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Tigers Roar in GTS Season Opener

The Bungendore Tigers made an opening round statement for the ages at Mick Sherd Oval on Saturday when crushing the Harden Hawks 50-nil.

In a replay of the 2023 minor semi-final—won 24-10 by Bungendore—the Tigers hit the ground running on Saturday, raising the bat for a half-century against the Hawks in Round One of the Blumers Lawyers George Tooke Shield.

“I never expected that kind of result,” Bungendore coach Jack Bramley said.

“It’s always good to play Harden in Round One, as they have been one of the top teams for the past ten years.

“After they got Jayden (Cutting) and Austin (Power) to go over there from Boorowa, they are two big signings, and we thought we were in for a tough game.

“In no way, shape, or form did we expect it would be a 50-point margin, but that’s what footy is like, and it was one of those games where everything we did worked out.

“Everything we touched turned to gold; it was a good day to be a Tiger, and it was good to get that Round One win at home.”

Bramley reiterated it was a team effort, but he was happy to shine the light on two talented backs that scored the lion’s share of the Tigers’ tries.

“Everyone put in a very good performance, and I’ve got to give a special mention to Connor Griffiths,” Bramley said.

“It was his first game for the Tigers on the wing; he scored a double, put in a heap of effort, and worked strongly out of yardage.

“Then the usual suspects did all the hard work, and Daniel Jacobs was safe and had a great kicking game while he scored some nice tries.”

The Tigers will be tested in Round Two when taking on reigning premiers, Boorowa.

The Rovers were winners in Round One with a well-earned 22-17 win over the North Canberra Bears at Kaleen.

There is a growing rivalry between the teams, especially after the Rovers ended the Tigers’ 2023 campaign with a 32-22 victory in an entertaining Preliminary Final.

“I’m not going to say we will replicate it again this week,” Bramley said.

“You don’t win comps in April, and that has bit us in the bum the last couple of years. It will be a tough trip to Boorowa this weekend.

“Last year’s loss still hurts heaps, to be fair, and I’m close with Stewey (Alex Stewart) and the boys, and we know Boorowa do not go away, and they play the full start to finish.

“They just had our number all year and got us in Round Two and the semi-finals, so we know it will be a good game on Saturday.”

Bungendore does mean business in 2024, and Bramley had his side fit and firing heading into their season opener.

The Tigers played Aberdeen in a trial and defeated the Group 21 outfit before taking on the Queanbeyan Blues and Belconnen Sharks reserve grade sides.

“My dad (Paul Bramley) coaches Aberdeen, and we had a trial against them and won against a good first-grade team,” Bramley said.

“We had a second trial against the Blues and Sharks, and that is more of a friendly rivalry.

“We put all our eggs into that first trial, and with the second one, we only had 15 players, so it was more or less about getting a few extra km’s in the legs.”

After kicking off the season on a winning start, Bramley said the Tigers’ playing group was motivated to win a drought-breaking premiership.

Bungendore last won a GTS title in 2015 and has since lost two Grand Finals, going down to the Highlanders 24-10 in 2020 and Crookwell 14-10 in 2022.

“The Grand Final loss the year before hurt us a lot,” Bramley said.

“We’ve been thereabouts for the past three years, and we all have that itch and want to go all the way; if you don’t have that itch, you’re probably playing the wrong sport.”

While Bramley rates Boorowa, Cootamundra, Binalong, and Harden as major players in 2020, he wouldn’t swap his squad for any other, with a good core of local juniors driving their premiership charge.

“We’ve got two handy footballers back on board in Josh Baker and Jake Wheeler,” Bramley said.

“They are both Bungendore juniors and were in the under-18s team that won it a few years back with blokes like Pat Pryor, Ben Raynor, and Tyran Sullivan.

“They add that bit of class and bring that calming factor.”

While the Tigers’ victory was a standout result, it was an entertaining opening round of the GTS competition.

Cootamundra was equally as impressive when defeating the UC Stars 52-14 at Raiders Belconnen, and premiers Boorowa got their title defence underway with a tense 22-17 victory over the North Canberra Bears at Kaleen.

In arguably the surprise of the round, the Binalong Brahmans triumphantly returned to the competition, knocking off 2023 Grand Finalist Crookwell 16-8 at Crookwell Memorial Oval.

Click here for the Blumers Lawyers George Tooke Shield ladder and draw.

Bullettes hit the ground running

The Cootamundra Bullettes were a force to be reckoned with on Saturday, scoring an impressive 42-nil win over the UC Stars at Raiders Belconnen.

The 2023 grand finalists - who lost to the Harden Hawkettes 10-nil in the decider - made their intentions known with their strong performance away from home.

The Hawkettes were not far behind, and visiting Bungendore, they cruised to a 36-10 win over the Tigerettes at Mick Sherd Oval.

Crookwell, who finished one game away from the Grand Final in 2023, accounted for the returning Binalong Brahmans 24-14 at Crookwell Memorial Oval.

In the game of the round, there wasn’t a lot between North Canberra and Boorowa at Kaleen, but the Bears got up to beat the Roverettes 18-10.

Click here for the Blumers Lawyers George Tooke Shield League Tag ladder and draw.

Images by Lauren Woodward Photography

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.