Junee starts season with win over Kangaroos

WRAPPED UP: Fale Malase can't avoid being tackled by Dana Ratu in Junee's win over Kangaroos to start the season at Equex Centre. Picture: Les Smith
WRAPPED UP: Fale Malase can't avoid being tackled by Dana Ratu in Junee's win over Kangaroos to start the season at Equex Centre. Picture: Les Smith

A big first half performance help Junee record a win to start the season.

The Diesels came out firing at Equex Centre on Sunday and proved a thorn in Kangaroos side.

Catching the Wagga side on the hop, Junee led 22-4 at half-time and managed to hold off their late charge.

Kangaroos got within four points with eight minutes to go when Eddie Jackson scored his second try but Junee rallied once more.

Tui Samoa charged over with three minutes to play to seal the 30-20 victory.

After coming in at the 11th hour following Dane Nieslen’s sacking, coach Jim Vatubuli was pleased with the performance.

“It was a good start,” Vatubuli said. “The boys really did well in that first half to maintain the lead then try and hold it in the second half.

“The second half didn’t start the way we wanted to, but credit to the boys for holding them back and coming back strong in the last five minutes.”

Kangaroos looked like there were going to run over the top of the Diesels after an average first half.

They scored two minutes into the second half when their second phase skill came to the fore.

Refusing to submit to a tackle, Kangaroos kept offloading before Hayden Jolliffe went over.

Jolliffe had his second midway through the half before Matt Hands kicked a penalty goal to see the Diesels lead by eight with 16 minutes to play.

Kangaroos were hammering Junee’s line and it eventually cracked when Jackson was left in plenty of space on the wing.

But the Diesels regrouped after taking advantage of a repeat set right deep in attack to get their season off to a perfect start.

Vatubuli was please by the hunger shown.

“It all comes down to whoever digs deep at the end of the day and the boys wanted the win,” he said.

“They went out there and stuck to the game plan.

“All credit to Kangaroos, they were good opposition and played very well.

“They probably didn’t complete what they wanted to complete today but we took our chances and got the win.”

Hayden Diggins was among the Diesels best at hooker.

He put Samoa over for his first try to make it 10-0 with a smart pass from dummy half before somehow forcing his way over to score just before half-time.

He looked like he was going to be held up before a big second effort handed his team an 18-point advantage.

Diggins forced Trent Schubach to halfback and it’s a move Vatubuli wants to continue with.

All three playmakers performed well for Junee.

Schubach scored Junee’s third try when he swooped on a Tristan Dickson mistake to score while Matt Hands’ kicking game provided Joel Kelly with the opner after 10 minutes.

The Diesels now host Brothers at Laurie Daley Oval on Sunday after the Brethern scored a one-point win over Albury to start the season.

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