14 Aug Vikings Rugby Preliminary Final Wrap Up
Three Vikings Grades, 1st Grade, 2nd Grade and 4th Grade played in Preliminary Finals over the weekend in their last shot at playing in the Grand Final. It was a hugely successful weekend, all 3 Grades winning their match to ensure that all Vikings Grades will play in the Grand Final this coming weekend.
1st Division 2nd Grade (4th Grade)
4th Grade had the early shift again, kicking off at 9:35am against the Queanbeyan Whites. Queanbeyan fielded a strong team, but the Vikings would hold their opponents out in a thrilling opening match for the day. The Vikings were red hot from the kick off, Lua Vailoaloa scoring a quick try in the first 10 minutes of the game to get the boys rolling. Lua had an outstanding game, pulling out all his skills to lead the Vikings from scrumhalf. The Vikings had the wood on their opponents in the first half, dominating possession and defending superbly to keep Queanbeyan at bay. As always in 4th Grade, the big forward pack rumbled their way up field, the majority of the Vikings tries coming off the back of some strong carries in the Queanbeyan 22. It was the last 15 minutes of the game when Queanbeyan began to up the ante, putting on three quick tries to bring the score within 4. The Vikings pack would keep their composure, though, progressing to the Grand Final with a 28-24 victory.
Vikings 28 – 24 Queanbeyan
Premier 2nd Grade
For the second week in a row, 2nd Grade had arguably the Match of the Round, leaving it until after the final whistle to steal the win from Royals. 2nd Grade started very slowly – perhaps a little over awed by the occasion and pressured by a Royals side desperate for the win, the Vikings found themselves down 19-5 at the half. There was nothing that suggested 2nd Grade weren’t capable of winning, they just needed to compose themselves and settle into their patterns. The second half was a marked improvement, the boys rallying to start giving it back to Royals. Junior Sotogi did as he has done all year with some destructive running, shifting the momentum in the Vikings favor by taking the advantage line with ease. Junior was the difference in the match, dotting down for a hat trick of tries. The Vikings led with 10 minutes to play, 25-22. With a lineout just shy of their 22, the ball was overthrown, Royals regathering and building phases to eventually cross for a try and conversion to take the lead, 25-29. The Vikings showed real class, regathering possession and mounting a final charge after the hooter. The Vikings forward pack continued to pick and go, phase after phase, until Nick ‘Clutch’ Cushan managed to bury his way underneath the defence and touch down for the match winning try. Jubilation followed, the Vikings progressing to the Grand Final, 30-29.
Vikings 30 – Royals 29
Premier 1st Grade
1st Grade were simply outstanding, as they punished the Gungahlin Eagles to progress to their 9th Grand Final in 10 years. The Vikings never looked like losing – they applied pressure early to Gungahlin that set the tone for the remainder of the match, the Eagles surprisingly quiet for the majority. The Vikings forward pack was excellent, some strong carries and solid defence setting up the backs to score some long range tries. The Vikings scored their first try within 3 minutes of kick off, Sione Taula capping some great phase play in the Eagle’s 22 with a try. The Vikings continued to camp themselves in the Eagle’s 22, eventually reaping the rewards through tries to Brendon Taueki and Michael Oakman-Hunt. The Eagles got one back just before half time, bringing the score to 19-5. It didn’t take long for Brendon Taueki to dot down for his 2nd of the match, however, making a nice break off a set play to dot down shortly after half time. Through the boot of Ryan Lonergan and some excellent Rugby the Vikings continued to work the scoreboard overtime, burying their opponents in a bid to reclaim the Premiership on August 18th. As the score rose, the Eagles moral fell, eventuating in several scuffles off the ball and a red card for punching. This behaviour seemed to rub 1st Grade debutant Ben Pratt the wrong way, the energetic prop rushing the Gungahlin line and delivering a questionable tackle that ended his debut within 2 minutes of entering the field of play. The Vikings played perhaps one of their best games of the season right when it counts, cruising into the Grand Final with a 58-7 victory.
Some special mentions for the match – Brendon Taueki, who celebrated his 100th game for the Club in true fashion and Ben Pratt and Angus Burns, both of whom made their 1st Grade debuts in memorable fashion, Pratty claiming a yellow card and Gus scoring a great try under the sticks.
Vikings 58 – 7 Eagles
That caps a great weekend for the Vikings, making Grand Final day all the more special with all 6 Grades now featuring. Be sure to join us from 9:35am next weekend and get our boys and girls over the line one last time!