The Fremantle Roosters have marched defiantly into the 2022 NRL WA Fuel to Play and Go Premiership grand final on Saturday with a clinical 34-16 win over the Rockingham Sharks in what player-coach Delane Edwards called a brutal encounter.
“The scoreline doesn’t reflect how tough it was out there,” Edwards said after the game.
“It was physical, real physical and we lost three players – I’m not sure right now if they will make the grand final.”
Sharks coach Darren Shaw agreed, but conceded his side made too many errors to win the game.
“The initial contact was fierce and we held our own early, but once we made mistakes they got control of the ball and we had to defend – and it fatigued us,” Shaw said.
“It’s something we will address before we face North Beach next week in the preliminary final.”
The Roosters struck early, scoring twice from defensive errors and adding a third to go into halftime leading 14-6.
Shaw said he thought he’d fixed the problem during the interval, “but they came at us again and we made poor decisions around our edges.”
Centre Joe Po’uhila grabbed a hat-trick down the right edge as the Roosters took a commanding lead before two late tries from the Sharks, through Connor Hudson and Keelyn Tuuta-Edwards, made the score respectable.
“We’ve got a two-week break so I’m so happy for all the boys, Edwards said. “They deserve it.”
At North Beach the Sea Eagles were just as clinical, ending South Perth’s season with a commanding 44-8 victory in the minor semi-final.
Jeremy Wallace returned to the halves and did much of the damage with three tries but coach Phil Douche gave his man-of-the-match to Jason Godecke.
“He was awesome,” Douche said.
“We stuck to our game plan and executed well – around both edges, so I’m very pleased with our performance.”
The Sea Eagles jumped to a 28-0 half-time lead before the injury-hit Lions could respond.
North Beach will travel to face Rockingham in the preliminary final next Saturday, with the winners to play Fremantle in the grand final on September 3.