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Lions take the WARL Grand Final at George Burnett Park.
The South Perth Lions had three sides contesting the WARL grand final on Saturday starting with the Under 18’s who lost a very tight game in golden point to the Rockingham Sharks.
Next was the Lions Reserve Grade that played in a very tight encounter with North Beach -unfortunately also going down in golden point.
The Lions’ first grade side, boasting eight South Perth juniors was led out by Captain Isaac Thomas to a waiting crowd of over two thousand spectators - the scene set for an epic grand finale against the Fremantle Roosters.
The Lions defended the Southern end in the first forty, with the Roosters holding good field position in the first fifteen minutes. On the back of two straight penalties, they crossed for the first points adjacent to the posts. The conversion was successful for a 6-0 lead. The next fifteen minutes were dour with the defense dominating and both sides not giving an inch. But as the game progressed, the South Perth forward pack started to lay a platform with good meters made by Kale Burton, Kory Cooper and Dane Cooper. Little men, Isaac Thomas, Brandon Timlin & Wayde Kelly began to make inroads on the back of quick play the balls and it was not long before the Lions crossed under the post with a try to Brandon Timlin. The conversion was successful and the score locked up at six all. With the first half coming to a close the Lions got the ball wide to Michael Guthrie who stepped around his man and got a ball to winger Takaha Kahaki - with fifteen meters to the line and the full back to beat the big fella stepped inside the Roosters full back and crossed over out wide. Bart could not add the two extra points and the Lions went to the sheds with a four point lead.
The second half opened with Fremantle again having good field position and ten minutes in were able to cross for their second try, with the conversion successful they led by two points , 12-10. The score did not change for some time with both sides putting on big hits and gaining good field position. The Lions were attacking the Southern end, when again the little men were making great darting runs - none better than Brandon Timlin who split the defense to score his second. Bart converted from out wide to give the Lions back the lead. It was not long before the Lions again put pressure on the Roosters line and Dean Sheppard went himself from dummy half, splitting the Roosters defense to score a crucial try to give the Lions what looked to be a match winning 14 point lead.
But Fremantle found another gear, putting the Lions on the back foot and with two quick converted tries the score was back to 28 to 26 – the Roosters pushing the Lions to the limit. With minutes to go a Roosters attacker made a run at the try line and if not for the brick wall defense of the work horse Kale Burton they would have sealed the game. It was in the last minute and thirty seconds and the play was down on the thirty meter line when the Roosters had the feed at the scrum with the clock ticking down the ball was passed out the backline the Lions closed the play down as the hooter sound on the game. The mighty Red & White Lions had secured the WARL 2014 first grade grand final.