Austbrokers Canberra Raiders Cup Preliminary Final Preview
The last Grand Final place is up for grabs this weekend!
Preliminary Final – Tuggeranong Bushrangers vs West Belconnen Warriors – 3:30pm, Sunday 26 August at Seiffert Oval
The Tuggeranong Bushrangers enter a do or die clash against the West Belconnen Warriors in week two of the finals at Seiffert Oval.
The Bushrangers claimed their first minor premiership after finishing the season on top of the ladder but gave up their advantage going down to the Woden Valley Rams 24-16 in the major semi-final.
The Bushrangers led 16-0 in the first half but were unable to go on with the job as the Rams ran in 24 unanswered points.
Tuggeranong have now lost three of their past four matches and must win this weekend to keep their season alive and aim to set up a rematch with the Rams on Grand Final day.
Winger Michael Brophy identifies Ryan McQueen as the danger man for the Warriors and knows his side needs to minimise the involvement of their fullback.
"Westies have some really good players with Ryan McQueen in some good form and Ryley Thomas scored the two winning tries in their last two games," Brophy said.
"I reckon McQueen is their go to man so if we shut him down we will go a long way to winning this weekend."
Their opponents are the West Belconnen Warriors won the grand final in 2016 after finishing third and will be hoping for a similar run at the back end of this season.
That run started with a win over the Queanbeyan Kangaroos 18-16 in week one of the finals ending the campaign of the Kangaroos with a late try to Ryley Thomas sealing the deal.
The Warriors have now won their past three matches and will need to make it five wins in a row if they are to bring home the title on Grand Final day.
Second rower Nela Moa expects a Tuggeranong side hungry to make up for their defeat last weekend to the Rams.
"I think they'd be pretty disappointed with that loss on the weekend, so I think they'll be coming out firing and ready to go," Moa said.
"We will be just as motivated and will take some confidence from last weekend and hopefully make a good game out of it."
The two previous meetings between the sides are split with both sides winning when away from home making this one even more intriguing at a neutral venue.