TTM Canberra Raiders Cup: Round 13 Preview
Queanbeyan Kangaroos (2) v Gungahlin Bulls (6) on Saturday at 3:00pm at Freebody Oval
Situated just one point behind cross-town rivals the Queanbeyan Blues on the ladder, defending premiers the Queanbeyan Kangaroos will look to defeat Gungahlin this Saturday to keep on track for the race for the Minor Premiership.
Star five-eighth Jordan Macey believes that finishing with the Minor Premiership or at the very least securing second place will significantly boost their chances of going back-to-back in 2014.
“We definitely want win our final two games of the regular season to finish in the top two spots leading into the semi-finals,” Macey said.
“I think it would be pretty hard to win the comp from third or fourth spot so that’s something that we really want to do.”
Whilst Gungahlin is out of the running for the semi-finals fullback Michael Mackenzie said that the side wants to finish the year with two wins from their last two matches to build towards 2015.
“It’s disappointing coming into the final two games of the season and knowing that you’re not able to make the semi-finals but we turn up to win every weekend and that won’t change on Saturday against the Roos,” Mackenzie said.
“The Roos are in the running to win the comp this year so to finish the year with a win over them will allow us to finish on a high and go into the pre-season with hopefully the same roster and full of confidence.
“To do so we’ll have to shut down their key players such as Macey.”
Queanbeyan defeated Gungahlin 38-22 in Round 6 and although the Bulls are looking to avoid their fifth straight loss, Macey believes they are still capable of an upset.
“On their day, they’re one of the best teams in the competition,” said Macey, who scored a double in their last encounter. “They’ve got two players with NRL experience and two players who went away to Hawaii with the Country representative side. We’ll have to be on our game on Saturday.”
Woden Valley Rams (7) v West Belconnen Warriors (4) on Saturday at 3:00pm at Phillip District Oval
With semi-finals out of their reach, Woden will look to seek revenge against West Belconnen for ruining club stalwart Josh Burns’ 150th club match back in Round 6.
The Rams looked certain to celebrate Burns’ milestone in the fitting fashion until Warriors five-eighth Bobby Roberts engineered a late try to level scores and then kicked the pivotal field goal to snare victory 21-20.
“It was very tough to swallow,” said Woden Coach Cameron Hardy of the loss. “We've been our own worst enemy at times this year but that match was up for grabs the whole time and if we had have cut out the mistakes we would have been sweet.”
West Belconnen are coming off a tough 28-16 loss to Goulburn last weekend and will look to build their form leading into the semi-finals with a win over the Rams this Saturday, given that they are assured of a spot in the top four.
Queanbeyan Blues (1) v Belconnen United Scholars (8) on Saturday at Seiffert Oval
With mounting pressure from local rivals the Kangaroos, the Queanbeyan Blues will look to retain their place atop of the TTM Canberra Raiders Cup ladder, and keep on track for the Minor Premiership with a win overs Belconnen United at home on Saturday.
As mentioned earlier, the Blues are just one point below the Roos on the ladder and cannot afford to drop either of their remainnig two matches if they are to secure the Minor Premiership just as they did last year.
The Scholars are sitting at the bottom of the ladder after a disappointing season however if they are to win both of their last two games, and Woden are to lose theirs, they will be able to climb up from eighth place.
Belconnen United will be hard pressed to do so however given that they were thrashed by Queanbeyan 44-6 in Round 6 and the fact that the Blues have the best defensive record in the competition.
Goulburn Workers Bulldogs (4) v Tuggeranong Bushrangers (5) on Sunday at Goulburn Workers Arena
After defeating fellow semi-final contenders West Belconnen last week 28-16, Goulburn will look to continue this form against Tuggeranong on Sunday at home as the Bulldogs look to rise for a crack at the premiership.
Goulburn remain the best attacking team in the competition statistically with 356 points scored in their 12 matches this year and on their day can tear apart every team in the TTM Canberra Raiders Cup.
Whilst pleased with the attacking ability of his side, Bulldogs Captain-Coach Mick Picker still believes they need to harden their resolve leading into the business end of the season.
“We need to ensure that we don’t take our foot off the accelerator once we get ahead on the scoreboard during matches, especially against the best teams,” Picker said.
“We can get into the grind, but we need to win that arm wrestle. That’s what the good teams do and that’s what wins premierships.”
Goulburn thrashed Tuggeranong 40-10 in Round 6 with Tim Turner scoring a hat-trick of tries.
Tuggeranong is unable to make the semi-finals however they want to finish the year on the best possible note with two wins from their last two matches.
“We go out to win every game and that won’t change just because we can’t make the semi’s,” Bushrangers Captain-Coach Michael Brophy said. “We’ll be playing to win, there’s no doubt about that."