The West Belconnen Warriors have defeated the Woden Valley Rams 27-24 to cement their position in the top four for the 2023 finals series.
The Woden defeat means their season has come to an end, dropping games in the final two weeks by six points or less.
Early pressure from the Warriors on the Rams' defensive line left some vacant space in the goal for centre Lekani Mpaso to get on the end of a neat kick and score the first try of the game.
Rams Fullback Daine Spencer was dangerous as always, breaking tackles from all angles to erase the defensive formation of the Warriors. The Rams then spread the ball to the right-hand side to give winger Sam Gash a one-on-one opportunity to score and give Rams their opening try.
A Jesse Martin linebreak for the Rams put them on the front foot once again, offloading to Kosta Poszantzis to go down the other end of the field just 10 metres short.
Martin was full of aggression, demanding the ball back in a following tackle to dive over and take the lead for the first time in the game.
A successful conversion from Gash takes the score to 10-6.
The Rams forwards were having a field day in the first half as Brad Prior breaks the Warriors line continuing to pile on the pressure.
As the Rams make an error in their own half, the Warriors were unable to capitalise making a dropped ball of their own and losing all momentum.
A neat play down the Warriors right edge handed the opportunity for Mpaso to hold up the play to inevitably flick the ball to his winger Brandon Withers to score.
The conversion was successful by Brandon Withers, making the score 12-10.
A goal dropout from the Warriors saw the kick fumbled by Liam Shaw as he dropped his marbles over the touchline.
The Warriors used this opportunity to full effect as quick play the balls kept the Rams defence on their back foot.
A neat kick from Bayley Graham to Shaw saw him score untouched in the corner, extending their lead once more.
The Warriors were threatening during the second phase play with McQueen getting inventive placing a kick into vacant space to force a dropout.
The Warriors led the Rams 16-12 as the first half came to a close.
The Rams started the second half with plenty of energy, coming up with a big tackle on a kick return to handle the ball straight back to the Rams.
Some neat hands from Temple Rupapera gifted an easy try for Shaw on the wing to score the Rams’ third of the afternoon.
Gash failed to kick the conversion as they trail by two points, 16-14.
Some interesting choice of last-tackle kicks from Warriors halves left them giving over the ball in costly areas.
Both teams were ill-disciplined with neither being able to establish any momentum, but a knock-on from the Warriors coming out of their own end gave a perfect opportunity for the Rams to take the lead.
And that they did, with hooker Mitch Souter going over to retake the lead for the second time in the game.
The Warriors were desperate to fight their way back into the game, forcing a dropout and getting a repeat set with 13 minutes left.
A long ball to the left-edge winger Withers followed by a big step on the inside scoring the Warriors' fourth try.
A successful kick gifted the lead to the Warriors with 12 minutes left in the second half.
The Warriors sealed the deal making a linebreak in their own half and giving the ball to the support runner Mpaso to score his second try of the game.
The Warriors followed this up with a field goal from Graham to lead 27-20.
With the game in the dying embers, a strong run from Luke Ellis kept the scores within three points but it wasn’t enough in the end as the Warriors won 27-24