By Matthew Woodruff
The West Belconnen Warriors defeated the Tuggeranong Bushrangers 30-14 to claim the Reserve Grade premiership at Seiffert Oval on Sunday.
West’s second half effort proved too much for the Bushrangers. The Warriors put on three tries and conceded just a penalty goal to skip away for the win. Tuggeranong had every opportunity to take the match however the rested Warriors proved too good.
When the Bushrangers elected to take a penalty goal just five minutes into the second half rather than take the maximum, the game which was on a knife’s edge turned West’s way.
Tuggeranong captain Joel Glover gifted the Warriors with an attacking set, kicking out on the full looking for a 40-20 just two minutes on. Tim Thorley made them pay, drifting across field finding a hole to secure his second for the match.
Just five minutes later the Warriors doubled their advantage through Matt McLay, Will Parsons slotting the conversion to put his side up 26-14 with ten minutes to play.
Glover looked to pull one back for his Bushrangers in the 24th minute however he was ruled to be held up over the line. Tuggeranong squandering possession, their decoy runners obstructing the Warriors defence.
West Belconnen plugged the corners and in goals in the dying stages of the match, starving Tuggeranong of the ball, gaining repeat sets. Brent Hage was sent to the bin with just two minutes left for repeat offences, Warriors captain and powerful back rower Peter Olivieri taking full advantage of the numeric advantage crashing over to complete the second half rout.
Man of the match Nic Williams was unable to convert from right in front of the sticks, the Wests enforcer too tired from his bravado effort. An emotional Williams dedicated the Warriors premiership victory to a passing friend who would’ve wanted to be here.
Joel Glover heralded the Warriors efforts congratulating them for their running success “they’ve been the benchmark over the last 3-4 years” he said. He added “I’d like to thank our boys; unfortunately we couldn’t do one better today.”
The Bushrangers upstaged their opponents in the early stages opening the scoring through Matt Bellingham in just the 4th minute. West’s replied immediately, Padraic O’Callaghan busting the line to put his side deep in attack. Nick Williams barged over following a line drop out, making it 6-6 in the 10th minute.
Both teams exchanged a try apiece before the break but when Dean Cameron scored on the siren to give the Warriors a slender 14-12 lead it broke the previously competent Bushrangers.