Round one of the Blumers Lawyers Canberra Raiders Cup had plenty of exciting rugby league, and round two should be just as entertaining.
Live-stream game: Belconnen United Sharks v Gungahlin Bulls, 3pm Saturday 17 April at NSWRL HQ, Bruce
The Belconnen United Sharks are coming off a tough loss in round one and will be looking to get their first win, while the Gungahlin Bulls won a thriller at home and will want to continue their winning ways.
The Sharks lost 52-12 against the Queanbeyan Blues last week, and no doubt defence will be a big focus coming into round two.
It will also be the first home game for the Sharks, who moved to their new home ground at NSWRL HQ (formally the Raiders’ training ground in Bruce) earlier this year.
Last year’s finalist, the Gungahlin Bulls, played an exciting brand of footy in their 32-22 victory over the Woden Valley Rams.
Gungahlin five-eighth Jordan Williams was best on the ground against the Rams, clinching victory with a match-winning try.
Sharks’ prop Sonny Tupuola says that if they’re going to beat the Bulls, they’ll need to shut down their spine.
“Bulls have one of the best spines in the local comp,” Tupuola said.
“If we just shut them down, the one, six, seven and nine, we’ll see how we go.”
The Sharks have one of the youngest teams in the Canberra Raiders Cup, and Tupuola sees for Canberra Raider Shaun Fensom’s experience as a big asset for the club.
“We have a very, very young squad. So it was good for him to join the team this year,” Tupuola said.
“He talks a lot, and brings a lot of experience to the squad.”
The Sharks will have to use that experience to help them bounce back from a hard loss and get ready for the big game on Saturday.
If the game is a close one it might come down to a two-point field goal, which the big front-rower backs himself to hit.
“I might shoot those ones,” Tupoala said with a chuckle.
Woden Valley Rams v Tuggeranong Bushrangers, 3pm Saturday 17 April at Phillip Oval, Woden
Woden will play their first home game of the season when they take on the Tuggeranong Bushrangers this Saturday.
Woden were very competitive against the Bulls in round one, having the lead multiple times, but they were unable to come away with the win.
The Bushrangers had a 36-12 victory over the Queanbeyan Roos last week, scoring four tries in the second half to seal victory.
Both teams enjoyed strong performances from their halves during round one and will be looking for a repeat effort as the game looks to be another thriller.
Queanbeyan Blues v Yass Magpies, 3pm Saturday 17 April at Seiffert Oval, Queanbeyan
The Yass Magpies have their first match of the Canberra Raiders Cup this Saturday when they take on the Queanbeyan Blues, after having a bye in round one.
The Magpies have a tough challenge ahead of them, with the Blues coming off a victory where they put 52 points on their opponents.
The Queanbeyan Blues already look like the team to beat this season, with hooker Joshua Mitchell a stand out in round one, running out of dummy half and causing havoc for the opposition.
The Magpies will have to stop the Blues forwards from getting a roll-on and shut down the space for Mitchell to operate if they’re going to win on Saturday.
This Saturday will also be the first time Yass Magpies’ five-eighth Nofoaiga Limoni plays in the Canberra Raiders Cup. Limoni moved over from New Zealand last year but was unable to play due to COVID-19 restrictions
Goulburn City Bulldogs v Queanbeyan Kangaroos, 3pm Sunday 18 April at Workers Arena, Goulburn
Goulburn get their second home game in as many weeks when they take on the Queanbeyan Kangaroos.
The Bulldogs had a hard-fought 28-20 victory over the West Belconnen Warriors in round one and will be looking for an even better performance in round two.
Goulburn will want another strong performance from forwards Jesse Martin and Silafano Tituiti, i who gave the team great momentum and a good platform for their backs to attack off.
The Roos will be looking for their inaugural win of the 2021 season, after losing to the Bushrangers.
The Roos were tied at 6-6 after the first 30 minutes against Tuggeranong but the game slipped away from them in the second half, eventually losing 36-12. This week they’ll need to perform at a high level for the full 80 minutes against a strong Goulburn side.