TTM Canberra Raiders Cup:
Belconnen United Scholars (8) v Gungahlin Bulls (3) on Saturday at 3:00pm at O’Connor
Gungahlin will be striving for their fifth straight win when they take on the lowly Belconnen United Scholars on Saturday afternoon.
After losing their opening match of the season to the defending premiers, the Queanbeyan Blues, the vastly improved Bulls have embarked on a four match winning streak which has seen the Lincoln Withers led side climb to third spot on the TTM Canberra Raiders Cup ladder.
Statistically, Gungahlin is ranked as the third best attacking team in the competition and the second best defensive side.
Unfortunately, the Scholars have endured a horrible start to their 2015 campaign and are languishing at the bottom of the ladder after having the unwanted title as being the only club thus far who has failed to register a victory.
Queanbeyan Kangaroos (6) v Goulburn Workers Bulldogs (2) on Sunday at 3:00pm at Freebody
The Queanbeyan Kangaroos will be looking to regain their mojo after slumping to sixth place on the ladder following back-to-back losses.
The 2013 Premiers have been forced to restructure their line-up and subsequent team cohesion this year following the losses of players of the calibre of intimidating prop Matt Lewis and electric five-eighth Jordan Macey, who will re-join the club following his stint playing in the USA.
“It’s definitely a new-look side for us this year,” said back-rower Adam Pearce who has been a part of the side for four years. “We’ve got a lot of new players, including three from England.
“We’re trying to stay confident. We know we’re not playing up to our usual standard but we’re looking to turn that around and get up for the big game this weekend against Goulburn.
“We stuck it to the Blues last round but we still need to get a lot tougher in defence.”
Second placed Goulburn is travelling along nicely at the moment with only one loss for the year, to the top of the table Blues, but evasive winger Chris Hart is adamant that complacency will not be an issue for the team.
“We’re really happy with how we’re sitting at the moment, but I think the team has quite a bit of improving to do still,” Hart said.
“The team is very similar to last year and we’ve picked up from where we left of last season where we made the Grand Final. Hopefully we can find more success this year if we continue to keep improving with every game.
“We need to improve on our execution and make sure that we finish off our attacking plays to make the most of the opportunities given to us."
Whether the Roos are in the top four or not, Hart says that the Bulldogs are bracing for a tough encounter, given the success that Queanbeyan has had under the guidance of Aaron Gorrell over the last five years.
“The Roos have always been a good side and although they’re out of the top four at the moment we can’t afford to take them lightly.”
Tuggeranong Bushrangers (7) v Queanbeyan Blues (1) on Sunday at 3:00pm at Greenway
Tuggeranong will be praying that a parochial home crowd turns out to Greenway on Sunday afternoon to assist them against the might of the undefeated Queanbeyan Blues.
The Bushrangers have struggled through the most part of 2015 with their sole win for the season coming against the cellar dwelling Scholars.
In a further blow to Tuggeranong, the Bushrangers will be without star winger Lachlan Hurst after the 19 year old earned a recall to the Canberra Raiders NYC team.
Queanbeyan on the other hand are flying high with five consecutive wins and the best point’s differential in the competition.
West Belconnen Warriors (5) v Woden Valley Rams (4) on Sunday at 3:00pm at Raiders Belconnen
Woden Coach Ash Barnes has placed a great deal of importance on the upcoming two games against the West Belconnen Warriors and the Queanbeyan Kangaroos, to ensure that the Rams retain their standing in the top four heading into the final half of the season.
The Rams, Warriors and Roos are all locked on four competition points, however it is Woden’s superior for-and-against that sees them sitting in fourth spot.
If Woden is to trump the Warriors this weekend, and back that up with another victory over the Roos, then the Rams will skip clear of their two rivals.
“It should be a good game as we are both on the same competition points,” Barnes said. “The next two weeks are very important for us. If we are able to win both of those games we will secure a spot in the top four heading into the second half of the competition.
Barnes highlighted centre Chris Faaee and halfback Bobby Roberts as the West Belconnen players that his side needs to pay close attention to.