The 2016 Canberra Raiders Cup First Grade regular season concluded last week with emphatic wins by the top three teams.
Queanbeyan Kangaroos 24 defeated Gungahlin Bulls 4
The first-placed Queanbeyan Kangaroos put on a commanding performance against fourth placed Gungahlin Bulls, giving themselves plenty of momentum as they surge towards the week’s finals.
The Kangaroos looked in good form with Jack Miller and Joshua Ayers staring for the side, both scoring braces.
The Kangaroos have a number of regular points-scorers who will be invaluable when they line up for next week’s Queanbeyan derby semi-final.
After being upset last week by Yass Magpies, the loss furthers the Bulls’ unfortunate lead up into the finals. They’ll need a sudden switch in performance to contend with West Belconnen Warriors in next week’s semi-final.
Tuggeranong Bushrangers 38 defeated Belconnen Sharks 18
Tuggeranong Bushrangers salvaged what’s left of their season by downing the Belconnen Sharks at Greenway.
In a game that proves the Bushrangers have a lot to look forward to next season, Atunaisa Tupou and Zachary Mitchell were able to cross the line for two tries each.
Though this season has shaped up as one which they would like to forget, the last placed Sharks managed to instill some pride in the jersey after performing well in their last few rounds.
West Belconnen Warriors 44 defeated Yass Magpies 6
With a knock-out semi-final against the Gungahlin Bulls looming, the Belconnen Warriors put their premiership tilt in good stead by smashing the Yass Magpies.
A brace by Tolokana Aroha-Tuinauvai set the Warriors up for a commanding five tries to one win.
Warriors coach Troy Thompson was happy with his side’s win, but said they needed to work on their discipline.
“The problem is just some silly errors – the first six sets I think we completed probably two of them," Thompson said.
"It's just building pressure, that's all. We've just got to complete our sets and get to our kicks.
“Unforced errors [hurt us] but I thought the boys played pretty well."
The seventh placed Magpies rejoined the Raiders Cup this season after a three-year stint in the George Tooke Shield. Coach Steve Naughton admitted his side struggled with the season, but they’ll be stronger in the future.
“I think the players are ready for the season to be over," Naughton said.
"It's been a long year, the first one back. It would have been nice to go out on a win but they gave it all and they can hold their heads up for the year.
"There's a good core group there that are going to drive that for the next couple of years so we're in a good place overall."
Queanbeyan Blues 46 defeated Goulburn Bulldogs 6
Putting on a dominant 46-6 win against the Goulburn Bulldogs, the Queanbeyan Blues look primed to win their third straight premiership.
Almost half of the Blues’ side came away with tries in their comprehensive final round win.
The Blues have a tough task ahead when they face off in their semi-final local derby against the Kangaroos, whom they lost to in round 10.
The Bulldogs look a shadow of their 2014 and 2015 premiership contending selves, having finished the season in eighth place.