Match Report - Rugby Union Cottesloe Shegulls v Wanneroo Divas

Coach Connor Brennan Cottesloe Rugby Union

30 July 2021

Cottesloe get the 'W' over Wanneroo for the first time in years.

Cottesloe Defeat Wanneroo for the First Time in Years.

By Connor Brennan

Photo by Lawrence Hillary
Cottesloe Shegulls outlasted Wanneroo at Kingsway Reserve on Saturday afternoon. It has taken roughly four years for Cottesloe to achieve victory against their fearsome foes, the Divaz, but they were not to be denied this time and held on, on a score of 22 points to 17.

The home side begun the better of the two and looked to use their brutally strong forward pack, taking Cottesloe on just metres away from the ruck. Cottesloe initially struggled with the ferocity and physicality of Wanneroo and crucially struggled to get to grips with the interpretation of the ruck from the referee. As the penalties accrued, Wanneroo were afforded access into the Cottesloe 22 and succeeded in scoring the first try on eight minutes. The conversion was missed and the home side had a 5 point lead. The score shocked the Cottesloe forward pack into life and they started to turn the Wanneroo forwards backward. Bec Clough, Mahalia Ellis and Karlien van Wyk were bending the line with ball in hand and Stacey Avery was controlling the tempo from her out-half position. As the bigger Wanneroo forwards began to tire, Kendra Fell used the boot to send them running backward and by fifteen minutes Wanneroo were breathing heavy. Cottesloe got their reward for their dominance on 18 minutes when a loose Wanneroo clearance was pounced upon by well positioned fullback Bree Wallace. She stormed forward and through the Wanneroo backline to score out wide on the left. Kendra Fell struck the conversion magnificently and Cottesloe took the lead at 7 points to 5. Cottesloe kept their foot on the gas for the remainder of the half and added a converted try from Sadie Putz who smashed her way over from close in and a tap over penalty kick from Kendra Fell from out on front. At half time the score was 17-5.

Wanneroo, in a similar manner to Kalamunda, are at their most dangerous at the beginning of each half of a match, and so it proved yet again here. A slight mistiming in the Cottesloe midfield defence allowed one of the Wanneroo giant centres to trundle forward unopposed. Within a phase or two they had scored to bring the score back to 17 points to 12. Instead of wavering or cracking under the strain of the setback, Cottesloe’s senior players refocused the group and they marched right back down the field. For ten minutes a war of attrition broke out around the middle as both forward packs took each other’s measure. It was undeniable though that Cottesloe had the upper hand. At scrum time, Sadie Putz and Karlien van Wyk demolished their opposite numbers repeatedly. At lineout time, Yolanda Forsyth tormented the Wanneroo throw and was rock solid on the Cott ball. Stacey Avery was growing in stature too as the Wanneroo defensive line began to tire and she was able to bring Langley Sesega and Bree Wallace into the game. On 55 minutes, the deadlock was finally broken. Multiple phases both right and left stretched Wanneroo thin and an overlap was created on the left hand side. Jan Farrell released Langley Sesega and she used her speed and power to evade the Wanneroo defence and score wide on the left. The conversion was missed and the score was 22-12. Wanneroo succeeded in scoring another try with 6 minutes remaining against the run of play, but the writing was on the wall for the Divaz. Their pack were exhausted, demoralised and outmuscled and their backline were terrified of the pace of Langley Sesega and Bree Wallace and they collectively retreated into their shells. Cottesloe camped in their 22 for the remainder of the game and when the final whistle went it was 22-17 to the Shegulls.

It was a tremendous victory for Cottesloe in blustery conditions. This writer cant help but feel satisfied when he sees players coming off the bench who know the shape, are technically good and play with confidence. This result was coming, I even spoke before the game to captain Langley and she concurred that if most things went to plan, victory would be ours; and so it proved. In the forwards, Bec Clough is getting ever more fit and belligerent in each match she plays. Nia Schaaf-Taufa, Sadie Putz and Mahalia Ellis were merciless when carrying the ball. Emma Decupper was like a downhill skier swerving through some of the bigger Wanneroo forwards and Karlien van Wyk added to what has been a brilliant season for her so far. In the backs, Stacey Avery and Kendra Fell exude calm, experience and confidence in everything they do and it flowed into the team. Bree Wallace was tremendous from full-back and Langley Sesega proved deadly in attack when afforded a little more space at number 12. For this writer the player that caught the eye was Yolanda Forsyth. Her work rate was endless, her lineout work was peerless and she made the lives of the 9 and 10 for Wanneroo miserable throughout. She was a pest at the breakdown and she made her customary 20 tackles a game as well. Phenomenal from Yolanda.
This week the ladies I believe play away at Wests, so get down and support!

CB