TTM Canberra Raiders Cup: Round 12 Preview
Queanbeyan Kangaroos (3) v Queanbeyan Blues (1) on Saturday at 3:00pm at Freebody Oval
Star Kangaroos five-eighth Jordan Macey has warned his side of an anticipated bounce back from the Blues in the traditionally hotly contested local derby, after the defending premiers suffered back-to-back losses in recent weeks.
After a nine match winning streak to start the year, the Blues have gone down in consecutive weeks to Goulburn and West Belconnen. The results caused quite a stir amongst the TTM Canberra Raiders Cup and Macey is bracing for a fired up Blues outfit on Saturday afternoon under the guidance of the ever-competitive Simon Woolford as Coach.
Macey, the 2014 Les McIntyre Medallist, is well equipped to discuss the Roos/Blues rivalry having slotted the match-winning field goal in the 2013 Grand Final.
“They’re always close games when we play against the Blues so we’re not expecting anything different this weekend,” Macey said.
“The Blues have had a few injuries but I think they’re back to full strength this week. I think it’s probably the wrong time to get them this weekend because they will be looking to bounce back after two consecutive losses.”
Whilst the Blues are looking to overcome consecutive defeats, cross-town rivals the Roos are flying high at the moment and are gunning for their seventh straight victory.
Ironically, the Roos last loss was at the hands of the Blues who defeated them 34-18 back in Round 5.
Although he is happy with his side’s current form, Macey believes that the forthcoming games, in particular this Saturday’s battle with the Blues, will provide the Roos with a clearer picture of where they are at as a team.
“We’re going well at the moment but over these next three weeks we’re playing the best teams in the competition so that will give us a good indication of how we’re really going,” said Macey, who returned five weeks ago from a sojourn in America playing rugby union for Dallas.
Situated in third position on the ladder, the Roos can ill-afford to rest on their laurels with the Warriors, Bulls and Rams chomping at their heels for a finish in the top four.
“Goz has stressed that we’ve just got to concentrate on doing what we’re doing and just sticking to the game plan and completing our sets at a high rate,” Macey said. “That’s what’s been getting us through games so we’ve just got to keep building on that leading into the finals.”
Tuggeranong Bushrangers (7) v Gungahlin Bulls (5) on Saturday at 3:00pm at Greenway
Last week’s two point loss to the Queanbeyan Kangaroos saw Gungahlin tumble out of the top four of the TTM Canberra Raiders Cup for the first time since the opening round of the competition.
The Bulls enjoyed a five match winning streak from Rounds 2 to 6 however they have since lost four out of their last five appearances.
Truth be told, Gungahlin is currently attempting to overcome a severe injury toll however Coach Troy Thompson and players are rue to use that as an excuse for their form slump.
Gungahlin looked certain to be competing in the semi-finals throughout the first half of the year however they are now facing stiff competition from the Rams and the Warriors to finish in the top four.
Meanwhile, Tuggeranong will be looking to make amends from last week’s embarrassing loss to the cellar dwelling Belconnen United Scholars last weekend, in what was their first victory of the year.
The Bushrangers sole win this year came in Round 4 over the Scholars and they have since endured a seven match losing streak, including a 22-6 loss to the Bulls in Round 5.
Belconnen United Scholars (8) v Woden Valley Rams (6) on Saturday at 3:00pm at O’Connor
Woden is riding high on confidence at the moment after their spectacular 56-14 over second placed Goulburn last weekend.
The Rams were simply sensational in Round 11 and in fact led the powerful Bulldogs 40-0 at the half-time break.
The win saw the Rams climb to just two points outside of the top four and resoundingly rectified their for-and-against record.
On the other side of the coin, Belconnen United will head into the match with a fresh injection of morale after the Scholars registered their first victory of the season last week over Tuggeranong.
Whilst the Scholars will have an extra spring in their step following the breakthrough win, they cannot afford to get too carried away as the Rams will be motivated up to continue their charge towards the top four.
Woden defeated Belconnen United 42-20 back in Round 5.
West Belconnen Warriors (4) v Goulburn Workers Bulldogs (2) on Sunday at 3:00pm at Raiders Belconnen
A week after defeating 2014 premiers the Queanbeyan Blues, West Belconnen will look to repeat the outcome when they face last year’s runner’s up the Goulburn Workers Bulldogs.
The Warriors headed into the clash against the Blues full of confidence after recording the biggest victory of the year the week prior, a 74-12 demolition of local rivals Belconnen United.
With their eyes set on a finish in the top four, West Belconnen delivered undoubtedly their finest performance of 2015 to defeat the Blues on their home turf.
The comprehensive victory saw West Belconnen leapfrog Gungahlin into fourth place on the ladder due to their superior for-and-against record, however with the Bulls and the Rams chomping at their heals, the Warriors can ill afford to rest on their laurels.
West Belconnen will need to be at a similar intensity against Goulburn this week who will be looking to bounce back after having their pants pulled down in a 42 point drubbing by Woden last week.
The Bulldogs were diabolically uncharacteristic in the first half and went into the sheds behind 40-0.
Goulburn defeated West Belconnen 28-16 in Round 5, however the Bulldogs can expect a far more competitive outfit this time around with the Warriors’ eyes set on a finals birth as we enter the business end of the season.