The 2021 Callida Consulting John I Dent Cup is up and running with three entertaining fixtures to kick off the season.
GAGE ROADS GAME OF THE WEEK
TUGGERANONG VIKINGS 36 def QUEANBEYAN WHITES 7
In a tense match at Viking Park, the homeside claim their first win of the season and walk away with a bonus point in round one of the Calida Consulting John I Dent Cup.
The dynamic of the match was changed within the first 15 minutes of play as Queanbeyan saw Sefo Kauti red carded for a foul play.
Considering this major change so early in the game Queanbeyan stayed strong in defence keeping Vikings scoreless until the 26th minute of play.
After coming shy of the try line a number of times, Vikings captain got over for a try off a strategic kick that Queanbeyan fullback, Jackson Stuart couldn’t keep in play, leading to nice hands from Vikings to send Seamus Smith over to open the scoring of the match.
The home side made a few skill errors in the first half which could have cost them at times but always made up for it in defending strongly.
On half time we saw a penalty goal kicked by Vikings Isaac Thompson to bring the score to 10-0.
Queanbeyan came out firing after the break, wasting no time and attacking the line strong Queanbeyan's Tony Alofipo powered over the line and converted his own try to open the scoring three minutes into the second half.
Vikings missed a penalty goal which saw them become hungrier in attack to make up for the unfortunate miss.
A beautiful offload to Vikings Nigel Ah Wong who made a break away, passing it off to team mate Jack Wright sending him over the line followed by another successful conversion to extend Vikings lead.
The men in red found the try line again not long after, with an offload from Queanbeyan player finding the hands of Ah Wong who again made a break to then pass to Andrew Robinson to score.
The tries kept coming for the Vikings as, Ah Wong again popped up at the right time to set up team mate Trai Henderson for a try.
Vikings finished the game with young Patrick Maka who on debut scored off a scrum, followed by a successful conversion by Josiah Lealiifano to bring the final score to 36-7.
“It's fantastic to see these young fellas make their debut and to get across the line,” said Vikings Coach Nick Scrivener.
Vikings have an away game next weekend playing against Wests on Saturday the 24th with a 3:05pm kick off.
Words: Michaela Foster
WESTS 39 def GUNGAHLIN EAGLES 22
Crowds were back for the opening round of the 2021 Calida Consulting John I Dent Cup on a sunny afternoon at Nicholls Enclosed Oval as the Gungahlin Eagles fell 22-39 to the Wests Lions.
Two tries to Eagle’s winger Corey Toole were the bright spots in a frustrating day for Gungahlin, underlined by ill-discipline and a lack of field position and possession.
Things started well for Gungahlin, with Fly-Half Joseph Caputo opening the scoring early, knocking over a penalty goal in the second minute.
Wests replied in kind shortly, with Declan Meredith kicking truly to lock the scores at three apiece, on a day the fullback would go on to accumulate two tries and 19 points to himself.
A sustained period of Wests dominance saw them force their way over the line in the right corner off the back of a lineout and maul for the first try of the match in the 17th minute.
Gungahlin replied with a try of their own when Eagles Centre Brendan Taueki created some luck for himself when his attempt to chip a kick over the Lions defence on the halfway line was deflected and the resulting bounce found him bursting down the field to score under the Uprights. Caputo added the extras, and the Eagles took back the lead, 10-8.
Wests would have the final word of the first half, once again proving too much to handle for the Eagles goal-line defence, crashing over from short range.Meredith’s conversion handing the Lions a 10-15 halftime lead.
Gungahlin started the second half brightly with a sweeping passing move that saw the Eagles shift the ball from a lineout on the right sideline to winger Corey Toole down the left wing to score, with Caputo’s conversion putting the Eagles ahead by two.
However, momentum began to swing to Wests, and a period of sustained pressure on the Gungahlin defensive goal line saw the penalty count begin to stack against the Eagles.
The pressure and poor defensive discipline eventually culminated in two yellow cards within three minutes for the Eagles, with fullback Isaac Crowe and Ex-Tigers Prop Tauati Chan Tung both sent to the sidelines for a 10-minute spell.
The two-man advantage proved telling, with tries to Meredith and scrum-half Lachlan Albert giving the Lions a 10-point lead with 15 minutes to go.
Momentum began to shift back towards the Eagles when winger #14 gathered his own grubber and scored, however, the try was disallowed as he was adjudicated to have pushed the defender away before getting the ball down.
Wests shut down any hope of a Gungahlin comeback, scoring twice in 3 minutes to push the margin out to 22 points with less than five minutes remaining in the match.
To their credit, the Eagles never gave in, and a perfectly weighted cross-field kick found winger Corey Toole who leapt high and came down with it before regaining his feet and beating 2 defenders to score a terrific try and his second of the day, with the Full-time score sitting at 22-39.
Speaking after the match, Gungahlin Eagles Assistant coach Glenn Carey identified several key areas his side could improve on moving forward.
“We tended to turn the ball over a little bit too easily and they put a lot of pressure on our scrum and that caused a lot of line outs close to our line which they mauled really well with, so I a few things we’ll work on during the week," Carey said.
“But look, first game of the year worked pretty hard there in the preseason we just need to come together and hopefully fix some of those some of those things around set-piece which will help us you don't go into the next couple of weeks.”
Gungahlin will have the week to prepare before hosting the Canberra Royals for a 2020 grand final rematch at Nicholls Enclosed this Saturday with kick-off set for 3:05 pm on Saturday the 21st of April.
Words: Jesse Kemp-Segedin
UNI-NORTHS OWLS 34 def CANBERRA ROYALS 26
The Uni-Norths Owls have started their 2021 John I Dent Cup campaign with 34-26 home victory against the Canberra Royals.
Ill discipline from the Royals gifted the Owls multiple opportunities which the home side didn’t miss out on, a great win for the Owls after being knocked out by the Royals in last years' finals series.
The Owls couldn’t have asked for a better start, scoring the first try of the game through milestone man Jordan Thompson after some ill discipline from the reigning champs.
But their joys were short lived for the home side with a classy ball from Outside Centre Noa Rabici sending Royal’s fullback Will Burden crashing over the line to take a 7-5 lead.
Rabici continued to terrorize the Owls backline after some slick ball movement from the Royals sent the Outside centre through for his first try of the year.
Even after losing hooker Billy Pollard to a head knock the Owls continued to fight with Thompson using his skills to find a 3 on 1 overlap where flanker Stuart Seller did the rest closing the gap to just 4 points.
The later stages of the first half belonged to the home side, with the Owls applying immense amounts of pressure, leading to two Royals players receiving yellow cards on the stroke of half time.
Going into the half time break the Royals held onto a 14-10 lead but need to regroup with the Owls looking the better side.
Down to 13 men it wasn’t going to take long for the Owls to find the line, with rampaging winger Siave Tema smashing his way through the Royals defense to give the Owls a 17-14 lead.
The Owls just continued to flex their muscles with Tema crossing over for his second try in minutes, with the Owls forwards not giving the Royals a chance in the scrum battle.
It looked like a first round victory for the Owls was assured, with Seller putting another try on the scoreboard for the home side to give them a 31-14 lead heading into the final 10 minutes.
But the Royals weren’t going away that easy with hooker James Bundy crossing over after a lineout maul, to just give themselves a sniff.
You just can’t hold a great team down for long with the Royals back within a score, after Ben Johnstone crossed over in the corner.
However, it was a penalty goal that sealed the Owls win, with the Royals finding their mojo it was Thompson who was able to seal the victory.
The Owls holding on for a much deserved 34-26 win.
Words: Lachlan Macmaster