Canberra Raiders Cup: Round 4 Preview
Queanbeyan Kangaroos (5) v Gungahlin Bulls on (4) Saturday at 3:00pm at Freebody Oval
With both sides heading into this encounter with two wins on the trot, spectators at Freebody Oval are set to see a high quality game of rugby league when the Queanbeyan Kangaroos and the Gungahlin Bulls face off on Saturday afternoon.
Under the guidance of former Raiders trio Lincoln Withers, Troy Thompson and David Howell, the Bulls are promising big things in 2015 and are tracking nicely at the moment in fourth place.
“Things are going really well for us,” said Gungahlin five-eighth Chris Thorley who joined the club this season from the Belconnen United Scholars.
“Training is really interesting; we’re learning something new all the time off Linc, Thommo and Doc. You’d be stupid not to want to come to a club with those sorts of guys and their influence shows on the field too with the games that we’ve won.”
Thorley believes that the Kangaroos will test the Bulls greatly on Saturday and he highlighted Captain-Coach Aaron Gorrell and his former Scholars team mate Aisea Taholo as the players his side needs to be wary of.
“Obviously we need to keep an eye on Gorrell at five-eighth, he’s been there and done it at this level a lot of times before,” Thorley said. “The other player is Aisea. I won’t be running at him that’s for sure. I know from our time at the Scholars together that that shoulder of his causes a lot of damage!
“We’re good mates off the field but it will be a different story on the field, that’s for sure!”
West Belconnen Warriors (3) v Queanbeyan Blues (1) on Saturday at 6:30pm at Raiders Belconnen
West Belconnen will face their biggest test of the year thus far when they confront the defending premiers, the Queanbeyan Blues at home.
The Warriors have had a solid start to their 2015 campaign however they will need to lift their game substantially when they face a Blues side that remains undefeated after three rounds.
Even more worrying for West Belconnen is the fact that Queanbeyan will be full of confidence after defeating Goulburn in their Grand Final rematch last weekend.
The Warriors have some great attacking players in their line-up such as Dwayne Ewings and Joe Cramp and they will need to be at their creative best when they are attacking the Blues’ defensive structure given that Simon Woolford’s men possess the best defensive record in the competition.
Unfortunately, the Warriors will be without promising halfback Tim Middleton who has succumbed to a troublesome knee injury. Middleton’s loss is somewhat compensated by the inclusion of former Raiders Under 20’s player Ryan Gowing.
Goulburn Workers Bulldogs (2) v Woden Valley Rams (6) on Sunday at 2:00pm at Workers Arena
Goulburn will be looking to bounce back from last week’s painful loss to the Queanbeyan Blues when they take on Woden at home this Sunday.
The Bulldogs were given a slight revisit to last year’s Grand Final heartbreak when they were again defeated by the Blues in their first clash since the 2014 decider.
Despite the hurt derived from the loss, Goulburn Captain-Coach Mick Picker knows that his side will only improve after giving the defending premiers a run for their money.
"It's a healthy battle we've got going on with the Blues," the former Canberra Raider said.
"Although they've got the wood on us at the moment, we've got some young blokes who have stepped up in the last few weeks. For both clubs, it's looking pretty good."
After a promising start to the year, Woden has suffered back-to-back losses, although Captain-Coach Ash Barnes has been pleased with the tenacity his side has portrayed.
The Rams will need to muster their utmost resolve in defence on Sunday given that the Bulldogs are the best attacking team statistically in the competition, having posted 96 points in just three games.
Tuggeranong Bushrangers (8) v Belconnen United Scholars (7) on Sunday at 3:00pm at Greenway
Baring the rarity of a draw, one thing is for certain in this encounter: one of these luckless teams will walk away from Greenway on Sunday afternoon with their first win of the season.
The Bushrangers and the Scholars have unfortunately suffered a lacklustre start to the season with neither side able to register a victory thus far.
Tuggeranong has the worst attacking record in the competition, whilst Belconnen United has the worst defence.
Despite these unwanted statistics, both sides possess tremendously talented players and a win in this round may just be enough to see the Bushrangers or the Scholars kick-start their season.