Goulburn City Bulldogs have ended a three match losing streak with a strong performance in their 36-20 victory against the Woden Valley Rams in round seven of the Blumers Lawyers Canberra Raiders Cup.
Both teams came into the game at Phillip Enclosed Oval with losing records and were looking to turn their seasons around.
The first 50 minutes the game was tight affair, but Goulburn pulled away in the second half thanks to strong performances from Dillon Rota, Vaughan Winnel and the Bulldogs’ forward pack lead by captain-coaches Tyson Greenwood and Jesse Martin.
The Bulldogs dominated possession and territory early. They pinned the Rams in their own half from the get-go thanks to dominant defence and and an excellent kick chase.
The pressure paid off in the sixth minute when Goulburn’s hooker Angus Marshall barged over from dummy half to take the Bulldogs out to a 6-0 lead.
Woden hit back in the 16th minute when Zac Ross put Liam Lupton over the line thanks to a great cut-out pass that saw a diving Lupton score in the right corner. Jackson McDonald converted from the sideline to level the game at 6-6.
As the half wore on the quality of Woden Valley’s hooker Toby Thorburn came to the fore. Thorburn was consistently probing out of dummy half, finding easy meters and putting the Bulldog’s defence on the back-foot.
Thorburn set up Rams’ lock Sean Maloney for a try in the 22nd minute with a crisp pass at the goal line. The try gave the Rams their first lead of the game, and it was special moment for Maloney who was playing his 100th game for the Rams.
Max Flack then hit back for the Bulldogs. The Rams had knocked on from a scrum in Goulburn’s territory, and the Bulldogs’ capitalised with Issac Walker slicing the Rams’ defence with his passing game, eventually finding Flack out wide in the 32nd minute.
Goulburn took back the lead in the 36th minute, when Steve Cummins scored on the last tackle after he caught a perfectly weighted kicked from halfback Vaughan Winnel.
Woden were first to score in the second half, after Bulldogs’ fullback Dom Stephens mishandled a high bomb. Rams’ center Aiden Agnew picked up the loose ball and offloaded to Tom Scrivener for the try, leaving the scores tied at 14-14.
Not content to give away the lead, Goulburn took the score out 20-14 in the 50th minute when Vaughan Winnel scored from dummy half after a powerful Dillon Rota run.
After a rest on the sidelines, Toby Thorburn re-entered the game and made an immediate impact setting up Rams’ center Scott Swanson for a try in the 56th minute.
In a see-sawing second half Goulburn took the lead out to 26-20 thanks to an opportunistic try from Matt Sherer who jumped on a loose ball close to the Rams’ goal-line.
Dillon Rota, who was one of the best players on the field, gave Goulburn a 12 point lead in the 63rd minute with a barnstorming run close to the line.
The Bulldogs sealed victory in the 66th minute when Cummins nabbed his second try of the game thanks to a great draw and pass from Vaughan Winnel.
Goulburn City Bulldogs 36 (Tries: D Rota, M Flack, S Cummins 2, V Winnel; Goals: I Walker 4/7) d Woden Valley Rams 20 (Tries: L Lupton, S Maloney, T Scrivener, S Swanson; Goals: J McDonald 2/4 )