5/6/2013

John I Dent Cup Round Five Coverage


Tuggeranong Vikings v Uni-Norths Owls at Canberra Stadium

The misfortunes of the Uni-Norths Owls continued to the rampant Vikings on Sunday with a 52-5 thrashing at Canberra Stadium.

The Owls entered the match as the only side without victory so far in the 2013 John I Dent Cup, and coach Joe Hedger was looking for improvements in execution.

They did not get the leading start they needed though, conceding a half time deficit of 26-5.

Coach Joe Hedger was disappointed that his men were not able to make the right choices for the second week in a row.

He admitted that due to his side's frequent changes in roster repairs would be long term.

"There comes a time where you can only talk it up so much," he said.

"There's still some positives, but not enough to make us feel as though we're having an impact."

"It's going to take time. It's about trying to build a particular platform which starts to develop over time, and maybe it is one of those things where our expectations have to be a bit more realistic," he said.

"Maybe that short term stuff is where you've got to feel the pain, but for the long term we may see the benefits of the core group of players coming together."

The Vikings entered the match as the only unbeaten side in the competition so far, with the perfect start to their premiership defence.

The only negative that could be taken out of their squad was news during the week star fullback Zack Holmes would be departing at season's end to join the Western Force.

Coach Brad Harris said that his men were probably flattered in the score line by some key Owls mistakes, and remarkably, said there is still room for improvement in his side.

"Defensively we were pretty solid. I'd say today they [Owls] bombed a couple tries which flattered us," he said.

"I think the moment we stop focussing on those improvement areas, we'll stop seeing the best in our game."

The Vikings started in typical fashion, taking no longer than five minutes to open the scoring thanks to fly half James Proctor who threw a dummy and accelerated through a whole, exposing the Owls very early.

However the Owls tightened up, working hard for their first try; a chip kick over the wing went to ground, eventually collected over the line by winger Guy Stucky-Clark.

But two more soft tries from close range to the Vikings had the Owls bruised, and that only continued to start the second half.

The Owls could not be criticised for not trying, as they pressed forward with possessions at times, but the Vikings undid all of that, and some fancy footwork from centre Rodney Iona put Holmes through for a try that was the killing blow.

The Owls tired, succumbing to the rampant Vikings, as they ran in two more tries to secure the result.

Harris said the Owls will improve their ways over time, with inexperience in their side posing a challenge for them.

He said he his soul focus is on securing another championship, but said his men need to remain focussed on adjustments for that to happen.

Tuggeranong Vikings 52 (Proctor 2, Taula, Kaho,Cree, Mokotupu, Holmes, Iona tries; Proctor 6 cons) bt Uni-Norths Owls 5 (Stucky-Clark try) at Canberra Stadium.

Queanbeyan Whites v Canberra Royals at David Campese Oval

The Canberra Royals pulled off an extraordinary come-from-behind win on Saturday, taking a thrilling 38-37 win over the Queanbeyan Whites at David Campese Oval.

With just five and a half minutes remaining, the visitors scored two tries, including one well after the full time siren, through Soakai Tai and Jordan Rapana, after spending almost the entire second half without attacking field position.

They found themselves down 37-26, and desperately needed a momentum swing after Queanbeyan extended their half time lead of 27-21 through battering the Royals' line and getting the bulk of penalties.

Remarkably, the Royals were down to 13 men after both Tai and Rapana, ironically the heroes of the game, were sin-binned for repeated infringements.

Clearly ecstatic, Royals coach Russell Ingram said he always believed his men had it in them to grind out the tough win.

"It's just courageous. They're a special group I think, and they're starting to show that," he said.

"We were in the same situation against Gungahlin a few weeks ago with 13 men on the paddock, and I don't think we let in a point while we had 13 on the park."

After a sea-sawing first half which showed the game could be anyones, Queanbeyan upped their anti in the second half after the Royals drew first blood to get back within a point.

They completely dominated, disallowing the Royals any opportunities in attack, and tries to Kennedy and Sevu Camivuna gave them a seemingly unassailable lead of 11.

After a mountain of possession and repeat successions of penalties, they found themselves with a two man advantage, but despite this, could not cross the line any more times.

This would have frustrated coach Adam Fahey, as well as what transpired at full time, and he met with the referee after full time to discuss the penalties the Royals were awarded which gave them the chance to win.

After his men's thrilling win, Ingram would not comment on whether they are able to challenge for the championship, but said the win came down to character.

"Those boys had belief. It was just an incredible win," he said.

Canberra Royals 38 (Able 2, McLachlan, Rapana, Tai tries; McMahon 2 cons; 3 pens) bt Queanbeyan Whites 37 (Darmody 2, Chalker, Kennedy, Camivuna tries; Windsor 3 cons; pen; field goal) at David Campese Oval.

Gungahlin Eagles v Wests Lions at Nicholls Oval

The Wests Lions came undone again, going down to an outstanding Gungahlin Eagles performance 34-18 at Nicholls Oval.

The loss leaves Wests sitting in second last position on the ladder after just five rounds, threatening their chances of going one step better this season than last to the championship.

A positive for them out of the game was the fact they scored the only 12 points of the second half after being down 34-6 at half time, but that would have provided little comfort for coach Craig Robberds.

He said that Gungahlin dominated all over the park, and that his men missed too many one-on-one tackles.

“I’m not sure if you can print how bad we were,” he said light heartedly.

“The Eagles played very well and dominated all over the park.”

Gungahlin Eagles 34 (Barrell 2, Connochie, Connolly, Lovell tries; Connelly 3 cons; pen) bt Wests Lions 18 (Southwell, Small tries; Small con; 2 pens) at Nicholls Oval.

Bye: Eastern Suburbs