Austbrokers Canberra Raiders Cup Round 18 Preview
The final regular season matches will be contested in round 18 with a number of key matches to still see the top four take its shape.
Woden Valley Rams will be looking to continue their hot form into the finals and a clash between the West Belconnen Warriors and Queanbeyan Kangaroos to impact how the top four will form.
Woden Valley Rams v Belconnen United Sharks – 3pm, Saturday 11 August – Phillip District Oval / Live Stream
The match of the round will see the in-form Woden Valley Rams host the Belconnen United Sharks in a match that could see the Rams sneak into the top two and gain a double chance.
The Rams sit in third position after a comprehensive win over the Goulburn Workers Bulldogs in round 17 and are now unbeaten over their past 10 matches.
Rams lock forward Jeff Morgan believes his side has more to offer and will be looking to prove that this week against the Sharks.
"We want to continue to build for the finals this weekend, I don't think we believe we have reached the peak of our form yet," Morgan said.
"We have another level to go and that's what this week's about is trying to do a good number on the Sharks and show the other sides we mean business and are ready to play finals."
The Sharks remain winless after a 54-12 defeat to the West Belconnen Warriors in round 17 and will be hoping to put forward a good account of themselves to finish a tough season.
Sharks five-eighth Matt Woolnough admits how much of a struggle the season has been but couldn't be prouder of the players who have filled in for those who are injured.
"It has been tough but everyone in the club is willing to step up and have a go," Woolnough said.
"We're missing about 17 players from the team that started the year which makes it tough missing a whole team."
Goulburn Workers Bulldogs v Yass Magpies – 2pm, Saturday 11 August – Workers Arena
The Goulburn Workers Bulldogs welcome the Yass Magpies in a match that will have little effect on the top four with both sides looking to finish the year well.
Goulburn will be out to avenge being beaten by Woden Valley last weekend as the club will look to snap a five-game losing streak.
The Magpies were looking likely just a month ago that they would play finals football but a string of losses has left them on the brink of the top four despite a 32-12 win over the Gungahlin Bulls in round 17.
Yass are still a mathematical chance of a finals berth but will need a big win and require the Queanbeyan Kangaroos to get a big win over the West Belconnen Warriors to overturn a 100-point differential.
Tuggeranong Bushrangers v Queanbeyan Blues – 2:15pm, Saturday 11 August – Greenway Oval
The Queanbeyan Blues will travel to Tuggeranong to face the Bushrangers as they look to shake up the top four.
The Bushrangers are coming off back to back losses following a 44-6 defeat to the Queanbeyan Kangaroos and in the process have relinquished top spot to the Kangaroos.
The Blues will be fresh off the bye and hoping to continue their form after a 44-12 win in their most recent match against the Bulldogs in round 16.
This is a must win clash with a loss potentially seeing them drop out of the top two despite holding a three-point advantage at the top of the ladder just two weekends ago.
West Belconnen Warriors v Queanbeyan Kangaroos – 3pm, Saturday 11 August – Raiders Belconnen
The top of the table Queanbeyan Kangaroos travel to Raiders Belconnen to face the West Belconnen Warriors on Saturday.
The Warriors will be looking to build momentum heading into the finals after a big 42-point win over the Sharks in their last start.
The Kangaroos are shaping as premiership favourites following a string of eight games unbeaten with the most recent being a 38-point demolition of their closest rivals on the ladder.
A win for the Kangaroos will cement them a minor premiership but a loss could see them fall out of the top two if the Rams and Bushrangers both win their matches.