A look back at the best of the action from Round 11 of the Griffin Legal John In Dent Cup!
Royals v Wests
The Phillip Enclosed Oval was the scene of a big match for the Royals this weekend as the home side put on a show to defeat Wests by a five try margin.
Looking to cement a spot at the top of the table, the Royals proved their worth in the 80 minute showdown, resulting in a 54-14 win.
The premier grade victory capped off a clean sweep for the club which won at all levels of the competition on Saturday, leaving Wests to do some hard work before next round.
The Royals got off to a flying start at home with No. 14 Liam Shaw opening their scoring account within the first two minutes, intercepting a Wests pass to breakaway and give his side five points.
A successful conversion from Pedro Rolando gave them an early lead of 7-0 with less than two minutes gone.
After the next stanza of the game saw Wests occupy the Royals half, the home defence was strong, allowing Royals to fight back in the Wests half to score their second try of the match, courtesy of Jamie Bodman.
Another Rolando conversion extended their advantage to 14-0.Following on from their strong start, Jason Swain gave Royals their third try of the game from a Shaw pass, their lead starting to blow out at 21-0 after the conversion kick bounced in despite kissing the post.
Shaw found his way onto the scoresheet again with another try in the first half, chasing a kick to outrun two Wests players and put the ball down in the corner. Rolando again used the sticks to assist the ball going over for a conversion with the scores sitting at 28-0.
Just as the clock approached the 40 minute mark, Royals crossed for their fifth unanswered try of the game off the back of a maul, leading into the sheds 35-0 as Rolando extended his perfect kicking game.
Shortly after the start of the second half, Wests almost got their first try when Allan Wratten aimed himself at the corner, only to be tacked out, putting an end to the momentum. However, a try shortly followed, finally getting the visitors on the board with scores at 35-7.
A second try followed a few minutes later when Joel Astle crossed for his first of the game while Declan Meredith’s kick drew the scoreline back to 35-14, giving Wests some much needed energy as they looked to mount a fightback.
Royals nearly sealed the win at the mid-point of the second half with a three-on-one opportunity but ended up turning over the ball in the scuffle with Wests coming close to scoring a try which would’ve put them back in the hunt.
Not wanting to let the game get away, Rory Scott put the sixth Royals try across the line, reasserting the home team’s dominance over the game as Rolando’s hot streak with the right foot continued, resulting in a 42-14 lead.
Lincoln Smith all but put the game to bed for the Royals as the end neared, scoring off the back of a Shaw pass to add another five points, aided by a Jamie Bodman conversion to give Royals a 49-14 advantage.
In a man of the match performance, Shaw got his hat-trick in the final moments, capping off a solid day on the right wing. While Bodman missed the conversion, the game ended with scores at 54-14 in a big win for Royals at home.
Queanbeyan v Eagles
Gungahlin have continued their top of the table form, beating Queanbeyan 24-40 on Saturday afternoon.
It was a gorgeous afternoon for rugby at David Campese Oval, and Eagles flyer Mack Hansen took full advantage of a dominant forward pack by bagging a hattrick.
Queanbeyan were first to score early in the game when a yellow card to Simon Anau for a high tackle on Will Goddard gave them the chance to put pressure on the line.
Lewis Bozzato was the man with the ball, fighting his way over the line near the posts.
Goddard converted the try to give his team a 7-point lead, but it didn’t take the visitors long to hit back. Mack Hansen looped around his backs to be on the end of a nice set play that put him over in the left corner untouched.
The conversion from Isaac Walker sailed wide, but within minutes of their first try the Eagles were in again.
This time a cross field kick landed on the chest of the winger running at full pace, who raced down the touchline to score.
Queanbeyan soon retook the lead, when Mitchell Douch picked up the ball from the back of a scrum and sliced through the defence to dive over.
After a successful conversion the home team was ahead 14-12, but Gungahlin’s dominance at the set piece started to show.
Their powerful scrum became evident towards half time when they won consecutive scrum penalties before driving their pack over the line for a pushover try to Simon Anau.
It looked like the visitors were going to take their lead into half time until Will Goddard found Brendan Jimenez with a fantastic pass and he streaked upfield, drew his defender and offloaded to Michael Gordon to score.
Carrying a slim 21-19 lead into the second half, Queanbeyan got off to a terrible start when their halfback Douch was yellow carded for a professional foul.
Gungahlin made the most of their advantage by scoring another try from a pushover scrum, earning Anau his second try of the game.
With their man still in the bin, the Whites elected to take a shot at goal when they were awarded a penalty, and this brought them within 3 points of their opposition.
Now with their full compliment of players, Queanbeyan fought back valiantly but could not break through the smothering Gungahlin defence.
Mack Hansen had been a standout all game, looking dangerous every time he touched the ball. Popping up out of nowhere, he collected a nice pass and jinked his way over the line to claim his second five-pointer of the afternoon.
A successful Walker conversion put the game perhaps out of reach for Queanbeyan at 24-33.
The Eagles did a great job suffocating the Whites out of the game with their immense defence and were happy to kick away possession for territory.
Eventually Hansen sealed the game with his third try, ensuring the bonus point win for the table topping team. Next round the Whites host Tuggeranong, while Gungahlin has a bye.
Vikings v Owls
The Tuggeranong Vikings claimed victory against the Uni-Norths Owls 29-20 at Viking Park on Saturday afternoon despite not scoring a single second half point and surviving a late comeback from the Owls.
Leading 29-0 at half time, Vikings looked very comfortable at home and looked set to demolish their opposition. But as seen throughout the season, the Owls are a team that don’t give up despite being down.
The match couldn’t of started off any worse for the Owls as they conceded a penalty within the opening 30 seconds of play. Owls weren’t able to release the ball in the time providing the Vikings the opportunity to open the scoring. Vikings Captain Isaac Thompson slotted the kick from right in front.
The Owls discipline cost them dearly in the opening stanza. Little to no ball was played in the Vikings half meaning that the Owls were on the back foot for the majority of the half.The Vikings scored the opening try of the game through Maika Ravouvou, who was on the receiving end of a terrific back line play.
Thompson was able to find Dean Wilson with the cutout pass who was then able to offload to Ravouvou to score in the corner.Zac Duchen of Owls was able to finally get the Owls into a scoring position as he found the gap in the Vikings defence.
Ben Love then threw the dummy that the Vikings fell for but he then passed it when the try line was right in front of him!
Poor handling from the Owls followed which cost them their first points opportunity of the match.
Vikings fullback Wilson looked dangerous with ball in hand as he ran circles around the Owls and down the sideline before being taken out late by Love who received a yellow card for his actions.
The home side was able to use the one man advantage to their benefit as they went on to score two very quick tries through hooker Sam Thomas in the rolling maul and Wilson after Luke Gersekowski’s mid-field break put them in prime position to score.
Poor handling from the Owls again cost them points as they found themselves in Vikings territory.
A way-ward pass had Vikings grab the intercept and the ball was quickly distributed out to Ravouvou on the wing. He didn’t have it easy though, beating defenders from all sides before throwing the miracle ball to Jayme Field.
Field streaked away beating the fullback to score under the posts.As the teams went into the sheds for half time, the Vikings led to Owls 29-0 and didn’t look like stopping.
Or so it seemed…
Owls came out in the second half like a well oiled machine.
They were sticking several phases together and penetrating wholes in the Vikings defence leaving them scratching their heads.Lock Will Sankey of Owls scored his first try of the day as the forward pack showed incredible resilience and determination to get to the line through multiple pick and goes.
Hooker Rye Steel came out worst for ware after a controversial decision not to card the opposition for a shoulder charge to the head on Steel. He was forced to come off the field for a head injury assessment but did not return.
Vikings really struggled to string phases together. Kicks downfield where met with courageous hard hitting from Owls who were able to slowly make their way back into the contest.A second try to Sankey in the corner followed by Love meant that scores were now 29-15.
A try to Maxwell Bode several minutes after the siren had final scores at 29-20. With no conversion attempts successful it could of been a different story. If all converted, scores would have been 29-28 and who knows what would of happened.
With victory, Vikings cement their place in the Top 3 behind the Gungahlin Eagles and Canberra Royals, whereas the Owls whilst still fourth have the tough task to seperate themselves from Wests and Queanbeyan.
Words: Rob Davison