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Vikings through to eighth-straight Grand Final after Queanbeyan thriller

The ACTRU Major Semi Finals were held at Viking Park last Saturday. Of the five Vikings teams playing, three of them were able to advance through to the Grand Final, also at Viking Park on Saturday 13 August.

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First Division Second Grade

The day started off early at 9.40am with a very foggy and chilly morning. Geoff ‘Ogre’ Adam debuted the day on a positive note as he ran through a cheering tunnel for his 300th game, it became official when he took the field with 15 minutes remaining in the 1st Division 2nd Grade game. The game was tight in the beginning with West putting up a tough defense that kept the Vikings on the wrong side of the field. A low midfield kick that took an odd bounce and hit Duane Petersen, gave Wests their first big possession. They were unable to capitalise and turned it over at midfield. Andrew ‘Chewy’ Dickson, attempting to give the Vikings some better field position kicked to Wests again. This proved to be the turning point of the game as Wests fumbled with the ball and it was knocked back to the Vikings try line. After a quick pass to Ryan Slater who gave it to Omar Ramsden in the corner the Vikings were finally on the board with a 5-0 lead.

The kick off saw a penalty to Vikings who used it to move the ball down the field, after an exchange of possession and penalties the Vikings were again at their try line. One of the more spectacular tries of the day goes to Riley Banks who took a through the leg pass from the previous try scorer Ramsden and dove across the line. At halftime the score was 10-0.

The second half saw more of the same with Vikings holding possession and keeping Wests away from their line. Ogre took the field with 15 minutes remaining, with a large cheer from the crowd and almost had himself a try but fell just short. The ball was passed around and ended up in the hands of the clubs leading scorer, Dickson, who ran across the line and to the middle of the try area for his first score of the day. He converted and made the score 17-0, which is where it ended.

Vikings 1st Division 2nd Grade head straight to the Grand Final on Saturday 13 August at Viking Park to take on the winner of the Wests v Young match up in the Preliminary Final.

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Premier Colts

Vikings Colts took on the minor premiership winners Royals at midday on Field 1. Royals have been the thorn in the Vikings side for the last two seasons as they can’t seem to get past them. Both teams are the cream of the crop in the U20s competition and on this day Royals again was just too good, winning 31-5. The game started well as the teams went back and forth before Royals got across in the 18th minute. Vikings were caught on their heals after a penalty and a quick tap by the boys in blue. The first score started the disappointing day for the Vikings Colts as Royals seemed to be bigger, stronger and faster all day. Royals scored 31 unanswered points before the redmen scored in the dying minutes to put five points on the board.

Vikings will now take on Gungahlin Eagles this Saturday in the Preliminary Final.

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Premier 2nd Grade

by Jess Allardyce

Vikings second grade were looking forward to renewing their rivalry with Queanbeyan with having secured second place in the final round with a victory over Royals. The match started perfectly for Vikings when their powerful maul allowed Junior Sogoti to drive over the line for the first points. Queanbeyan rebounded when their excellent goal kicker slotted two long range penalties to lead 6-5. The game ebbed and flowed with great physicality from both sides before Willoughby Axelsen kicked two penalties of his own to have Vikings leading 11-9. Right on the stroke of half time, following some ill-discipline from Vikings and a yellow card, Queanbeyan crashed over the line to lead 16-11 at half time.

The second half did not start well for the Vikings scrum and after multiple resets Queanbeyan were rewarded with a penalty try to take a commanding lead of 23-11. The game continued to be a tough contest with Vikings having their moments with a great team try to Iosua Tonga, after a great run by Max Ravouvou, had Vikings back in the game to 26-16. Despite throwing everything they had in the final 5 minutes, Vikings fell short and will need to use their second chance in the Preliminary Final. Vikings will take on Uni Norths Saturday at 1.30pm at Viking Park to try again at a spot in the final.

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Women

The Viqueens took the field Saturday afternoon without their leader Shellie Milward, who suffered a season ending ankle injury last week at Phillip Oval. The first half of the game against Uni Norths showed how much they missed her on the field as at times they looked lost. Viqueens threatened a few times at the line but turnovers were proving costly and the Owls were first on the board taking the lead 7-0. Uni Norths were able to cross again before halftime and take a 14-0 lead into the break.

The back half of the game didn’t start any better as the Viqueens looked lethargic and missing the fire the undefeated team had shown all year. The girls finally broke through in the corner with Megan Ayers and got on the board, but still trailing 14-5. The Owls answered with a penalty goal and extended the lead to 17-5.

This is when the light seemed to flicker within the Viqueens and the team we were used to seeing turned up. The passes became crisper and the runs became stronger and player/coach Kristy Giteau scored with a conversion by Nikki Daquino making the score 17-12. Injuries plagued both teams causing a longer than usual second half with the stoppages. The Viqueens challenged Uni Norths for several minutes pushing close to their try line. It was finally Tayla Standford that drove through three defenders, carrying them with her for five meters, and reached out for the game-tying try. With a missed conversion the score remained tied and the Viqueens again retained the possession. As time was winding down the ViQueens were awarded a penalty 20 meters out and 15 meters to the left of the uprights. Daquino looked at her bench with confidence, lined up and nailed the penalty kick as the referee blew the whistle for fulltime, giving the ViQueens a dramatic comeback win! With the win the Minor Premiers move straight through to the Grand Final on Saturday 13 August at Viking Park.

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Premier First Grade

by Keiran Deck

The Tuggeranong Vikings have reached their eighth consecutive Grand Final after defeating the Queanbeyan Whites 30-22 in the Major Semi-Final at Viking Park.

In another classic clash between the two clubs, the game wasn’t decided until the final minutes when Isaac Thompson scored off his own kick.

Thompson amassed 20-points including a field goal that gave the Vikings’ the edge on the scoreboard, midway through the second half.

The first half was played largely between the 22-metre lines as both sides looked polished and ready for the encounter.

The first points didn’t come until the 26th-minute, when Thompson kicked a penalty.

Both sides looked strong defensively and the game appeared to be heading into the break without a try on the board. With a minute to go, winger Jake Knight evaded a tackle, avoiding the sideline and rolled over to extend the minor Premiers’ lead.

At 10-nil, OJ Noa returned for Whites from 10-minutes in the sin bin to steal the ball off the restart. Noa’s acrobatics started several phases of momentum for the Whites, who hit back on the right wing through Brendan Spears with seconds left in the half.

Spears, the Whites’ second leading try scorer in 2016, was unable to convert his own try and Vikings took a five-point lead into half time.

The first points of the second half came from Spears’ boot but Vikings hit back almost immediately, with Thompson kicking a penalty and a field goal in quick succession.

At 16-8, Vikings looked dominant at the break down, thanks to the efforts of Brumby Jarrad Butler coming on from the bench.

Butler was joined by Joe Powell for Vikings, and Les Leuluaialii-Makin and Andrew Smith for Queanbeyan, as the four Brumbies players returning for club duties.

Whites wrestled the momentum after the field goal and Sokai Tai added to his eight regular-season tries, closing the gap to one.

The game had a rhythm and Vikings maintained their lead throughout the entire 80-minutes, pulling away to another eight-point advantage moments later.

Whites struck back with 10-minutes to go, when Smith crossed on the right wing thanks to a skilful Noa offload. Spears converted and still it was anyone’s game.

The Minor Premiers had a one-point lead and the next eight-minutes saw them mount consecutive attacks on the Whites’ line.

Thompson poked one through while the referee was playing advantage and chased it down to score under the posts.

While Vikings have a week off, Queanbeyan will play Gungahlin in the preliminary final for a chance to contest the 2016 Premiership.

Vikings will be looking to rub out memories of the 2015 Grand Final, when Royals scored after the siren to stop the Tuggeranong side from claiming a fifth-straight Premiership. The Grand Final is Saturday 13th August, 2016.