An outstanding second half comeback has seen the Goulburn Workers Bulldogs secure a spot in the TTM Canberra Raiders Cup Grand Final for the second successive year after they defeated the defending premiers the Queanbeyan Blues by 10 points at Seiffert Oval.
Queanbeyan raced in three tries to former Raiders forward Trevor Thurling and Canberra Region representative backs Tom Ruediger and Jake Wheeler in the first half to lead 18-6 at the break.
Things were looking grim for the Bulldogs however a second half resurgence saw them pile on 22 unanswered points to clinch a 28-18 victory over the team that trumped them in the 2014 decider.
Goulburn Captain-Coach Mick Picker put the second half fight-back down to a more composed approach whilst in possession.
“A few of us were getting a bit fired up at half-time, so we wanted to settle down and complete our sets and put a bit of work into them and tire them out,” Picker said.
With the Bulldogs’ attack swinging into gear, the Blues struggled to contend with the subsequent momentum that Goulburn was coming home with.
“We were starved of possession, I think they had 25 sets to our 15 or 16,” Blues Coach Simon Woolford said.
“We didn't need to do anything out of the ordinary, we were up 12 points with the wind and running downhill in the second half, so we did the hard work in the first half.
“But one error, they scored off the back of that and the heads went down and we didn't recover from that. It was really disappointing.”
Goulburn will now enjoy a weekend off before the Grand Final whilst Queanbeyan will face the in-form West Belconnen outfit as they look to keep their hopes of winning back-to-back titles alive.
The Warriors will be tough to beat as they are currently riding the wave of a seven match winning streak.
“I said to the boys after the game, we finished minor premiers and we need to look after ourselves the next couple of days,” Woolford said.
“We're playing a team next week who are on a roll, have some big boys in their team and we're going to have to control the ball a little bit better. We'll be getting straight into what we need to do next week.”
Goulburn Workers Bulldogs 28 (B Marmont, M Dodson, B Picker, M Worboys, J Picker tries; B Picker 4 goals) defeated Queanbeyan Blues 18 (J Wheeler, T Ruediger, T Thurling tries; T Stevens 3 goals)