Associates have reclaimed the Rugby WA Cup after dismantling the undefeated Joondalup Brothers 38-13 in front of an ecstatic home crowd on Saturday afternoon.
With Hugh Norcross and Michael Hardwick playing in their milestone games, ‘Soaks’ turned up the heat to advance to second on the premier grade ladder.
After trailing 6 points in the early stages, Harry Webster lit a spark in the ‘Soaks’ attack sneaking under the posts to score an intercept try like a thief in the night.
The home side soon scored back to back tries as second rower Mike Tafili crashed over from short range while Sam Healy crept over to extend Associates lead.
Associates absorbed majority of the possession in the first half and claimed a healthy 28-6 lead going into the half-time break.
Joondalup bounced back in the second term to tame the venomous ‘Soaks’ attack, but the men in gold made continuous onslaughts into the Joondalup 22, applying pressure on all fronts.
The towering presence of Xander Masibaka caused headaches for the Joondalup defence as he pierced through holes like an elephant in a paper factory.
In his 150th premier grade appearance Hugh Norcross was cruelly denied glory over the white line as the referee called back play for a forward pass, causing false alarm amongst the Associates contingent.
Following sustained pressure ‘Soaks’ powered home down the final stretch scoring two late tries through Xander Masibaka and club stalwart Michael Hardwick who capped off an extraordinary 200 game milestone to score a 60 metre try while running past the electrifying clubhouse pavilion.
In other scores throughout the day the ‘Soaks’ reserve grade fell agonisingly short losing 18-13, while the third’s went down 27-5. Colt’s displayed a strong second half only to go down 43-22. The fourths were the only other team to claim a win on the day as they held on for a tight lipped 5-3 win over Perth Irish.
Associates now look forward to a showdown with one of it’s oldest rivalries UWA at McGillivray Oval next Saturday with Colt’s kicking off the day’s action from 12:30pm.