John I Dent Cup wrap - Round 1

· John I Dent Cup
by Brumbies Media

Owls score 3 times in 5 minutes to win at the death against the Premiers, Eagles outlast Wests, and Vikings make a statement against the Whites!


Single Fin Match of the Round - Uni-Norths Owls 26 def Canberra Royals 24


Uni-Norths Owls have stormed home scoring three tries in the last five minutes to snatch the victory out of the hands of the Canberra Royals at Phillip Oval.

The Owls spent the majority of the first 20 having complete control of the game but that wasn’t enough to see them get over the line first as Will Burden scored the first try of the game for the Royals to take them to a 5-0 lead, which would become 7-0 when Tom Hallam converted the try.

The Owls would continue to keep the Royals within their own 22 but they couldn't find the line. Royals centre Seth Going eventually giving the Royals a 12-0 lead after being on the receiving end of a super pass from skipper Ben Johnston. 

This lead went out to 14-0 when Tom Hallam would convert his second.

It would take only six minutes for the Owls to hit back after Max Bode took advantage of a penalty given away by the Royals to take the score to 14-5. Jordan Thompson would close the gap to just seven when he converted the try.

The Royals would extend their lead to 19-7 right at halftime when Seth Going would score his second of the game after an amazing kick from Bobby Roberts.

The Royals would start off the second half amazingly when Will Burden would get his second after he stormed down the sideline to take the Royals to a 24-7 lead.

The Royals would hold strong for the majority of the second half but after many opportunities the Owls would get their second try in the 77th minute when Brumbies academy star, Billy Pollard forced his way over the line to bring the score to 24-12, which would become 24-14 when Jordan Thompson converted the try.

The Owls would continue their barnstorming run home when in the 79th minute Byron Hollingsworth-Dessent crossed the line after an amazing pass from Billy Pollard to close the gap to 24-19, leaving the Owls only a try behind. They would end up being only three behind when Thompson would convert the try to make the game 24-21 with a minute to go.

The Owls then finished off their amazing comeback by getting over the line after the 80-minute mark, when Byron Hollingsworth-Dessent got his second to give the Owls the win 26-24.

The Owls will now look to go two in a row when they face Wests Lions next week at home, while the Royals will look to bounce back from this tough loss when they take on the Tuggeranong Vikings.


Words: Thomas Spencer


Tuggeranong 45 def Queanbeyan Whites 7


The Tuggeranong Vikings opened their season with a crushing 45-7 win over the Queanbeyan Whites at Viking Park.

The powerhouse side made a statement to the rest of the John I Dent Cup as they dominated from start to finish. Even without the star Brumbies players, the Vikings never looked out of touch as the controlled play, in a match that threatened to boil over at times.

The Vikings went on the attack straight off the whistle, forcing the Whites deep into their own territory. It didn’t take long for the pressure to pay off, and for the scoring to open, as Isaac Thompson scored off the back of a scrum.

Brumbies Academy star, Isaac Henry converted to take the scores to 7-0 inside the first five minutes.

The Whites horror start continued as they made multiple errors in the opening stages.

With less than ten minutes gone, Henry crossed over for his own try but failed to convert, with scores at 12-0 in favour of the Vikings.

17 minutes in and the Vikings had a golden chance to extend their lead, as Queanbeyan’s Oliver Efkaparidis knocked the ball on close to his own line.

The hosts failed to capitalise however, as they made their own error, handing the ball back to the Whites right on the try line.

Vikings came incredibly close to scoring again, as pacey winger, Maika Ravouvou went over in the corner, only to be adjudged to have stepped out in the lead up.

This wouldn’t deter the side, as Bo Abra burst through to score. Henry would convert, as both Academy products continued their strong starts, with the scores now at 19-0.

The Whites began to grow into the game, but still struggled to breakdown the Vikings strong defence.

No such issues for the hosts however, as Callum Smith scored right before the break. Henry converted to make the scores 26-0 heading into the sheds. It was a horror start for the Whites again in the second, as the ball was knocked on straight from the kick-off.

Tempers began to flare between the two sides as players came together on multiple occasions. It would only get worse for the visitors, as a stolen lineout deep in their own territory went horribly wrong. A horror mistake from the Whites Number 9, gifted the ball to Thomas Carney, the Vikings hooker rolling over to score.

Little under ten minutes later and a series of errors proved costly for the Whites. A knock on in their attacking half was quickly picked up by the Vikings, and an attack launched down the field. Seamus Smith’s kick towards the tryline was fumbled by Queanbeyan’s Charlie Woolford and the ball popped up to Jed Englert.

The Tuggeranong fullback made no mistake and downed the ball to score. Henry showcased his skill, as the academy product converted from the sideline, the scores now at 38-0. With the win now all but confirmed, Vikings controlled play as they kept the Whites in their own half for the majority of remaining play.

A late try to Michael Oakman-Hunt sealed the win for the side in a dominant display. To their credit, Queanbeyan refused to give up, and grabbed a consolation try in the 80th minute with Isiah Latu crossing over under the posts. Final score 45-7 to Tuggeranong.

The Vikings will now look ahead to a mouth-watering clash against the Canberra Royals next week, eager to get revenge for last season’s heartbreaking grand final loss. The Whites will travel to face a strong Gungahlin Eagles side.

Words: Declan Smith

Gungahlin Eagles 43 def Wests 36


A second half brace from number 8, Tamati Ioane, has guided the Gungahlin Eagles to a 43-36 win over the Western Districts Lions in a highly entertaining game of John I Dent Cup action at Jamison Oval.

Star recruit James Dargaville on his Gungahlin return got the ball rolling, scoring a double within the first 5 minutes of play.

Despite being under immense early pressure, Wests found a way through as winger Jimmy Ngutlil crossed over twice for his own brace, locking the score at 12 apiece 18 minutes in.

Declan Meredith then added a penalty goal and four minutes before the interval, scored his own five pointer after scrapping up a loose ball and running 70 metres, extending the Lions lead to 10.

But a fumble by Meredith just before halftime saw winger Tom Haddad score in the right-hand corner off a Dargaville kick for the Eagles, reducing the Lions lead to five at the break.

Gungahlin started the second half strongly and were rewarded as Tamati Ioane breached the Lions defence with pure speed and power from a scrum inside their own 22, running the length of the field and passing to Haddad to complete his double.

Although, Wests soon retook the lead as Ngutlik completed his hat-trick, which was followed by Luke Reimer scoring off the back off his own work, as the Lions now led 36-24.

Gungahlin weren’t going to stay quiet though and Ioane crossed for his first try in the 55th minute and was instantly followed by Connor Jones scoring in the left-hand corner, with Joseph Caputo converting through an outstanding sideline kick. Ioane was next to cross for his brace, taking the score to 43-36 in the Eagles favour with 10 minutes to play.

Drama followed as Ngutlik looked to have crashed over for his fourth for Wests in the dying seconds. However, it was denied as the officials believed the ball was insufficiently grounded, seeing the Eagles run out 43-36 winners.

Eagles head coach Marco Caputo said post game that while he was pleased with the win, he insisted his side still have plenty to improve on over the coming weeks. “Look I think it was a typical sort of early game, getting an early lead [with] the first couple of tries and getting a bit of a head start,” said Caputo.

“We definitely backed off after that and then we gave them three tries through our errors, so a little bit of work to do in and around that.”

He also had nothing but praise for star man Ioane after his outstanding performance during the match.

“He is just a tremendous footballer,” explained Caputo.

“He’s one of these guys who’s got X factor and every time he is around the ball, stuff happens… He has some bad luck with injuries, but we are certainly very happy that he is on our side.”

Words: Daniel Heinrich