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Rams secure finals position with win over Bulldogs

The Woden Valley Rams have secured a position in the Canberra Raiders Cup finals, defeating the Goulburn City Bulldogs 20-10 at Phillip Enclosed Oval on Saturday afternoon.

After a slow start from both sides, it was a couple of moments of magic from Rams five-eighth Sean Maloney that gave Woden a 14-0 halftime lead.

Despite a late Bulldogs fightback, the Rams would hold on, with the loss now making Goulburn City’s pursuit of finals football incredibly difficult.  

It was a back and forth opening 15 minutes, with neither side able to get an early stronghold on the match.

It was not until the 23rd minute that the deadlock would finally be broken, when Woden Valley five-eighth Sean Maloney got his side on the board.

The Ram was able to collect an offload to his right, before beating four Goulburn defenders to plant the ball down for his first of the afternoon.

Woden centre Gideon Ademui could not convert, with the Rams taking a 4-0 lead.

Maloney had his hands all over Woden’s second try as well, finding a pin perfect kick behind the Goulburn defence in the 30th minute.

He was able to pick out Thomas Scrivener with a clear view of the try-line, the winger making no mistake to give Woden their second.

Afemui would this time add the extra points, extending the Rams lead to 10-0 in the 31st minute.

After the early brilliance from Maloney, it was his halves partner Jesse Taws who decided to make his mark on the game late in the first half, with the halfback scoring his sides third in the 38th minute.

The Ram was able to find some space on the left-hand side, using his destructive running game to pierce the Goulburn defensive line to score under pressure.

Afemui would hook the conversion to the left of the posts, giving the Rams a 14-0 lead as both teams went to the sheds with it all still to play for.

It was the Bulldogs who would get off to the perfect start in the second half, with Steven Cummins getting the sides first in the 44th minute.

After the destructive Laberato Tauoqooqo was stopped just before the line, Cummins took the opportunity to muscle his way over from dummy half.

Christopher Hart would miss his first conversion attempt of the afternoon, leaving the Rams still leading 14-4.

Despite chances for the Rams, including an incredible 80 metre run from prop forward Daniel Prior, the Bulldogs were able to keep themselves in the match.

Off the back of a penalty for a dangerous tackle the Rams would finally break through Goulburn to get their first of the second half.

After running across the Bulldogs defensive line, Woden fullback Lachlan Eveston would find a hole, crossing for a try in the 59th minute.

Afemui would convert from the sideline, handing the Rams a 20-4 lead.

The Bulldogs were however not done, with some brilliant dummy-half play from Jason Gray getting them right back into the fixture.

After only returning from injury moments before, the Goulburn City hooker would scoot from the ruck to plant the ball down in the 62nd minute.

Hart would convert to give his side the extra two points, leaving the Bulldogs trailing 20-10.

Despite some late Goulburn City pressure and tensions beginning to flare, the Rams would eventually hold on to record an important 20-10 victory.

Woden will now turn their eyes to their match against the Belconnen United Sharks in two weeks time, whilst the Bulldogs will look to keep their season alive then they host the Queanbeyan Blues.

Acknowledgement of Country

Canberra Raiders respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.