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.

Pilbara News - - Front Page - Tom Zaun­mayr

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.”

Pic­ture: Tom Zaun­mayr

Pic­tures: Tom Zaun­mayr

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.

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