This weekend’s fixtures in the Callida Consulting John I Dent Cup saw two games come right down to the wire between the top four sides while Queanbeyan continued their charge up the table.
Catch up on all the action right here!
Gage Roads Game of the Week - Wests Lions 31 Def Uni-Norths Owls 29
A down to the wire affair has ended in heartbreak for the Uni-Norths Owls as they suffered a 31-29 loss at the hands of the Wests Lions in Round 10 of the Callida Consulting John I Dent Cup at ANU North Oval.
After back-to-back losses, the Owls now sit only two points clear of the Lions in second position heading into the final third of the competition while the Lions have now won two on the trot and will look to keep up this good form.
Determined to bounce back from a disappointing result last week against the Vikings, it was the Owls who crossed over for the first points, with lock Joshua Vainikolo crashing over to give the Owls an early 7-0 advantage.
It didn’t take long for the Lions to hit back, after a knock-on from the home side gifted Wests with their first opportunity of the afternoon through Pilu Tavake, with the winger crossing over after a Declan Meredith cut out ball caught the Owls defence off guard. Meredith was then unable to convert the extras and Owls lead 7-5.
Some ill-discipline from Wests gave Jordan Thompson a chance to take the lead back out to 5 points, he made no mistake giving the Owls a 5-point lead after a back and forth first 15 minutes of play.
But again, the Owls lead was short lived, with Wests Flyhalf Darcy Eason able to fight his way over the try line to lock the scores at 10 apiece.
Just minutes later the Owls crossed over for their second try of the afternoon through winger Byron Hollingworth, with the ball movement from the Owls causing the Wests backline all sorts of problems and giving the Owls a 15-10 lead.
It was the Owls who finally put some distance between to two sides, with Prop Andrew Whittle burrowing his way over right next to the posts, to give the Owls side the biggest lead of the afternoon at 12 points and that’s where the scores would stay as the sides hit the sheds at halftime.
With halftime in the books, it was a rampaging run from winger Pilu Tavake as he crossed for his second for the afternoon that gave his side the spark that they were looking for coming out of the halftime break, with Meredith able to close the gap to 5 points.
Declan Meredith once again proved his class with a grubber kick finding Deon Evans-Ao who was able to ground the ball for another Wests try and once again lock the scores up before Meredith added the extras to give Wests a 2-point buffer and their first lead of the afternoon.
With Wests on the front foot, it was a brain lapse from lock Shammah Tiumalu that saw him red carded, giving the Owls a massive advantage heading into the final stages of the game and the task would become even harder for Wests just minutes later when flanker Mitchell Tye would join Tiumalu on the sideline with a yellow card.
With a two-man advantage, it didn’t take long for the Owls to find the try line, with Andrew Whittle crossing for his second try of the afternoon and again put the Owls back in front by 5 points.
With the home side firmly on the front foot and building momentum, a Samuel Thomas yellow card for a high tackle would give Wests a sniff of victory.
With just 3 minutes left on the clock and applying immense pressure on the Owls defence, it was Jireh Tiumalu who crossed over for Wests underneath the black dot to draw the sides level before Meredith kicked the extras to give his side a two point lead in the dying stages and cap off a remarkable away win for the Lions.
Words: Lachlan MacMaster
Queanbeyan Whites 22 Def Canberra Royals 5
The Queanbeyan Whites have held the Canberra Royals to just five total points in their round 10 clash at home this Saturday afternoon, with the visiting defending champions falling to an unimaginable 0-10 record.
The Whites got started early with number eight Justin Sikimeti profiting off the back off a scrum five meters out and Liam Richman adding the extras as the home side took an early 7-0 lead.
Minutes later the Royals appeared to be working their way into the contest, some good attacking ball inside their forward 22 looking promising before an errant pass saw White’s fullback Tony Alofipo go the length of the field for a brilliant intercept try that extended the home sides advantage to twelve points.
A brilliant restart from the Royals saw them regather the kick-off and put immediate pressure on the Whites defensive line, with Hooker Ethan Rokoura muscling his way over for the Royals five points of the afternoon.
The remainder of the first half saw most of the play in the middle of the park, with both sides defending well when needed with the halftime score remaining at 12-5 as the sides retired to the sheds.
The Whites started the second half much like the first, with quick points, with winger Junior Tupou scoring in the right-hand corner following some lovely passing from the backline but Richman’s kick fell short of the posts as the home side extended their lead to twelve points.
The Royals squandered several promising attacking opportunities before a build-up of penalties against them saw prop Te Puia Luteru sent to the bin for 10-minutes following a scrum infringement in the 62nd minute of play.
The home side almost sealed the game in spectacular fashion, with outside-centre Brendan Jimenez slicing through the Royals defence off the back of a scrum inside their own half before a brilliant try-saving ankle tap from the Royals inside-Centre Harry Quinlan put a stop to the devastating run with the play eventually ending with the ball held up over the line.
However, it wouldn’t be enough to hold the home side out, as the resulting scrum saw the ball moved out to the left with White’s substitute Isaac Seeto dotting down for the final points of the match, a 22-5 victory for the home side.
The Whites will be looking to continue their good run of form into the final five matches of the season, having won four of their last six after starting the season 0-3, and they will come up against the ladder leading Tuggeranong Vikings next week at 3 pm at Campese Field; Taylor Park.
The defending champion Royals have failed to register a win through the opening two-thirds of the competition and will be looking to turn their misfortune around as they play host to the Uni-North Owls next week at 3 pm at Phillip Oval.
Words: Jesse Kemp-Segedin
Gungahlin Eagles 36 Def Tuggeranong Vikings 26
There was no doubt this weekend's match between Gungahlin Eagles and Tuggeranong Vikings was going to be a close game given the on-field rivalry that has developed between the two teams as well as both the Warcaba Cup and Hitchcock Shield up for grabs.
It would be the Eagles who come out on top on the day as a 36-26 victory saw the home side lose the Cup for the third time in its history as well as the Shield for the first time since 2019 in what was a thrilling, see-sawing affair.
The Eagles came out strong early and proved that they were here to play with a cut-out ball to winger Jamie Mazzarol-Kotz giving the away side the first points of the afternoon.
Vikings were quick to show the Eagles they were just as hungry, with a strong run from winger Joshua Southwell-Knobs putting Vikings in a prime position before fullback Kichie Navuso picked up the ball close to the line and a strong push from teammates saw Navuso get the ball down for Vikings first try of the game.
As play continued, a line out saw the Eagles gain possession of the ball in the Vikings 22, with a strong push from the maul got the away side within inches of the tryline before a sweet pass from scrumhalf Issak Fines-Leleiwasa to Tamati Loane sent number 8 crashing over for a try to put the Eagles in front once again.
The Vikings refused to let the Eagles get away from them as they built pressure close to the Gungahlin line before prop Sione Mau took a quick scoot close to the line and forced his way over to score the next try in what was building into a tense game as the Vikings would take a 14-10 lead.
The Eagles replied quickly with Fines again passing a neat ball to teammate Brendon Taueki sending him over for a try on half time, with a successful conversion from Tom Haddad bringing the score to 14-17.
With the Eagles in front at half time, and no signs of either team slowing down the game was still anyone's to be won.
With both teams coming out refreshed and firing after half time, the Vikings would have the first opportunity of the second half on the back of a solid run from Andrew Robinson after teammate Brendan Le Galludec took an intercept which put Vikings in a prime position to score, however Eagles defence proved too strong keeping Vikings out.
After their strong play without the ball, it was Eagles who would get the first points in the second half, with Mazzarol-Kotz going over off the back of Fines finding him the perfect gap, to get his second try of the game.
Vikings replied through Joshua Southwell-Nobbs as fullback Kichie Navuso drifted across field, breaking through a couple of tackles before hitting his winger in space with Southwell-Nobbs speeding over for a try in the corner, bringing the score to 24-19 with Eagles still in front.
Vikings continued to threaten in attack, scoring a try off the back of a scrum where Seamus Smith made a small break then passed off to Navuso who dived over for his second try of the game and put the Vikings in front 26-24 with 12 to play to set up the grandstand finish.
With the game hanging in the balance, a strong push in the scrum saw Tamati Loane grab his second try of the afternoon with a successful conversion from Tom Haddad returning the Eagles the lead 31-26.
The Eagles would cap off the day with a sensational length of the field run from the competitions leading try scorer Corey Toole, who found himself with plenty of room as he beat a number of defenders on his way down the field before he drew the final defender and found his centre partner Tom Haddad to cross over and seal the victory for the away side.
The Vikings refused to give up in the dying stages of the match and were pushing for another try but the Eagles defence held firm and the away side left Viking Park 36-26 victors and handed the Vikings just their second loss of the season.
Words: Michaela Foster
Tuggeranong 5 Draw Goulburn 5
A hard-fought battle between these two sides saw neither team able to gain any sort of dominance, with both running in a single try as their only scores for the day.
Royals 22 Def Queanbeyan 17
Royals centre Bianca Francis scored a double on the way to her sides way to a 22-17 victory when they travelled out to Queanbeyan.