The Raiders Under 20’s held off a strong Gungahlin Bulls outfit to claim a high scoring 46-28 win at Gungahlin Enclosed Oval on Saturday afternoon.
With the scores locked at 24-24 heading into the final quarter, the Under 20’s ran in four tries to get the win.
Both teams had chances to open the scoring at the start of the game, with the Raiders Under 20’s earning a goal-line dropout and penalty, but Bulls hooker Zachary Patch pulled off a one-on-one strip to get his team out of trouble.
A high shot on Raiders player Keaton Walkington-Meads gifted the Raiders great field position, and it was Jayden Clarkson who barged over the tryline for the first try of the game. Halfback Jordan Williams converted the try, giving the Raiders U20’s a 6-0 lead after seven minutes.
After subsequent errors from both teams, the Raiders were next to score, after a great runs by Gordon Whippy and Manase Kaho, whose pass was knocked down by the Bulls and picked up by winger Temple Rupapera to score. Jordan Williams added the two points to bring the score to 12-0.
Raiders lock Trey Mooney busted through a tackle and had a great run up the middle, and Bulls halfback Connor Williams was sin-binned after holding down too long.
A great backline movement by the Under 20’s gifted Brigham Moeakiola a try, with Jordan Williams converting to give the Raiders a 18-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
But the Bulls came out firing after the quarter break, and it was Bulls centre Brendan Dunn who scored for the home side. Tre Holton-Williams kicked the conversion, with the score at 18-6.
Raiders Under 20’s second rower Matthew Fellows went off with a dislocated finger, adding the the Under 20’s injury list.
The Bulls closed the gap in the scoreline after a great run by halfback Holton-Williams, who passed to winger Earldric Pehara to score. Connor Williams kicked the goal, with the Bulls trailing 18-12.
The home side levelled the scores at 18-18 right on half-time, with hooker Patch burrowing his way over the tryline and Holton-Williams kicking the conversion.
Gungahlin continued where they left off in the second half, with Pehara notching up his second try of the day. Holton-Williams converted, with the Bulls hitting the lead 24-18.
The Raiders Under 20’s hit back a few minutes later, with Jordan Williams crossing the tryline for his side and then kicking the conversion.
The Raiders got a repeat set in the final minute before the three-quarter break but the Gungahlin defence held strong.
With the scores locked at 24-24 heading into the final quarter of the match, Raiders Under 20’s lock Mooney broke the deadlock right after the fourth-quarter break, slamming the ball down on the tryline after a solid run by centre Jeremiah Simbiken. Jordan Williams added the extras, with the men in green leading 30-24.
But the Bulls hit right back through fullback Tristan Eldridge, who put a big fend on Moeakiola to cross the tryline. Holton-Williams missed his first goal of the day, with the score at 30-28.
In what continued to be see-sawing final quarter, Raiders winger Thomas Croker was next to score for the visiting side, extending his side’s lead to 34-28.
Raiders Under 20’s Joe Roberts claimed the next two tries for the home side, with Jordan Williams kicking both conversions to bring the score to 46-28.