In their 30th year, the Joondalup Giants are staking their claim as true WA Smarter than Smoking Premiership contenders with a dominant 40-20 win over the Rockingham Sharks at The Kwinana Local Stadium.
Fans of Rugby League in WA were treated to a mouthwatering encounter, with both sides coming into the match undefeated and providing the first top of the table clash of the season.
Josh Neal opened the scoring for the home side when he crossed after just three minutes after weaving through the oncoming Giants defence, but not without controversy.
It looked as though Joshua Bransby may have obstructed play, however the Second Rower raised his hands in the air, and ruled himself out of the play and the powers that be were happy that play wasnt impeded.
Daniel Goodwin would give the home crowd even more to cheer about after he made himself free on the left wing and crossed five minutes later to give the Sharks a cosy 10-0 lead.
Joondalup though were quick to atone for their opening lapses and Kainoa Gudgeon powered down the left flank just moments later before offloading to Rangiwananga Kingi.
Ten minutes later and Angus Marshall had the visitors right back in the game after some poor defending allowed him to cut through the back line and cross before converting the kick to bring it all square.
Gudgeon would find himself again turning provider with a powerful run this time unlocking Jaylen Grey and again Joondalup had found the white line.
An uncoverted kick from Marshall saw the Sharks smell some blood in the water and they pushed forward with aplomb before Hayden Wood got himself on the end of a delightful ball on the right hand side of the park and scored.
Both sides went into the sheds at 14-14 with it all to play for and fans at The Kwinana Local stadium may have been forgiven for thinking they were to be treated to an equally close second half.
Christian Smith crossed within the opening two minutes of the second half, and while the Sharks managed to keep the Giants at bay for the next ten minutes, an Andrew Jeffrey pass was intercepted by Joell Irvine who ran the length of the field to score an easy try.
The Sharks did manage to get themselves within touching distance after Emmerson Whittel powered his way to the line to bring the deficit back to four points but from thereon in it would be all Joondalup.
With 17 minutes left in the half, Christian Smith would find himself with plenty of space on the left hand side to cross and less than ten minutes later, Nathan Searle would sell the dummy right in front of the sticks to snare another try and all but secure the result for the visitors.
Gudgeon would wrap up the scoring for the Giants and confirmed a man of the match performance for himself, after Luke Turner beat no less than five players in a mazy run forward before offloading for the full back to capitalise.
The 40-20 win sees Joondalup clear at the top of the WA Smarter than Smoking Premiership standings and while the Sharks put up a lot of fight, they simply ran out of steam in the final 20 minutes.
South Perth Lions proved to be the dominant force in their encounter with the North Beach Sea Eagles with a resounding 44-8 win over last years Grand Finalists.
This coming weekend is ‘Indigenous Round’ and the Sea Eagles will go into the round with a bye and a chance to analyse how they’ll turn around their opening four losses of the season.
South Perth can get themselves back into the mix with a positive result against undefeated leaders Joondalup at Admiral Park, whilst Rockingham and Fremantle will duke it out at The Kwinana Local Stadium as both sides stake their claim to be the 2020 WA Smarter than Smoking Premiership winner.
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