TTM Canberra Raiders Cup: Grand Final Preview
In a replay of the 2014 decider, the Queanbeyan Blues and the Goulburn Workers Bulldogs will again meet in the TTM Canberra Raiders Cup Grand Final on Sunday afternoon at Seiffert Oval.
The Blues were crowned premiers last year after defeating the Bulldogs 24-20 and were again firming as favourites to take out this year’s title after finishing the season as Minor Premiers.
That was until Goulburn defeated Queanbeyan 28-18 in the Major Semi-Final. Until that point, both sides had registered one win apiece in the regular season.
With all of this under consideration the 2015 decider shapes as being a fiercely fought affair between two clubs who each have added motivation to take out the title.
Queanbeyan will be looking to go back-to-back to send former Raiders forward Trevor Thurling out a winner in his final match for his junior club.
“It’s been great to have had the chance to finish my career with the Blues, I’ve met a lot of new faces and the club has been really welcoming for me to go back there and have the chance to play,” Thurling said.
“I’ve been lucky enough to have been involved in three minor premierships and the premiership last year and I’d love to add another one to the list before I finish up at the end of the season.
“The motivation is definitely there for us to go back to back. You always want to win a grand final and that’s the reason you play the game. There are a few of us who played and won last year, but there’s also a number of guys who were not so they’ll be hungry to win on Sunday.
“It won’t be my last game as I’m involved with the Country first rep team at the end of the year but it will be my last club game.”
Meanwhile, Goulburn will be looking to extract revenge for last year’s painful defeat and secure the club’s first premiership since 2009.
“Last year’s loss was hard to take and we want to make sure that we don’t feel that pain again this year,” Bulldogs Captain-Coach Mick Picker said.
“There is a real buzz around the town and we’ll be expecting a big crowd at Seiffert Oval to support us.
“On a personal note, it will also be a special occasion for me to win a Grand Final with my brothers Joe and Ben.”
Thurling believes that Queanbeyan’s Country representative centre Tom Ruediger will be pivotal for the Blues on Sunday, just as he was last year where he crossed for two scything tries.
He also highlighted his former Raiders team mate Joe Picker, fullback Michael Bani and veteran prop Michael Dodson as players that the Blues must look out for.
“Joe played well last time we played each other,” Thurling said. “He stepped up and was running the ball hard and managed to score a try as well. He’s obviously a very talented player and someone who they’ll be looking to on the weekend to use his experience.
“Michael Bani has also been really strong for them at fullback this year and is another guy with NRL experience who will be very dangerous. Then you’ve also got the experience of Michael Dodson who provides their main go-forward and we need to mark up on him and slow the play the ball down.”
“Everyone needs to step up this week and particularly our forwards. They came through us in the middle last time we played them so we need to tighten up and stop their go forward.”
All Grand Finals will be played this Sunday 6th September at Seiffert Oval:
- Under 18’s Div 2 at 10:00am – Tuggeranong Bushrangers v Gungahlin Bulls
- Under 18’s Div 1 at 11:30am – Woden Valley Rams v West Belconnen Warriors
- Reserve Grade at 1:00pm – Tuggeranong Bushrangers v Queanbeyan Blues
- First Grade at 3:00pm – Goulburn Workers Bulldogs v Queanbeyan Blues