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South City won their first game of the 2024 Group 9 competition at Tumut’s Twickenham Oval on Sunday, with the Bulls finishing strongly to defeat the Blues 26-18.

Tumut set the tone early with Matthew Byatt and Lewis Arragon making good metres before the home side forced an error.

With the Blues in good attacking field position, captain-coach Zac Masters charged over from close range.

Jacob Toppin slotted the conversion attempt and Tumut led 6-0 after just four minutes.

Two big packs then went hammer and tongs, but the Bulls were in next when Jarom Vakarewakobau crossed on the left touchline.

Kyle McCarthy couldn’t convert when kicking into the wind so Tumut held onto a 6-4 lead.

The Blues continued to find energy in defence, holding firm against a relentless Bulls outfit.

Against the run of play, Tumut was able to grab another try before the break with Mal Aitken scooping up a kick from his 10-metre line before sprinting 90 metres to score to the delight of the home crowd.

Jacob Toppin knocked over the easy conversion attempt, and Tumut led 12-4 at halftime.

Both sides were getting to their kicks after the break, but South City struck first, with Joel Tracey crashing over on the right edge.

McCarthy slotted the difficult conversion attempt with the Bulls edging closer to trail the Blues 12-10 after 45 minutes.

The Bulls started to win the battle in the middle third of the field before South City coach Cleveland McGhie took his side ahead.

The towering centre charged through multiple defenders to score under the posts.

McCarthy converted and the Bulls were in the lead 16-12.

Tumut responded after earning a timely penalty and from close range Jared Baker barged over for a try to the left of the posts. Toppin converted, and Tumut retook the lead 18-16 with 19 minutes left.

In a frantic period both teams had their chances to score, but last-play options were not up to scratch.

South City did score next, with an errant kick regathered by Vakarewakobau. After a string of passes Jordan Baker crossed on the left touchline.

McCarthy missed the conversion attempt, and the Bulls pushed ahead again (20-18) in this see-sawing  contest.

Sealing the result, South City secured the two competition points when a barnstorming Sebastian Rodet crashed over from close range for an excellent front rower’s try.

With McCarthy nailing the conversion attempt, South City left Tumut as 26-18 winners.

In other Group 9 first grade games played over the weekend, Young defeated Gundagai 20-6 at Alfred Oval, and Temora was too good for Albury winning 28-6 at Nixon Park.

In the most significant result of Round Five, Brothers ended a 600-plus-day drought by defeating Junee 42-8 at Laurie Daley Oval.

Click here for Group 9 results, stats and ladder.

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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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