A bright but uncomfortably breezy afternoon greet Souths 3rds in their quest to go four out of four. The second string had won comfortably and so it came to the top side to continue such a positive trend.
Mandurah’s up and down season meant it would be hard to pick how they fronted up, but sporting a number of players who had filled in at fourths, they reacted to Souths like a cornered animal. Running rugby wasn’t the order of the day as Mandurah did a good job to contain, hustle and niggle Souths. After an early penalty to Souths, it was this hustle which lead to a runaway try for Mandurah. Sparking into life, Souths went at the opposition but the break through was much harder to come by. The normally reliant line-out faltered at times as they desperately tried to feed Caleb Lamatoa at 10. As the half drew to a close, Souths were left wondering how they were still down against this battling but inferior Mandurah team.
2nd half and a new outlook saw Souths begin to click and exert the kind of pressure they put over Arks and Curtin in previous weeks. Willie Lio entered the fray and had an immediate impact and the resurgent Jon Caufield battled to keep the breakdown honest. This dominance eventually evolved into points. Good pressure led to numerous penalties with Lamatoa slotting two to edge infront. At 9-7 the game was far from won but the see-sawing nature still didn’t instil a real fear that Mandurah would force their way back into contention. Then came the game breaking moment which has been sporadic at times but when moments do, they remind everyone how much skill is in this Souths outfit. Good work upfront saw the backline screech away over the half way line. A perfect display of straight running, drawing and passing saw the ball arrive at Morne Steenkamp’s wing. Player of the day, Jason Levitan sealed a stellar afternoon in the centres in providing the killer off-load. A scurrying defender didn’t come close as he glided over to score. There still was some Rugby to be played, but shrewd decisions from Coach Leitulua stemmed any potency that Mandurah were likely to muster. Any threats they displayed were quickly nullified and Souths were home. 14-7 and four wins in a row, with only a point separating them from the leaders of the competition, Curtin.
This week Souths make the trip to Bunbury.