The Canberra Vikings suffered a shock 28-23 defeat at the hands of Perth Spirit in the opening round of the National Rugby Championship at Viking Park on Saturday afternoon.
Canberra fielded 10 contracted ACT Brumbies players in the round-one clash, but it mattered little as the home side failed to assert any authority over its opposition.
Both sides scored four tries each, but it was the goal kicking which ultimately made the difference. Christian Lealiifano, who was released from Wallaby camp to participate for the Vikings, was left to lament his wayward kicking as he missed three conversions.
Had he knocked over each of those kicks, victory would have been Canberra’s.
Robbie Coleman scored a double for the home side, while Isaac Thompson and Nigel Ah Wong crossed for the Viking’s other five-pointers.
Former Brumbies man Zack Holmes crossed for the Spirit. He was joined on the score card by team mates Dillyn Leyds, Heath Tessmann and Ammon Matuauto.
The Canberra Raiders won the battle of the cellar dwellers by defeating the Cronulla Sharks 22-12 at Remondis Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
There have been few high points in 2014 for Canberra, but Ricky Stuart’s men put together a fine 80-minute performance to move one step further away from the dreaded wooden spoon position.
Anthony Milford was the star of show. The playmaker scored two tries and set up two more to propel the Raiders to victory.
Meanwhile, a David Pangai master class helped the Blues to a thumping 43-10 victory over cross-town rivals the Kangaroos in Sunday’s Canberra Raiders Cup major semi-final.
Pangai scored two tries and showcased the footwork, offloading skills and agility that has seen him catch the eye of NRL clubs in the past.
The victory means the Blues progress straight through to the season decider in two weeks’ time, while the Kangaroos get a second chance next week against the Goulburn Bulldogs in the preliminary final.
The Queanbeyan Tigers ensured its NEAFL farewell ended on a positive note with a stirring 36-point victory over Eastlake Demons on Saturday afternoon.
The Tigers had their fans smiling as they kicked five straight goals early in the fourth quarter to run out 15.16 (106) to 11.4 (70) winners.
The Tigers led by 12 points at quarter time before extending its advantage to 32 points at the main break. But Eastlake kicked the last four goals of the third quarter to get within nine points at the final break.
Queanbeyan powered home, however, and had the victory all but wrapped up early in the fourth quarter.
In other NEAFL action, Ainslie defeated Belconnen 16.12 (108) to 7.10 (53).
Canberra Olympic completed a come-from-behind 4-2 victory over Canberra FC in the National Premier League on Sunday afternoon.
Olympic trailed 2-1 in the second-half before scoring three unanswered goals to secure the victory which it hopes will provide the necessary impetus ahead of next week’s elimination final against FC.
Olympic went ahead in the 27th minute courtesy of a Oliver Wiederkehr goal, but fell behind in the second-half after FC responded through goals to Domenic Giampaolo and James Field.
Mark Shields restored parity with a successful penalty kick in the 70th minute before adding his second of the match just minutes later. Daniel Barac scored in the final minute of regular time to add some gloss to the score line.
The Canberra Brave completed its AIHL finals preparations in ideal fashion by defeating the Sydney Bears 3-2 on Saturday night.
The Brave travelled to Sydney for the final round of the regular season knowing its spot in the finals already guaranteed, but complacency did not get in the way of the visitors completing its remarkable inaugural season with a victory.
Anton Kokkonen scored the opening goal of the game for the Brave in the first period. Stephen Blunden then added two more goals for the visitors in the second period to ensure Canberra warmed up for the finals in style.