The Yass Golf Club Magpies confirmed their position as title contenders on the weekend, with a bruising 28-24 victory over the Goulburn Bulldogs at Walker Park.
After an evenly contested first half the locals found themselves 6-4 down at the break. The Magpies then took control at the beginning of the second half and were never headed.
The Magpies opened the scoring in the third minute of the game when centre Allan Mulia-Malua dived over in the corner. This was countered by a try to the Bulldogs captain-coach James Aubusson seven minutes later. Goulburn looked sharper around the rucks but couldn’t add to the teams score.
The second half began the way the first half did, with Mulia-Malua scoring again early in proceedings, backing up a long run from winger Junior Vataki. Captain Brett Waters then set up the next try with a barnstorming run, smashing through the Bulldogs defence before offloading to Victor Teofilo who scampered to the try line.
At the 18th minute, Yass were in again when winger Anthony Scott dived over in the corner after some sustained attack from the Magpies. Tim Warden continued to slot over the goals from wide out and Yass had shot to a commanding 22-6 lead.
Aubusson, who was easily Goulburn’s most dangerous player, got them back in the game when he used some clever footwork to bamboozle the defence for a try under the posts.
With 13 minutes left on the clock, Warden threw a cut out pass to Vataki for the flying kiwi to score in the corner. Warden again slotted over the extras and Yass were leading 28-12.
Goulburn never gave up but time was against them. Two late tries to the Bulldogs made the scoreboard look more respectable for the visitors but Yass thoroughly deserved their victory.
Yass’ defence, especially on their own line, was outstanding. In the first half, the Bulldogs were camped down the Magpies’ end of the field for long stretches but couldn’t find a way through. The forwards worked as a unit and the backs held their own.
(Yass Magpies 28 def Goulburn Bulldogs 24. Tries: Mulia-Malua 2, Vataki, Scott, V Teofilo. Goals: Warden 4)
In the reserve grade game Yass went down 36-28 in a tight one to Goulburn.
They looked the goods for parts of the game but dropped balls and defensive lapses at crucial times cost them dearly.
Goulburn only led 18-16 at the break after being much the better side for the majority of the half. Tries to Martin Hawker, Ben Reardon and Anthony Broers kept the Magpies in the game.
The Bulldogs scored early in the second half to open up a 24-16 advantage but then the slippery Chris Rawlinson scored two tries in five minutes for Yass to hit the lead 28-24.
Goulburn then scored twice in the remaining time to take the premiership points on offer, with a 36-28 victory.
Best for the reserves were hooker Reardon and prop Nathan Whiles.
(Goulburn Bulldogs 36 def Yass Magpies 28. Tries: Rawlinson 2, Hawker, Broers, Reardon. Goals: Rawlinson)
In another tight match at Walker Park, the under 18s bounced back from a poor showing last week to beat the Crookwell Green Devils 14-12.
The first half was an entertaining affair, with both sides willing to throw the ball around, Yass found themselves 10-6 down going into the break.
In contrast to the first half, the second stanza was a stop-start affair.
It took until three minutes before full time for Yass to finally take the match. Five-eighth Ben Wylie was able to get in behind the Crookwell defence and set sail downfield. He was caught 20 metres out but from the next play, with the Green Devils defence in disarray, winger Brendan Madden crossed in the corner much to the delight of the Yass crowd.
(Yass Magpies 14 def Crookwell Green Devils 12. Tries: Hall, Massey and Madden Tries. Goal: Byrne 1)