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Geoff Mason for RugbyWA Media
Cottesloe moved one step closer to securing a spot in the Pindan Premier Grade finals series after surviving a spirited Wanneroo comeback to secure a 35-31 victory in the Match of the Round on Saturday afternoon at Harvey Field.
It was a tale of two halves as Cottesloe dominated the first scoring four tries to one to lead 28-5 at the break with the visitors struggling to combat the host’s running football.
Despite being outclassed in the first half, the second was a different story as the visitors posted four tries of their own to take the lead, before a last minute Ed Melville try secured the points for the Gulls.
Cottesloe coach Ian Fowler was relieved to secure victory, but was disappointed with his side’s second-half performance.
“I thought we were fantastic in the first half as Wanneroo didn’t put anything meaningful together until they scored their try,” he said.
“I knew they would come at us in the second half, but I’m disappointed it took us until the last five minutes to start playing again.
“If results have gone in our favour we might have already secured our position in the finals, but if not one win out of the next two against Neddies and Rocko should see us compete in September.”
Wanneroo coach Tony Munro was understandably disappointed that his players could not secure the victory, but praised their spirited fight-back.
“It was a fantastic comeback in the second half, so I cannot fault my players’ endeavours as they responded to everything I said at the break,” he said.
“The first half we weren’t at the races and our intensity just was not there.
“It was an unbelievable second half as we didn’t let Cott play, similar to what they did to us in the opening forty.
“This all but ends our finals campaign, and I wish nothing but Cottesloe the best if they can secure a position in September.”
The hosts dominated the early minutes and were rewarded after just five minutes as they opened the scoring courtesy of a Ryan Lauwrens try after a clever pass from Tobias Hoskins split the Wanneroo defence. Sam Heinneman added the extras from a tight angle to give the hosts an early 7-0 lead.
Moments later the Cottesloe extended the lead after Wanneroo were penalised at the breakdown for ill-discipline with Heinneman converting from close range.
Cottesloe were dominating the proceedings and scored another three tries in 15 minutes as the shell-shocked visitors could not compete with the hosts’ attacking rugby.
The first came on 17 minutes after a clever pass from Ross Haylett-Petty found Hoskins, who in turn put Nick Haining on a 45-metre route to the tryline.
The next came six minutes later after a clearing kick from Heinneman was horribly misjudged by Wanneroo’s Blake Waqa with Ed Meville capitalising by powering past the fullback to touchdown in the corner.
The four-try bonus point was sealed in the 34th minute when Lauwrens picked the loose ball up at the breakdown and skipped past three Wanneroo tacklers before playing a pinpoint pass to Jarrod Cropper to score. Heinneman missed all three conversion attempts but converted a late penalty to give the hosts a 28-0 lead.
While Wanneroo was outclassed, they finally strung a number of passes together and scored their opening points in the shadows of half time when Waqa skipped past three Cottesloe players before downing the ball in the corner. Casper Nell missed the conversion attempt, giving Cottesloe a 28-5 lead at the break.
Fortunately for the Roo Dogs, they started the second half as they finished the first, scoring the opening try of the term after just four minutes after a long Tim Mullins pass led to a Koiate try in the corner. Nell added the extra from out wide to cut the lead back to 16 points.
Showing none of the form that had hampered them through the first half, the visitors were a new side and dominated Cottesloe, scoring three tries in 18 minutes to take the lead for the first time of the day.
On 54 minutes a quick pass from Mullins at the scrum found an unmarked Waqa who scored his second try of the day when he downed the ball in the corner. Nell added the extras at the hosts lead 28-19.
The visitors third and fourth try were carbon copies of one another, coming from rolling mauls off the back of line-outs. On 64 minutes Glassie Gaze scored the first after his Wanneroo team-mates barrelled him over the line, and eight minutes later the Wanneroo players did the same as they pushed Silvo Iro over the line to give themselves the lead for the first time. Nell could only add one of the two attempts as Wanneroo led 31-28 with five minutes to play.
However, with just two minutes remaining the shell-shocked Gulls replied in devastating fashion and secured victory as Meville crossed for his second try of the day after receiving a long David Cloete pass at the breakdown. Cloete added the extras to give the hosts a 35-31 lead.
Despite late pressure from Wanneroo who put together 29 phases the hosts held strong to secure a thrilling victory.