By Matthew Woodruff
The Queanbeyan Blues have been crowned 2008 Canberra Raiders Cup champions, following their 46-18 demolition of the injury ravaged Gungahlin Bulls at Seiffert oval yesterday.
Queanbeyan was given a boost before kick off when Gungahlin prop, Wes Lafaele joined injured captain and pocket dynamo Tim Donovan on the sidelines through injury.
The two sides traded heated exchanges early on with the forwards creating space round the ruck for the halves to work in. Jay Lasscock opened the scoring for Queanbeyan in just the 4th minute, proving too difficult to stop at close range. Andy McLean dutifully added the extras, making it 6-0.
Gungahlin didn’t have to wait long for their first attacking set when the Blues failed to field the kick off. Some stifling defence from Captain Phil Stonham ensured the Bulls remained scoreless when he came off the line to shut down a Bulls overlap.
Anthony Onorato found the try line in the 9th minute, the Blues guilty of letting a bomb bounce. Onorato converted from a tough angle making it six apiece. This gave the team confidence to throw the ball around, leading to an error on the last when a forward pass was thrown just forty metres out from their line.
The Blues forced a drop out, their next set beginning to build sustained pressure. A Bulls error led to Queanbeyan’s next try, Laauli Faatamala falling over making it 10-6.
Gungahlin were forced to make another injury change, Shane Kirby slotting into fullback for an injured Onorato. Andy Stott gave them a lead in the 29th minute burrowing through the defence for a 12-10 lead.
From then on however the Blues stormed home, the Bulls shooting themselves in the foot by dropping the restart. First Beau Dunley scored for Queanbeyan giving them a 16-12 lead and Matt Lewis broke through some tiring Bulls defence to make it 22-12 at the break.
Two early tries to the Blues broke the Bulls’ backs. Adam Misios showed some freakish ability to leave stand in fullback Kirby clutching at air and Jay Lasscock completed his double a minute later when he dragged a horde of Bulls across the line for a 32-12 lead.
A string of penalties gave the Bulls some hopes of resurrecting the match however Queanbeyan’s defence proved too resilient. Russian international Kilian ticked the scoreboard over to 40-12 with fifteen left.
Mark Nicholls promoted to the starting line up in place Lafaele scored a deserved consolation try for the unlucky Bulls finishing from Josh Ayres. Queanbeyan weren’t finished scoring David Barrie selling a dummy to a flummoxed Bulls defence wanting to hit the showers to make it full time 46-18.
Bulls captain Josh Ayres said of the Blue performance “congratulations to them, they kept coming all day.”
Phil Stonham was particularly impressed with his team’ resilience and general spirit the game was played in. “My condolences to the Bulls who had a couple of injuries but still played with Great Spirit. To my boys, all year people have written us off, I’m so proud of you.”