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Tumut Blues have got their campaign off the mark in Group 9 after scoring a 22-12 win over the Junee Diesels in bitterly cold conditions at Twickenham Oval on Sunday.

With a cold snap hitting the Snowy Mountains, snow fell only minutes down the road, and the consistent rain only worsened the cold conditions.

The two formidable packs bashing each other in the middle, while converting chances out wide proved more difficult than first thought, with both teams bombing easy opportunities.

Tumut gained the early advantage after capitalising on a Junee error. Following some good second-phase play, Lachlan Bristow crossed to the left of the posts and with Jacob Toppin missing the kick, the Blues were ahead 4-nil after four minutes.

Junee hit back with Hayden Diggins scooting and scoring to the right of the posts to make it 4-all with Will McDermott unable to land the conversion.

The Blues again had their chances, with young winger Mal Aitken bombing two certainties.

At the same time, the Diesels consistently rallied, with forwards Haydn Cowled, Pat Guthrie, James Croyden, and Connor McCauley keeping their side in the contest.

Tumut turned defence into attack after Brayden Draber regathered a McDermott grubber and set sail down field only to be tracked down by speedster Daniel Foley to stop a certain try.

The Blues were on the attack, and the ball was sent through the backline's hands, with Aitken making up for his earlier errors after crossing for a smart try on the left edge.

Toppin missed the conversion attempt in difficult conditions, but Tumut led 8-4 after 28 minutes.

Tumut was on a roll, and the home side made it back-to-back tries, with Bristow kicking to his left for Aitken to pluck the ball mid-air and ground it before going dead.

Conversions were proving difficult with Toppin missing again, but Tumut had the lead 12-4.

The Diesels’ hard-working forward pack did well to make ground against the might of Tumut's engine room of Michael Fenn, Jacob Stuart, Matthew Byatt, and Lewis Arragon.

Just before the break, Junee attacked, and a sweeping left-side play found the ball in Jese Wainibuli's hands. The winger showed off a clean set of heels as he outpaced Mitch Ivill before diving and scoring in the far corner.

McDermott missed the conversion attempt, but Junee were back in the contest 12-8 heading into the half-time break.

Tumut made the most of the excellent field position when play resumed, and a barnstorming Jacob Sturt scored from close range to the right of the posts. Toppin slotted the conversion attempt, and Tumut now led 18-8 after 44 minutes.

A bit of Daniel Foley magic then had Junee within striking distance. The playmaker chipped behind the line and regathered, and he could offload to Croyden, who passed back into James Strickland, with the centre stopped just short.

Junee capitalised on the good field position, and Foley again showcased his speed and elusiveness after darting back against the run of play and crossing for a great try to the left of the posts. Despite Foley missing the conversion attempt, the Diesels only trailed 18-12 after 70 minutes.

The Blues secured the win with the game's final play, and it was Lachlan Bristow again kicking through for Aitken, who grounded the ball and secured his hat-trick. Bristow missed the conversion attempt, but the Blues locked up their first win of the campaign.

In other Group 9 Round Three games, an Aborosio Navori hat-trick guided Young to the top spot on the table following a dominant 32-10 win over the previously unbeaten Albury Thunder at Greenfield Park.

Kangaroos won the Wagga derby, defeating South City Bulls 20-4 at McDonald’s Park, and Gundagai got off the mark with an entertaining 28-24 victory over the Temora Dragons at Nixon Park.

Round Four draw (May 13): Gundagai Tigers v Tumut Blues at Anzac Park, South City Bulls v Albury Thunder at Harris Park; (May 14): Young Cherrypickers v Temora Dragons.

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New South Wales Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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