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Yass Magpies advance to end West Belconnen's Canberra Raiders Cup title defence

The Yass Magpies have come out the other side of the Canberra Raiders Cup wilderness to book a spot in the finals and end West Belconnen's premiership defence.

West Belconnen's prayers went unanswered as Yass locked up a finals berth in their second year back in the competition following a 48-22 demolition of Goulburn on Sunday.

The Warriors were relying on a Goulburn victory to keep their premiership hopes alive despite racking up wins over the competition's top two teams to round out the season.

But their dream is over and Yass' win sees their first grade side join the club's reserve grade and ladies league tag outfits in the finals.

Yass spent three years in the George Tooke Shield before finally convincing officials they had the player depth and financial stability to justify their inclusion in the Canberra Raiders Cup.

Now they're preparing to mount a premiership charge when they host the Tuggeranong Bushrangers in a minor semi-final at Walker Park on Sunday.


Magpies co-coach and halfback Scott Naughton says the club's resurgence is a testament to the whole town.

"The club is going really well. A lot of people have put a lot of work in and the community is right behind us," Naughton said. 

"Everything is going pretty well out there so now we've just got to build on that and go a bit further in the finals if we can.

"There was always a lot of faith in the local boys we had. We just needed to get the sponsorship behind us to be able to recruit a few players and that's what we've been able to do.

"Now that first grade is going alright, it's fiddled down to reserve grade. The girls were always going to have a good side because there is a big touch footy background in Yass so that's where they all come from."

There was a sense of urgency in the Magpies camp ahead of the must-win clash but they lifted for the occasion and the result was never in doubt, however they'll be sweating on the fitness of prop Sam Sotogi for next week's do or die clash.

The competition was shaping up to be a two-horse race before both the Queanbeyan Blues and Kangaroos faltered to drop their final two games of the regular season.

Now Tuggeranong and Yass will look to emulate West Belconnen's run last year that saw them overcome the odds to win the title.

"They've been the benchmark all year, both Queanbeyan sides," Naughton said. 

"The rest of the competition has been really close. Every game has been a tough game for us. From here, whoever gets it right for the next couple of weeks will win the comp really."

The Blues are eyeing their third premiership in four years having won back-to-back titles in 2014-15 and will host their cross-town rivals at Seiffert Oval on Saturday. 

The Roos will be bolstered by the return of up to eight big name players including captain-coach Aaron Gorrell and leading try scorer Brent Crisp as they look to punch their ticket to the decider.


Canberra Raiders Cup: YASS MAGPIES 48 (Shaun Davis, Joshua Hall, Steve Naughton, Saipani Aiolupo, Junior Vatikani 2, Scott Naughton, Benny Warner tries; S Davis 8 goals) bt GOULBURN WORKERS BULLDOGS 22 (Dylan Hately, Matt Worboys, Chris Hart, Zach Hart tries; Blake Hewitt 2, C Hart goals)