Fortescue Women's Premier Grade Round One Preview

Wed, May 24, 2023, 6:13 AM
Rugby WA Media
by Rugby WA Media

The Fortescue Women's Premier Grade kicks off on Saturday with four teams moving from the Championship 10s tournament.

Cottesloe, who are going for a premiership three-peat, face Wanneroo Districts at Kingsway Sports Complex with Southern Lions hosting Kalamunda at Success.

Another eight clubs are playing in the Community 10s and teams that have transitioned into the 15s Premiership cannot compete in the 10s carnivals.

Cottesloe coach George Scott, in his first year in charge, has new-look side.

"We've had a lot of changes, a good rebuild of the squad, a lot of new talent. We've got a fresh bunch of girls which is exciting," Scott said.

"The 10s team has been very young but we've got a lot of our experienced players coming in either from Super Rugby or who have not been involved in the 10s."

Scott said the side would play an expansive game.

"We tend to be a little bit smaller than other teams and use our skills to our advantage," he said.

"Across the competition I've been really impressed with skills levels, the competitiveness and the eagerness to get better.

"Speaking to the other coaches, there's a real hunger to improve across all teams."

RugbyWA Female Game and Inclusion Lead Gemma Owen was pleased with the way the 10s competition had progressed and was looking forward to the next step in the women's game.

"The standard has been really good," she said.

"Numbers are really good. They are growing.

"The competition is really ticking along. There have been no challenges, no obstacles.

"Everything has been running along really smoothly.

"It will be exciting to see the teams moving into the Premiership competition."

Meanwhile Wests Scarborough face Perth Bayswater at Bennett Park in a crucial round 10 clash in the men's Fortescue Premier Grade.

Both sides are pushing for a top four spot, with one point separating Perth Bayswater in fifth and Wests in sixth. 

Perth Bayswater, looking to extend their winning streak to four games, will be on a high after toppling ladder leading UWA 32-31 for their first loss of the season while Wests scored a 41-17 win over struggling Kalamunda.

After losing their first three games Wests have been defeated in just one of their last five, going down 17-10 at Palmyra in round eight.

Wests coach Jeremy Thrush said they had been "stuttering along".

"It's been frustrating trying to get some combinations and cohesion going," Thrush said.

"We're taking two steps forward and a few back.

"Boys are getting injured or having to go away for work and it's a bit like having to restart at times but that's the nature of where we are at the moment.

"We've had a few guys turn up late that we knew were coming and hopefully we get a few more coming in the next few weeks to move us forward."

Thrush said they had played some of their best rugby against the rapidly improving Palmyra who have moved into second place.

"We had opportunities to win it and draw on the final whistle. That's the loss that hurt the most," he said.

"It's going to be a tough challenge against Baysie.

"They've got a massive threat with their scrum. It's a lethal weapon when they get going."

Thrush made a couple of Super Rugby Pacific appearances for the Western Force when they were struggling with injuries earlier this season and had been considering pulling on the boots for Wests.

But the former All Black second-rower suffered an Achille injury playing for the Force and has needed injections that may rule him out for the Fortescue season.

"I've registered as a player but that's as far as it's got at the moment," he said.

"Just walking around has given me a fair bit of grief. It's a little bit frustrating.

"I thoroughly enjoyed playing for the Force again and I had pencilled in to help out with Wests if I was needed but with this injury it's not going to happen at the moment."

In other games UWA v Cottesloe will be live on STAN Sport while the ARKS-Bunbury Barbarians Championship Grade clash is the feature game on the RugbyWA YouTube channel. 

Nedlands host Wanneroo, Joondalup are at home to UWA, and Palmyra take on Kalamunda.

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