It was a fantastic round of rugby in the John I Dent Cup. Check out our weekly wrap below.
Single Fin Match of the Round - Uni-Norths Owls 34 def Gungahlin Eagles 26
The Uni-Norths Owls have pushed past the Gungahlin Eagles in wet weather game to continue their undefeated start to the season.
This win marks the fourth in a row for the Owls to start the season, which puts them a win ahead of the second placed Vikings.
Owls coach Sam Rolfe said in a post-game interview that “Gungahlin brought it out to us, they were up 19-7. Full credit to our boys who came back into it, had full belief all the way through. Just physicality, that’s what we brought and that was probably the difference. Our Breakdown work was much better than last week. So yeah we are just building nicely at the moment”.
Adding “It was a game of territory in wet weather football and we had two big boots that just got us out of trouble every time and our defence was awesome”.
The Owls would start the game off strong in the 3rd minute, when a run down the sideline saw Byron Hollingworth get over the line to score the first try for the game. To give the Owls a 5-0 lead, which would be extended to 7-0, when Jordan Thompson converted the try.
It would only take three minutes for the Eagles to hit back, when Joseph Caputo would make a massive run down the sideline and getting the pass off to Joel Atkins who scored. Caputo would then convert this try. Leaving the game all tied up 7-7.
The Eagles would then take the lead in the 9th minute when Tom Haddad would score off the kick, to give the Eagles a 12-7 lead.
This lead would be extended to 17-7 only three minutes later in the 12th minute, when Tom Haddad got his second after he made a run down the sideline to score. This would be extended to a 19-7 lead when Caputo would convert the try.
The Owls would end up closing the gap to 19-12 in the 25th minute when Byron Hollingworth broke through the Eagles defence to get his second of the match. Thompson would convert this try, leaving the score 19-14.
The Owls were able to tie the game up 19-all in the 36th minute, when Will Sankey pushed past the Eagles defence to score.
The Owls would take the lead right on half time when a penalty allowed Jordan Thompson to kick a penalty goal to take the Owls to a 22-19 lead going into the half.
The Owls would pick up where they left off in the first half, when in the 44th minute Samuel Thomas got past the Eagles defence to give the Owls a 27-19 lead, which would turn into a 29-19 lead when Thompson converted the try.
The Eagles would close the gap shortly after in the 50th minute, when Alexander Small scored off the ruck to cut the Owls lead to 29-24. This lead would be cut even further when Caputo would convert the try, leaving the Eagles behind 29-26.
The Owls were able to extend their lead back out to 34-26 in the 60th minute when the returning Joshua Reis would get over the line to score.
The Owls would then hold out a late attack by the Eagles to come away the victors 34-26.
The Owls will now go on to play the Vikings in Tuggeranong in a top of the table clash, while the Eagles will look to bounce back when they play the Canberra Royals at home.
Words: Thomas Spencer
Wests 28 def Vikings 20
The Western Districts Lions have completed the upset of the round, defeating the second placed Tuggeranong Vikings 28-20 in wet and rainy conditions at Jamison Oval.
The victory sees the young Lions make it two consecutive wins in a row and sends a strong message throughout the competition, having now defeated last season’s premiers and runners up in 2020.
Tuggeranong were first on the score sheet courtesy of a three pointer from flyhalf Isaac Henry in the third minute.
However, Wests made it clear they were not going to be dictated by the visitors and were rewarded soon after as scrumhalf Lachlan Albert crossed over for the first try of the match. Declan Meredith added the extras.
Tuggeranong followed up though, winning another penalty shot a goal, with Henry successfully adding his second penalty goal of the afternoon to narrow Wests lead to one point 13-minutes in.
But the home side continued to show how dangerous they are with the football in hand and followed up with the next try of the match, as Tauati Chan Tung scored off a maul in the 27th minute. Meredith again converted, moving the score to 14-6.
Tuggeranong did however hit back almost immediately with Iosua Tonga barging through the home sides defence through pure strength and power.
Henry would convert and with no further points to be added in the first half, Wests would take a narrow 14-13 lead into the break.
Both sides would have opportunities with the football on the resumption of play.
But it was the home side who looked the most threatening and after putting continued pressure on the Vikings defence, they would score in the 54th minute through Livai Toofohe.
Now trailing 21-13, the Vikings knew they had to be next on the scoresheet and they didn’t disappoint, as Tonga would cross for his brace.
This would bring the margin once again back to one point in Wests favour with 20 minutes to play.
Henry would then have an opportunity in the final 10 minutes to add another penalty goal and give Tuggeranong a much-needed lead, but was unsuccessful, hooking his shot to the left from long range.
And they would be made to pay as Brodie Leber scored for the Lions moments before full time and with Meredith converting to make it four from four with the boot, Wests would run out 28-20, completing a stunning upset.
Words Daniel Heinrich
Queanbeyan 3 def by Royals 25
Defending Champions, the Canberra Royals have won their first game of the season with a gritty 16-point win over the Queanbeyan Whites. Pedro Rolando starred for the Blue Baggers, as the scrum-half converted five from six off the tee, as his side looked to kickstart their season.
It was a tough slog in the cold and wet conditions at Campese oval. A dangerous tackle ten minutes in saw Zeph Tuinoa handed a yellow card, and Queanbeyan temporarily down a man. Rolando stepped up to convert the penalty from 30 out and score the first points of the game.
Royals failed to capitalise on the numerical advantage however as the Whites defence held strong. Discipline was also an issue for both sides throughout the half as neither could launch any significant attack for a majority of the half.
Rolando extended the lead to six, as he hit his second penalty of the game from just outside the 22. The Whites ill-discipline again proved costly, as a scrum five metres out from their own line, saw Rolando pop the ball up to Ben Johnston, the Royals captain barging through to score in his 150th game. Rolando converted easily to make the score 13-0 just heading into the break.
Both sides started strong in the second half, but it was the Royals that would capitalise on their attacking pressure first. With a scrum five out from the Whites try line, the Blue Baggers quickly moved the ball out to the right and centre Will Burden slipped through the defensive line, taking the lead to 18. Rolando struck well yet again to make it 20-0, early in the second half.
Queanbeyan turned up the pressure, consistently keeping the Royals deep in their defensive half for over ten minutes. Successive penalties from the Royals were costly as they couldn’t get the ball away, and ultimately led to the Whites scoring their first try of the game.
With a ruck right on the Royals tryline, Hooker Oliver Eflarpidis dived over from close range to score. Winger Brendan Jimenez converted from 22 metres out on the angle to reduce the deficit to 13.
Ultimately, it wouldn’t be enough as Rolando converted his third penalty of the afternoon from 40 metres out. The star scrum-half would have another attempt later on but would miss the shot to the left.
It didn’t matter however, as the Royals closed out the game getting their first win of the season. The final score, 23-7 over the Queanbeyan Whites.
Words: Declan Smith