Back-to-back Championships for Perth Blitz

by Jeremy Truong

 

PERTH Blitz defeated Rockingham Vipers in Westbowl XIII to be crowned Gridiron West Junior champions for the second year in a row.

In a replay of last year’s championship game, the juniors kicked off the day’s proceedings in front of a packed grandstand at Dorrien Gardens with a 14-6 win over the Vipers.

Blitz’s two defeats this year have come at the hand of the Vipers, but this game would see both teams’ starting quarterbacks Liam Crookes and Ben Metcalfe absent (both on scholarships in the States).

The usually high scoring Blitz offence were held by a powerful and agile Vipers defence, who only managed two touchdowns and one two-point conversion for the entire game.

It took until the dying moments of the first half for the Blitz to register any points.

Awarded game Most Valuable Player (MVP) with two touchdowns was receiver Munya Matema, who was also recently named a member of the Australian Outback team for the Under 19 World Championship.

Matema caught a 16 yard catch with 28 seconds remaining in the second quarter to open the scoring.

Junior Westbowl MVP Munya Matema

Tom Paskov’s catch on the two-point conversion saw Blitz go into the main break 8-0.

In Blitz’s first second drive after half time, their stand-in quarterback Bailey Moke was picked off for an interception, which ultimately led to a Vipers touchdown.

Mitchell Crookes took off and beat Blitz’s stout defence to claw it back to 8-6, but the two-point conversion was no good.

To start the final quarter, MVP Matema scored the second of his touchdowns off a 43 yard pass to make the score 14-6.

The two-point conversion was unsuccessful and gave the Vipers an opportunity to march the ball up the field.

Just as the Vipers looked primed to score, an interception by Blitz’s defensive back Naph Smith took the ball into the Viper’s half, but the eventual drive was unsuccessful.

The final drive of the game saw some nerve-racking moments with some powerful and elusive running by the Vipers.

While Crookes proved difficult to bring down, his offensive line missed some crucial blocks and was unable to find his receivers.

Coaches Kevin Wilson and David Holmes had much to smile about with the Blitz’s women team also victorious in Westbowl I.

The women won 28-0 over Perth Broncos.

In the senior’s decider, Rockingham Vipers defeated Swan City Titans 54-14.