TTM Canberra Raiders Cup: Round 13
Woden Valley Rams (6) v West Belconnen Warriors (5) on Saturday at 3:00pm at Phillip District Oval
With their semi-finals aspirations on the line, it’s do or die for Woden this Saturday as the Rams set out to defeat West Belconnen in front of an expected bumper crowd at Phillip, with a combined Old Boys and Ladies Day scheduled.
This contest shapes as the match of the round with both sides having plenty to play for. The Rams are just two points below the Warriors in fifth place on the ladder however both clubs essentially need two wins from their remaining two games to guarantee themselves a spot in the semi-finals.
“It’s a massive game for us,” said Woden’s goal kicking centre Tim Crome. “It’s been a really good year for us and we aim on playing semi-finals footy. We lost a couple of tight ones a couple of weeks ago which would have put us in a better position but we’re still confident of finishing in the top four.
“It should be a really good match because both teams have plenty to play for and it was a close game earlier in the year [Woden defeated West Belconnen 20-16].
“It’s a big advantage for us playing at home though. Something that we pride ourselves on is trying to protect the home patch, and it will be a big day at Phillip on Saturday because we’ve got not only our Old Boys Day but our Ladies Day as well so it should be a really good day and a big buzz around the ground.
“Westies are going well and have obviously improved a lot from the start of the year so we will need to be at our best. We’re confident in our own ability though and on our day we can beat any team in the competition and we’ve shown that in the last few weeks against the Blues and Goulburn. Hopefully we can replicate that form this weekend and get a win.”
As Crome mentioned, the Warriors are flying high at the moment after trumping both of last year’s Grand Finalists in consecutive weeks.
West Belconnen has now won four wins on the trot enabling them and building nicely towards the finals, however the Warriors are rue to get too far ahead of themselves.
“We’re going well but we definitely can’t afford to rest on our laurels this weekend against Woden,” said back-rower Tim Sloman. “It’s their Old Boys Day and it’s pretty much their Grand Final if they want to make the top four so we really need to match them with intensity and effort in that first half especially.
“At the start of the year we had a lot of injuries but since the Roos game, which was our last loss, we’ve been able to field the same starting 13 each week.
“It will be extremely frustrating if we don’t make the semi-finals because we feel that we have got the side to give the competition a real shake.”
Gungahlin Bulls (6) v Belconnen United Scholars (8) on Saturday at 3:00pm at Gungahlin Enclosed Oval
After a season which promised so much early on, Gungahlin must arrest their shocking demise down the TTM Canberra Raiders Cup ladder this weekend if they are to give themselves any chance of making the semi-finals.
The Bulls enjoyed a five match winning streak from Rounds 2 to 6 however they have since lost five out of their last six appearances. They will need to rectify their form in immediate fashion if they are to snare a spot in the top four.
At the beginning of the year, Gungahlin was incredibly difficult to beat at home and the Bulls can draw confidence from playing Belconnen United at home on Saturday, and the fact that they demolished the Scholars 60-4 back in Round 6.
Whilst the Bulls have plenty to play for, the Scholars, who are most definitely unable to qualify for the semi-finals having only won one game all year, will be looking to finish the season on a high note to build towards 2016. Although they lost last weekend to Woden, Belconnen United were very competitive against the Rams.
Queanbeyan Blues (1) v Tuggeranong Bushrangers (7) on Saturday at 3:00pm at Seiffert Ovals
Although they are guaranteed a place in the finals, defending premiers the Queanbeyan Blues will be striving to turnaround their worrying form slump leading into the business end of the season.
After a nine match winning streak, the Blues have succumbed to three straight losses. Coach Simon Woolford admitted his side was in a "rut", but was pleased with the improved effort last week against in the narrow loss to cross-town rivals the Queanbeyan Kangaroos .
“We've been poor the last couple of weeks in terms of our effort, but certainly the effort was there against the Roos,” Woolford said.
“It's hard when you're in a rut to get out of it. It was more about actions today, although we were poor with the footy.”
A major positive for the Blues last week was the return of Ben Nicoll in what was the premiership halfback’s first game of the year.
Queanbeyan defeated Tuggeranong 46-4 earlier the year in Round 6 and they will be heavily favoured to again defeat the Bushrangers.
However, Tuggeranong will head into the match with a fresh injection of confidence after defeating Gungahlin 30-24 in what was their second win of the year.
The Bushrangers do possess plenty of talent within their team and are more than capable of being a thorn in the Blues’ side.
Goulburn Workers Bulldogs (3) v Queanbeyan Kangaroos (2) on Sunday at 2:00pm at Goulburn Workers Arena
Goulburn will be looking to regain their spot at second place on the TTM Canberra Raiders Cup ladder when they confront the in-form Queanbeyan Kangaroos on their home turf on Sunday afternoon.
The Roos are undoubtedly the competition’s form team with Aaron Gorrell’s men currently enjoying a seven match winning streak.
Leading the way in defence and attack in the middle of the field for the Roos have been starting front-rowers Maxime Herold and Steve Dunn.
“Our two starting front-rowers (Herold and Dunn) are going great, they'd have to be close to the two best in the competition,” Gorrell said.
As such, the Bulldogs forwards, particularly those located in the middle, need to put their best foot forward this weekend.
Goulburn is currently battling a slight form slump having lost their past two encounters, however everybody knows just how tough the Bulldogs are to beat at home in front of their fanatical supporter base.
Queanbeyan defeated Goulburn 32-10 earlier this year in Round 6.