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Blues book grand final ticket with big win over Rams

The Queanbeyan Blues are through to the Blumers Lawyers Canberra Raiders Cup grand final with an impressive 36-22 victory over the Rams at Gungahlin Enclosed Oval on Sunday afternoon.

It was a heated affair with both sides giving it their all but a convincing 22-point lead at halftime for the Blues was too much to overcome for Woden Valley.

In perfect conditions in Canberra’s north, the Blues took no time to hit the scoreboard with strike centre Jake Butler-Fleming taking on the Rams’ left edge defence to get to the line in only the second minute.

Four minutes later the Blues were in again with Tristian Eldridge’s line break ending with Matthew Parsons going over untouched. This time Campese had no issues with the conversion, making it 10-nil early in the proceedings.

Following Parsons' try, the Rams started to gain some control of the match, having numerous sets inside the Blues’ half.

However, stellar defence from the Queanbeyan side prevailed as they held the Rams up over the line three times in a ten-minute period.

Although Woden Valley were dominating the field position battle, Queanbeyan bounced back next through Parsons, who scored his second of the half.

A dangerous offload in the middle of the field from John Papalii created the break for Parsons to finish off under the uprights.

The conversion was knocked over from Campese, giving the Blues a commanding 16-nil lead.

Queanbeyan were in again in the 37th minute through right winger Bryce Lee, who showed great composure and awareness to step back in-field to avoid being tackled into touch.

Campese slotted it from the sideline to extend the half time lead to 22-nil.

With a mountain to climb in the second half to get through to the grand final, the Rams needed to start strong and they did exactly that.

Jesse Taws got their attack rolling when he took on the defence and threw a perfect pass to centre Scott Swanson to score their first of the afternoon.

In the next set, the Rams went the length of the field via a penalty to score under the posts through front rower Joel Ambrose. Jesse Taws had no issues with either conversion attempt, making it a ten-point game with over 30 minutes to go.

Queanbeyan were able to halt Woden Valley’s impactful start to the half with back-to-back tries of their own in the 52nd and 57th minutes through George Morseu and Brad Buckley.

Campese was perfect on both attempts including one from the sideline to make it 34-12.

Now needing to score desperately in the final 20 minutes of the match, an error from the Blues provided the Rams with their third try of the half through Mitchell Spencer. 

The conversion was successful from the left-hand side, dragging the deficit down to 16-points.

With tensions building, the Rams struck again with Daniel Prior going himself and spinning his way to ground the ball. Blues fans did their best to put Taws off and were successful with the halfback shaving the outside of the post.

A costly error from Rams fullback Jesse Eljuga turned into a penalty for the Blues as the Woden defenders laid too long on the tackle of Campese. 

The captain-coach stepped up to the plate and slotted the penalty goal from ten metres out to push his side out to a comfortable 14-point lead with five minutes to go.

The score remained the same until the final siren with Queanbeyan holding strong to win 36-22.

The Queanbeyan Blues are now through to the grand final where they will take on the West Belconnen Warriors at Seiffert Oval next Sunday.

For Woden Valley, the loss means the end of their season which has been a great one, winning 11 of their 18 games.

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.