After 18 rounds of football it was the Tuggeranong Bushrangers who finished the season on top of the ladder.
The Bushrangers’ win over the Queanbeyan Blues last week secured them their first ever first grade minor premiership and ensured they would qualify for the major semi final, giving them the chance to book a ticket in the Grand Final with a win or receive a second chance if they lose.
Tuggeranong started the season brilliantly, losing just one of their first eight matches but have had a slight drop in form recently, losing two of their last three games.
Bushrangers fullback Matt Gruber was pleased to see his side bounce back to form last weekend.
“The last few weeks have been a bit tough,” Gruber said. “We just haven’t been clicking, things just haven’t been going our way but it was nice in the second half against the Blues.
“We just went back to basics. Our forwards got us rolling and off the back of that we could get some points.”
Their opponent this week is the Woden Valley Rams who will play finals football for the first time since 2009 when they were captain-coached by Brenton Lawrence who went on to play over 100 NRL games for the Manly Sea Eagles and Gold Coast Titans.
The Rams’ run is already one of the great stories of 2018 Austbrokers Canberra Raiders Cup season with them currently on an eleven game unbeaten run after starting the season with just two wins from their first six matches.
Despite their recent form, Woden captain Jeff Morgan is expecting a tough match on Sunday.
“It’s always a physical game, that’s just the nature of the derby,” Morgan said. “Playing down at Tuggeranong will mean it will have a pretty good atmosphere too.
The two previous meetings between these two are split with the Bushrangers winning in round one before the Rams got revenge in round 10 setting up Sunday’s semi final as a huge clash.
It’s sudden death football out at Seears Workwear Oval on Saturday with the winner progressing to the preliminary final and the loser’s season coming to an end.
After making the Grand Final last year, the Kangaroos made a solid start to the 2018 season, staying in or around the top four.
Their round nine win over this week’s opponent the West Belconnen Warriors started a seven-game unbeaten run that only came to an end last week with a loss against the Warriors.
West Belconnen went unbeaten through the first six rounds but have had their struggles since.
Starting with their round seven loss to the Yass Magpies, the Warriors didn’t beat a side that finished in the top five until last week’s two-point win.
The Kangaroos will be looking to bounce back with a win but the Warrior’s will travel to Queanbeyan with plenty of confidence after last week’s come from behind win.
Written by Vincent Smith-Koppie