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Associates have extended their winning streak to eight matches in the Pindan Premier Grade following their 43-15 triumph over UWA at Allen Park.
The Swanbourne side set up the win with a clinical first half where they played the wet conditions to a tee, backing up their pinpoint kicking game with choking defence to get themselves out to a 18-0 half-time lead.
While the students fought back early in the second term to get within eight points, the home side returned fire with another four tries to complete the comprehensive bonus-point result.
While pleased with the momentum his side is building with the finals looming, Associates head coach Andy Cole said his side needed to continue developing through the final four weeks of the competition.
“We had to change our game plan with the weather and the forwards laid the platform again for what was a huge win for us,” he said.
“We wanted to keep it tight. We probably got a bit loose for the first 10 to 15 minutes in that second half and that allowed Uni back into the game which is something you can’t afford to do with them.
“But each week we review the video and we see aspects of our game that we can improve on – there’s rarely such thing as the perfect rugby game. We’ll have a look at this tape and see where there are things we can do as a team a little bit better, and possibly individuals, but we’ll keep moving forward which is the main thing.”
While disappointed with the result, UWA coach Steve McFarland was buoyed by the fact his side would continue to control their own destiny in playing three finals contenders in the final four rounds.
“We know what’s required having won the competition last year and we’re under no illusion what it’s going to take to win it,” he said.
“Soaks got away to a good start and we couldn’t get any possession. They disrupted our set piece and held the ball for long periods of time, while we had very little ball in the first half.
“We got back to 18-10 but they had a pushover try that took them ahead and it was difficult to come back at that stage.
“We got four rounds left and if we’re successful in those four rounds then we’ll be there or thereabouts.”
It was a polished display by Soaks who began building pressure with two early penalty goals to fullback Matt Dreyer before Emirates Western Force flyhalf Kyle Godwin burst onto a perfect offload from lock Ben Hales to score the match’s first five-pointer.
With Soaks’ game control and the heavy conditions making it difficult for the visitors to work it out of their own half, the home side extended the lead to 18-0 when winger Neville Halberg sliced through off a neat Godwin inside ball. The ball was spread wide from the ensuing phase with Cailan Richards bumping over in the corner.
It was a rejuvenated UWA that began the second half, finding the field position and possession they had been so deprived of in the first 40 minutes. This resulted in University clawing themselves back into the game, first through an Alan Gaughan penalty and a determined to lock Corey Thomas to sit at 18-10 at the 50-minute mark.
However, an Associates’ pushover try from a scrum five minutes later ended any hopes of a comeback, with Soaks compounding the UWA headache by scoring a further two tries in five minutes through Halberg and hooker Anthony Savovski.
Trailing 38-10, University managed a late Trevor Downs try from a rolling maul near the Associates’ line but it would be Soaks who would have the final say when flanker Al Rovira stretched out in the corner to score on full-time.