TTM Canberra Raiders Cup: Minor Semi-Final Preview

Goulburn Workers Bulldogs (3) v West Belconnen Warriors (4) on Sunday at 3:00pm at Goulburn Workers Arena

Well its business time now in the TTM Canberra Raiders Cup and for either Goulburn or West Belconnen, this Sunday could  spell either the end of their 2014 campaign or another step on the road to premiership glory.

After finishing last season with the wooden spoon having failed to win a single game, it is a remarkable accomplishment in itself for the Warriors to have even qualified for the semi-finals.

Rather than rest on their laurels though, West Belconnen, under the new regime of Coach Justine Giteau, are aiming to further their assault on the premiership with a win over Goulburn on Sunday.

“It’s been a good achievement for us to make it through to the semi-finals but in saying that we set our goal at the start of the year to make the semi-finals and now that we’re here we don’t want to just be making up the numbers,” said Warriors fullback Joe Cramp, who was a part of last year’s wooden spoon outfit.

West Belconnen have been eye-catchingly impressive this season however their performances over the past four weeks, in which they have lost every single encounter, isn’t the best preparation leading into the semi-finals.

“The last four weeks have been very disappointing for us,” Cramp said. “We knew we were going to qualify for the semi-finals four weeks ago and we wanted to push on to finish in the top two to give ourselves a second chance in the finals but we let ourselves down and that’s not to be now.

“It’s not the best preparation leading into the finals but the last loss to the Roos we were very competitive and have regained a bit of form. We’ll be looking to take that form into this week against Goulburn. It’s a new competition now and we’ve got plenty to play for.”

Goulburn Captain-Coach Mick Picker has previously expressed how much his side had been counting down the days until the semi-finals commenced given that they were already guaranteed a spot in the semi-finals.

Whilst their form hasn’t been outstanding leading into the Minor-Semi-Final, they will enter the clash on the back of three wins from their last three encounters.  

 As well as heading into the contest with the advantage of a parochial home crowd, the Bulldogs will also head into the match with confidence knowing that they defeated the Warriors 28-16 in their last match in Round 12.

“Goulburn are a good side; that’s why they finished third on the ladder,” Cramp said. “They’ve got quality players throughout their team like Michael Bani at fullback and are led around the team well by the Picker brothers.

“It will be a big test for us and although we lost to them in Round 12, we did manage to draw 30 all with them earlier on in the year. We’ll be aiming to go one better this time around.”