The ACT Brumbies kept their championship dream alive with a commanding 47-25 victory over the Western Force at Canberra Stadium on Friday night.
The Brumbies ran in seven tries to three and dominated every facet of the game to secure their place in the Super Rugby finals for the second year running. Matt Toomua was the home team’s shining light, the five eighth blowing the Force away with a three-try haul in his comeback from a groin injury.
Henry Speight, Jesse Mogg, Joseph Tomane and Tom McVerry were also on the score sheet, while Christian Lealiifano kicked three conversions and two penalty goals to rediscover his form with the boot.
The 22-point victory lifted the Brumbies to fourth position on the ladder, meaning they will play a home play-off match on Saturday night against the Chiefs in what will be a re-match of last year’s grand final.
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In Saturday’s local grade action, the Gungahlin Eagles defeated Queanbeyan Whites 19-15 at Campese Field, Royals overcame Easts 27-5 at Griffith Oval, and Wests inflicted a first defeat of the season on Tuggeranong Vikings with a thrilling 39-31 victory at O’Connor Oval.
Canberra FC returned to winnings ways in the National Premier League with a 3-1 victory over Tuggeranong United at Kambah on Saturday.
In their first game since coach Ray Junna’s dismissal, FC secured all three competition points off the back of a devastating 20-minute period in the first-half. Adam Spaleta scored a brace of goals and Alex Oloriegbe contributed another as FC went to half-time with a commanding 3-0 lead.
Daniel Colbertaldo scored a late consolation for Tuggeranong, but it was too little too late as FC comfortably saw out the match. The victory lifted FC to third position on the competition table, just three points behind league leaders Belconnen United.
In the ACT Women’s Premier League, Canberra FC thrashed Canberra Olympic 7-1, Belconnen United scraped past ACTAS 2-1, Weston-Molonglo FC overcame Tuggeranong United 3-2, and Monaro Panthers fired a warning to the competition with a 9-1 dismantling of ANU WFC.
Anthony Milford scored two tries and set up another as the Canberra Raiders romped to a convincing 36-20 victory over the Gold Coast Titans on Sunday.
Milford was the star of the show and toyed with the Gold Coast defence all afternoon as he helped the Raiders snap a four-game losing streak and claim just their fifth victory of what has so far been a disappointing season. But most importantly, the victory moves Canberra two points ahead of Cronulla in the race to avoid the wooden spoon.
Aside from Milford’s try-scoring heroics, Brenko Lee, Jarrod Croker, Shaun Fensom and Josh McCrone all also crossed the line, while Jarrod Croker enjoyed a perfect afternoon with the boot by kicking six from six.
In the Canberra Raiders Cup, Goulburn ended Gungahlin’s finals hopes with a 28-4 win, the Queanbeyan Blues were held to a shock 10-all draw by Woden Valley, West Belconnen easily accounted for Tuggeranong 44-20, and the Queanbeyan Kangaroos defeated Belconnen United 28-10.
Antony is a local sports writer who regularly contributes a broad range of stories to PLAY Magazine. He is an avid admirer of rugby union and enjoys watching his beloved ACT Brumbies compete in Super Rugby.