TTM Canberra Raiders Cup: Round 9 Wrap Up

Queanbeyan Blues (1) 30 defeated Queanbeyan Kangaroos (4) 24 at Freebody Oval

The Queanbeyan Blues have extracted revenge for the Round 2 loss to local rivals the Queanbeyan Kangaroos however the pain of last year’s Grand Final loss continues to fuel their push towards this year’s title.

The six point win has now given the Blues the outright lead on the TTM Canberra Raiders Cup ladder after nine rounds.

In what was a come-from-behind victory, the Blues trailed 18-4 after the Roos were able to cross for three tries down their rival’s left hand edge.

The Blues dug deep though and rallied to draw level at 18 points apiece at halftime.

Both sides registered a further try in the second stanza before talented centre Tom Ruediger scored the match-winning try off a set play involving halfback Ben Nicoll 10 minutes before full-time.

Ruediger, a former Australian sevens representative, finished with two tries and has been in tremendous form since switching from fullback to centre, where he believes he is most comfortable.  

“Tom's just class, he's a freak,” Blues Coach Simon Woolford said. “He's a very smart kid, defensively he comes up with the right play nine times out of 10, and has speed and raw ability.”

Along with his praise of Ruediger, Woolford also applauded the character of his side to come back from the 18-4 deficit.

Admittedly the Roos were down on key personnel with the side missing tough forwards Matt Lewis to a broken jaw and Richard Kelly with a hamstring injury, however winger Ratu Tagive said the team refused to use that as an excuse .

Queanbeyan Blues 30 (Tom Ruediger 2, Tyler Stevens, Leu Saipani, Levi Freeman tries; Levi Freeman 5 goals) defeated Queanbeyan Kangaroos 24

Woden Valley Rams (7) 33 defeated Tuggeranong Bushrangers (6) 18 at Phillip District Oval

Woden has registered their second win of the year and erased a painful memory in the process following a 33-18 defeat of Tuggeranong at home.

Despite their standing on the TTM Canberra Raiders Cup ladder, the Rams have been thoroughly competitive this year as portrayed by the fact that they have lost six of their seven losses for the year by 10 points or less.

The loss not included in that figure was the Round 2 thrashing by the Bushrangers in which the Rams left the field after 80 minutes with a score line that read 42-6.

“That was by far our worst performance of the year,” Rams prop Adam Kyle said. “It was an extremely disappointing performance from us after a promising opening match of the season.

“It was very pleasing to be able to turn that result around. Looking at recent results we have been really close to winning games, but have lost composure at key points. The boys really stuck together on the weekend and the result now gives us something to build on for the next few weeks."

The victory was built on a dominant first half display in which the Rams forward pack laid a supreme platform over the Bushrangers counterparts.

“Our forwards really set a good platform for us early,” Kyle said. “We talked a lot during the week about matching them around the middle and giving ourselves an opportunity to shift the ball around.

“Tom Pratt on debut was a handful and ended up picking up our player’s player award. He played in the middle and worked tirelessly. Tim Crome was then able to dominate at centre due to the good work done by the forwards."

Crome ended up scoring a double and kicking four goals.

 Woden Valley Rams 33 (Tim Crome 2, Jordan Martin, Jeff Morgan, Josh Burns, Adam Kyle tries; Tim Crome 4 goals, 1 field goal) defeated Tuggeranong Bushrangers 18 (Mitch McAppion 2, Nathan Miles tries; Carl Johnson 3 goals)

West Belconnen Warriors (2) 42 defeated Gungahlin Bulls (5) 24 at Raiders Belconnen

West Belconnen have continued their resurgence in the TTM Canberra Raiders Cup by registering their sixth win in a row after defeating Gungahlin 42-24 at home.

Having lost every game last year by an average of over 37 points to claim the wooden spoon, the Warriors are now second on the table and have proved themselves to be potential title contenders after beating both of last year’s Grand Finalists.

The Bulls opened the scoring through prop forward Hayden Pengelly however the Warriors responded with three consecutive tries to take a lead of 16-6 into the sheds at half-time.

West Belconnen then closed the game out in the second stanza despite a more improved 40 minute performance from the Bulls.

Gungahlin skipper Josh Ayers believes West Belconnen are genuine title contenders and also declared that his side still aims to make the finals despite currently being four points outside the top four.  

“Absolutely. They've added a few blokes and they've improved tenfold to what they were last year. They're playing smart footy to their strengths with a great forward pack,” Ayers said. 

West Belconnen 42 (Dayne Ewing 2, Ricky Fulivai 2, Ryan McQueen, Naseri Naseri, Scott Jones, Oliver Powell tries; Jones 5 goals) defeated Gungahlin Bulls 24 ( Hayden Pengilly, Dwayne Connors, David Howell, Lincoln Withers tries; Connors 4 goals); 

Goulburn Workers Bulldogs (3) 48 defeated Belconnen United Scholars (8) 18 at Goulburn Workers Arena

Goulburn flexed their muscles in front of a parochial home crowd to trounce the hapless Belconnen United Scholars by 30 points.

Although the Scholars battled bravely, the Bulldogs were simply far too superior in every facet of play, particularly attack.

Goulburn is statistically the best attacking team in the competition and it’s not hard to see why.

With the footballing intellect of the Picker brothers, Ben and Mick, controlling proceedings around the ruck area the likes of former NRL flyer Michael Bani and blockbusting centre Nathan Chappell are able to run riot in the backline.

Bani, Chappell and Ben Picker all registered doubles in the nine tries to three victory with Picker’s six goals giving the crafty hooker a personal points haul of 20 points.

Goulburn now moves to third place on the competition ladder while Belconnen United continues to occupy the bottom of the ladder.

Goulburn Workers Bulldogs 48 (Michael Bani 2, Nathan Chappell 2, Ben Picker 2, Codie Medway, Michael Picker, Jason Wells, B Picker 6 goals) defeated Belconnen United Scholars 18 (Dan Papali'i Scanlan, Mitchell Shaw, Ryan Jackson tries; Lachlan Sund 3 goals).