Last Saturday Premier Colts and Second Grade played for their Grand Final lives after losing in the Major Semis the week prior. Both teams were successful in advancing to this week’s last round of play. Colts narrowly defeated Gungahlin 42-34, and Second Grade took down Uni Norths 47-25.
The first Viking’s team to take the field for the Preliminary Finals were the Colts. They faced a tough Gungahlin team who showed their fight and never-die attitude with a furious second half comeback that fell just short. The first half was all Vikings with continuous line breaks and big runs by the forwards. Sam Thomas and Antonio Vailoaloa were key in getting the Colts a big lead by halftime. Matt Bursey started the scoring in the first few minutes of the game after a 50m line break by Vailoaloa got the Vikings near the try line.
The boys took possession again and meticulously moved the ball down the field, and at the try line Rhys Griffiths gave a quick pass to Vailoaloa for his first score of the day. The ensuing kick off saw Griffiths again play the assistant as he dance his way through the Eagles defence and gave a pass to Thomas as he was being tackled. Thomas lumbers 35m down the field and made the score 28-3 after the conversions were made by the sharp-shooting kicker Jayden Macken. For good measure the boys added another try before half time thanks to Trai Henderson, presenting a very lopsided score at the break of 35-6.
The Vikings noticed this and seemingly lost focus and drive in the second half. Two yellow cards to the redmen, one for a lifting tackle and one for repeated infringements, gave Gungahlin a two-man advantage and helped the Eagles get their first try of the day 10 minutes into the second half. Following the kickoff the Eagles pushed quickly through the Vikings defence and with a kick and chase and a miss play by the Vikings in the in-goal area, the Eagles scored again. This tightened the score to 35-20.
Errors from both sides kept the scoreline the same until 10 minutes remained in the game when the Eagle broke loose again and what seemed to be a missed call on the sideline helped get Gungahlin even closer bringing the score to 35-27. A knock on by the Eagles deep on their side of the field gave the Vikings an opportunity to finally put points on the board in the second half. With a big push from the scrum and a pass outside to Geoff Robertson, who shifted his way through the Eagles defence, Robertson scored under the posts. An ankle injury took Macken off the field and Robertson stepped in to convert his own try, and Vikings lead 42-27 with 6 minutes remaining. Vikings again got too comfortable, giving up several penalties and let Gungahlin in again with just under 3 minutes remaining. However, the boys held on to a 42-34 victory and they will face the dreaded Royals Colts squad this Saturday for the second year in a row.
Premier Second Grade
By Jess Allardyce
Vikings 2nd Grade had lost a close and entertaining Major Semi Final and now faced possible elimination against a strong Uni Norths side with great momentum coming into the Preliminary final.
Uni Norths had defeated Gungahlin by almost 30 point in the Minor semi-final and had won 6 of their last 7 games to storm into the finals.
Vikings had worked hard on their set piece and wanted to minimise penalties and find their attack shape to run the Owls around. After the first 10 minutes it was the Owls that had started the better to lead 5-0 and show all at the ground they were hell-bent on reaching a Grand Final. With excellent composure the Redmen soon found their rhythm and a pair of tries thanks to the footwork and class of Frankie Fainifo were interjected by great forward holding that allowed scrum-half Ryne Bowden to crash over. Willoughby Axelson landed all 3 conversions helping 2nds to a 21-11 half-time lead.
The second half opened up for Vikings after a series of great forward surges that usually led to space for the outside backs. Another try to Bowden from close range was added to by wide tries to Ravouvou, Giltrap, and a flying Joe Langtry who had brought his jet shoes to kill any comeback from the owls. Uni Norths certainly fought out the game but the whole 2nd grade squad of 22 had ensured that Vikings get the desired rematch with Queanbeyan in next week’s Grand Final. The final score was 47-25. Best for Vikings included Spry and Gubler in the forwards and the halves of Bowden and Axelson.
Grand Final Day
Vikings now have five teams playing in the Grand Final games this Saturday at Viking Park. Entry to Viking Park is $10 this weekend and free for U18s and pensioners. Come down and support our men and women as they play for 2016 Premierships!
1st Div 2nd Grade vs Wests @ 9.40am on Field 2
Colts vs Royals @ 11.40am on Field 1
Women vs Royals @ 1.10pm on Field 2
Premier 2nd Grade vs Queanbeyan @ 1.20pm on Field 1
Premier 1st Grade vs Queanbeyan @ 3.25pm on Field 1