The John I Dent Cup mid-season round up

Fri, Jun 14, 2024, 4:30 AM

As we cross the halfway point of the John I Dent Cup season, we deep dive into each teams current form and how they are shaping up for the backend of the season.

This year the competition has proven to be a hard fought battle between all sides, with most clubs pushing the top spot on the ladder. Last years winners Gungahlin hold the top spot on the table after eight rounds with hopes to extend themselves from the pack within the upcoming fixtures.

Gungahlin Eagles - #1

The Eagles have soared to the top spot on the ladder after their dominating performances over the last three weeks, scoring 50+ points in each matchup. Led by their captain Isaac Crowe, the Eagles have left a mark on the rest of the competition through their scintillating attack with leading points scorer Lachlan Day (103) and leading try scorer Klayton Thorn (8) commanding the backline.

With desires of lifting the trophy again after their successful 2023 campaign, the defending premiers will look to finish the season off strong heading into the finals.

Player to watch: Clay Uyen
Wests Lions - #2

After missing out on the big dance last year, Wests have looked strong winning six of the first eight games so far this season and are sitting nicely in 2nd spot.

The Lions attack has been on full display through the first eight rounds of the season as shown through their competition leading 17 line breaks. This has a lot to do with the help of Austin Anderson and Declan Meredith who have been torching opposition backlines with their power and speed. However, it has been work of the Lions forward pack that has been the defining factor in the clubs success with the team being one of the best when its comes to stealing the ball.

Wests look to carry on this success throughout the remainder of the year to hopefully set themselves up with a home semi-final at Jamison oval come finals.

Player to watch: Austin Anderson
Tuggeranong Vikings - #3

Tuggeranong has been one the most consistent clubs over the past decade in the John I Dent cup. A strong win over Wests last week helped the club win back the Bob Hitchcock Shield as well as keep the side in the hunt for a top two spot on the ladder.

Junior Time Taotua has been a standout for the club this year scoring seven tries in the opening eight rounds across multiple positions on the field. Vikings have also emphasised the importance of set piece this year demonstrated through their 83% lineout success rate.

Though sitting in third, the Vikings will certainly be one to keep your eyes on as it's near impossible to write off the side from Tuggeranong in finals time.

Player to watch: Silafono Titiuti
Canberra Royals - #4

Amidst the celebration of the clubs 75th season, the Royals have had an up and down start to the year. Coming off three wins in a row, the team is looking to make a surge in the backend of the season and will be looking to stack up consistent performances over the course of the next few rounds.

With number nine Pedro Rolando as consistent as ever, he continues to put up steady points in each match through his willingness to take any three-point option thrown his way. Losing multiple recruits to Australian under 20's selections can be a hurdle to overcome however, with Jarrah McLeod and Angus Staniforth being strong in the opening half of the season.

Certainly an interesting case in 2024, the club in its milestone year will certainly be one to watch as they look to celebrate in style.

Player to watch: Lincoln Smith
Uni-Norths Owls - #5

Unfortunately the Uni side have been struggling greatly in 2024, with just one win in Round 4 over the last-placed Whites. Despite their less than ideal record at this stage, the side has still shown plenty of fight, coming within just two points of Wests on both occasions taking on the high-flying Lions.

Will Sankey has been a steady force at lock for the side but seemingly just not enough as the Owls look unlikely to make finals a reality in 2024. Having to get on a roll to be a chance of August footy, the side in green will be hoping Round 9 against Royals will kickstart a new winning trend.

Player to watch: Samuel Toa
Queanbeyan Whites - #6

A real dark horse in the John I Dent Cup is the Whites though it seems their slow buildup has just taken too long to bear fruit in 2024. Their only win this season was over Wests who were undefeated until heading to Queanbeyan, but have since struggled to find another victory.

Scrumhalf Cullin Cooper-Jones seems to have fund his mojo however becoming a constant scoreboard threat in Pedro-esque style. Certainly a dangerous side more than capable of an upset, though unlikely of finals, not many sides will be eager to travel to Queanbeyan late in the season.

Player to watch: Davea Teoteo

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Otto Wrakonei of the Wests Lions, photo by Lachlan Lawson Photography.
John I Dent Cup Team Lists: Round 12
Meredith "excited for the challenge" against Queanbeyan as Wests aim for revenge