Lincoln Withers Leads Woden To First Premiership in 22 Years
Lincoln Withers has led his junior club the Woden Valley Rams to their first premiership in 22 years, snapping a late field goal to defeat the Tuggeranong Bushrangers 31-30 in a grand final for the ages at Seiffert Oval on Sunday afternoon.
The Rams were clinical in racing to a 30-0 lead before the Bushrangers mounted one of the great comebacks to level the scores late in the match.
Tuggeranong scored 30 points in 18 minutes to level the scores before Withers kicked a field goal with four minutes remaining to lead his junior club to a premiership in his first season of first grade at the club.
Woden Valley drew first blood when Adam Lucas darted from dummy half before throwing an inside ball for Ron Leapai who crashed over under the posts.
The Rams had their second try in much the same way when Lucas again made a run from dummy half before passing inside, this time for a hard-running Michael Geiger who went over the top of a couple of defenders to score.
Woden Valley had their third try inside the opening 25 minutes when Lucas dived on the loose ball after his grubber kick was spilt by Tuggeranong defender Jack Heyman.
After receiving four straight penalties the Bushrangers looked to have broken through when David Faaeteete drew two defenders and flicked the ball out the back to Livinai Tuicakau who grounded the ball only for the referee to rule the grounding was the result of a double movement.
Woden Valley immediately punished their opponent by going the length of the field in one set and having Cody Hodge score off a Withers cross-field kick to give the Rams a 24-0 halftime lead.
The Rams started the second half how they finished the first with Michael Gilmour bursting his way through the Bushrangers defence to score under the posts.
The Bushrangers finally hit back in the 53rd minute when Matthew Dragisic somehow pushed his way over three defenders to get the ball down over the line.
Tuggeranong had their second try when Jamal Nchouki weaved through the Rams defence and pushed his way over to score.
The Bushrangers were over again when the big man Tautalanoa Vanisi dummied his way through the line before flicking the ball out the back to Dragisic who scored his second try of the match.
The comeback was on when Dragisic broke through the Rams defence before the ball was swung to the left where Jayden Pollard crossed to score.
With nine minutes left the impossible happened when the Bushrangers levelled the scores by scoring their fifth straight try, this time through Nchouki who pushed his way over to score under the posts.
The Rams snatched back the lead with four minutes remaining courtesy of Withers kicking what would prove to be the winning field goal in a match that will live long in the memories of those who saw it.
Woden Valley Rams 31 (Tries: Leapai, Geiger, Lucas, Hodge, Gilmour Goals: Withers 5/5 Field Goals: Withers 1) def Tuggeranong Bushrangers 30 (Tries: Dragisic 2, Nchouki 2, Pollard Goals: Mitchell 5/6)