11 Aug Do-or-die in Preliminary Finals
It’s the last chance salon for the clubs competing in the Aquis Entertainment Dent Cup Preliminary Finals this weekend with no margin for error. For the winners, there is a much-coveted place in the Grand Final up for grabs whilst for the vanquished, there will be little consolation as they watch-on from the sidelines next weekend. Who’s up for the chopping block? We run the rule over the fixtures here.
PREMIER DIVISION: SECOND GRADE
Canberra Royals v Queanbeyan Whites
(Viking Park, 13:25)
The Premier Division 2nd Grade Preliminary Final will no doubt be of First Grade quality as an imposing Royals side taking on perennial 2nd Grade contenders Queanbeyan Whites for a spot in the Grand Final. Royals were soundly defeated by Minor Premiers Tuggeranong last week, the Blue Baggers unable to get into a groove as they fell 40-15 to Vikings. Queanbeyan meanwhile rode a hot start to squeak out a 17-13 win over Uni-Norths last weekend, the Whites digging in and showing poise in the moments that mattered. The two sides split their two encounters in 2017, Queanbeyan winning the most recent clash 32-31 in a nail biter at Campese Field in Round 14. Both sides will be able to call on players with considerable 1st Grade experience on Saturday afternoon and the clash is sure to provide spectators with entertainment.
Tuggeranong Vikings v Queanbeyan Whites
(Viking Park, 11:35)
Minor Premiers Tuggeranong Vikings suffered a shock reversal last weekend when the Gungahlin Eagles pipped them to the post in the Major Semi-Final, winning 29-22 in a thriller. That sent the Eagles through to the big dance and had left the Vikings with the task of knocking over the Whites to join them. Queanbeyan ended the hopes of Uni-Norths last weekend in a 31-17 success and will fancy they have the quality to cause an upset. To do so they will need to reverse the form books as the Vikings convincingly won both regular season fixtures, claiming a Round 6 34-14 win at Viking Park and a Round 12 25-14 win at David Campese Oval. The Viking swill be favourites to progress to a re-match with the Eagles, but the Whites will be no pushovers.
FIRST DIVISION: FIRST GRADE
ADFA v Tuggeranong Vikings
(Viking Park, 11:25)
ADFA will be aiming to get another crack at Minor Premiers Gungahlin Eagles in First Division: First Grade when they go head-to-head with Tuggeranong Vikings at Viking Park on Saturday morning. ADFA would have been disappointed with their Semi-Final reverse to the Eagles, going down 26-5, but have enough attacking threat to take the game to the Vikings. The Vikings progressed to this stage with a thumping 44-19 victory over Queanbeyan Whites to continue their good run which has seen them only lose once in the last half a dozen matches. When the two clashed all the way back in Round 2, ADFA came away with a resounding 31-0 success at Dowsett Oval. Expect it to be much tighter this time around with the prize at stake a big incentive for both groups of players.
FIRST DIVISION: SECOND GRADE
Queanbeyan Whites v RMC
(Viking Park, 09:35)
The Queanbeyan Whites meet RMC in the preliminary Final of First Division: Second Grade with both sides eyeing up a genuine chance of playing the all-conquering Tuggeranong Vikings in next weekend’s Grand Final. The Whites, as probably expected, were second best in the Major Semi-Final against the Premier Vikings, going down by 12-53, but they will take heart that they have had the better of the clash between these two earlier this season. The pair met at Portsea Oval in Round 13 and it was the Whites who edged home 26-14. RMC will be no pushover though and showed plenty of character in their Minor Semi-Final defeat of the Gungahlin Eagles last Sunday. RMC only finished two points behind the Whites on the ladder, so a tight and absorbing contest is anticipated.
Uni-Norths Owls v Canberra Royals
(Viking Park, 13:35)
The Preliminary final in the Women’s Division will be an absorbing contest as defending Premiers Royals take on the upstart Uni-Norths Owls for a spot in the Grand Final. Royals enter the clash on the back of a big win over Gungahlin in last week’s Minor Semi Final and the blue baggers will take plenty of confidence from that result. The Owls fell to a rampaging Vikings side in last week’s Major Semi Final but Uni-Norths put in a spirited performance, taking it to the minor premiers throughout the contest. Uni-Norths last met Royals in the final round of the regular season, the Owls getting the better of their opponents at Philip Oval for the first time in 2017. With plenty of history between the two sides Saturday’s clash is sure to produce fireworks.