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The Tumut Blues defended their way to a gritty 12-6 victory over the Wagga Kangaroos in their Group 9 match at Twickenham on Sunday afternoon.

Tumut entered the match following a three-week break while Wagga had been playing plenty of Rugby League,with the Kangaroos losing back-to-back games against Albury (24-18) and Temora (17-16).

It was a scrappy match with some poor discipline keeping referee Ben Whitby busy, while the stop-start game made it hard for both sides to generate momentum. Most of the contest was played in the middle third, with two relentless packs dishing out big hit after big hit.

Following an early error Tumut was on the attack, with Tumbarumba native and bustling front-rower Matthew Byatt crossing for a try under the uprights just six minutes into the game. Skipper Lachlan Bristow made light work of the conversion as Tumut led 6-0.

Tumut's discipline later dropped off and they continued to make mistakes in their half, then the pressure eventually told when Nathan weaved his magic for Wagga. The playmaker stepped back on the inside and beat multiple defenders to score an excellent try left of the uprights. Latrell Siegwalt converted and the scores were locked at 6-6 after 20 minutes.

Dean Bristow started to take control of the Blues attack, with the veteran playmaker's kicking game and organisation helping Tumut turn the tide.

Bristow forced a repeat set, and from there the home side mounted multiple attacking raids, with the Blues eventually rewarded when brother Lachlan burrowed over from close range. He converted his try and Tumut led 12-6 after 28 minutes.

The second half was a very physical 40 minutes, with Wagga's Luke Ingram and James Hay in the thick of the action, along with Tumut big men Michael Fenn and Jacob Sturt. 

Tumut had their chance to ice the contest, with Lachlan Bristow intercepting a pass before offloading to Brayden Draber, who found speedy winger Malik Aitken. But the attacking sequence wouldn't lead to points with Wagga holding firm.

The match soon turned into a defensive stoush, and with the game's last play Rose tried a Hail Mary of sorts. But Tumut was able to extinguish the threat and secure a significant 12-6 victory at home.

Tumut's triumph over Wagga keeps them in top spot on the ladder, equal on 16 competition points with Temora Dragons and Young Cherrypickers, but ahead on for-and-against. Tumut boasts the competition's best defence by a long margin, conceding just 77 points in seven appearances.

The next best is the Wagga Kangaroos, who have conceded 107 points in seven matches but sit outside the top-five, in sixth place with three wins and four losses.

It gets more challenging for the Kangaroos in Round 10, who have a tough road trip on Saturday to take on the improving Gundagai Tigers.

In other Sunday matches, Junee hosts Temora at Laurie Daley Oval, and Albury makes the long trip to Tumut. The Thunder and Blues are set to do battle in front of what should be a good crowd at Twickenham. 

Round Nine results: Temora def Albury 30-24, Junee def South City 30-28, Tumut def Wagga Kangaroos 12-6.

Group 9 ladder: Tumut 14, Temora 14, Young 14, Albury 12, Gundagai 12, Wagga Kangaroos 10, South City 6, Junee 6.

Acknowledgement of Country

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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