyra.

Perth Bayswater have a sticky run, both Kalamunda and UWA away before Wests at home and Nedlands at the Foreshore.

Nedlands are now only a mathematical long shot for the finals and need a lot to go their way if they are to snatch a top four spot.

They start with Joondalup at The Foreshore - the RugbyWA You Tube game of the week - entertain Associates, travel to Wanneroo and finish at home against Perth Bayswater.

In the Championship Bunbury Barbarians on 44 points and Mandurah four points behind, look like the teams to beat with Rockingham and Kwinana chasing in third and fourth with two rounds remaining ahead of the semi-finals.

Meanwhile Wanneroo, who look destined for the wooden spoon after a shocking season, are not waiting for next year to start a rebuild and have parted ways with coach Kolose Feaunati and other coaching staff.

Director of Coaching Des Taurima and former Premier Grade coach Steve Kavanagh have taken charge for the rest of the season.


The Fortescue Premier Grade run home at a glance:

Palmyra: Wests (A), Southern Lions (H), Kalamunda (A), Cottesloe (H).

UWA: Associates (H), Perth Bayswater (H), Cottesloe (A), Bye.

Associates: UWA (A), Nedlands (A), Joondalup (H), Southern Lions (H).

Wests Scarbough: Palmyra (H), Kalamunda (H), Perth Bayswater (A), Wanneroo (H).

Cottesloe: Southern Lions (H), Wanneroo (A), UWA (H), Palmyra (A).

Perth Bayswater: Kalamunda (A), UWA (A), Wests (H), Nedlands (A).

Nedlands: Joondalup (H), Associates (H), Wanneroo (A), Perth Bayswater (H).

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