THE Gloucester Magpies have kicked off their 2014 season in the best possible fashion with a comfortable 36-20 win over the Karuah Roos.
Playing at home in front of a vocal crowd, the Magpies started strongly with half Hayden Tull registering first points for the season after a mistake from the Karuah number one.
Tull crossed untouched under the posts after the Karuah fullback coughed up possession trying to defuse a bomb.
A superb piece of individual brilliance by the Karuah halfback reduced the deficit to two points, but a Todd Ritter try in the 20th minute, latching onto a superb ball from Tull, saw the Magpies jump out to a 12-4 lead.
Tull was causing headaches for the Karuah defence and minutes after Ritter’s try he sent backrower Mitch McDonald over virtually untouched to score the home team’s third four-pointer of the afternoon.
Despite the Magpies’ dominance, the final 10 minutes of the half belonged to the visitors.
A try from a break and a chip back infield saw the Roos close to within eight points and an intercept four-pointer on the stroke of half-time meant the Magpies went into the sheds with a slender two-point lead.
Poor handling by both teams dominated the early exchanges of the second half before Scott Wratten scored his first try of the season in the 13th minute to break the deadlock.
Karuah were down to 12 men minutes later after a crusher tackle on McDonald and a try to rampaging front rower Mathew Higgins extended the Magpies lead to 30-16.
Five-eighth Mick Shultz finished off another brilliant piece of lead-up play by Tull to score the Magpies sixth and final try.
Round two of the Newcastle Hunter Rugby League D grade competition will see the Magpies take on Clarence Town this Sunday.
Kick-off is at Clarence Town Park at 2pm.