Wasps sting Hawks to claim title
Wickham Wasps have won the Pilbara Rugby League title for 2016 with a 24-12 win over the Hedland Hawks. It was a dominant season for the Wasps but the Hawks’ physicality made it a grand final to remember.
Wickham Wasps have put the icing on the cake for a huge season of winter sport in Wickham, winning the Pilbara Rugby League trophy with a 24-12 win over Port Hedland Hawks.
The two teams had contrasting seasons.
Wickham were dominant all year, while the Hawks barely managed to get a game for the first half of the season because of Karratha teams forfeiting.
It was always going to be a tall order for the Hawks, but their defence muscled up to the Wasps in their typical big-hitting style.
The Wasps responded well, however, with stonewall defence on their end leading to a bruising affair where both sides had players constantly hobbling off to get their breath back.
Having led the Hawks 16-0 at half-time, the Wasps extended that soon after, before fancy footwork from the likes of Kelima Levi and Brian Yoelu led to late tries, giving the underdogs something to cheer about.
Wasps coach Duane Evans said the late surge from the Hawks had come as a surprise.
“We thought it was going to be our fitness that would help us run away with it, but they seemed to pick up in the second half and get a second wind, so we were pretty much just hanging on for that last 15 to 20 minutes,” he said.
“They have come at us every game and we knew in the grand final they would step up even further, so I think all week we were trying to keep the boys under wraps and not get too overconfi dent. We knew we had the side to win the game, but it was just controlling that.”
Evans lauded the Wasps’ defensive effort as the main factor in pushing the team over the line.
Wasps hooker David Oxley said winning the title with the current group of players was huge.
“They tried to knock us around as they knew that was more their game than ours, but we stuck with them and our defence was good too,” he said.
“Special mention to Duane Evans. He is an absolute legend, he is leaving at the end of the year — he is our coach — he didn’t want to do it for years but we talked him into it and he got us home.”
Marty Scoon eyes a small opening in the Hawks' defence on his way across the try line.
Hawks player Brian Yoelu puts out a big ‘don't argue’.
Kelima Levi was electric with ball in hand for the Hawks.
Chad Chandler crosses the line for Wasps.