TTM Canberra Raiders Cup: Minor Semi-Final Preview
Queanbeyan Kangaroos (3) v West Belconnen Warriors (4) at 3:00pm at Seiffert Oval
It’s do-or-die at Seiffert Oval this Saturday as the Queanbeyan Kangaroos and the West Belconnen Warriors face off in the Minor Semi-final of the TTM Canberra Raiders Cup.
Both sides head into the match with plenty of form on the board which points towards a top class affair between two hungry clubs.
The Roos will be aiming to replicate their semi-finals path in 2013 in which they finished in third position and went onto claim premiership honours.
However, a monumental challenge awaits Queanbeyan in the form of West Belconnen who are currently enjoying a six match winning streak.
“It’s elimination from here on in and there are no second chances so we need to be at our best, and we will need to be against Westies because I’d say that they’re the form team of the competition,” said Roos Captain-Coach Aaron Gorrell.
“In 2013 we came from the same position to win the comp so hopefully we can do it again this year. We’re ready for the challenge.”
The Warriors have not been defeated since Round 8 and many have tipped Justin Giteau’s men to be in strong contention to claim their first premiership since 2007 following their eye-catching mid-season resurgence.
West Belconnen’s last loss was ironically at the hands of Queanbeyan and the Roos too have been in their own purple patch of form.
The Roos had won seven on the trot until they suffered a loss to Goulburn a fortnight ago, in what Gorrell described as “their most disappointing loss of the season.”
To their credit though, Queanbeyan bounced back with a resounding 30-point over the Rams the following week and Gorrell believes that the prior week’s disappointment acted as a timely wake up call.
“You never like getting beaten but if there was a time to lose it was probably then and it was a bit of a reality check for us,” Gorrell said.
“The win over Woden was a good response from the loss to Goulburn a week before. The Goulburn game I don’t think we turned up and we were our own worst enemy and they made the most of their opportunities.
“Hopefully we’ve had our last little hiccup and we can go through the next month without a loss.
“I think that West Belconnen is the form team in the comp at the moment. The other three teams have had our hiccups over the last month but they’re going well. We’re going to need to be at our best against them for the full 80 minutes.”
Queanbeyan will need to keep a close eye on light-stepping halfback Howie Brown and evasive fullback Ryan McQueen, who has scored 10 tries in his last five appearances.
“Hopefully it stays at 10,” chuckled Gorrell. “Our kick-chase has got to be very good and if we do a good job with that it takes the fullback and their big forward pack out of the equation.
“Their halves have been steering them around the park well also so we will have to be physical and put them under a lot or pressure.”
In team changes, the Roos welcome back 2014 Les McIntyre Medallist Jordan Macey who was rested in last week’s win over the Rams. The star five-eighth will be a key figure for the Roos if they are to trump the in-form Warriors
“Jordan’s had a long year playing union in the US at the start of the year so we just thought that the week off would freshen him up for the finals,” Gorrell said. “Hopefully it pays off and he will be one of our best this weekend.”
In their previous encounters this year, West Belconnen beat Queanbeyan 36-16 in Round 1, but the Roos got revenge over the Warriors in Round 8 with a 26-22 win, in what was the last time the Warriors have lost.
Minor Semi-Finals schedule at Seiffert Oval:
First Grade: Queanbeyan Kangaroos v West Belconnen Warriors at 3:00pm
Reserve Grade: Goulburn Workers Bulldogs v Woden Valley Rams at 1:20pm
Under 18 Division 1: Queanbeyan Kangaroos v Queanbeyan Blues at 12:00pm
Under 18 Division 2: Gungahlin Bulls v Bungendore Tigers at 10:40am