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Junee tame Dragons for back-to-back wins

Junee supporters have enjoyed a massive two weeks with their Diesels First-Grade side registering back-to-back victories for the first time in a few years.

Junee, who returned to the Group 9 First-Grade competition this season following a two-year hiatus, had struggled in the opening rounds losing their first six games.

That turned around in Round Nine with Junee holding on for a gutsy 30-28 victory over fellow strugglers, the South City Bulls, at Laurie Daley Oval.

A week later a huge home crowd turned out once more at the same venue, and with their tails up, the Diesels caused the season's upset knocking off competition heavyweights Temora 22-21.

"It's been awesome," Junee coach Damion Fraser said.

"It's been great to get some wins and for me as a coach to get the monkey off my back, and for us as a team, it's just nice to be playing some good footy and seeing the results."

Junee's victories have been chalk-and-cheese in comparison - the Diesels surrendering a good lead and just holding on against South City.

"It was 30-10 with eight minutes to go and I just think the players were looking at the clock and did the maths in their head and switched off a bit," Fraser said.

"We got a bit complacent and a bit content, but we hung on."

Against Temora, Junee was composed and played for the full 80 minutes with prop Haydn Cowled potting a penalty conversion late in the game to secure the one-point victory.

"Both teams could have won and with three minutes to go, Josh (McCrone) kicked a field goal for Temora, and the clock was running down, and our boys dropped their heads a bit," Fraser said.

"We then kicked off and were able to regather the ball. We worked towards Temora's post, but they gave away a penalty.

"We had the chance to win and our prop Haydn, who worked tirelessly all game, was buggered. But he stepped up and took the kick and we got the win."

When asked about the form turnaround Fraser said it helped to have an almost full-strength team on the paddock.

"That's the strongest side we've fielded all season and the only missing player was Pat Guthrie," Fraser said.

"After that win over South City there was so much confidence going into the game against Temora, and our training on Tuesday and Thursday was as good as it has been all year... it just makes a big difference."

Junee still has a shot at the finals and Fraser hopes his side will continue to build confidence and improve heading into the final six rounds of the season.

While immediate success is desired, Fraser is considering the future with every move he makes.

"The hardest thing at the moment is finding the balance between wanting to win now and building that winning culture," Fraser said.

"There's no quick fix, but we are working on it, and we have blooded under-18 players from last year in First-Grade this year. There is a fine line with it because we want to be competitive, but we are looking at the future.”

Junee has a bye this weekend, but they face their toughest test to date in Round 12 with an away trip to Twickenham to take on the top-of-the-table Tumut Blues. 

Group 9 Round 10 results: Wagga Kangaroos 50 def Gundagai Tigers 16, Tumut Blues 32 def Albury Thunder 22, Junee Diesels 22 def Temora Dragons 21.

Group 9 Round 11 draw – July 8: Albury v Gundagai at Greenfield Park, Temora v Tumut at Nixon Park; July 9: Wagga Kangaroos v Young at McDonald's Park.

Group 9 First-Grade ladder: Tumut 16, Young 16, Temora 14, Wagga Kangaroos 12, Albury 12, South City 8, Junee 8.

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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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