Queanbeyan and University-Norths first grades will play for the Pat Matthews Cup on Saturday at Campese. It is currently held by the Whites having won it on four occasions and the Owls winning the cup three times. University-Norths have yet to win a game this season.
The Whites are coming off a 20-18 win over Wests which could have been 20-21 had the Lions goal kicker converted a penalty a minute before full time.
In a courageous display the Whites stayed in the game despite losing flanker Lewis Bozzato with a red card. He was not suspended as the offence was at the low end of the scale. He will have to be more disciplined as he also received a yellow card and does not need to complete the deck.
But the news is not all good with hooker Carl Elliot suffering a season ending injury after just coming back two weeks ago. Red hot Mitch Douch is also out with a hand injury giving Josh White a reprieve.
Schoolboy Fred Kaihea makes his run-on debut at prop which is unheard of with probably only Glen Stumbles and Ben Gordon starting first year out from school. Kaihea has incredible energy and just looks like he loves the collisions.
Second grade will be tight with the Owls just below the Whites on the ladder. Centre David Kerr returns at the expense of Tony Fifita who has been consistently good.
The Colts will be an even contest and it is a contest the youngsters need to win to show their mettle. Five eighth Liam Moseley will play more minutes while Elijah Chadwick at prop will be keen to cement his position after a standout showing last Saturday.
Thirds continue their rise under the wise and old coach Michael Dyer. Players like Fifita, Damien Darmody and Simi Latu could easily be playing reserve grade and add substance to an all-round 15.
Fourths are just ahead of the Owls on the ladder yet it will take a very good combination to beat them as they strut out the likes of Dom and Maligi Finau, Ivan Fifita and the unstoppable Luke Cochrane.
The Pat Matthews Cup recognises the contribution of Matthews to the Queanbeyan club and to rugby in general. He played 154 first grade games with the Whites and more than 600 games in total. He was associated with University-Norths packing his bags to play with them in Golden Oldies tournaments.
He suffered a heart attack after a match in 2009 and is survived by his partner Pam Sassella who will be on hand to present the cup.
The Queanbeyan sponsors luncheon is also being held on Saturday with more than 50 in attendance. The luncheon is an expression of appreciation to the club’s sponsors many of whom have been with the club for 20 years or more.