Wanneroo Districts are looking to make their 50th anniversary year in WA rugby a golden one.
The blue collar “Roo Dogs”, often seen as a poor neighbour of the “golden triangle” western suburbs clubs, are hoping for their first premiership.
Their last grand finals appearance came in 2008 when they were beaten by Kalamunda – Saturday’s opponents – but they are looking to go one better this season.
Their victory over perennial finalists Nedlands in the last round at Kingsway, coming back from 14 points down to grab a 22-19 win, put them fourth behind The Foreshore club on for and against difference.
Their three losses to UWA, Associates and Cottesloe all came late in the games and were by five points or less, but coach Ian Armitage believes they may have turned the corner with the Nedlands result.
“We’ve come up short playing sides who know how to close out games,” Armitage said.
“We think we have turned the corner to find that mental strength and toughness.
“We’ve been working really hard on that and there is a belief in ourselves as a squad.
“We were delighted with the win against Nedlands, a team that we always aspire to beat but have always come up short.”
The Dogs must beat Kalamunda as, along with top two sides, UWA and West Scarborough are the only sides who have not had a bye.
“Beating Nedlands was a bonus but we need to be on the money against Kalamunda,” Armitage said.
“It is a must win but it’s always tough there and we haven’t had much success in recent years.”
The Dogs’ depth will be tested by injuries and they will not have their Western Force representatives or a number of players who are on junior Wallabies and WA under-18 duty.