Round two of the Callida Consulting John I Dent Cup saw Wests and Uni-Norths remain the only two undefeated sides in 2021. All the match reports are right here.
GAGE ROADS GAME OF THE WEEK
GUNGAHLIN EAGLES 57 def CANBERRA ROYALS 15
The Gungahlin Eagles have claimed their first win of the 2021 Callida Consulting John I Dent Cup in spectacular fashion, racking up nine tries in a 42-point drubbing of rivals the Canberra Royals at Nicholls Enclosed Oval.
Issak Fines-Leleiwasa and Corey Toole starred for the Eagles, nabbing a double each and terrorising the Royals defence with their explosive speed all day as the Eagles came out on top in the 2020 Grand Final rematch.
The Royals opened the scoring early, with scrum-half Pedro Rolando knocking over a penalty in the 4th minute to put the Royals ahead 3-0 for their first and only lead of the match.
An unfortunate incident saw the Royals lose captain James Bodman early after he appeared to suffer a major knee injury when a tackled player rolled back into his legs.
Fines-Leleiwasa got the Eagles on the board, picking up flanker Kalaveti Kunatuba’s offload 5-meters from the line to the left of the sticks before circling back and darting through a hole in the defensive line to score untouched under the posts. Joseph Caputo added the extras as the Eagles took a 7-3 lead in the 9th minute.
Ten minutes later and Gungahlin were in again, a long pass from Joseph Caputo out to the left found Corey Toole with some room, and the winger did well to muscle his way past a defender to dot down in the left corner, pushing the margin out to nine points.
The Royals hit back immediately when Eagles outside-centre Brendon Taueki’s clearance was charged down by Royals hooker Ethan Rokoura, with the big man following through and winning the race to the ball to score under the posts.
Rolando converted from directly in front to bring his side within two points, with the score sitting at 12-10 in the 28th minute.
Fines-Leleiwasa continued to be a handful for the Royals defence, with three darting runs setting up three fantastic Eagles tries, with wingers Jamie Kotz and Toole alongside Kunatuba providing the finishes.
Toole’s try was the pick of the bunch, a must-see run that showcased his speed, strength and agility to dance through a group of defenders before exploding away to score and send the Eagles into the sheds with a 31-10 half-time lead.
It was more of the same for the home side in the second half, with Gungahlin running in two tries courtesy of Lock Dominic Tevao in the 44th minute and Hooker Connor Jones in the 55th minute pushing the scores out to 43-10.
A small blemish on an otherwise bright day for the Eagles saw Brumbies powerhouse Solomone Kata yellow carded after a build-up of penalties in the 69th minute.
However, it wasn’t enough to slow the Eagles down, who proceeded to camp themselves inside the royals attacking 22 for the following five minutes, culminating in a penalty try that saw Gungahlin bring up the half-century.
A Royals' consolation try courtesy of Connor Smith in the 77th minute gave the vistors something positive to focus on, before Fines-Leleiwasa ensured the Eagles got the final say, cutting through the defence down the right side to score in the corner for his second of the match.
Caputo kicked truly with the final scoreline finishing at 57-15. Speaking after the match, Gungahlin Eagles assistant coach Glenn Carey highlighted the work his side put in during the week to ensure they improved from their last result.
“I think our go forward, our punch in attack was what we were really looking to improve on, that was a big factor out of last week which meant we were turning a lot of ball over because we just weren't punching through the line so that was a big focus during the week,” Carey said.
“Our set-piece like our scrum and lineout, I thought they were much better today, we worked on them pretty hard during the week as well so they’re probably the three factors that we really worked on during the week.”
Winger Toole bagged a second consecutive double to start the season with Carey praising his speed and physical presence.
“Corey’s got absolute x-factor, he only needs a few yards of space and he can make it count,” Carey said.
“I think that try he scored where he where he stepped inside and then just took off just shows exactly what his skill level is like but he's also quite a physical presence and with speed to burn as well it makes him a very hard opponent.”
Corey was much humbler about his run of form, attributing his teammate's ability to get him the ball in space to his success to start this season.
“I’m just holding wide and the boys just give it to me, so just getting lucky I think,” Toole said with a laugh.
The Gungahlin Eagles will travel down to play the Queanbeyan Whites next Saturday with kick-off scheduled for 3:05 pm.
Words: Jesse Kemp-Segedin
UNI-NORTHS OWLS 45 def QUEANBEYAN WHITES 33
A dominant first half from the visitors all but wrapped up their second win of the season joining Wests as the two undefeated teams in the competition.
You couldn’t have asked for a better start from the travelling side, with winger Siave Tema scoring a blistering long range try in the first minute of the contest.
But the joys were short lived as an error from the Owls off the restart gifted the Whites their first opportunity of the game and Brendan Jimenez didn’t disappoint blitzing the visitors' defence and crossing over under the sticks. Queanbeyan with a 7-5 lead in the early proceedings.
Off the back of a dominant scrum performance last week by the Owls it wasn’t long to see them take advantage of it, with flyhalf Jordan Thompson breaking ankles before crashing over to put them back in front by five.
Some magical restart work from the Whites saw Owls winger Joshua Reis get taken into touch giving the home side another lineout in fantastic field position. A Reece Tapine cutout ball sending Junior Tupou over for a five-pointer handing the Whites back the lead 14-12.
Jordan Thompson then put his fingerprints all over another Owls try with a long ball sending Tema over for his second of the game and fourth try of the season.
The Whites once again targeted Reis with their restart but this time put the ball out on the full gifting the Owls a penalty. Jordan Thompson once again carving a hole in the Whites defence then offloading to Willoughby Axelsen who surged over. Giving the men in green and blue a 26-14 lead.
The Whites then inexplicably put the restart out on the full again, with a dominant lineout maul seeing Stuart Seller crash over to push the lead out to 19 points.
Another restart out on the full again gave the Owls an opportunity to score points with winger Joshua Reis making no mistake.
Halftime saw the Owls with a 26-point lead, 40-14, with the away side looking like they will cruise home to a victory.
After addressing the troops at half time, you would have hoped for a response from the home side, instead it was a yellow card to Whites flanker Yabiki Seeto for a high tackle.
Down to 14 men the home side rallied and denied any point scoring opportunities for the Owls but in attack more costly errors just weren't allowing the Whites to put any pressure on the Owls.
It was an intercept that would break the second half scoring drought with Whites winger Jimenez pouncing on the pass, giving him his second try of the afternoon and giving the the home side some much needed confidence.
But again, it was the class of the Owls who made sure the home side didn’t get a sniff of victory, with another dominant lineout maul seeing hooker Samuel Thomas crash over to give them back a 24-point lead.
The home side ran in two late five-pointers, one came through a penalty try but it wasn’t enough to make up for their first half mistakes as the Owls walked away with a 12-point win.
The still undefeated Owl’s will take on the Tuggeranong Vikings in their round three clash at Viking Park this Saturday.
Words: Lachlan Macmaster
WESTS 32 def TUGGERANONG VIKINGS 26
Wests Lions flexed their offensive muscles as they overcame a determined Tuggeranong Vikings with a 32-26 victory in front of a home crowd at Jamison Oval on Saturday.
The Lions were celebrating their previous generations with their annual “Old Boys Day” and the crowd certainly were vocal in support of their beloved home club throughout the course of the game.
Declan Meredith scored 19 points last weekend and added to his season tally early with a penalty goal from right in front to put the home side in front in just the third minute.
Another penalty goal from Meredith kept the scoreboard ticking over with the Lions with a rolling maul from allowing winger Alfred Tonga receive the ball down the short side and sneak over for the first try of the game, pushing the home side out to a 13-0 lead.
The Vikings replied shortly after with a try of their own when Andrew Robinson stormed onto a short ball from just over halfway and strolled over with Josiah Lealiifano converting to get the away side on the board and bring the score to 13-7.
It would be the Lions who would close out the first half when another rolling maul paid dividends and Matthew Toward crashed over to push the scores to 18-7 at the break.
The Lions came out of the halftime break firing, scoring a try within the first two minutes of play when Liae Tuilagi barged his way over, with Meredith again adding the extras.
The Vikings took momentum when they hit back with two bulldozing efforts from Seamus Smith with Lealiifano converting both to bring his side within striking distance at 25-21.
With the Lions trying to hold off the fast-finishing Vikings, an intentional infringement saw the Vikings Sione Mau handed a yellow card inside the last 10 minutes before another infringement from the visitors saw Tom Hooper also handed a yellow card.
This period of sustained pressure would be telling as the Lions earned themselves a penalty try pushing the lead back beyond a converted try at 32-21.
The men in red and white would have the last say as Nigel Ah Wong found his way over to bring the final score to 32-26 as the Lions held on in front of their home faithful.
When asked about the win, Lions Coach Adam Butt said he knows how important a victory like this could be for his side's season.
“Really happy with the win. It’s really vital in this competition to get points on the ladder. There’s no easy games and you can’t rest," Butt said.
“We’ll take the win today, lots to work on but we’ll go from there.”
The Lions head to Phillip Oval to take on the Royals next week while the Vikings will return home to host the Owls.
Words: Mathew Williams