Todd Taylor Cup: Rockingham and Warnbro ready for ‘respectful’ pre-season clash

Stuart HortonSound Telegraph
Rockingham Rams coach Scott Franklin, captain Rocky Collins and Warnbro Swans captain Mathew Pearce and coach Paul Lenzarini.
Camera IconRockingham Rams coach Scott Franklin, captain Rocky Collins and Warnbro Swans captain Mathew Pearce and coach Paul Lenzarini.

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.

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