The Woden Valley Rams have sent a clear message to the rest of the Canberra Raiders Cup competition.
They are ready to break their finals drought for the first time since 2018.
Their message was loud and clear at Phillip Oval as they secured a last-minute 34-30 victory against the Queanbeyan Kangaroos.
In a back and forth fixture on Saturday, with several lead changes, the Rams proved they belong with the best in the competition.
Woden coach Bill Thomson believes the Rams of old may not have been able to bounce back after Queanbeyan scored what seemed to be the winner in the 77th minute.
But this season's group were different.
"In the past this side probably would have just thrown their hands up and had enough of it," Thomson said.
"They aren't doing that anymore and they are fighting for the full 80 minutes."
Fighting for the entire match was what ultimately secured the two points for the home team, with bench forward Michael Geiger crossing the try line in the last minute to claim a miraculous victory.
Star halfback Jesse Taws could not have been prouder of his teammates, with this season a sharp turn around from finishing last in the shortened 2021 competition.
"That is our team this year, building and working together," he said.
"We understood that to beat the Roos this week we would need to put in an 80-minute performance and that is what we did today.
"I'm so proud of the boys and I loved every minute of it out there."
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Taws was just one of many Rams players who left everything they had out on the field at Phillip, with the half stepping up after an admittedly quiet first 40 minutes.
He was fundamental in securing the win, scoring twice off the back of his impressive running game and deadly left foot step.
"They are a very good defensive side and put a lot of pressure on us today," Taws said.
"I just wanted to take a bit of pressure off those outside blokes and use a bit of my running game.
"I couldn't get my kicks away in the first half, so I decided to just run to make them expect that so I could then go back to my kicks. I'm very pleased to get the two tries."
Taws himself was proof of the steep turnaround in the Rams mentality this season, with the halfback injuring his arm in the 58th minute.
After being attended to, he opted to play on, scoring another solo try whilst continuing to lead his men to victory.
"My arm caught in a tackle and someone hit it. I knew it wasn't broken and that we had an injured bench," he said.
"With the whole team so bruised and battered, we just kept charging through."
The win keeps Woden comfortably in the hunt for the minor premiership, with just a few points separating them from first place.
While the round 12 result leaves the Kangaroos languishing mid-table with six rounds to go.
The Rams will regroup before they face a team hot on their tail in the chase for the minor premiership, the Tuggeranong Bushrangers, next Saturday.
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