The Yass Golf Club Magpies returned to the winners list in convincing fashion last Saturday at Walker Park, downing arch rivals the Queanbeyan Blues 40-22.
The win puts the Magpies in clear second on the table and in a good position as the half way stage of the competition approaches.
The Magpies couldn’t have got off to a better start, with Halle Teofilo scoring from a Blues fumble inside the first minute of the game. Yass continued to dominate for the majority of the half and led 18-6 after 27 minutes. The Blues then started to get some momentum of their own, taking the lead 22-18 right on the stroke of half-time.
The opening of the second half was a tight affair as both sides struggled to cope with the cold greasy conditions. Yass regained the lead in the 15th minute through Andrew Swaffield who caught the Blues defence napping with a quick tap.
A deft Scott Naughton grubber led to the next try when flying winger Buster Connors never gave up on the ball, diving between the feet of two embarrassed Blues defenders to force the ball just before the dead ball line. Connors then laid on the next try for his wing partner Junior Vataki after a long bust up the centre which was quickly followed by 17-year-old newcomer Jono Kent scoring under the posts.
The Magpies had a lot of good performers with the forwards leading the way. Tony McLean, Brett Waters, Victor Teofilo and Ray Robinson were the picks with normal full-back Andrew Swaffield deserving special mention after being moved to hooker when Brad Wylie was forced from the field.
Naughton organised his side well at halfback with his running game putting the Blues defence in two minds. Raiders Toyota Cup squad member Kent showed he is going to be a player of the future with an impressive first up display for the Magpies.
Yass Magpies 40 (Swaffield, Vataki, H Teofilo, Connors, Naughton, Waters, Kent tries, Warden 6 goals) def Queanbeyan Blues 22
In an extraordinary game of rugby league, the Yass Magpies reserves nearly pulled off a miracle comeback win before going down to the Queanbeyan Blues 48-36.
The Magpies were right up against it, with two players sent off during the first half and trailing 32-10 early in the second. By rights, the Blues should have racked up a cricket score but the 11-man Magpies were the ones finding the overlaps and, with five minutes remaining, had remarkably levelled things up at 36 a-piece.
In the end, the Magpies were out on their feet as the Blues scraped home with two late tries but you couldn’t help but admire the local’s guts. It was a huge effort from the committed Magpies who kept scrambling in defence and chucking everything at them in attack.
It was a pretty ordinary first half effort from the locals which was highlighted by the departure of winger Nick Pollack (leading with his feet while trying to save a try) and prop Craig Campbell (dissent) from the field. At half-time things looked very bleak but the Magpies never gave up and almost completed a fairy tale win.
All the players that took the field deserve a wrap but big prop Fred Mailolo was outstanding, taking the ball up twice every set of six, scattering the defence in the process. Back rower Anthony Broers wasn’t far behind, terrorising the Blues right hand defence whilst skipper Tony Worthy led from the front.
Queanbeyan Blues 48 def Yass Magpies 36 (Snowden 2, Broers 2, Castles, Timoti, Lawrence tries, Rawlinson 4 goals)
The Yass Magpies under 18s full-back Tim Regan must want to play the Queanbeyan Blues every game after notching his second successive hat trick of tries against them.
Yass led 8-6 at the break and, although not playing anywhere near their best, were still too good for the Blues winning 24-12 in the end.
Best for the locals were Regan who was a handful with the ball in his hands, hard working forwards Josh Hall and Corey Elphick along with centre Brendon Madden.
Yass Magpies 24 (Regan 3, Smith, Dowling tries, Regan 2 goals) def Queanbeyan Blues 12