Kalamunda looked strong in the first half, with their physical forward pack dominating through the early stages, subsequently leading to the home side scoring three first-half tries.
Associates found their way back in front during the second half, showing quick line speed on the defensive end and working hard at the breakdown. But a cross-field kick in the 79th minute by reigning P.G. Hampshire Award holder Daley Harper would find Tuitavaki by the right-wing corner to seal the game for Kalamunda.
Kalamunda head coach Josh Heke said his side showed positive signs in some areas and despite the emphatic finish to the match, the win was more of a relief than anything else.
“It was one of those games where we got ourselves out of jail, but I don’t think we have too many of them left; we were our own worst enemies and we really just need to cut that out,” he said.
“It’s more relief than anything; it’s a tough moment to watch and at the end of the day either team deserved to win.
“Daley (Harper), Hamish (Buick) and JT (Tuitavaki) and all the other boys were really working hard, but it’s just about converting in those vital moments where we usually end up turning the ball over.
“Associates have a good system; they have a rushing defence and rushed us a bit. We found holes, but our execution just wasn’t there and we just weren’t patient enough with the ball.”
Kalamunda put themselves on the board early, easily marching their way up the field and finding a two-man overlap on the left wing.
Fullback Buick flicked the ball across to Isiah Malcom who, diving into the corner, would put the hometown Bulls on the board early.
The score was left at 5-0 after the missed conversion attempt.
Associates’ rushing line defence would pay dividends soon after when outside centre Neville Halberg intercepted a pass at midfield and with a short burst of speed jogged uncontested to place the ball under the posts.
Naude Wessel’s conversion put Soaks up 7-5.
Following a 5m lineout, the rampaging Bulls found themselves on the board for the second time when bruising No.8 Auega Semanutafa powered through the line of defence, dummying an offload and placing the ball over the line.
The missed kick left Kalamunda up 10-7.
Later in the 79th minute Kalamunda snatched victory from the jaws of defeat when the backline swung the ball into midfield for Daley Harper.
Harper kicked the ball over the Associates line of defence and into the hands of winger John Tuitavaki, who caught the ball on the run, diving into the corner to score the match-winning try.
On the next possession, Alex Oakley kicked the ball out of bounds, ending the match at 27-22 in front of an ecstatic Kalamunda home crowd.
In other results; Joondalup 32 beat UWA 19, Nedlands defeated Perth Bayswater 89-12, Palmyra got over Wanneroo 53-8 and Wests Scarborough had a 41-36 win over Cottesloe.