The Callida Consulting John I Dent Cup and Premier 15’s competitions continue to deliver thrilling footy on a weekly basis as we cross the halfway mark of their seasons. Catch up on all the action from the weekend right here!
Tuggeranong Vikings 36 Def Uni-Norths Owls 10
Round 8 of the Callida Consulting John I Dent Cup saw the ladder leading Tuggeranong Vikings dismantle the second place Uni-Norths at Viking Park.
A 36-10 domination by the home side sees them move seven points ahead of the second place Owls and sitting comfortably on top of the table halfway through the season.
It was the underdog Owls who drew first blood with an early penalty allowing the lethal Jordan Thompson to give the Owls an early 3-0 advantage.
The lead however didn’t last long with Thomas Watego crossing over after their lineout play was executed to perfection with the ball finding Thomas Hooper down the short side before Hooper found Watego with a pass back on the inside which saw the flanker crash over and the following conversion attempt unsuccessful.
It didn’t take Vikings long to cross over for their second of the afternoon, with a flick pass from Nigel Ah Wong finding Michael Oakman-Hunt out wide who polished off the play by steam rolling through the Owls cover defence to give the Vikings a 10-3 lead.
With neither side able to crack the opposition defence it was the Vikings with a 7-point advantage heading into the sheds.
Vikings fans couldn’t have asked for a better start to the second half with Watego burrowing over from close range for his second try of the afternoon and firmly placing Vikings in the box seat with a 17-3 lead.
With nothing going for the Owls, a yellow card to Vikings second rower Thomas Hooper was just the let off the away side needed to slow down the home sides’ momentum.
The Owls were unable to take advantage of the 14-man Vikings but when Hooper returned it was the turn to tick the scoreboard over with Samuel Mickelson forcing his way over from close range to get his side within striking distance.
But the momentum shift didn’t last long with Seamus Smith taking advantage of a quick tap deep in enemy territory and beating several defenders to cross over and once again push the Vikings out to a comfortable two try gap.
A strong Vikings maul all but sealed another win for the home side, with James Douglas the beneficiary of the dominant maul and the Vikings pushing the lead out to 19 with 5 minutes to play.
With fulltime nearing, Owl’s fullback Callum Frawley Richardson was sent to the bin, gifting another chance for the Vikings in which Thomas Hooper didn’t disappoint, finding his way over from a lineout play and sealing a 36-10 win for the home side.
Words: Lachlan MacMaster
Queanbeyan Whites 36 Def Gungahlin Eagles 27
The Gungahlin Eagles have fallen by 9-points to the Queanbeyan Whites in a back-and-forth thriller that saw six lead changes on a cold, windy day at Nicholls Enclosed Oval.
With both sides running in five tries each, it was only the boot of the Whites fly half Liam Richman who separated the teams, as he landed four of five conversion and a penalty goal in difficult conditions to the Eagles solitary conversion.
Winger Corey Toole got the scoring started for the Eagles, dotting down in the left-hand corner following a sustained period of attacking ball for the home side.
Despite the Eagles strong opening stanza, it was the Whites who began to make the most of their opportunities, with Oliver Efkarpidis and Reece Tapine crossing in quick succession, with Liam Richman adding the extras on both occasions to give the visitors a 14-5 lead.
Five minutes later and the Eagles struck back when a beautifully weighted kick from Issak Fines-Leleiwasa found Toole for his second of the match, reducing the margin to four points.
The Eagles continued to apply pressure on the Whites defensive line, and as the penalty count grew, it was only a matter of time before they were in again, this time Kaleveti Kunatuba scoring off the back of a strong Eagles scrum five meters out from the Whites defensive line. Tough windy conditions continued to make kicking difficult with the third straight Eagles conversion missing the mark as the Eagles regained the lead by one point as the sides retired to the sheds for half time.
The Whites got the second half started with a bang, with Centre Brendan Jimenez getting on the end of a perfectly weighted kick to put his side ahead 21-15 after just three minutes.
The Eagles would respond once again with Kunatuba finishing off a lovely broken play counterattack for the Eagles following a Whites clearance that failed to find touch for his second of the game to give the Eagles a 22-21 lead after their only successful conversion of the game.
Minutes later and the home side would extend their lead further, with hooker Connor Jones burrowing over from close range to give the Eagles a 27-21 lead with just over 15 minutes of play left in the match.
However, that would be the final scoring contribution to the match for the Eagles as the Whites ran in two more five pointers courtesy of flanker Jed Stuart and scrum half Mitchel Douch and a penalty goal that saw them eventually end the match as nine-point winners.
Speaking after the match Gungahlin Eagles assistant coach Glenn Carey discussed his squad’s depth and areas of focus heading into next week.
“As a squad we're just getting stronger, we get more guys that are getting you a taste for first grade, we had another two debutantes today and another one off the bench so we're building a squad that's capable of going out and playing first grade on any given week so that's probably the big positive which made the last couple of weeks” Carey said
“We were disappointed with that result; they beat us quite convincingly in the ruck and we know that Uni-Norths are also very strong in that department as well so that’s something we will really work on during the week”
When asked about the impact of returning Brumbies squad members Issak Fines-Leleiwasa and Tom Ross, Carey was full of praise.
“Just having them around and just actually having them keen to play footy for our club is fantastic and all the guys that we've had particularly in the last few years have been really keen to play when they get their opportunities” Carey Said.
“Finesy in particular and Tom Ross being Darra boy and just happy to be here is great. If we get anyone else with, excellent, it just builds strength within our club”
Words: Jesse Kemp-Segedin
Wests Lions 31 Def Canberra Royals 21
The Wests Lions have taken the first step to correcting their recent form slump, dispatching of a valiant Canberra Royals outfit 31-21 in a thrilling clash at Jamison Enclosed Oval in round eight of the Callida Consulting John I Dent Cup competition.
The Lions had gone winless since they last faced the Royals in round three and were looking to bounce back from their heavy defeat at the hands of the Vikings last start and push for their place in the top four.
The reigning champion Royals were still searching for their first win of the season when they travelled to the Lion’s den and showed plenty of promise on both sides of the ball but once again fell short at the final hurdle.
The Royals showed their intent early as they got off to a strong start as they built pressure inside the home side’s half and made them pay as a short ball to their centre saw him barge his way over for the first try of the day.
The Lions were not to be out done in front of their home fans and hit back shortly after when the ball came down the short side from a maul close to the Royals line and winger Piliu Tavake stepped off his left foot and found himself with a clear run to the try line.
Royal’s scrumhalf Thomas Hallam took the chance to extend his sides lead to 10-5 with a penalty goal in the 24th minute and that is where the scores would remain for the rest of the first half.
The Lions were looking for a strong start to the second half and found it through Brumby Harry Lloyd as he received an offload and spun out of a tackle close to the try line and dived over giving his side a 12-10 lead after a successful conversion from Darcy Eason.
The Royals would hit back shortly afterwards when Thomas Hallam made the most of two penalty goal opportunities to return the Royals the lead at 16-12.
A crunching hit from Lion’s centre Liae Tuilagi saw the Royals turn the ball over with the Lions pouncing on the opportunity to race down field before Jerih Tiumalu crashed over the line a few phases later to again restore the home sides lead.
The Lions were at it again from the ensuing kick-off as their Brumbies contingents made themselves felt when a Lachie Albert box kick held up in the wind for fellow Brumby Luke Reimer who spun out of the tackle attempt and beat two more defenders before sending winger Deon Evans-Ao flying down field to push the lead out to 24-16.
The Royals refused to lay down and when outside centre Paotonu Luteru found his way to the try line in the dying stages the game and the scene was set for a grandstand finish with the scores 24-21 with ten minutes to play.
A missed penalty goal attempt from the Lions could’ve been costly as the away side was coming home strong but it would be the Lions who would have the last say on the scoreboard when substitute Timoci Naivaluwaqa found his way over the line to seal the victory for the home side.
While his side’s execution on the day may have left a bit to be desired, coach Adam Butt said that he was impressed by the spirit and energy shown by his side.
“It’s really pleasing to see them get around each other and have that enthusiasm for the whole game” Butt said.
“It makes a big difference to the efforts on the field to know that if you’re going forward that the boys are going with you.”
Butt also had plenty of praise for the way his side closed the game out with the Royals threatening right up until the end.
“We’ve had a few close ones this year and I’m just really glad that we stepped up and managed to put it away.”
The victory sees the Lions move up into third on the ladder, leapfrogging the Eagles while another loss sees the Royals still struggling to get off the mark this season.
Words: Mathew Williams
Uni-North’s 20 Def Tuggeranong 7
Uni-Norths showed why they sit comfortably at the top of the table as they run in four tries to one in their victory over the fourth placed Vikings. Scrumhalf Georgia Combes and flyhalf Paremo Gallagher are usually setting up tries for their teammates, but both got over for their own this week.
Queanbeyan 13 Def Goulburn 5
Queanbeyan are sitting at the bottom of the table at the moment but are looking to start climbing after they defeated third place Goulburn in the curtain raiser to the Super W match played at Seiffert Oval.