A look back at what was another exciting week in the Griffin Legal John I Dent Cup.
Gungahlin Eagles v Tuggeranong Vikings
Meeting for the first time since their round one thriller, the Gungahlin Eagles had the home ground advantage against the Tuggeranong Vikings on Saturday afternoon, plying at The Nest in Nicholls.
Looking to defend their come-from-behind win back in March, the Eagles made the most of their chances while the Vikings had some costly errors over the 80 minutes which ultimately sealed the results for both teams.
After the opening few minutes saw Tuggeranong threaten Gungahlin in the Eagles’ half, the visitors were the first to get points on the board with a penalty goal, making a dent with a 0-3 lead.
Not a team to go down without a fight, even this early in the match, Gungahlin fought back straight away by applying maximum pressure to the Vikings’ try line with one potential try being held up, briefly stopping the Eagles’ momentum.
A Vikings feed scrum quickly turned around into the Eagles gaining possession just metres out from the try line and this time the home side wouldn’t let their chances slip, going over the line after two plays to score their first points of the game, taking a 7-3 lead after the kick.
After a bungled tackle on a Tuggeranong player, the visitors got another crack at a penalty goal, again converting it to tighten up the score-line at 7-6.They nearly retook the lead shortly after with a multiple-player breakaway run but were stopped by an intercept off the back of a mistake while passing the ball, giving the Eagles possession again.
Crossing the line to be the first team to score points consecutively in the match, Tuggeranong’s Jayme Field crossed the line late in the first half to score the visitor’s first try, taking the score-line out to 7-11 after Isaac Thompson failing to add the two.
Just before half-time, the Eagles got their own back with a second try, regaining the lead going in to the sheds with the home side retaining an advantage of 12-11.
Bursting out of the gates in the second half, Gungahlin’s Jackson Duffey was the first player to put points on the board after the break, coupling with an Isaac Walker kick to give the home side a 19-11 lead.
Shortly after Duffey’s try, Matt Hawke helped the Eagles further extend their lead with a try in the right corner, notching up another five points to which Walker again added two after a successful conversion with Gungahlin controlling the game at 26-11.
It all looked to be going smoothly for the home side as Tuggeranong had to put up with being a man down until the visitors fought back despite being shorthanded, scoring a try and making the conversion to bring the point difference back to eight at 26-18.
Dominating the next few sets of play, it seemed that Tuggeranong for staging another late game comeback, aided by a try with only a few minutes left. The successful kick brought the game back to a one point difference as Gungahlin had to fight with one man off the field.
A last-gasp push from the Vikings was met with an equally strong defence from Gungahlin who held the visitors away from their try line. Costly mistakes from the Vikings meant that the Eagles held on to their slender lead until the death, coming home with a 26-25 win.
Queanbeyan v Wests
The Queanbeyan Whites have won their first game of the season, toppling Wests 34-26 at home on Saturday afternoon at Campese Field.
An immense second half of defence from the home team secured the win, which was ultimately sealed when Ben Gordon went over for a try in the final act of the match.
The Lions started the game ferociously and looked to spread the ball wide, but their attack backfired when Queanbeyan speedster Levi Clark pulled in a wayward cutout pass and ran 60 meters to score under the posts, making the conversion attempt for Brendan Jimenez an easy one.
Just minutes later Wests flyhalf Declan Meredith ran to the line and poked a grubber kick through for his outside men to chase. The kick was recovered by Komiti Tuilagi who had no trouble diving over the try line to score a try.
This was the second time Meredith had tried the grubber kick in the early stages of the game, this could have been something the visitors had talked about during the week. However, his conversion was unsuccessful, and Wests still trailed 7-5.
The Whites extended their lead 20 minutes in when they turned some sustained possession into points. The try scorer was Lewis Bozzato, who made the most of some great field position by crashing over the line from 5 meters out.
The boys from Belconnen struck back quickly again, and this time it was flanker Mitchell Tye who was the benefactor of a fantastic pass close to the line.
With a much better angle this time, Meredith made no mistake with his conversion and Wests were back within two points.
The seesawing fashion of the match continued when Queanbeyan big man Vincent De Masson burrowed over for a try from short range after Levi Clark set the team up with an attack down the left edge.
Jimenez’s toughest kick of the first half proved to be too much of an angle, and he pushed it to the left.
With only minutes left in the half, Wests found themselves camped just meters out from the try line, but impenetrable defence by the Whites allowed them to head into the sheds at the break with a 7-point lead.
The home team showed they were not afraid to pass the ball in the second half, sending it from one touchline to the other in search of an opening in the defence.
They were finally rewarded when Jimenez stepped his way through and looked like he could go all the way, before he was brought down by a shoulder charge from Joel Astle.
The Whites played on quickly and Christino Manuolevao burst through the line, offloading to Mitch Douch who then passed to a young Will Holland on debut for the try.
Before Jiminez could convert the try, the referee mistakenly sent David Dwyer to the sin bin for Astle’s shoulder charge, but the winger didn’t argue the fact.Almost straight from the kick off, the Lions found themselves on the attack again and some slick footwork by Meredith saw him squeeze between defenders next to the posts to make it easy to convert his own try.
With the physicality of the game growing by the minute, both captains were talked to by the ref. Another Wests try with 20 minutes to go, this time through Allan Wratten, brought the visitors within 3 points and it looked like they might be able to chase down the lead.
The Whites had different plans however and displayed some outstanding defence to hold out the onslaught. Carl Elliot and Ben Gordon were standouts for the home team, showing great physicality in attack and defence for the full 80 minutes.
Sustained periods of defence turned to attack in the final moments of the game and it was Ben Gordon who went over from close range to put the icing on the match.
Next week the Queanbeyan side will look to get their second win when they take on the Royals in Phillip, while Wests have the bye.