Fortescue Premier Grade Round Twenty-Two Preview

Thu, Aug 17, 2023, 12:49 AM
Rugby WA Media
by Rugby WA Media

The fight for semi-final spots in the Fortescue Premier Grade has come down to the last round with some mind-boggling permutations.

Newly crowned minor premiers Palmyra and current second-placed UWA have qualified.

But nothing is quite as simple as it may seem with some do-or-die matches.

Because they have a bye, UWA could slip to third behind Wests Scarborough if they get a bonus point win over Wanneroo.

Wests are clear favourites but Wanneroo will not be a pushover as Nedlands discovered in their shock 32-22 loss to a patched-up Roo Dogs in the last round.

Wests would grab the all-important runners-up spot and a home semi-final because of a better for-and-against points difference.

Associates must beat Southern Lions to guarantee a spot in the top four.

If Associates lose, even with a bonus point, and Cottesloe beat Palmyra the Seagulls would jump into fourth.

Even a four-point win would see Cottesloe go through, courtesy of their better points difference, leaving Associates empty-handed.

But wait there's more!

If Wests fail to get a losing point, Associates lose and Cottesloe win they go third, pushing Associates out of the top four.

Cottesloe simply must win at Tompkins Park against title favourites Palmyra who will have players returning from injury.

The clash is the Stan match of the round.

Cottesloe are coming off a confidence boosting 39-15 win over UWA but coach Ryan Westaway knows they are fighting to keep the season alive and may also need a little help from other results going their way.

"Basically, we've got to win," Westaway said.

"It's a crazy situation.

"I've never been involved as a player or a coach with as much of a rollercoaster of emotions that we've had this year."

Westaway is hoping to have close to a full-strength squad available on Saturday.

"For the first time since round two, last week we had nearly everyone available," he said.

"We've got a few niggling injuries, but we've got more depth than the majority of the season.

"We definitely needed the win against University.

"It was one of our better performances of the season and we are looking to back it up.

"If we can play like we did against Uni we'll give Paly a good run.

"Against Uni we were quite direct and we want to be dominant up front.

"We have been inconsistent this season but if we play to our strengths, be physical, abrasive and direct that will give us our best chance of winning."

Westaway said Palmyra had been the benchmark club this season.

"They have got fantastic strength across their whole club. It's a hostile environment and we're looking forward to the challenge," he said.

"Unfortunately, we've put ourselves into the position where destiny is not entirely in our hands.

"All we can do, regardless of what happens with the other fixtures, is to finish strongly, ideally on a winning note.

"Everyone in the squad knows we've got to win and what we've got to do.

"We can't control the other results."

But Westaway will not be keeping an eye on his mobile phone for other results.

"I'm sure there will be plenty of other people doing that for me," he said.

In other games Nedlands are scheduled to host Perth Baywater and Joondalup are at home to Kalamunda.

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