Uni-Norths Owls are on the cusp of their first trip to the John I Dent finals following a stirring win over Easts in front of their old boys on Saturday.
The 41-17 thrashing saw the Owls leapfrog Easts into third spot on the ladder with three rounds remaining, but they'll next face powerhouse Royals.
Uni-Norths leapfrogged Easts into third spot on the ladder with a 41-17 win.
University and Norths were foundation clubs which amalgamated in 2001 and they were celebrating their 80th year of the competition on Saturday.
The Owls wore a heritage jumper and played in front of a heaving crowd at ANU North Oval, before kicking on to an 80th celebration dinner.
Former Wallabies and Norths centre Brad Girvan presented jumpers to players before the game and coach Tony Docherty praised his men for getting the win on a special day for the club.
"It was a really good win and a good one for the old boys too," Docherty said.
"In the first half we were a bit rusty just coming off the bye but in the second half the boys refocused and played well to get the win.
"We got quite a few old boys along, it was awesome. And good getting wins in the ones, twos and colts, it was just a good day for the club.
"We've never played finals and there was a bit of extra pressure with old boys watching, a lot of them had won comps with Uni and Norths.
"It's good to have that vibe and winning feeling but we need to win two more to secure our spot. We’ll enjoy tonight and next week we’ve just got make sure our defence sticks against Royals."
Owls skipper Dave Bennett bagged a double against Easts.
Skipper Dave Bennett bagged a double, while Jordan Thompson had a blinder at fullback and the Owls pack came into their own in the second half.
Meanwhile, Royals came from behind to beat the Tuggeranong Vikings 19-15 in the top of the table clash at Phillip Enclosed.
There were three yellow cards in the physical encounter and Royals coach Wayne Southwell said the match was won when his side defended their line with 13 men.
"We were behind for a good portion of the game, so it was very pleasing to come through with the win," Southwell said.
"It was a tough game but we stayed in the fight and got a pleasing the result in the end. The forwards laid a really good foundation and carried hard but it was our defensive effort really.
"In the first half we had a scrum on our line with six forwards and held them out. That made a big difference. Joel Penders at tighthead was strong and our locks did a good job."
Roayls star scrumhalf Pedro Rolando had another blinder with three try-saving tackles, while playmaker Craig McMahon kept a cool head in the No. 10 jersey.
The win leaves the Royals two points behind Tuggeranong on the ladder and the competition pacesetters have all but sewn up their finals double chance.
"We scrambled well and showed a lot of spirit that helped carry us through and it was a good learning curve ahead of finals," Southwell said.
"It was an exciting win and helps the ladder situation a bit. It’s all about being in the top two and getting that second crack at the grand final."
AT A GLANCE:
Uni-Norths 41 bt Easts 17
Royals 19 bt Tuggeranong 15
Gungahlin 27 bt Queanbeyan 24
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