After a "rough trot in the middle of the season", the Uni-Norths Owls' push towards the John I Dent finals series has taken another boost.
After losing to every top four side the first time they played them this season, the Owls have officially found the form that they have been craving all year.
Having dealt the Canberra Royals their first loss of the season last weekend, the side handed the Queanbeyan Whites a 24-10 defeat at Terry Park on Saturday afternoon.
It was all the Owls early in Queanbeyan, scoring two tries within the first 10 minutes to take a 14-3 lead.
That fast start was a plan according to Owls head coach Sam Rolfe. The side were on the receiving end of a similar ambush in their last match against the Whites, using it as inspiration.
"We had a plan to start fast that first 20 minutes and that was what we did. It showed with the scoreboard at 14-3 early," he said.
"That was our plan to come out firing, they did that at our home so that was the best thing we could do."
Whilst the Owls were able to hold on despite not scoring in the second half, it didn't come easy for the away side.
Momentum began to swing towards the home team after the 60th minute, with a vocal Queanbeyan crowd willing their side on.
Rolfe was pleased with his team's response when the game was on a knife's edge, pinpointing one moment as crucial in collecting the points.
"That has been a big thing for us, looking to change the momentum when it was against us," he said.
"There were a few key moments, the chasedown from Angus Blackmore when they had a break down the sideline was one of them."
The win now marks two in a row for the Owls against likely finals opponents, while it pushes their total win streak to three.
Rolfe is not looking past their next opponent, the Penrith Emus, however a chance to defeat the only team they are yet to win against in 2022, the Tuggeranong Vikings, is a mouthwatering prospect.
He was especially pleased with the timing of their recent run of form, happy that they are beating the best at the right time of the season.
"A few years ago we peaked too early so it has definitely been a plan to come into it late. We have to keep winning and building week in and week out," he said.
"Not taking the Emus too lightly, they are a tough beast up there. But we definitely have our eye on the Vikings in a few weeks."
While not pleased with the result, Queanbeyan Whites head coach Sam French believes that his team are still almost guaranteed to play finals football this season.
He wants his side to instead learn from the defeat as they look to get back to winning ways against the Gungahlin Eagles next weekend.
"We are playing finals football this year, I am that confident in the group that we have," he said.
"It isn't probably the worst thing for us to have that loss today, to remind us that you need to earn your wins and your spot in the four."
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