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Yass Magpies co-coach Steve Naughton returns after five year injury curse to play West Belconnen Warriors in Canberra Raiders Cup

First it was osteitis pubis, then a crippling back condition, but after five years of pain, Yass co-coach Steve Naughton will finally return to the field.

Naughton's last game was for the Pia Donkeys in France in 2012 before a debilitating groin injury struck him down and required five operations.

If that wasn't bad enough he then contracted ankylosing spondylitis - a form of arthritis that causes inflammation in the joints of the spine.

Doctors had trouble finding the right medication for the 28-year-old and his stint on the sideline continued.

Now that's set to end with Naughton running out at five-eighth for the Magpies when they travel to face the West Belconnen Warriors on Saturday.

The Magpies go into the game against the reigning premiers on the back of a massive 48-point victory over the Belconnen Sharks, while the Warriors come in off a win over Goulburn.


"I'm due back this weekend actually, [I'll] have a run on Saturday if all goes well," Naughton said.

"I haven't played since 2012. I've had osteitis pubis and then also ankylosing spondylitis, which is like arthritis - got a good combo there.

"The osteitis pubis was the first one, I had five operations on it. It was a long trek back and then the other one's been in some joints in my lower back mainly.

"It's probably been a bit over a year that one. Anything too strenuous would cause inflammation in my joints, which in turn would cause pain and restricts your movement.

"Getting the right diagnosis for it and getting on the right medication's taken some time as well.

"I'm keen to play, it's been a long wait. I've thought about it enough. I guess I'll be nervous and it'll be a good challenge playing West Belconnen."

It's the Magpies' second season back in the Canberra Raiders Cup after a three-year hiatus.

Naughton will run out alongside his brother Scott, who will play halfback, while his dad Des is an assistant coach.

They've all played a big role in Yass' return and ensuring the Magpies have a strong foundation to remain in the comp for years to come.

Naughton grew up in Murrumbateman, but played junior footy for Yass before he went on to play three NRL games for the Sydney Roosters.

"We got together a couple of years ago and thought we'd try and get Yass back in the Canberra comp and stable, and set up a foundation where they can stay in that competition," he said.

"Getting the club financially stable to start with - a lot of work with finding sponsors and delivering on our commitments to them.

"Then attracting players to ensure we've got a competitive first-grade team and encouraging the pathway for juniors to have an 18s and a senior team to continue their football with.

"I spent a lot of time there and it's an all-important part of our lives."


Saturday: Belconnen United Sharks v Woden Valley Rams at O'Connor; West Belconnen Warriors v Yass Magpies at West Belconnen; Queanbeyan Kangaroos v Gungahlin Bulls at Freebody; Queanbeyan Blues v Goulburn Workers Bulldogs at Seiffert Oval. All games start at 3pm.