Yass’ dream season has continued as the Magpies defeated the Tuggeranong Bushrangers 32-18 in their elimination final at Raiders Belconnen on Sunday afternoon.
The Magpies were dealt a blow before kickoff as star prop Sam Sotogi was ruled out of the game with a knee injury, but the Magpies dealt with his absence with a strong performance from their forward pack.
In Sotogi’s absence, Tuggeranong muscled their way up field and were the first to score when Atu Tupou popped up a perfect offload for his front row partner, John Papalii, who barged his way over the line.
Yass hit back shortly afterwards when Shaun Davis finished off a remarkable passage of play. With no obvious attacking threat, Scott Naughton kicked the ball into the path of Yass winger Jesse Collins. Instead of attempting to pick up the ball, Collins kicked the ball back in field and Davis grounded the ball for a try.
Collins added a second try as he sprinted down the touchline while Saipani Aiolupo barged over from short range to score.
With halftime looming, Junior Vatikani took advantage of poor defense, as he caught the markers napping with a dart from dummy-half.
Tuggeranong stormed back into contention after halftime as Isileli Afemui crossed the line before Atu Tupou bulldozed his way over the line to bring margin to only two points.
However, Yass’ nerves were calmed when a cutout pass was deflected by Tuggeranong and gathered by Jai Smith. The Magpies winger, darted towards the line to score out wide to give Yass a 24-18 lead.
The Yass fans were brought to their feet 15 minutes from fulltime when Junior Vatikani busted his way through the Tuggeranong line 30 meters from his try line. With only Matthew Gruber to beat, Vatikani bamboozled the fullback as he stepped his way past to score.
Shaun Davis wrapped up the result in the last five minutes when the second rower slotted a penalty from right in front of the posts.
The Magpies will take on the Queanbeyan Blues next Sunday as the two sides battle it out for a place in the grand final.