Spirit show their hand
Article Published: Saturday 15 September 2007
Edited by: Sports Digital Media
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The Perth Spirit moved one step closer to Australian Rugby Championship (ARC) glory with an emphatic 60-15 victory over the East Coast Aces at the Members Equity Stadium on Saturday.
The Spirit are finally coming into their own and living up to pre-season expectations after their campaign got off to a shaky start, losing two early matches.
On the contrary the East Coast Aces, who were never title contenders, will in all likelihood finish the season at the bottom of the ARC table alongside neighbours, the Ballymore Tornadoes.
The star of the afternoon right-wing Edward Jenkins, who would otherwise not have played had Cameron Shepherd not been called up for the Wallaby World Cup squad, seized the moment by scoring a hat-trick on his Spirit debut.
The dangerous looking Western Australian outfit in uncharacteristic fashion scored nine tries in their quest for the ARC title. Up to this point the Spirit had scored a mere 10 tries in the whole tournament.
In the absence of Shepherd, fly-half Scott Daruda assumed kicking duties with distinction.
It was a relatively slow start from both teams. But it was in the closing stages of the first quarter that the Spirit began their onslaught .when new recruit Jenkins scored the opening try of the game in the 19th minute.
Outside-center Ryan cross, who was a leading candidate for the Wallaby call-up joined the party shorty after when he dived over the line for his first try of the game.
Spirit full-back Luke McClean added to the Aces misery 2 minutes later and with that the game began to run away from the Aces.
The speedy Brett Stapleton gave the Aces a glimmer of hope in the 33rd minute but that is all it was, a glimmer of hope, as the only other response the Aces had came from Henari Veretau in the second-half.
Incidentally it is in the second half that the Spirit ran riot, scoring six emphatic tries.
It was quite an impressive result for a team that had lost the services of seven regular players during the season.
Apart from Shepherd being absent James Hilgendorf, Lachlan MacKay, Junior Pelesasa, Ratu Siganiyovi, Nick Cummins and Haig Sare have all been ruled out of action through injury.
They will most certainly be confident ahead of their trip to Ballymore next weekend.
For Perth SpiritTries: Jenkins 3, Daruda 2, Cross, McClean, Brown, Allen
Cons: Daruda 4, Stannard 2
East Coast Aces
Tries: Stapleton, Veretau
Perth Spirit15 Luke McClean, 14 Edward Jenkins, 13 Ryan Cross, 12 Todd Feather, 11 Dan Bailey, 10 Scott Daruda, 9 Matt Henjak, 8 Scott Fava, 7 Richard Brown, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Sitaleki Timani, 4 Tom Hockings, 3 AJ Whalley, 2 Luke Holmes, 1 Gareth Hardy
Replacements:16 Tai McIsaac, 17 Kieran Longbottom, 18 Luke Doherty, 19 William Brock, 20 James Stannard, 21 Kane Allen, 22 Jackson Mullane
East Coast Aces15 Marshall Milroy, 14 Henari Veratau, 13 Charlie Fetoai, 12 Quade Cooper, 11 Brett Stapleton, 10 Ben Lucas, 9 Sam Batty,8 Ben Mowen,7 AJ Gilbert, 6 Josh Afu, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Will Munsie, 3 Rodney Blake, 2 Jade Ingham, 1 Tama Tuirirangi
Replacements:16 Joe Tufuga, 17 Lloyd Campbell-McBride, 18 James Kriukelis, 19 Dan Ese, 20 Curtis Franks, 21 Waitai Walker, 22 John Dart
Referee: Julian Pritchard
Touch judges: Andrew Lindsay, Matt O'Brien
Television match official: Ian Hailes
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