On paper, a meaningless contest. Souths, crowned minor premiers for the 2010 season and a first in ten years for the club, couldn’t be caught and Mandurah were safely into the remaining finals spot. Coach Chubb Chapman though set the scene for his squad to make sure they were aware they were fighting starting spots in their attempt to make it and win in a Grand Final, which would be another first for ten years.
The game was more scrap than nerves, speaking volumes about the quality. Although both sides had their chances a combination of poorly executed set pieces from both teams stopped any flow they could have hoped. A brief spell of superiority towards the end of the first half saw the Souths scrum finally click. Putting Mandurah on the back foot, a solid crash from Flash McKenzie sucked in the defence allowing Tim Coffey to take the wide ball for the opening score. Solid defence and error-strewn attack saw plenty of possession for Souths but little ground gained as the half drew to a close. A raft of changes for both sides would mean a drastic change of approach in the 2nd half.
Souths pack had been comfortably in charge, but after the introduction of two wily back-rowers, the found themselves on the back foot early in the 2nd half. Robbing them of possession and disrupting well at the breakdown led to penalty after penalty, with one finally finding touch just 5 metres out from the Souths line. A Training ground move led to an impenetrable wedge as the opposition trundled over for an equalising score. Spotting the shift in strengths, more ball to the backs was ordered by Coach Chubb Chapman. The change in tactics paid dividends. Lua Tofa and Tylar Monk gained a grip on the game at centre, making the most of every ball that came their way. Either breaking tackle or drawing defence, the Mandurah back line could do little as the new pairing carved up their opponents. Heartily supported by a grateful pack, ball was secured and numerous attacks came close. It was that man Peter Jackson though who would add to the Souths solitary score. Strengh and speed allowed him to bust through three tackles before scoring just to the left of the posts. With deadlock broke, more of the Lua and Tyler show allowed Ronan Kent to fashion a lovely dummy and offload, with Monk finished the move he had started. The clocked ticked, the game was won and the regular season ended. 12 wins, 1 draw and 2 losses for a Souths 2nd string with their destiny in their own hands.
Major semi-final is at Perth Bayswater on Saturday 21st against Curtin