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West Belconnen Warriors 26 defeated Belconnen United Scholars 12

After a season they would rather forget last year, West Belconnen have kicked off their 2014 campaign in tremendous fashion by trumping local rivals and one of the competition’s powerhouses in recent years, the Belconnen United Scholars.

The Warriors finished with the wooden spoon in 2013 after failing to win a single match, however there is a new feel about the club this year with the acquisition of a new coach in Justin Giteau and several quality signings.

The new structures that Giteau has implemented, coupled with the sheer class of the club’s new signings was strongly evident in the 14 point win over the Scholars.

Throughout the pre-season there were murmurs that the Warriors would be a vastly different outfit to that of 2013 and their performance in Round 1 one a clear indication of this.

West Belconnen Warriors 26 (Isaac Hamad, Ryley Thomas, Wayne Bullock, Brad Cappello, Tino Sione tries; Zach Smith 2, Scott Jones 1 goals) def. Belconnen United Scholars 12 (Mun Mapiou, Tsai Tui tries; Lachlan Sund, Chris Thorely goals)

Queanbeyan Kangaroos 27 defeated Woden Valley Rams 20

A classy double by Queanbeyan Kangaroos five-eighth Jordan Macey has inspired the reigning premiers to an opening round win over the Woden Valley Rams.

On the back of a tough performance from the Kangaroos forward pack, Macey’s double proved to be pivotal in the win over the Rams.

Queanbeyan have retained a strong nucleus of players from the triumphant side of 2013 and will again be one of the teams to beat 2014.

One of their new recruits, Josh Mitchell, who finished up with the Raiders NYC side last year, had a busy performance and his field goal late in the second half ultimately closed the game out for the Kangaroos.

“Macey is a dynamic attacking player and he really stood up for Queanbeyan, especially in the second half,” Woden front-rower Adam Kyle said. “His two tries proved the difference.”

Despite not making many major signings over the off-season, Woden proved worthy adversaries for Queanbeyan. They trailed 12-6 at half-time before eventually falling 27-20.

Kyle believes that the Rams were best served by Raiders NYC squad member Kilu Pangai whilst Tim Crome’s 70 metre intercept was another highlight.

“Kilu had a great game and really led the way forward for us with some strong carries and bruising tackles,” Kyle said. “When the game was on the line in the second half, some of his actions really inspired the boys to lift another gear.

“It wasn’t to be in the end but we’re not too despondent as the Roos are the reigning premiers and it’s only Round 1.”

Queanbeyan Kangaroos 27 (Jordan Macey 2, Ratu Tagive, Robbie Byatt, Matt James tries; Josh Mitchell 3 goals, 1 field goal) def. Woden Valley Rams 20 (Tim Crome, Kilu Pangai, George House, Jordan Martin tries; Crome 2 goals)

Queanbeyan Blues 26 defeated Goulburn Workers Bulldogs 22

Last year’s leading try scorer Tyler Stevens has picked up from where he left off last year with a decisive double in the Queanbeyan Blues victory over the Goulburn Workers Bulldogs.

Statistically, the Blues were best team all year in 2013 however they were trumped in the Grand Final by cross-town rivals Queanbeyan Kangaroos.

Their goal this season is to avenge the pain they suffered in last year’s decider and take out the title. Whilst the Blues will no doubt be there to challenge for the title at the end of the season, they will most definitely be made to work for it judging by the closeness of all four matches in Round 1.

One of Queanbeyan’s new signings for 2014 is halfback Andy McLean, who returns to the club after stints with the North Sydney Bears and stints in rugby league and rugby union overseas.

After scoring 10 points through one try and three goals, McLean looks set to form a formidable scrum-base partnership with former Raiders NRL pivot Marc Herbert.

“I grew up playing for the Blues and it’s great to return to my junior club,” McLean said. “I won a premiership with the side here in 2008 and after hearing what happened last year and the pain that was felt by the boys, that’s obviously our goal this year, to go one better.

"Marc is a great player and I'm looking forward to seeing our combination develop over the course of the year."

The new-look Bulldogs, under the Captain-Coaching of former Raiders NRL player Mick Picker, battled bravely against the Blues and can be thoroughly pleased with their initial performance of 2014.

Goulburn has welcomed the return of the ageless Michael Dodson as well as the acquisition of former NRL flyer Michael Bani. Both players scored tries in the defeat.

Mick and his younger brother Ben Picker portrayed a potent combination around the ruck area. Ben proved particularly classy registering 10 points from one try and three goals.

Queanbeyan Blues 26 (Tyler Stevens 2, Jake Knight, Adam Misios, Andy McLean tries; McLean 3 goals def. Goulburn Workers Bulldogs 22 (Michael Bani, Michael Dodson, Ben Picker, Luke Turner tries; Ben Picker 3 goals)

Gungahlin Bulls 34 defeated Tuggeranong Bushrangers 18

Gungahlin Bulls have hit the ground running in 2014 with a comprehensive win over the Tuggeranong Bushrangers.

There’s a tremendous buzz around Gungahlin at the moment after the signing of two former NRL players – Lincoln Withers and David Howell – and the completion of a $12.5 million new home ground which the Bulls will play at next weekend.  

With Withers missing the match as he recovers from shoulder surgery, halfback Brad Woods and five-eighth Patrick O’Keefe stood up and guided the Bulls around the park with class and precision.

"We've got Lincoln to come back and he's helped those young halves out a lot over the off-season,'' Howell said. 

"They're only going to get better the more games they play, it's looking up for us.''

On the back of an error riddled first-half performance by the Bushrangers, the Bulls managed to race out to a 16-0 lead at half-time before two quick-fire tries by Tuggeranong’s Jayden Pollard and Jordan Hammond made for an exciting second half.

This was until two late tries to Hayden Pengelly and O’Keefe closed the game out for Gungahlin.

To top off the win, Dwayne Connors has  shot to the top of the point scorers list after his 18 point haul.

Gungahlin Bulls 34 (Dwayne Connors 2, Josh Ayers, Hayden Pengelly, James Ulrick, Patrick O’Keefe tries; Connors 5 goals) def. Tuggeranong Bushrangers 18 (Jayden Pollard 2, Carl Johnson, Jordan Hammond tries; Johnson 1 goal)

Acknowledgement of Country

Canberra Raiders respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.