Magpies round up Roosters to kick off defence of their crown

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Kenny Ahovelo (10) prepares for another run for Picton Magpies against Thirlmere Roosters.

Picton Magpies have begun the defence of their title with a scratchy 40-20 win over a stubborn and determined Thirlmere Roosters on Saturday night, reports MIKE SHEAN.

A large crowd enjoyed a high quality match between the Wollondilly Shire rivals at Thirlmere Sportsground, with plenty of big hits in an action packed 80 minutes of rugby league.

Picton got out of the blocks better, through an early try to Josh McIlvenny, but Thirlmere hit back on 12 minutes, following a long range try to Jake Mullaney, after a run from Josh Bryant set up the play.

The Roosters again hit Picton where it hurts most, when Bryant scored, and the locals led 10-4 after 18 minutes.

Alex Canham had a night out, and proved to be the difference between the sides in the end, with a three try haul to his name.

Lelea Paea led Thirlmere strongly from the front, and crossed the line after 28 minutes following a Picton error from the kickoff.

The scoreline read 14-14 and the crowd was enjoying a thrilling game of football.

Acting Picton captain Kenny Ahovelo barged over just before the halftime break, and gave Picton a 20-14 lead over the Roosters at the change.

Canham bagged his second of the night just after halftime, extending the lead for Picton, and Michael Lett joined the scorers list, giving his team a 30-14 lead 10 minutes into the second half.

Riley Nairn brought the locals back into the game and celebrated his 21st birthday with a try, giving supporters some hope as they trailed 30-20 with 22 minutes still to play.

Rory Vale and Lett’s second sealed the win for Picton, but they only secured the points late in the match, giving Picton a 40-20 win over a stubborn and determined Thirlmere.

Picton co-coach Bryce Poisel was a relieved man after the match, admitting his boys struggled to get past their local neighbours away from home in getting the win.

Poisel said there was plenty to work on following the win, especially with several key players missing from their lineup.

Teams like Thirlmere will come after the Magpies during the season, and they will need to improve to keep their position, the coach said.

He singled out Michael Lett, Rory Vale and Don Thompson, along with acting captain Kenny Ahovelo, as the better players in the win.

Thirlmere captain/coach Lelea Paea wasn’t available for comment after the match, but would have been impressed with the commitment from his team during the match.

Paea would have known there was room for improvement from his side, but they lifted in many areas from their pre-season efforts.

Riley Nairn, Jake Mullaney and Josh Bryant were among the better players for the Roosters in their loss.

The other opening round matches saw The Oaks defeat Oakdale 40-30; Camden came from behind to beat Narellan 54-22 and Mittagong defeated Moss Vale 62-0.

A minute’s silence was observed before the match for the passing of former local footballer Greg Sullivan.
A minute’s silence was observed before the match for the passing of former local footballer Greg Sullivan.





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