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The Blumers Lawyers Canberra Raiders Cup competitions and Katrina Fanning Shield kick off this weekend, with four blockbuster first grade clashes highlighting the first round of action.

Belconnen United Sharks vs Queanbeyan Kangaroos, 3:00pm Saturday at NSWRL HQ Bruce 

This weekend's 'match of the round' will be between the Belconnen United Sharks and the Queanbeyan Kangaroos with both sides looking to kick start their 2024 campaign with a victory. 

A rematch of last year's preliminary final, the Sharks will be out for revenge after the Kangaroos secured a comprehensive win on the way to collecting the premiership in 2023. 

The Kangaroos come into this season as the hunted and will be missing Harry Quinlan and Steven Numambo, among others, who were instrumental players in last year’s premiership campaign. 

"Last year was the perfect year in nearly every single way, it's very hard to replicate that but I'm still confident in our squad," said Roos Captain-Coach Sam Williams.

Williams is coming off a strong individual season which saw him crowned the McIntyre Medalist, however is focused on team success and going back to back.

"It certainly is a bigger ask trying to go back to back, but it comes down to players wanting to play and wanting to be there," Williams said. 

"As long as they're keen and they're trying hard, you'll get the results more often than not". 

After playing finals for the first time in a decade, the Sharks enter this season confident they can build on last season's preliminary final result. 

Captain-coach Zac Patch has attributed a strong recruitment drive over the offseason and the unity of the group as keys to the side being able to go two better this season. 

Woden Valley Rams vs West Belconnen Warriors, 3:00pm Saturday at Phillip Oval 

The Woden Valley Rams will be looking to start their season off with a bang as they welcome the West Belconnen Warriors to Phillip Oval. 

After finishing in 2nd position in 2022, a disappointing season in 2023 saw the Rams unable to qualify for finals with the goal to return to the success the side had a couple seasons ago. 

With a high turnover of players the Rams will be looking to improve on last year's performance and qualify for finals with the start to the season important to set the foundation. 

The West Belconnen Warriors are coming into the season confident after a third place finish in last year’s campaign which they will be looking to build on. 

After a narrow two point loss against cross town rivals the Sharks ended their season in the minor semi final last year, the Warriors will be determined to return to finals. 

The Warriors have placed an emphasis on the start to this year’s season after declaring they missed the jump in 2023 and suffered from a premiership hangover from their 2022 campaign. 

Queanbeyan Blues vs Gungahlin Bulls, 3:00pm Saturday at Seiffert Oval  

The Queanbeyan Blues begin their season at home against the Gungahlin Bulls with both sides aiming to start the new season strongly after disappointing 2023 campaigns. 

After a grand final appearance in 2022, the Blues struggled last season only claiming three victories in a season which they will be looking to bounce back from. 

This match will be the first for new head coach Jeremy Braun, with his influence already being felt by the Blues players as there is strong positivity and enthusiasm that they will be able to overturn last season's results. 

The Gungahlin Bulls struggled in the 2023 season only claiming three wins in a season which can only be described as a disappointing one. 

After conceding the second most amount of points in last year's campaign, the Bulls have placed a strong emphasis on improving their defence in the pre season. 

Gungahlin will be aiming for a strong start to the season declaring that the aim is to secure a spot in the top four, with anything after that being a bonus. 

Yass Magpies vs Tuggeranong Bushrangers, 3:00pm Saturday at Walker Park 

The Yass Magpies begin their 2024 season at home welcoming last year’s runners up in the  Tuggeranong Bushrangers to Walker Park. 

A disappointing 2023 season saw the Magpies collect the wooden spoon whilst the Bushrangers qualified for last year’s decider, however were comprehensively defeated on the day. 

Over the offseason there has been a strong emphasis on improving the fitness and contact of the side, with the Magpies forwards looking to provide a strong platform for some exciting outside backs which have been recruited. 

After claiming only three victories last season, Yass will be looking to start off the season with a win which would be an improvement on their start last season. 

The Tuggeranong Bushrangers will be looking to build on a successful season last year which saw them achieve a grand final birth. 

After creating a reputation for being a tough and gritty footy side last year, the Bushrangers will place an emphasis on this during the opening rounds of the season. 

The club has identified a strong blend of youth and experience as key factors for the season ahead, with the goal to go one better and claim a grand final victory.

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.