Round three of the Callida Consulting John I Dent Cup is in the books with Wests the only team remaining undefeated in 2021. All the match reports are right here.
GAGE ROADS GAME OF THE WEEK
GUNGAHILIN EAGLES 61 def QUEANBEYAN WHITES 29
The Gungahlin Eagles have stormed home to an emphatic 32-point victory in the third round of the Callida Consulting John I Dent Cup, punctuated by winger Jaimie Kotz’s four-try second half haul and number 8 Tamati Ioane’s dominant ball carrying.
The Eagles appeared to have their work cut out for them early, falling behind by ten points within the opening 15 minutes of play.
Whites kicker Liam Richman knocked over a penalty goal before winger Junior Tupou showcased his footwork and strength to muscle his way over the line for a try, with the resulting conversion putting the Royals in front 10-0.
The scoreline would remain the same until the 30th minute of play, with the Eagles finally getting on the board, Ioane bumping off defenders in a powerful run that fell a metre short of the line. Brumbies barnstorming centre Solomone Kata made the most of the opportunity, burrowing over the line from the resulting ruck.
Eagles kicker Joseph Caputo made no mistake from the tee and the Eagles were within three.
New position, same Corey Toole as the winger come outside centre scored yet another highlight-reel try, receiving the ball deep inside his own half off the back of a scrum before turning on the jets and dancing around Whites fullback Jackson Stuart to give the Eagles their first lead of the match.
The Whites would have the final say of the half, a lovely sweeping backline move saw Stuart score in the right-hand corner, with Richman’s sideline conversion sailing home as the sides jogged into the sheds with the half-time score favouring the Whites 17-14.
Whatever was said in the Gungahlin change rooms during the half-time break must have resonated with the side, with the Eagles running in seven tries to the Whites two in the second half.
Issak Fines-Leleiwasa got things started in the opening minute of the first half, a barnstorming run from Ioane produced a ground-level offload which Fines-Leleiwasa toed on to his own advantage. Caputo added the extras and Gungahlin took the lead 21-17 and never looked back.
Minutes later and Ioane would get on the board himself, bulldozing his way over from close range with the conversion pushing the margin out to 11.
The devastating Eagles centre pairing was on full display as Kata split the line before offloading to Toole. A heroic defensive effort from Whites winger Brendan Jimenez saw him track the speedster down and take him over the sideline centimetres short, but not before Toole managed to get an offload away that saw Kotz handed a simple pick up and put down try.
Gungahlin continued to pile on the points, with back-rower Kalaveti Kunatuba showing off his footwork to score down the ride side, with Caputo continuing his phenomenal day with the boot and giving the Eagles a 40-17 lead.
It might not have been a day to remember for the Whites, but their rolling maul was impressive all match, and the final 20 minutes of play saw the home side get over twice in that fashion, with hooker Oliver Efkarpidis and prop Ben Michael Gordon providing the finishing touches.
Unfortunately for Queanbeyan, their two tries served as bookends for a hat-trick of Gungahlin five-pointers, all attributed to winger Jaimie Kotz who finished with four on the day.
The final score-line sitting at 61-29 in the Eagles' Favour.
Eagles Assistant Coach Glenn Carey discussed his side's approach to the second half and what they need to continue improving on in the coming weeks.
“We were still pretty confident going into half time but we really just needed to hold on to the ball and build some pressure, that's what we talked about at halftime and did pretty early in the second half,” Carey said.
“I think they scored a couple of tries from rolling mauls today so that’s something we’ll obviously look at during the week because almost all of the teams are playing rolling mauls these days, it's fine to be able to score from them but you also got to be able to stop them.”
“We're always focusing on ourselves at the moment, just making sure of our game. We’re working on our go forward, our punch, but also once again that patience in defence and being able to stop points so it's a big game for us next week.”
Gungahlin will spend another week on the road, facing Uni-North Owls at ANU Field 1 next Saturday, with kick-off at 3:05 pm.
Words: Jesse Kemp-Segedin
WESTS LIONS 33 def CANBERRA ROYALS 26
The Wests Lions stand alone as the last undefeated team in the Callida Consulting John I Dent Cup after holding out a fast-finishing Royals side in a thrilling 33-26 win at Phillip Enclosed Oval on Saturday.
Two injuries in the 2nd Grade game beforehand forced an unusual circumstance, where the main game kicked off on the second field before shifting to the main field partway through the first half.
The Lions got the scoreboard ticking early as hooker Matthew Toward found the try line when he crashed over from a rolling maul, with fullback Declan Meredith converting.
The Lions continued to build pressure on Royals' defensive line and eventually found their way across the line through a low driving run from Brumbies prop Harry Lloyd.
The Royals would hit the scoreboard when a clearing kick from the Lions was caught for a quick lineout and a scything run from right to left from fullback Ben Johnston found room to move before he found Noa Rabici who carried a defender over the line for a try with scrumhalf Pedro Rolando converting the extras.
The home side would build on this momentum and hooker Te Puia Luteru would be the beneficiary as he darted over from the ruck to tie scores up at 14 all after Rolando again converted the extras and the sides changed over to the main field.
The visitors hit back when a dominant maul provided Toward with the opportunity to touch down for his second try of the day to put his side back in front 21-14.
Wests took advantage of another opportunity close to the line scoring off the back of yet another rolling maul, this time Pierre Elle getting the try and Meredith again nailing the conversion to take a 28-14 lead into the halftime break.
The Lions kept that momentum rolling through the break when Meredith held up the defensive line before delivering a well-timed short ball to winger Kameli Ratuvou with Meredith missing his first conversion for the day.
A yellow card to inside centre Harry O’Leary threatened to put Wests on the back foot but they held firm and managed to maintain possession for the lion’s share of this period.
While not being able to take advantage of the extra man, a deft grubber into the corner from Rolando on the 22 found Connor Smith in open space and the substitute brought his side back to within two converted tries.
The Royals set up a grandstand finish when a Rolando cut out pass found Allan Wratten in the corner to put the home side within seven points with two minutes to play but the Lions held on to walk away 33-26 winners.
While his side sits atop the ladder, Lions Coach Adam Butt admits his side still has plenty to work on and isn’t getting ahead of himself in regards to his side's early season form.
“It’s great to get the win and our boys really toughed out that last period. Probably should’ve been better at managing the game and we made some silly mistakes which you don’t want to give Royals those opportunities they score points," Butt said.
“We’ll take the win, we’ve got a lot to work on like everyone else, so we’ll stay humble, stay on the grind and come back next week.”
The Lions head home to take on the Queanbeyan Whites at Jamison Oval while the Royals have a tough task trying to change their early-season fortune when they host the Tuggeranong Vikings at Phillip Enclosed Oval.
Words: Mathew Williams
TUGGERANONG VIKINGS 20 def UNI-NORTHS OWLS 17
The Tuggeranong Vikings have handed Uni-Norths Owls their first loss of the 2021 Callida Consulting John I Dent Cup Season in astonishing fashion, with Jack Evenden slotting the game-winning penalty in the 85th minute of play to give his side a 20-17 win at Viking Park.
It was an incredible result for the Vikings after playing with a man down for the entirety of the second half and will fill the side with confidence going forward in the season.
It was the perfect start for the home side with winger Kieran Reilly scoring the first try of the afternoon after a classy grubber kick from inside centre Rod Iona, with Iona adding the extra two.
But the home side couldn’t capitalise on the good start with a dropped ball gifting the Owls dominant field position and the visitors didn’t miss out with captain Will Sankey crossing over in the corner. The Vikings leading 7-5 after 10 minutes.
The middle stages of the first half saw the points dry up with both defences holding strong. However, with only three minutes to go before the break, Vikings flanker Kerry McInerney was given a yellow card after he came in from the side, only to be turned into a red card after mouthing off at the referee.
With the Vikings now down to 14 men for the rest of the game, it didn’t take the Owls long to put more points on the board, after multiple raids it was a lapse in concentration from the Vikings that saw substitute Ben Love cross over in the corner after the halftime siren. The Owls taking a 3-point lead heading into the sheds at halftime.
The home side were the first to put points on the board in the second half with Iona kicking a penalty goal to make it a drawn scoreboard.
The Owls had a period of sustained pressure on the Vikings line, and with just twelve minutes left in the contest, the Owls finally crossed over through prop Andrew Whittle, with flyhalf Jordan Thompson adding the extras to give the Owls a 7-point lead heading into the final 10 minutes.
With their backs against the wall, it was Vikings hooker James Douglas who made a massive play for the home side, stripping the ball inside the Owls 22, with the next play seeing Josiah Lealiifano crossing over untouched to keep the red and white alive.
The score once again locked up, this time at 17-all. With the full-time siren having sounded it was a desperate scramble from both sides to snatch the win, with the Vikings controlling the ball and eventually gaining an advantage.
Allowing their fullback Jack Evenden, a chance to seal an incredible win from 25 meters out on a slight angle. Evenden kicked truly and sealed the Vikings 20-17 win, handing the Owls their first loss of the season.
Words: Lachlan MacMaster
ACT PREMIER 15s
TUGGERANONG 12 def UNI-NORTHS 7
Makayla Morris and Molly Carr’s tries were enough for Tuggeranong to overcome the Uni-North Owls in a low scoring affair at Viking park. Tuggeranong remains undefeated.
GOULBURN 25 def QUEANBEYAN 0
Madyson Tooth’s double led the way as Goulburn continued their perfect start to the season.
Round Four sees Uni-Norths face Goulburn Women at 1:40 pm at ANU Field 1 while the Royals host Tuggeranong and Queanbeyan have the bye.