The Blumers Lawyers Canberra Raiders Cup heads into round 11 with all teams looking to have a strong second half of the season to make the finals. The Belconnen United Sharks will take on the Yass Magpies in this week’s match of the round.
Match of the Round: Yass Magpies v Belconnen United Sharks, 3pm Saturday 10th July at Walker Park.
The eighth-placed Yass Magpies and the sixth-placed Belconnen United Sharks will both be looking for a win this Saturday in an effort to keep their finals hopes alive.
Both teams have been competitive throughout the season but haven’t been able to make the most of their opportunities.
Sharks’ captain Matt Woolnough said the team has been able to put together good football in patches but they need to be more consistent with their efforts if they want to make the finals. The Sharks led competition heavyweights the Queanbeyan Blues 18-12 early in the second half last round, but went down 30-24 in the end.
“The 15 minutes after halftime we sort of just drop our heads a bit and get a bit complacent. We’re trying to address that and stay competitive for the whole 80 - which would be perfect,” Woolnough said
“We definitely want to surge towards that top four, and to do that we’re obviously going to have to address those problems”.
Magpies coach Cam Hardy said his team’s struggles come down to errors and discipline. He says if they can overcome their issues they can turn their season around, but he won’t be underestimating the Sharks.
“They [the Sharks] are like silent assassins, they just sneak up and keep plotting away. If you are not on your game they will get you in the end,” Hardy said
“We just have to be disciplined. Our errors cost us every week, and they are unforced errors that we are making, we’re our own worst enemy. If we can get those unforced errors out, and a little bit of discipline it will go a long way for us”.
Queanbeyan Blues v West Belconnen Warriors, 3pm Saturday 10th July at Seiffert Oval.
The Blues will take on the Warriors in an exciting top-four clash this weekend.
The Blues are looking to avenge their round seven loss to the Warriors where they went down 22-18. They will draw confidence from a tight victory last week and will try to contain the Warriors strong forward pack.
The Warriors on the other hand will want a repeat of their round seven victory. West Belconnen are third on the ladder and win this week would see them close the gap to just one competition point between second and third.
Warriors second-rower Joshua Ayers leads the Best and Fairest leaderboard for the Canberra Raiders Cup and will definitely be a player to keep an eye on in this match.
Goulburn City Bulldogs v Woden Valley Rams, 3pm Saturday 10th July at Workers Arena
Goulburn are coming off a tough loss to the West Belconnen Warriors last week, going down 18-10, but they will relish a chance to play at home where they’ve only lost one game all season.
Bulldogs’ five-eighth Isaac Walker and centre Dillon Rota will provide the Rams’ defence with plenty of issues - both players can be devastating on their day.
The ninth-placed Rams have struggled for victories this season - only winning one game - but they can take some confidence out of a good second half against the Gungahlin Bulls last week where they scored 18 points.
No doubt the Rams will try and cause an upset in Goulburn this Saturday and they’ll need to take it to the Bulldogs early and get points on the board as quick as possible.
Gungahlin Bulls v Tuggeranong Bushrangers, 3pm Saturday 10th July at Gungahlin Enclosed Oval
The Bulls responded strongly to their first loss of the season by defeating the Woden Valley Rams 46-18 last round. They will look to keep a firm grasp on first position by putting in a good performance against the Bushrangers in front of their home fans.
The Bulls’ spine has been the best in the competition all season, with players like Tristan Eldridge and Tre Holten-Williams playing outstanding rugby league.
The Bushrangers currently sit in seventh position on the ladder but have had victories over top-four opponents the Queanbeyan Kangaroos and the West Belconnen Warriors, showing they can match it with the top teams
With just under half the season remaining, there is still enough time for the Bushrangers to push for a finals berth, but they’ll need to come up with an upset this weekend to get the ball rolling.