Vic­tory shows Perth’s spirit

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Drive Way - Nick Smith

PERTH Spirit, com­pris­ing Western Force and am­a­teur play­ers, is among nine teams com­pet­ing in the nine­week Na­tional Rugby Cham­pi­onships.

The Perth Spirit has started their 2014 Na­tional Rugby Cham­pi­onship campaign with a thrilling 28-23 vic­tory over the Canberra Vik­ings at Canberra’s Vik­ing Park last Satur­day.

Fac­ing an op­po­si­tion fea­tur­ing 11 Su­per Rugby-con­tracted play­ers and re­duced to just 13 men, the Spirit trailed 23-13 with 10 min­utes re­main­ing be­fore tries to Western Force and Ned­lands hooker Heath Tess­mann and As­so­ciates cen­tre Am­mon Mat­u­auto al­lowed the Perth side to steal the vic­tory.

Spirit coach David Wes­sels said he was very pleased with his side’s abil­ity to rally to­gether and fight their way back into the match.

“We spoke all week that things maybe weren’t go­ing to be per­fect be­cause of the short prepa­ra­tion time but felt if we stayed at it and con­tin­ued to work hard for each other, it would prob­a­bly be the point of dif­fer­ence in the end; for­tu­nately that proved to be the case,” he said.

The Spirit held a 13-0 lead at the break, thanks to first-half tries by Dil­lyn Leyds and Zack Holmes.

How­ever, they touched down for four unan­swered tries – aided by the sin-bin­ning of Cottes­loe prop Alec Hep­burn and UWA flanker Richard Hard­wick within two min­utes of one an­other.

Star­ing down the bar­rel of a firstup de­feat, the Spirit mounted its come­back when Tess­mann scored be­fore Mat­u­auto streaked away to score the match-win­ning try.

The Spirit will now take on Bris­bane City at McGil­livray Oval this Sun­day.

Tick­ets are avail­able through www.tick­et­mas­ter.com.au.

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