PHOTOS: Magpies down Karuah Roos

THE Gloucester Magpies have kicked off their 2014 season in the best possible fashion with a comfortable 36-20 win over the Karuah Roos.

Mathew Higgins is wrapped up by the Karuah defence.

Mathew Higgins is wrapped up by the Karuah defence.

Ball boy Lucas Summerville before the start of Saturday's game against the Karuah Roos.

Ball boy Lucas Summerville before the start of Saturday's game against the Karuah Roos.

Simon Hitchcock takes a run.

Simon Hitchcock takes a run.

Scott Wratten on his way to scoring for the Magpies.

Scott Wratten on his way to scoring for the Magpies.

The Magpies and Roos players get involved in a bit of push and shove.

The Magpies and Roos players get involved in a bit of push and shove.

Kieran Burleigh hits the ball up.

Kieran Burleigh hits the ball up.

Dale Galvin prepares for a run.

Dale Galvin prepares for a run.

Simon Hitchcock is tackled.

Simon Hitchcock is tackled.

Mitch McDonald makes a break.

Mitch McDonald makes a break.

Magpies half Hayden Tull finds some space.

Magpies half Hayden Tull finds some space.

Todd Ritter on his way to the try line.

Todd Ritter on his way to the try line.

Todd Ritter celebrates after scoring a try.

Todd Ritter celebrates after scoring a try.

Simon Hitchcock is hit in a heavy tackle.

Simon Hitchcock is hit in a heavy tackle.

Todd Ritter on the fly.

Todd Ritter on the fly.

Scott Murray makes a break.

Scott Murray makes a break.

Mitch McDonald is tackled by a Karuah defender.

Mitch McDonald is tackled by a Karuah defender.

The Magpies muscle up in defence.

The Magpies muscle up in defence.

Scott Wratten tries to break a tackle.

Scott Wratten tries to break a tackle.

Dale Galvin prepares to hit the ball up.

Dale Galvin prepares to hit the ball up.

The Magpies players congratulate half back Hayden Tull after he scored the opening try of the match.

The Magpies players congratulate half back Hayden Tull after he scored the opening try of the match.

Hooker Tom Middlebrook prepares to pass the ball.

Hooker Tom Middlebrook prepares to pass the ball.

Mick Shultz is tackled by a Karuah defender.

Mick Shultz is tackled by a Karuah defender.

Mick Shultz runs in to score for the Magpies.

Mick Shultz runs in to score for the Magpies.

A Karuah player evades the tackle of Mathew Higgins.

A Karuah player evades the tackle of Mathew Higgins.

Mathew Higgins bust through the Karuah defence.

Mathew Higgins bust through the Karuah defence.

Tom Middlebrook hits the ball up.

Tom Middlebrook hits the ball up.

Scott Wratten is tackled by a Roos defender.

Scott Wratten is tackled by a Roos defender.

Front rower Mathew Higgins in action for the Magpies.

Front rower Mathew Higgins in action for the Magpies.

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.