THE QUEANBEYAN Kangaroos had to fight hard to hold out the Queanbeyan Blues to maintain their place at the top of the Canberra Raiders Cup ladder at Seiffert Oval yesterday.
Goals proved the difference in last year's grand final rematch, with each team scoring three tries in the Kangaroos' 18-14 win.
The Blues had their chances in the second half, but the Roos, led by captain-coach Aaron Gorrell, proved good enough in defence to withstand the onslaughts.
''They had us on the line there a few times with back-to-back sets but we showed a bit of courage to keep 'em out,'' Gorrell said.
''We did well to hang on and we had a lot of blokes busted that toughed it out.''
Blues coach Adam Doyle didn't dwell on the missed conversions. ''We shouldn't rely on goal kicks,'' he said. ''We had plenty of ball in their 20, so we should have come up with a few more tries which just wasn't to be.
''We just didn't work enough, there wasn't much structure there and the plays just didn't come off.''
It was the Blues who opened the scoring with a try out wide by Scott Kalzbeck. The Roos quickly replied through halfback Clint Wright and then hit the front just before the half-time break with a try by Adam Pearce which Gorrell converted.
The Roos stretched their lead out to 12 points when Richard Kelly was rewarded with a try he set up with a 30-metre run, but the margin was reduced when Adam Misios found a gap 35 metres out and scored at the posts.
When the Blues were penalised for shepherding 30 metres out from their own try line, Gorrell slotted a penalty goal from in front to extend the Roos lead to 18-10.
The Blues stepped up their attack and had a try near the sideline disallowed by the touch judge before their sustained pressure was rewarded with a try to Dennis Gordon. The conversion attempt from out wide missed.
The tough battle, with some big hits from the Blues, left the Roos slightly worse for wear.
While there were no real injury concerns, Gorrell said there was a need for improvement from his teammates.
''It's good that we came away with a win but we've still got a long way to go,'' he said.
In yesterday's other match, Belconnen Scholars proved too strong for Tuggeranong Bushrangers with a 34-10 victory at Northbourne Oval.