TTM Canberra Raiders Cup: Goulburn through to the Grand Final
Goulburn Workers Bulldogs 32 defeated Queanbeyan Kangaroos 24 at Seiffert Oval
Goulburn Workers Bulldogs have secured a place in the 2014 TTM Canberra Raiders Cup Grand Final after toppling defending premiers the Queanbeyan Kangaroos 32-24 at Seiffert Oval.
With Goulburn juniors Jarrod Croker and Mitch Cornish watching on in the stands, the Bulldogs led from start to finish as they booked themselves into their first Grand Final since 2009, whilst the Kangaroos bowed out of the finals with successive losses.
Inspired by a two try performance by evergreen 38 year old prop forward Michael Dodson, the Goulburn forward pack dominated the finals-hardened Roos pack which enabled the Picker brothers – Ben at hooker and Mick at five-eighth – to steer the side home.
“There wouldn't be anyone else who puts the hours into themselves like 'Doddo' does,” Captain-Coach Mick Picker praised. “He's up at five in the morning at the gym and on the field he's winding back the clock.”
“He's said he's going to retire every year I've been here, but he's one of the class players of the competition and he showed it a couple of years ago winning the medal. He's their standout in the forward pack,” added Queanbeyan Captain-Coach Aaron Gorrell, right after joking that he received “an invite to his 50th last year.”
After a colossal opening forty minutes by Dodson and the rest of the forwards, the Bulldogs raced out to a 20-6 half-time lead.
On the back of the dominant effort by their forwards, Goulburn’s left edge of Mick Picker, centre Nathan Chappell and winger Junior Vatikani tore Queanbeyan’s right-hand defence apart.
One of the competition heavyweights for a number of years now, the Roos big match experience came to the fore in the opening stages of the second stanza and fought their way back into the contest with early second-half tries to Ratu Tagive and Daniel Watt.
The tries to outside backs Tagive and Watt, his second for the day, reduced the deficit to 20-18.
With support from the grandstands, Goulburn were able to regroup and stretched their lead out when Blake Hewitt scored off a grubber kick in the 50th minute.
Man of the Match Dodson then stormed over three defenders on a 20-metre solo run to the try line to put the victory beyond doubt, much to the joy of the Bulldogs faithful.
Goulburn Bulldogs 32 (Michael Dodson 2, Michael Bani, Nathan Chappell, Junior Vatakani, Blake Hewitt tries; Ben Picker 4 goals) defeated Queanbeyan Kangaroos 24 (Daniel Watt 2, Ratu Tagive, Luke Sutton tries; Jordan Macey 4 goals)
Other preliminary final results
Second grade: Queanbeyan Blues 42 defeated Queanbeyan Roos 16.
Under-18 division one: Tuggeranong 22 defeated Queanbeyan Blues 22-16
Under-18 division two: Gungahlin 40 defeated Crookwell 16
GRAND FINAL DAY - SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, SEIFFERT OVAL
Canberra Raiders Cup: Queanbeyan Blues v Goulburn, 3pm
Second grade: West Belconnen v Queanbeyan Blues, 1.10pm
Under-18 division one: Belconnen Scholars v Tuggeranong, 11.40am
Under-18 division two: Tuggeranong v Gungahlin, 10.10am