TTM Canberra Raiders Cup: Round 11 Preview
Tuggeranong Bushrangers (6) v Belconnen United Scholars (8) on Saturday at 3:00pm at Greenway
Tuggeranong will be looking to break their five match losing streak when they take on Belconnen United at home on Saturday afternoon.
After a promising start to the year, the Bushrangers have been severely disappointing over the last month and a half.
In fact, Tuggeranong’s last victory for 2014 was against Belconnen United in Round 4 when they defeated the Scholars 24-18.
Unfortunately for the Bushrangers, they will be without the services of their Captain-Coach and star fullback Michael Brophy who is on representative duty with the Country side in Hawaii.
Whilst Tuggeranong are always hard to beat at home, they may be ripe for the picking by the Scholars if they do not aim up.
Goulburn Workers Bulldogs (3) v Queanbeyan Kangaroos (4) on Sunday at 3:00pm at Goulburn Workers Arena
These two adversaries will look to continue their surge to the top of the TTM Canberra Raiders Cup ladder when they face off at Goulburn Workers Arena on Sunday afternoon.
The encounter is set to be a cracking match, similar to the last time the Kangaroos and the Bulldogs squared off in Round 4 in which both sides shared one competition point apiece following a 28 all draw.
“That was definitely our toughest match of the year,” said Kangaroos hooker Josh Mitchell said after the match. “Goz [Queanbeyan Coach Aaron Gorrell] said after the match that it was a good reality check for us and that if we keep turning up the way we have been we won’t go well in this competition at all this year.”
Mitchell’s battle with Goulburn hooker Ben Picker will be a particular highlight in this contest. The pair played in the Raiders NYC side together and shares an intense rivalry on the field, yet a close friendship off it.
“It’s always good playing against Benny,” Mitchell said. “He’s a good mate of mine and we know a fair bit about how each other plays so it’s always a tough test.
“He had a great game the last time we played them and along with his brother Mick, provided the Bulldogs with good direction around the park. Goulburn will be hard to beat this year so it should be another tough test for us.”
Goulburn is the best attacking team in the competition, whilst Queanbeyan is ranked as the second best defensive team.
West Belconnen Warriors (2) v Queanbeyan Blues (1) on Sunday at 3:00pm at Raiders Belconnen
The top of the table clash between West Belconnen Warriors and the Queanbeyan Blues is undoubtedly the Match of the Round in the TTM Canberra Raiders Cup for Round 11.
Few, if any, would have predicted that the Warriors would be contesting in a top of the table clash at any point in 2014 after their disastrous season last year in which they finished with the wooden spoon after failing to win a single game.
But with a new found belief under Coach Justin Giteau, coupled with several high class recruits, West Belconnen has emerged as a true premiership contender this year and are arguably the form side in the competition having won their last five games on the trot.
They will head into the match against the top of the table Blues with confidence too having defeated last year’s runners up 36-26 in Round 4.
“It was a really tough game last time we played the Blues but to come away with a win over them allowed us to gain a lot of confidence,” said hooker Nic Whatman, who has seen first-hand the changes at the club after being a part of last year’s wooden spoon outfit.
“We’re full of confidence at the moment after our good run of form but we definitely won’t be taking the Blues lightly, they’re still one of the best teams in the competition and it will be a massive test for us.”
Queanbeyan is the best defensive team in the competition and Coach Simon Woolford will have his troops fired up for a big performance after their disappointing 10 all draw to Woden last round.
Woolford will have highlighted the threat of West Belconnen winger Dayne Ewings to his troops throughout the week at training.
In their last encounter, Ewings was outstanding scoring a hat-trick of tries.
“Dayne has been one of our best so far this season,” Whatman praised. “He has a great try scoring ability and I’m expecting him to have another awesome game this weekend.”
Woden Valley Rams (7) v Gungahlin Bulls (5) on Sunday at 3:00pm at Phillip
After a luckless start to the year, Woden is starting to get some results on the board following their win over Tuggeranong and draw against the top of the table Queanbeyan Blues last weekend.
They will look to continue their form this weekend when they take on Gungahlin at home and seek revenge for the 32-28 defeat the Bulls handed the Rams in Round 4.
Woden is well placed to do so given that Gungahlin will be without two of their best players in former Raiders centre David Howell and Dwayne Connors whom are both in Hawaii with the Country representative team.
Rams centre Tim Crome will be a heavily marked man by the Bulls defence on Sunday after the Canberra Region representative scored a hat-trick of tries against them in their previous encounter this year.