TTM Canberra Raiders Cup: Round 3 Wrap Up

Queanbeyan Kangaroos (1) 36 defeated Belconnen United Scholars (7) 18 at Freebody Oval

A stern word by Queanbeyan Coach Aaron Gorrell to five-eighth Jordan Macey at half-time has inspired the star playmaker to lead the Kangaroos to an 18 point victory over arch rivals the Belconnen United Scholars.

The inspired defeat of the Scholars now sees the Kangaroos, last year’s premiers, sitting atop of the TTM Canberra Raiders Cup after three competition rounds.

Although the Kangaroos were up by 10 points at the half-time break Gorrell wasn’t thrilled with Macey’s performance in the first half and declared that the attacking dynamo must lift his input in the second stanza if his side is to play to their full potential.

Despite the spray by Gorrell to his talented troops, the Scholars started the better of the two sides in the second half when five-eighth Chris Thorely grubbered inside for fullback Chris Faaee to score.

In the lead up to the match, Scholars forward Luke Ashlin nominated new Kangaroos hooker Josh Mitchell as a player that they must keep a close eye on and the former Raiders NYC player proved why when he kicked a classy 40/20 out of dummy half following Thorely's try.

Mitchell’s 40/20, followed by his try from the ensuing set, swung the momentum back in favour of the home side.

From here, Macey stamped his class on the match with a hat-trick of tries.

Macey scored the first two from grubber kicks for himself and completed the hat-trick when he was on the receiving end of a well worked run-around play.

“Goz [Gorrell] had a chat to me at half-time and told me to lift my game,” Macey said. “After that I thought I should come up with a couple of plays and help the boys out.”

Despite his starring role, Macey praised Mitchell's kick and subsequent try as the key plays of the match. 

“I thought that was the turning point,” Macey revealed. “Up until then everyone was waiting for someone to do something. That was the play that lifted us and it turned the game.”

Whilst also acknowledging the play from Mitchell, Thorely, one of his side’s best in the defeat, was full of praise for Macey.

"We came out all guns blazing in the second half but he [Macey] really stepped up and showed us how to play footy,” Thorely said. “When you're trying to get out of a deficit and start throwing the ball around, sometimes it comes off and sometimes it doesn't. They were good enough to capitalise on our errors and score some tries.”

The loss now sees the Scholars, the 2012 premiers, winless after three rounds. Despite this, Thorely remains optimistic.

“It's just around the corner, we're not here to be the easy beats of the competition,” Thorely said. 

“We know what it's like to win and what it takes. We're just trying to find it within ourselves at the moment and I feel it’s coming.”

Queanbeyan Kangaroos 36 (no details available) defeated Belconnen United Scholars 18 (Mitch Shaw, Chris Faaee, Tsai Tui tries; Chris Thorley 3 goals)

Goulburn Workers Bulldogs (4) 50 defeated Gungahlin Bulls (3) 26 at Goulburn Workers Arena

Gungahlin’s undefeated start to the year has come to an abrupt halt after Goulburn triumphed over the Round 2 ladder-leaders 50-26 in front of an enthusiastic home crowd.

On the back of a four try effort from blockbusting winger Junior Vatikani, the Bulldogs ran riot over the Bulls in a 10-tries-to-5 demolition.

Goulburn’s attack was vastly improved from their previous two outings with Nathan Chappell and Tim Turner also chipping in with two tries apiece

The margin could have been far greater had Goulburn hooker Ben Picker not had an off day with the boot slotting only five goals from his 10 attempts.

Nonetheless the former Raiders NYC star was a constant threat against Gungahlin’s ruck defence.

The Bulls battled bravely against the Bulldogs however the home side was far too strong on the day. The loss sees Gungahlin drop from first place on the ladder to third.

Goulburn Workers Bulldogs 50 (Junior Vatikani 4, Nathan Chappell 2, Tim Turner 2, Michael Bani, Codie Medway tries; Ben Picker 5 goals) defeated Gungahlin Bulls 26 (Dwayne Connors, David Howell, James Ulrick, Josh Ayers, Jordain Fidow-Kele tries; Aidan Greenwood 3 goals

Queanbeyan Blues (5) 28 defeated Woden Valley Rams (8) 22 at Phillip District Oval

Woden’s winless start the year has continued with last year’s runners up, the Queanbeyan Blues, prevailing over the Rams by six points.

Despite the defeat there were plenty of positives to come out of the match for the luckless Rams.

The Blues are one of the competition’s powerhouses and the Rams pushed them right until the 80th minute in what was an extremely tightly fought encounter.

Woden started the match particularly well with the Blues only narrowly ahead at halftime 12-10.

The effort in the second stanza was just as impressive for the Rams however the direction and talent of Queanbeyan’s outstanding halves combination of Adam McLean and Marc Herbert eventually saw the side home.

 Although he was bitterly disappointing me be zero from three, experienced front-rower Adam Kyle was thoroughly proud of the side’s spirited performance.

“We are very disappointed to have started without a win so far this season but what's been really positive is that the boy’s effort in all three games has been really good,” Kyle said. “We have a really young first-grade side and at times we just lack the composure that we need to compete against the top sides.

“The Blues halves combination of McLean and Herbert played really well and guided their team around the park effectively while we were best served by Charlie Hallam and Josh Burns who were creative around the middle for us.”

Queanbeyan Blues 28 (Levi Freeman, Aaron McInnes, Marc Herbert, Leu Saipani, Tom Ruediger tries; Andy McLean 2, Herbert 2 goals) defeated Woden Valley Rams 22 (Tim Crome, George House, Josh Burns, Jordan Martin tries; Crome 3 goals)

Tuggeranong Bushrangers (2) 38 defeated West Belconnen Warriors (6) 18 at Raiders Belconnen

A stellar hat-trick from Tuggeranong centre Alex Tuolo was the highlight in a comprehensive win by the Bushrangers over the West Belconnen Warriors.

After a win-less and admittedly embarrassing year in 2013, the Warriors started the 2014 season in tremendous fashion by trumping local rivals the Belconnen United Scholars in the opening round.

Despite showing glimpses of their undoubted potential to be a class rugby league side, unforced errors proved to again be their downfall as the Bushrangers handed the Warriors their second loss in as many weeks.

Schoolboy errors by the home side essentially delivered Tuggeranong a 22-0 lead after 30 minutes however West Belconnen proved what they could do with the football when they complete their sets by registering two tries in the final 10 minutes of the first half to diminish the Bushrangers’ lead to 22-12 at half-time.

When centre Tino Sione crossed early in the second half, the Warriors looked set for an unlikely comeback however the Bushrangers’ class and potency on the edges, namely through Tuolo, allowed the side to close the match out by 20 points.

Despite the loss, new coach Justin Giteau was pleased with the side’s effort and remains optimistic about the year ahead.

“I told the boys you can't win football games if you can't work for a kick and complete sets, that's all it came down to,” Giteau said. “We held the ball twice down their end in the first half and scored two tries, then we went back to how we started. 

“It's a work in progress, it's going to come, and I was happy with the effort. I can't fault them because of that, the execution is going to take a while.

“Both our halves are kids. It's going to take time for them to learn how to play and you don't have to win a game in 20 minutes.”

The victory by the Bushrangers sees them sitting at second place on the ladder after three rounds.

Tuggeranong Bushrangers 38 (Alex Tuolo 3, Jayden Pollard 2, Brendan Brophy, Mitch McAppion tries; Carl Johnson 4, Pete Demamial goals) defeated West Belconnen Warriors 18 (Ryan McQueen, Tino Sione, Joe Cramp tries; Scott Jones 3 goals)