Respect for the jersey, local bragging rights and the easiest possible path to the grand final – it was all on the line for Werribee Bears in NRL Victoria first grade.
The Bears ticked all the boxes in a 52-14 win over Truganina Rabbitohs on the road at Clearwood Drive Reserve on Saturday.
Above all, Bears coach Josh Makiri wanted to see his team show some pride after having their colours lowered in a baffling 50-4 loss to Casey Warriors seven days earlier.
“We got thrashed last week,” Makiri said. “For us this week, we just wanted to put some pride back into the jersey.
“That was really our objective.”
The sweetener was beating Truganina on the back of standout performances from Kuros Metuariki, Tevita Pomale and Ben Tuiatua.
There is not yet a full-blown rivalry between the two Wyndham clubs, but there will be in the not too distant future.
The Bears, champions of first grade in the past two seasons, are undoubtedly the top side in Wyndham, but the Rabbitohs are keen to bridge the gap.
“It’s still early in the rivalry,” Makiri said. “It’s turned into a little bit of a rivalry because they’re our neighbours.
“A lot of players left our club to go there and help start up that club.
“We still have a good relationship, but everyone loves to get a win over them.”
The icing on the cake for Werribee was that the derby victory secured the first-grade minor premiership and top ranking for the
That means that if the Bears do lose their semi-final, they will get a second chance.
But they are hellbent on using the win over the Rabbitohs as a springboard for a winning run to end the season.
The Bears will do battle with Waverley-Oakleigh Panthers in the final home-and-away round of the season this Saturday at Haines Drive Reserve.
It will be part of the club’s 10th anniversary celebrations.
“It’s a big weekend for us as a club and our team going forward,” Makiri said.
“There will be a lot of people down there, so we want to put a stamp on that game and get a win before the finals.”