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West Belconnen clinch minor premiership with big win over Blues

The West Belconnen Warriors have secured the minor premiership in the Canberra Raiders Cup, coming away 26-10 victors against the Queanbeyan Blues at Seiffert Oval on Saturday afternoon.

It was a nervy start from both sides, with errors plaguing the match as neither team could take control early.

It would not be until the 24th minute that West Belconnen would get on the board, courtesy of Manu Vanisi. The front rower crashing through a stagnant Queanbeyan defence, twisting and turning before finally planting the ball down.

Robert Roberts would convert from directly in front, giving the Warriors a 6-0 lead.

Queanbeyan would rise to the challenge immediately after, responding through Atunaisa Tupou in the 29th minute.

The prop would pick the ball up from dummy half, faking to pass to the left before stepping to the right. He would breeze past the Warriors defensive line, crossing over untouched for his sides first of the day.  

George Morseu would secure the extra two points from next to the posts, drawing the scores level at 6-all.

The Warriors thought they had found their second in the 34thminute, with Roberts picking out Brandon Withers on the left edge. Despite his best efforts a resilient Queanbeyan defensive effort would hold him up, keeping the game all square.

Withers would end up getting his try before the break, with the help of some quick hands from William Peace. The centre would draw the Blues defence off the sideline, firing the ball out to Withers who would be able to run in under the posts in the 38th minute.

Roberts would convert, handing his side a 12-6 lead at half time with it all still to play for.

Tensions would begin to boil to begin the second half, with the match firmly in the balance. Errors would again continue to stifle any momentum either side would build over the opening 10 minutes.

It would take Roberts to step up and firmly take control of the match for the Warriors, the star man stepping off his left to bust through the Queanbeyan line to get his first of the afternoon in the 56th minute.

The halfback would convert his own try, handing West Belconnen an 18-6 lead.

The Blues would continue to push to get back in the match, only to be held back by resolute defence from the Warriors on their goal line.

Morseu would find some space down the left edge in the 65thminute, with it looking like the winger would find the clear. It would only be a miraculous chase and cover tackle from Mitchell Shaw that would deny him, dragging him out to preserve the Warriors lead.

West Belconnen would be gifted the perfect opportunity to almost seal the match, with Thomas Bethke being tackled high directly in front of the posts. Roberts would continue his perfect afternoon with the boot, converting the penalty goal in the 72nd minute to give the Warriors a 20-6 lead.

The two points and the minor premiership would be secured through William Peace, with the centre turning from creator to try scorer. He would find an inch of room on the left, diving over in the 76th minute.Roberts would add the extra two points, giving the Warriors a 26-6 lead.

Queanbeyan would score a consolation try, attacking nicely down the right edge. The ball would end up in the hands of Ropata Doherty, the winger diving spectacularly to place the ball down narrowly inside the corner post in the 79th minute.

The conversion would be missed, West Belconnen securing the competition’s minor premiership with a 26-10 victory.

All eyes now turn to the Canberra Raiders Cup finals series, with West Belconnen preparing to host Woden Valley in the major semi-final. Queanbeyan will instead travel to Tuggeranong, with the winner to stay alive and the loser eliminated.  

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.