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Canberra Raiders Cup: West Belconnen Warriors pinch controversial win over Gungahlin Bulls

Robert Roberts' boot calmly slotted the winning goal, but it was the West Belconnen five-eighth's spectacular banana kick for a "Vunivalu" try that caught the eye.

That's if your eye got past the controversy surrounding the stunning finish to the Warriors' 18-16 victory over the Gungahlin Bulls at West Belconnen on Sunday.

Gungahlin prop Luke Skidmore appeared to ground the ball in-goal before Warriors second-rower Aidan Greenwood scored the try to level the match at 16-all.

Then Bulls captain-coach Lincoln Withers was penalised for what could have been a one-on-one strip before he was sent to the sin bin for dissent - just a minute before Roberts slotted the winning penalty.

Bulls co-coach David Howell was left scratching his head about the ref's calls, but said "that's up to the ref's discretion".

"Personally they've got to allow players to talk to them, question them - he was the captain at the time so he should be able to question them," he said.


"I don't know if it was any sort of back-chat or anything, I think it was more him being filthy walking back as any player does. I don't think it was anything directed at him [the referee].

"Our front rower got back and grounded the ball ... and momentum's carried him over it and they've put their hand on it and he's called it a try."

While both teams produced plenty of errors, it was a fast-paced and entertaining game, with the Bulls controlling the first half to lead 16-4 at the break - the highlight a clever David Williams intercept, with the Gungahlin five-eighth running 70 metres to score.

West Belconnen were their own worst enemies in the second stanza as they regularly put pressure on the Bulls' line, only to make costly mistakes as they pressed.

That was until Roberts made a game of it when he looked certain to be caught in possession on the fifth tackle, only for the reigning Les McIntyre Medallist to produce an audacious banana kick to the corner for his bearded winger Ricky Fulivai to score a spectacular try to cut the margin to six in the 49th minute.

He likened his winger's efforts to Melbourne Storm flyer Suliasi Vunivalu.

Thirteen minutes later it was controversy's turn as the comeback was completed.

"It worked out well, 'Sticky' got up like Vunivalu. He got put to the wing and he's been calling himself Vunivalu all week," Roberts said.

"That was handy - he proved his point. He's a bit chubbier than Vuni, but he got a little bit of height there."

Both teams had injuries, with Bulls prop Jack Elliot (ankle), Bulls centre Harley Smith-Shields (knee) and Warriors' Bayley Loughhead (knee) all in doubt for next week.

In the other Canberra Raiders Cup game, Goulburn beat Woden Valley 26-16 at Phillip.


West Belconnen Warriors 18 (R Fulivai, S Finnegan, A Greenwood tries; R Roberts 3 goals) bt Gungahlin Bulls 16 (H Smith-Shields, R O'Sullivan, D Williams tries; D Keir 2 goals)

Goulburn Workers Bulldogs 26 (Z Hart 2, N Cornish, P Cooke, T Cornish tries; B Hewitt 3 goals) bt Woden Valley Rams 16 (L Murphy, M Geiger, C McGhie tries; C Johnson 2 goals)