Junior Vatikani was in Magpies colours the last time Yass played in the Canberra Raiders Cup finals, and coach Steve Naughton says "that's no coincidence".
The Magpies booked their place in the preliminary final with a 32-18 win over the Tuggeranong Bushrangers at Kippax Oval on Sunday.
Yass are one step closer to their first premiership since 2006 while the Bushrangers' drought continues in their search for a maiden first grade title.
But the Magpies will be firm underdogs when they meet the Queanbeyan Blues at Seiffert Oval next Sunday for a spot in the grand final.
The image of Vatikani steaming away for an 80 metre runaway try to send the Magpies into the preliminary final will be hard to get rid of for Tuggeranong.
Magpies co-coach Steve Naughton says those are just the plays he expects from his monster centre, and his brother and co-coach Scott feels exactly the same.
Vatikani left the Magpies for Goulburn when they filtered back into the George Tooke Shield to fulfil his desire to play first grade, but the fan favourite was never leaving for good.
"He makes a lot of things happen out of nothing and that was probably the most crucial try he's scored all year," Scott Naughton said.
"He's still got pretty strong ties to the town so it wasn't too hard to get him back. He's pretty much a local boy now and they love him out there.
"He's been one of our best all years, hands down. He's a pretty casual bloke, when you get him out there he does the flashy stuff but he's willing to work hard in defence and make the tough carries as well.
"He's pretty popular amongst the group. He's a pretty cool, calm and collected character, but once he gets out there he rips right in."
The Queanbeyan Kangaroos are in the box seat to win their first premiership since 2013 having knocked over their cross-town rivals in the major semi-final on Saturday.
Yass have managed just two tries and conceded 72 points against the Blues this year but the minor premiers are reeling off the back of three straight losses.
"Everyone's pretty rapt, the whole town is right behind us," Naughton said.
"There's a real buzz around the town, but she's going to be a tough one next week against the Blues.
"They've been the benchmark all year so we're going to have to play really well to beat them, but anything can happen in footy."
Tuggeranong opened the scoring when Josh Papalii crashed over in the 17th minute but they didn't have much else to cheer about in the opening stanza.
A freakish try to Shaun Davis kicked off a Magpies onslaught that saw them take a 20-6 lead into the half-time break.
The Bushrangers weren't ready to wave the white flag and forced their way back into the contest with two quick tries slicing the margin to two.
But Jai Smith scored in broken play and soon after Vatikani's runaway try put the icing on the cake.
YASS MAGPIES 32 (J Vatikani 2, S Aiolupo, J Collins, S Davis, J Smith tries; S Davis 4 goals) bt TUGGERANONG BUSHRANGERS 18 (I Afemui, J Papalii, A Tupou tries; J Mitchell 3 goals).