Fortescue Premier Grade Round Two Preview

Tue, Mar 21, 2023, 5:09 AM
Rugby WA Media
by Rugby WA Media
Fortescue Premier Grade Round Two Preview
Fortescue Premier Grade Round Two Preview

Round One done and dusted, now we get ready for a big Round Two of the Fortescue Premier Grade.

Palmyra coach Darren Reed wants his forwards to "bring the heat" when they open their Fortescue Premier Grade campaign against Perth Bayswater at Pat O'Hara Reserve on Saturday.

Reed will unveil a new-look pack with extra steel and size and expects them to lay a strong platform for his backs.

"We've always had a really good strike in our backs," Reed said.

"Where we've maybe lacked a little bit in the past is size in the pack.

"We've recruited to make sure we have that.

"We are going to concentrate on bringing the heat up front.

"My goal is to give the backs the platform to dominate, something that they maybe haven't had in the past."

Palmyra sat out round one with the bye but Reed, in his second season in charge, was happy to have had the extra time to prepare his side and sneak a peek at this week's opponents.

"Having the extra week is a positive thing, it means we can be more proactive," Reed said.

"Once you get into the season you become more reactive but it's always difficult to know in pre-season where you are at.

"You are training in a bubble. I'm happy with the pre-season but training is training - it's not playing."

Reed welcomed the extra pressure with relegation for one club at the end of the season.

"It introduces an edge that hasn't been there for a long time," he said.

"Looking at the results from round one, club's seem to have really got themselves together and are well organised.

"You need depth and clubs seem to have been recruiting for depth.

"It's a long season, a lot of rugby, the teams that are going to do well are the ones that have that depth.

"It's going to be a tough season with a number of club's pushing for finals.

"It's going to be a scrap, an absolute scrap, and that's the way it should be."

Perth Bayswater's Cale McCourt has taken the helm after two seasons as a senior assistant coach and introduced eight new faces, including two homegrown colts, as they scraped home 13-10 against Joondalup Brothers in their opening game.

McCourt has also added much needed strength to the pack.

"We were looking to bolster the scrum this year, for sure," McCourt said.

"I don't think there was any doubt that our scrum wasn't the best last year so that was the main priority.

"We recruited in the backs as well and that should light things up a bit."

A penalty was all that separated Perth Bayswater and Joondalup with both sides running in two tries apiece.

"There is certainly room for improvement," McCourt said.

"We played our best footy in the first 15 minutes and then tapered away.

"We need to maintain that first 15-minute performance but it was our first real hit out with new combinations and they are always hard to gel early."

In other opening round matches UWA took revenge for last season's Grand Final loss with a 31-19 win over Wests Scarborough and retained the RugbyWA Cup as the rollover holders from last season.

Cottesloe made an early statement with a big 46-14 win over Nedlands, Kalamunda downed Southern Lions 16-11 and Wanneroo Districts came from behind in their 29-20 win over Associates.

Nedlands v Wests Scarborough will be live on Stan Sport on Saturday and the UWA v Wanneroo clash be the feature match on the RugbyWA YouTube channel. 

Other round two games see Southern Lions at home to Joondalup Brothers, Nedlands host Wests Scarborough and Cottesloe play Kalamunda. Associates have the bye.