Southern Telegraph - - NEWS - Stu­art Hor­ton

Ac­cord­ing to Rock­ing­ham Rams and Warn­bro Swans cap­tains Rocky Collins and Mathew Pearce you’re ei­ther “Rocky or Warn­bro”, which high­lights the sig­nif­i­cance of this week­end’s Todd Tay­lor Cup.

Named for one of the few play­ers to have crossed the friendly Rock­ing­ham-Warn­bro di­vide, Tay­lor was a pre­mier­ship player for both clubs in the 1990s, lead­ing to the clubs con­test­ing the pre- sea­son tro­phy that bears his name.

With Rock­ing­ham com­pet­ing in the Peel Foot­ball League and Warn­bro in C1 of the re­branded Perth Foot­ball League ( pre­vi­ously the WA Am­a­teur Foot­ball League), the clubs don’t cross paths in league com­pe­ti­tion but have played the friendly hit- out on and off since the late 1990s.

Af­ter a break of about six years, the Todd Tay­lor Cup re­turned in 2017, with Warn­bro win­ning the past two clashes in what both skip­pers re­fer to as a “re­spect­ful” clash. “It’s a re­ally re­spect­ful match be­cause there are so many sets of mates across both clubs,” Collins said.

“We’re not in op­po­si­tion each week and play­ers rarely go be­tween both clubs but it’s a re­spect­ful rivalry and both clubs get a lot out of it,” Pearce said.

The Rams missed out on a place in the PFL grand fi­nal by 14 points, los­ing their pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal to even­tual pre­miers Pin­jarra, while Warn­bro won the WAAFL C2 flag and gained pro­mo­tion to C1.

De­spite los­ing a num­ber of play­ers to WAFL clubs, in­clud­ing 2018 Ross El­liott Medal win­ner Mitch Curnow to the new West Coast Ea­gles stand­alone WAFL team, the Rams wel­come back a num­ber of fa­mil­iar faces and coach Scott Franklin is con­fi­dent of im­prove­ment in 2019.

“We’ve still got a pretty sim­i­lar group with a few lit­tle changes here and there, and a lot of young guys com­ing through,” he said.

“We’re just try­ing to im­prove the brand and style of footy we play.

“We’re not nec­es­sar­ily look­ing at a lad­der po­si­tion, just play­ing a bet­ter, im­proved brand.

“We lost a few play­ers; we lost three to East Fre­man­tle, which is good be­cause they’ve gone up to play at a higher level. Mitch Curnow has gone to the Ea­gles in their re­serves team. He may play with us if he doesn’t get a game up there ev­ery week.

Among the new re­cruits are for­mer Peel Thun­der and Carl­ton mid­fielder Brad Walsh and ex-Thun­der play­ers Josh McMa­hon and Will Zilko.

The Todd Tay­lor Cup is this Satur­day, March 16 at An­niver­sary Park. Games start at 11am with the women’s clash, fol­lowed by the colts at 1pm, re­serves at 3pm and league at 5pm. En­try is free.

Rock­ing­ham Rams coach Scott Franklin, cap­tain Rocky Collins and Warn­bro Swans cap­tain Mathew Pearce and coach Paul Len­zarini. The clubs com­pete for the Todd Tay­lor Cup this Satur­day.

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