Royals on fire after downing Wests

Saturday, 2 July, 2011
Kick-off times:
First Grade: 3.05pm, Reserve Grade: 1.40pm, Colts: 12.15pm

Match of the Round:
Gungahlin (1) v Queanbeyan (4), Nicholls Oval, Nicholls
Round 6: Gungahlin 29 defeated Queanbeyan 7 at Campese Field
Gungahlin return home as the new competition leaders following their 38-17 victory over Easts last weekend and the Lions second straight loss. After a dominant beginning which saw the Eagles race to an early 12-0 lead, Easts gradually worked their way back into the match with only 4 points separating the teams in the last ten minutes. The Eagles then ran away with the game with some excellent late tries. Coach Owen Finegan would be pleased with the composure his side showed absorbing the immense pressure from the tri colours to still run out 20 point victors. Centre Lindsay Crook was a constant threat in attack and was rewarded with three tries. Flankers Rocky Ilolhia and Xavier Duffy were outstanding again, and captain Liam Winton also made a promising return from injury with a solid game. Tim Metcher returns at prop and David King at fly half in the only changes to the Eagles side for this clash.

Queanbeyan will come into this match refreshed following a much needed week off with the bye. Coach Wayne Southwell will be hoping his side have overcome any niggling injuries and are raring to go as he will need a focused performance if they are to overcome a strong Gungahlin team that are always a difficult opponent to beat. They need to look no further than last time these sides met in Round 6, when Gungahlin clinically disposed of the Whites side 29-7. In a number of changes to the Queanbeyan line up this week James Stoneham comes onto the flank, Jeremy Dowling into Number 8, Jamie Marmont into the centres and Robert Beath on the wing.

Royals (5) v Uni-Norths (6), Phillip Oval, Phillip
Round 6: Uni-Norths 38 defeated Royals 28 at ANU North Oval
Royals resurgence continued on the weekend, with an impressive 32-27 win over Wests, their fourth win against top four opponents in the past five weeks. The final score was actually flattering for the Lions, as the royal blues scored six tries to three, and only wayward goal kicking and some late tries to Wests making the margin much closer than it might have been. Flanker Soakai Tai has been a powerhouse in recent weeks, and had another outstanding game dominating proceedings at the breakdown and also scoring three tries. Centre AJ Abel followed up his good form from the week prior with another standout performance. Leo Taliu at outside centre is the only change to Craig Leseberg’s side for this clash.

Uni-Norths got the better of Royals last time they met in Round 6, but since then the fortunes of the two clubs could not be more different as this was the last time the Owls tasted victory. Coach Adam Fahey will be looking at that match for inspiration for his side this week as getting another win and finding their early season form is starting to get critical if they are to be a chance of playing finals football. Captain Michael Breen returning at fullback is the only change to the Owls team this week.

Tuggeranong (3) v Easts (7), Viking Park, Waniassa
Round 6: Tuggeranong 43 defeated Easts 15 at Griffith Oval
The Vikings continued their recent run of outstanding form with another crushing victory last weekend against Uni-Norths, 47-24. Flying winger Jake Knight had a remarkable match, scoring five tries, the most by any player in a game this season. Coach Dan McKellar has made some welcome changes to the side this week, with Hooker Hugh Roach returning from Australian Under 20’s duty, and Mike Noble returning at prop. Michael Henry gets his first start on the flank in the only other change to the side for this clash.

Easts come into this match from a promising performance against Gungahlin last week, a game in which they were well and truly in the hunt and only a few points down with ten minutes remaining. Captain Reza Miralmasi lead from the front in an excellent performance, and half Robbie Lavery and centre Jerome Harimate were others to impress. Byron O’Dell returns to the side in the second row, and George Cross to the flank in the changes to the pack. Aubrey Horton gets his first start in the top grade at fullback in the only change to the backline for the tri colours for this clash.