The Magpies have secured their first win of the 2023 Blumers Lawyers Canberra Raiders Cup season, defeating the Gungahlin Bulls 30-10 at Walker Park on Saturday afternoon.

The Magpies were the first to strike through a beautiful piece of support play from Waisale Nayavucere.

Halfback Jahlon Katene-Governor threw a perfect cut-out ball to put Jone Yavaca away where Nayavucere backed up to put Yass in-front 4-nil after 10 minutes.

The Bulls hit straight back from a Yass error, through a great tip-on from Dylan Hately to put prop Tommy Watego under the posts. Roberts converted to lead 6-4 after 16 minutes.

Yass answered immediately through some flashy play from backrower Aublix Tawha to pick Gungahlin’s right-edge to pieces.

Tawha reloaded on the open side where he beat multiple defenders to flick a pass back to Tremayne Chatfield to score under the sticks. Shaun Davis converted to regain the lead 10-6.

The Magpies continued to swoop, this time attacking the right edge where Kalani Skipps finished a great try in the corner off the back of some tricky footwork from centre Mosese Nasilasila. Yass extended their lead to 14-6 with ten minutes remaining.

Tensions began to boil over as both sides were suffering from ill-discipline in the final ten minutes with multiple penalties incurred. The halftime score went to Yass 14-6.

The Magpies picked up where they left off, crashing over first in the second half through dummy half Ryan Prins. Davis converted to extend the lead to 20-6.

Yass fullback Bayley Maher finally found the line after threatening all afternoon, splitting the Bulls left-edge defence to run away and score. Davis converted yet again to take the lead to 26-6 with just over 20 minutes remaining.

The Bulls found the scoreboard for the first time since the 16th minute, through a beautiful Bobby Roberts cut-out pass to put Thomas O’Connor over in the corner. The conversion was unsuccessful, leaving the score 26-10.

Maher’s blistering speed led to another line break, where he was held down too long resulting in a professional foul and ten minutes in the sin bin for the Bull’s Josh Pokoney.

Tremayne Chatfield put the nail in the coffin, chasing through a chip kick where he toe-poked through for teammate Bradley Moafanua to score a great team try in the dying minutes.

Yass Magpies Coach Adam Kyle was pleased with his side’s performance, which was his debut victory as coach of the Club. It signals a turn around in fortunes, which the Magpies will want to continue to see each weekend, in what is a very solid lineup.

“It was a really important one for us, obviously on the back of two good performances, but two losses, we were really looking to bounce back against Gungahlin in pretty tough conditions as well,” Kyle said.

“We set some expectations during the week within the team around making sure that we completed high and we turned them around. I was really impressed with the boys implementation of that on the weekend and in the end that was enough to get us the result.

“There was no instruction to play any different in the wet. We’ve really set a high standard this year in regard to our completion rate and holding the footy and putting teams where we actually want them to start with the football.

“The first couple of rounds we haven’t done that and stuck consistently to our pattern of play and our plan. Against Gungahlin that’s probably close to the most amount of time we’ve put into actually implementing that game plan and we got the result off the back of it.

“At this standard of football, it’s all about turning teams around and making them come off their try line and we did a great job on the weekend doing that.”

Kyle said his team performed well across the board on the weekend and listed some standout players.

“Bayley Maher was exceptional. We’ve done a lot of work with Bayley over the offseason and in trying to get the best football out of him and get a really consistent effort from him,” he said.

“He ran for more than 250 metres on the weekend, which is just an exceptional effort, especially in those conditions.

“Once again, our captain Sean Davis was inspirational. It was a massive effort from him with over 30 tackles and 10 carries. He was just everywhere on the weekend.

“Another one was one of our Jersey Flegg players from the Canberra Raiders, Kalani Skipps, who came back to play for us on the weekend. I thought he really added a lot to our side and had plenty of energy and did plenty of work as well.”

The win advances the Magpies up to fifth position on the Canberra Raiders Cup First Grade ladder with one win and two losses and a points difference of +10.

Yass will now face the unbeaten Queanbeyan Kangaroos this Saturday, May 6th, away at Seears Workwear Oval in Round 4 action.

“We’re really excited to play the Roos. Playing first grade, you always want to go against the best sides in the competition and looking at their roster and their results to start the season, they’ve certainly started really strongly,” Kyle continued.

“We’re under no illusions we’re in for a really tough contest this week. If we stick to our game plan we’re going to be more than competitive, but at the same time, we’re aware of the dangers when you’re coming up against a couple of NRL players in their squad, which Queanbeyan do, you certainly need to be on your game and turning up with the right mindset.

“At the same time, we’re really looking forward to the opportunity to go against them, especially leading into the bye the following week.

Tim Warren