Canberra Raiders Cup: Queanbeyan Kangaroos v Tuggeranong Bushrangers
Queanbeyan's Robbin Byatt tackles Bushranger Reinhold Kamilo. Photo: Graham Tidy
Queanbeyan Kangaroos forward Adam Pearce was sent off for making a disparaging remark about the referee in a controversial finish to Saturday's 20-all draw with Tuggeranong at Greenway Oval.
After a try from Tuggeranong hooker Jordan Hammond levelled scores with 90 seconds left, referee Martin Jones gave Pearce his marching orders. Jones refused to elaborate on what Pearce said, which forced him to take such drastic action, but it's believed he overheard Pearce insulting him in conversation with a teammate.
The Kangaroos were unhappy after Tuggeranong was awarded a penalty when a Bushrangers player was dragged into touch, which put the hosts on the attack.
Adam Pearce was sent off by the referee. Photo: Jeffrey Chan
Bushrangers halfback Carl Johnson, one of his side's best, missed a straightforward conversion five metres to the right of the posts, which would have sealed victory in the top-of-the-table clash.
His side remains unbeaten after back-to-back draws, but Kangaroos coach Aaron Gorrell admitted their results are flattering.
"We just weren't good enough; we're letting terrible sides have a chance of winning the game, and that was just ordinary from us,'' he said.
"Again we dodged a bullet, we're getting closer and closer to a loss and we shouldn't have been in that position."
Asked if the side's results so far were a mirage, he said: "They are, we're not going well at all.
"It's just that other sides are doing the same; we've just got to wake up before the other teams do.
"We probably need to lose to wake up to ourselves.
"I'm starting to think we'll just turn up Saturday because there's no point training, we're just wasting our time.''
Gorrell declined to express his thoughts on the key decisions late in the game.
"If I'm honest I'll get in trouble from the comp,'' he said.
The Kangaroos raced to an early 10-0 lead but, led by Johnson, the Bushrangers took a 16-10 lead into the break.
Johnson, who partnered Raiders star Anthony Milford in the halves in the 2012 SG Ball grand final against Balmain, scored Tuggeranong's first try and set up the next for winger Jayden Pollard with a crossfield kick.
Unfortunately his late missed goal came back to bite Tuggeranong, which entered the match on a three-game winning streak.
"I just need to go out there and practise more I guess,'' Johnson said of his miss.
"It's good watching Anthony [Milford] out there just killing it. Everyone knows he's a freak and he deserves everything he's got.''
In other matches, Queanbeyan Blues bounced back from last week's shock loss to West Belconnen with a 24-16 win over Gungahlin.
Four tries from John White helped Woden Valley smashed Belconnen United 40-12 in a battle between two previously winless teams.
CANBERRA RAIDERS CUP
Tuggeranong 20 (Jordan Hammond, Jayden Pollard, Carl Johnson, Nathan Miles tries; Johnson 2 goals) drew with Queanbeyan Kangaroos 20 (Robbie Byatt 2, Jack Pearce, Bryan Cronan tries; Josh Mitchell 2 goals); Queanbeyan Blues 24 (Tom Ruediger 2, Tom Leddy, Dave Pangai tries; Levi Freeman 4 goals) bt Gungahlin 16 (Dwayne Connors, George Hewitt, Brad Wood, Aiden Greenwood tries; Connors, Greenwood goals); Woden Valley 40 (John White 4, Charlie Hallam, Kilu Pangai, Adam Kyle tries; Tim Crome 6 goals) bt Belconnen United 12 (Chris Thorley, Ryan O'Sullivan tries; Thorley 2 goals).