The Queanbeyan Blues have won their second consecutive TTM Canberra Raiders Cup Grand Final, with a thrilling extra time 24-14 win over the Goulburn Workers Bulldogs at Seiffert Oval.
Locked at 14-14 at the end of fulltime the Blues proved too strong for the Bulldogs in the extra period, scoring two tries to seal the win and back to back titles.
It was the third straight season the Grand Final was decided by extra time and sadly for Goulburn, the second time in as many years that they haven’t been able to score the extra points to lift the trophy.
The Bulldogs had two field goal kicks charged down in regulation, as they looked to seal the win before the end of 80 minutes, but the Queanbeyan defence held firm.
Earlier, the Blues opened the scoring when Jake Wheeler scored in the corner, before Codie Medway brought it back to 6-4 with Goulburn’s first try, that score would stay the same until halftime.
In the second half it was the Blues who struck first when star fullback Tom Ruediger picked up a loose ball to score, with man of the match Craig Wilkinson extending the lead to 12-6 after the conversion.
To their credit Goulburn dug in and scored tries through Michael Bani and Matt Worboys to draw level with the Blues before fulltime, with a penalty goal from Wilkinson and missed conversions from Goulburn making it a third consecutive extra time grand final.
It was a fitting send off for a number of Blues players including former Raiders Trevor Thurling and Marc Herbert, who announced their retirements in the lead in to the match along with fellow Blues Scott Rutland and Ben Nicoll.
Herbert said it was a great way to finish his rugby league career and said he’d enjoyed his time playing for the Blues since returning from the English Super League.
"A few of us were thinking about retiring last year, myself included, and it would have been disappointing to go out on a losing note," Herbert said. “In the end we were able to get the win and we can finish our time playing the game with a premiership which is a great feeling.”
In contrast Goulburn Captain/Coach Mick Picker was a shattered man at the end of the match, but said he was proud of his team and what they had achieved.
"We're gutted. We were confident coming into today, but it didn't go our way," Picker said. “I’m proud of the team and what we’ve been able to do this season and I know we’ll be hungry to come back here next year and get the win.”
TTM CANBERRA RAIDERS CUP GRAND FINALS
QUEANBEYAN BLUES 24 (J Wheeler 2, T Ruediger, C Wilkinson tries ; C Wilkinson 4 goals)
GOULBURN WORKERS BULLDOGS 14 (C Medway, B Marmont, M Worboys tries; B Picker goal)
TUGGERANONG BUSHRANGERS 20 (J Pouono 2, M McLay, B Robertson tries; L Heyman 2 goals)
QUEANBEYAN BLUES 16 (L Shipard 2, S Holstein tries; F Skeen, S Taholo goals)
UNDER 18 DIVISION ONE
WODEN VALLEY RAMS 24 (R Leapai 2, A McQueen, L Hicks tries; J McDonald 4 goals)
WEST BELCONNEN WARRIORS 14 (C Morschel, J Russell, B Graham tries; B Graham goal)
UNDER 18 DIVISION TWO
GUNGAHLIN BULLS 20 (B Tanks 2, J Sanz, A Pavlak tries; J Porreca 2 goals)
TUGGERANONG BUSHRANGERS 14 (D Gough 2, J Rainbow tries; J Rainbow goal)