Cottesloe came up short in a bruising encounter with neighbours Associates by a score of 43-16. Associates raced out of the blocks and scored a class early try, but Cottesloe answered with a penalty from Charl. Cottesloe managed to maintain possession for long periods in the early exchanges but struggled to get over the advantage line. It took multiple phases just to advance a few metres up the field. Cottesloe enjoyed many phases on the Associates line in the last fifteen minutes of the half but just couldn’t breach the line with Associates always managing to summon a miraculous turnover just when required. Disaster struck shortly after when centre Lex Kuster received a contentious yellow card for a fairly innocuous clean out of a ruck, and a couple of minutes later Associates’ massive tight head prop bludgeoned his way over for their second try. Even with 14 men though, Cottesloe went through the phases and engineered themselves a long range penalty after a period of sustained pressure, as Kieran Stringer deemed it important to come away with some points. Charl duly knocked it over. Although Cott conceded no further points toward the end of the half and also regained 15 men on the field, they suffered a huge blow when Kaisa Reidy suffered a recurrence of a hamstring injury and left the fray.
The second half started brightly for Cottesloe as they mounted a continuous attack in the first five minutes of the period. It resulted in one of the Associates props receiving a yellow card for shoulder charging Kieran Stringer in the head, and Charl duly knocked over the resulting penalty to make it 12-9. Cottesloe once more drew the ire of the referee soon after which shifted momentum back in Associates favour, when replacement prop Louis Pickering was deemed to have lifted a ruck pillar above the horizontal. The yellow card proved a catalyst for Associates and they ran in three unanswered tries over the next fifteen minutes. To rub salt in the wound, Charl Nieuwenhuis received Cottesloe’s third yellow card of the match when a futile tackle attempt slipped high when he was trying to prevent Associates fourth succesive try. Cottesloe showed heart and determination from this point forward despite the game being out of their reach. The physicality visibly went up a notch and the main men in the side elected to go out on their shield if it was to be a defeat. Nili Fielea, Edward Melville and Zane Hunga ran hard continually and Cottesloe were eventually awarded with a try with ten minutes to go. Charl, returned to the fray at this point, knocked the conversion over. Unfortunately, the fact that Cottesloe had to play 30 minutes of the 80 with only fourteen men meant that the petrol tank was compromised and Associates got through for the final try of the match to make it 43-16.
In a losing effort, there were many who could hold their head up high. Charl never stopped battling despite his yellow card. Kieran Stringer was commanding in the lineout, and Nili Fielea put in a robust performance with ball in hand and in defence throughout. Cottesloe remain fourth on the ladder. There are a couple of sore bodies and injury concerns for Darren the physio to explore but the squad is excited about taking on Nedlands at home this weekend for ladies day.