By Matthew Woodruff
The Gungahlin Bulls have been crowned this year’s U18 Canberra Raiders Cup premiers, following their hard fought 18-8 defeat of the Queanbeyan Blues at Seiffert Oval today.
The Bulls win came off the back of a brilliant first half display in which they took an 18-4 lead into the sheds. However Queanbeyan ensured the Bulls would endure a nervous second half, controlling possession and field position courtesy of an 11-6 penalty count.
Man of the match, inspirational back rower Aidan Greenwood, said of the Bulls’ win “we were lucky to get away with it in the end; we gave some cheeky penalties away. It was just good luck I guess.”
Gungahlin took the lead in just the second minute of the match, with five eighth Chris Moore scoring under the posts, put in by James Ulrick. Greenwood slotted the conversion, giving the Bulls a comfortable converted try buffer early on.
Queanbeyan should have equalled the scores through Michael Cullen however he spilt the ball with the try line beckoning. The Blues owned the next ten minutes dominating field possession making plenty of yards through the ruck, getting a role on with quick play the balls. Gungahlin met all that the Blues could muster repelling raid after raid.
A Jack Elliot solo try against the run of play gave the Bulls a 12-0 lead fifteen minutes into the first half. The flashy try scoring centre made a mockery of the defence, simply outpacing his opposite number then performing a nifty in and away which wrong footed Blues fullback, Mitchell Barbara.
Gungahlin scored their next set, Alex Verschoor crashing through some soft Blues goal line defence, 18-0 Bulls. Chris Burns looked to add to the league another two minutes on however he couldn’t hold onto the ball, letting the Blues off the hook.
Back to back penalties to the Blues gave them some important field position to mount an attack before the break. Kyle Allen took full advantage, strolling through some pedestrian defence to give the Blues a sniff at the break, down 18-4.
Isi Fakavamoenga bombed a certain try for Gungahlin, dropping the ball five metres out from the line after a Bulls overlap. Jack Elliot and Aiden Greenwood proved constant menaces on the edge of the rucks for the tiring Blues, threatening to break the line every touch.
Blues fullback Mitchell Barbara proved equally dangerous, breaking the Bulls defensive line on every poor kick chase. Dale Ferguson scored a late consolation for Queanbeyan, reducing the score to 18-8 with just ten minutes to play.
Gungahlin managed to hold on to a deserved 18-8 win despite some ill discipline giving the Blues the bulk of possession and territory late in the match.