Photo: Soul Hunter Photography

ACT Territory Bowl – Diamonds (0) at Central Spears (36)

On a beautiful Saturday afternoon, the league’s two best women’s teams went head to head in the 2017 Territory Bowl. The Spears ran out emphatic victors notching up a 36-0 win over a well-beaten Diamonds side.

As I’ve mentioned a couple of times this season – the Diamonds were hampered by injuries and it showed. The Diamonds were still missing their starting QB Butterworth, and they did not have defensive powerhouse Tracey Stuart for much of the first half. The Diamonds also appeared to be missing their kicker/punter Em Malone. For the Diamonds, it was a game of missed tackles, missed blocks and missed opportunities.

The Spears, on the other hand, probably had their biggest turnout of players this season boasting a full sideline. All of their stars played their part – De Groot was solid at QB, Rowland and Williams also shone on Offence.  For the 2nd week in a row Spears RB #10 also impressed with her hard running up the middle, backed up by some great option runs down the sideline.

The Spears D Line also had a big day, seemingly tormenting the Diamonds offence over and over again – shutting down the Diamonds attempts to advance the ball.

By halftime it was 28-0 and the game was all but over. The Diamonds defence lifted in the second half, only letting in one more TD, but they had their work cut out for them after their offence continually failed to fire off the back of mistakes. RB Rhi Davies had a solid game, and on the defensive side of the ball LB Toni Abbott (no, not the pollie that everyone loves to hate) was strong (also returning kicks for the day).

And so the Spears finish another unbeaten season (seems like it only just begun, hey) whereas the Diamonds will continue in the NSW Gridiron competition.

Congratulations to all of the ladies in the ACT Women’s Gridiron League – it was a great season and I hope it comes back bigger and stronger with more players and more games next year.

UC Firebirds (20) at Centurions (0)

The start of this match had all the hallmarks of it being a long day for the Cents. QB Wilson was picked off on about play number 3 by Firebirds CB #24 followed a few plays later by Firebirds RB Williams running in yet another TD to add to his tally for the season.

Not long after the TD, a few massive runs from Firebirds RB Thornhill saw the Firebirds deep in Centurions territory. It wasn’t long before Job connected with Maskell-Knight (#80) for the ‘Birdies second touchdown of the day.  The point after was good taking them to a 14-0 lead at halftime.

The 2nd quarter saw the return of Centurions QB1 Beau Kennett. Kennett had a fairly casual return to football (complete with ‘hoodie’ under his gear) and seemed to take a while to ease himself into the match. He disappeared again in the 3rd quarter before making another return late in the match. He was a little rusty and I guess you can chalk this up to being the return match that he had to have before hopefully lifting in a fortnight when they take on the Gladiators.

The second half was comparatively non-eventful. There were some very un-Firebirds-like penalties given away in the second half (false starts proving a bit of a killer at times). QB Job was able to pass to WR #11 for a TD taking the lead to 20-0. There was also another massive catch from Maskell-Knight later in the half for a big gain but it ultimately did not result in points. RB Williams activated beast mode a number of times in the 2nd half making some huge runs, but was unable to cross the stripe again.

This was the smallest winning margin that the Firebirds have had all year and so that means that this was effectively a win for the Cents right? Not quite. While they were able to limit the Firebirds offense to 20 points, they largely didn’t look like scoring a point of their own.

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Woden Valley Gladiators (18) at Gungahlin Wildcats (32)

Saturday was one of those days that people will ask – where were you when the Wildcats broke their hoodoo and beat the Gladiators?

I don’t recall the last time that the Wildcats had a win and the records are hard to find. My best estimate is that the Cats have been winless since about 2012 but can someone in the Cats family set me straight on that?  Regardless, the counter was reset on Saturday when the Wildcats handed out the shock of the season so far, overcoming the 2nd placed Gladiators 32-18.

#85 for the Wildcats had a great game, but by far and away the standouts were #25 and the QB#12 (happy for a shoutout with the names).  The Cats QB looked positively dangerous every time he had the ball – a great arm and also quick on his feet.

The Wildcats came out firing from the outset with early points to their QB and then one of the most bizarre TD’s of the season – the Cats’ QB was picked off, only to then see the intended receiver stripping the ball from the player who took the intercept and running it in for a TD.   Early into the 2nd quarter the Wildcats had put up a sizeable lead.  At one point I found myself looking at the scoreboard and seeing that they were ahead 26-12.

At this point the Glads started on the comeback trail and everyone started thinking “Oh No, the Cats are going to give up a lead again”.  Before you knew it, the score was 26-18 after a lovely TD pass from Te Huki to a WR (I didn’t catch the number – haven’t been able to find the video to check).  But the comeback was short lived.

Glads fans were pleased to see Te Huki had returned this week and they looked better for having him back.  But it wasn’t enough to stop a desperate Wildcats outfit from notching up their first win in a very long time.

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Power Rankings

1. UC Firebirds (No Change)

They are still unbeaten and even though this was their narrowest win it was still by a twenty point margin without letting any points in.

2. Woden Valley Gladiators (No Change)

Another loss sees the Glads struggling to hold on to second place.

3. Tuggeranong Tornadoes (No Change)

Tornadoes manage to hold onto 3rd place with the Cents racking up another loss

4. Centurions (No Change)

Although it was a loss, it was the closest a team has come this season to beating the Firebirds. Inability to score points was a worry though.

5. Wildcats (No Change)

A famous victory – however, one wind doesn’t make a championship (nor does it make a move up the rankings). I’m excited by the potential in their QB – is this the start of a late-season charge?

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