Queanbeyan Blues (1) 34 defeated Gungahlin Bulls (8) 12 at Seiffert Oval

Defending premiers the Queanbeyan Blues have begun their title defence in strong fashion with a comprehensive 34-12 victory over the Gungahlin Bulls at home.

Lightning quick outside back, and former Raiders Under 20’s player, Jake Wheeler, starred for the Blues with a hat-trick of tries.

The Bulls, who are coached by former Raiders stalwarts Lincoln Withers and Troy Thompson, showed plenty of spirit in the encounter but were ultimately outclassed by the Blues.

The win topped off a big weekend for Blues Coach Simon Woolford who celebrated his 40th birthday.

Queanbeyan Blues 34 (Jake Wheeler 3, Tom Ruediger, Jamal Nchouki, Scot Kalsbeek tries; Craig Wilkinson 5 goals) def. Gungahlin Bulls 12 (David Howell, Chris Thorley tries; Aiden Greenwood 2 goals)

West Belconnen Warriors (2) 36 defeated Queanbeyan Kangaroos (7) 16 at Raiders Belconnen

West Belconnen has overcome the early loss of star player and club captain Haydon Hodge to defeat the Queanbeyan Kangaroos by 20 points at home.

In front of a healthy crowd at Raiders Belconnen, excitement was brewing in the stands to watch the new Warriors fullback in action after many had witnessed Hodge play for the Raiders in the Auckland Nines and NRL trials over the summer break.

Unfortunately, the luckless Hodge injured his troublesome knee after an evasive run and limped off the field early on in the first half.

Whilst many a heart in the crowd sunk for the extremely likable Hodge, the Warriors players did not lose their focus and lifted an extra gear without their skipper.

Outside back Ryan McQueen registered two tries whilst halfback Bobby Roberts finished with a personal points haul of 16 after scoring a try and slotting six goals.

West Belconnen Warriors 36 (Ryan McQueen 2, Dayne Ewings, Joe Cramp, Ricky Fulivai, Bobby Roberts tries; Roberts 6 goals) def. Queanbeyan Kangaroos 16 (Glenn Baker, Jed Pearce, Jack Miller tries; Miller 2 goals)
 

Goulburn Workers Bulldogs (3) 36 defeated Belconnen United Scholars (6) 22 at O’Connor

Goulburn may have defeated a spirited Belconnen United outfit 36-22 but the Scholars certainly gave the Bulldogs a scare in the opening round of the TTM Canberra Raiders Cup.

Many have tipped Goulburn as the premiership favourites this year, and they were heavily favoured to convincingly beat the 2014 wooden spooners.

However, Belconnen United proved that they won’t be push overs this year. It is a new look side with just two players remaining from last year, including captain Mitch Shaw.

"The big difference is attitude, last year we'd make a knock on and be fighting each other," Shaw said. 

"This year we're being positive and looking for the next play. They scored four in a row and it was just errors, if we took our opportunities we might have nearly won that one."

The Scholars opened the scoring, however the Bulldogs fought back to take a 24-16 lead into the sheds at half-time. Alas, some decisive plays by fullback Michael Bani ultimately led Goulburn to victory.

Goulburn Workers Bulldogs 36 (Ben Marmont 2, Michael Bani, Chris Hart, Nicholas Cornish, Matt Worboys tries; Ben Picker 6 goals) def. Belconnen Untied Scholars 22 (Mun Mapiou, Keegan Mario, Greg Castle, Jordan Mago tries; Andrew Pelisio 3 goals)
 

Woden Valley Rams (4) 20 defeated Tuggeranong Bushrangers (5) 16 at Greenway

Woden Coach Ash Barnes was thoroughly pleased with the tenacity and commitment that his side portrayed in their victory over Tuggeranong, in what was a grinding and hard-fought encounter at Greenway.

“It was a grinding game which went from end to end and I’m really proud of the way that the boys never gave up throughout the entire eighty minutes,” Barnes said.

“That would have been a game that we would have probably lost last year, so I was really pleased with our commitment and resolve.”

Barnes highlighted fullback Jordan Martin, hooker Dylan McGrath and back-rower Jack Ayamesiba as his side’s best.

Whilst the Bushrangers were disappointed to have lost given the big crowd that came out for the club’s ‘Ladies Day’, Barnes believes that they can take plenty of positives away from the fixture.

“It was a really tough game that could have gone either way. Tuggeranong are a quality side who will be hard to beat this year.

“Matt Gruber was really good for them at fullback. He’s had a couple of years out with injury but he certainly hasn’t lost any of his talent. He’s forced Michael Brophy out to the centres so they’ve got a very handy backline."

Woden Valley Rams 20 (Michael Geiger, Jack Ayamiseba, Jordan Martin, Tim Crome tries; Crome 2 goals) def. Tuggeranong Bushrangers 16 (Michael Brophy, Brad Robertson, Matt Gruber tries; Jordan Hammond 1, Mitch McApppion 1 goal)