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The Monaro Colts have won their opening matches in both the Men's & Women's Country Championships as well as the Regional Lisa Fiaola Cup at McDonalds Park, Wagga Wagga on Sunday. 

The Men's Country Championships side progress straight through to the semi-finals, while both the Women's Country Championships and RLF Cup sides play a must win game in order to make the grand final. 

Men's Country Championships

Monaro Colts 36 d Riverina Bulls 30 

The Monaro Colts have redeemed themselves after suffering a big loss to the Riverina Bulls in round one of the Men's Country Championships last year. 

Although the Bulls got off to an early two try lead, Monaro hit back through a sneaky blind-side dummy half scoot and offload from five-eighth Matt Woolnough to put winger Jake Kiely in the corner. 

Riverina added to their lead once more before Monaro brought it back to a two-point game, with interchange forward Sonny Tupuola barging over the line, followed by fullback Jack Davison making a break before passing off to winger Brandon Withers to score and go into the break at 16-18. 

The majority of the second half was all Monaro, scoring four unanswered tries in quick succession.  

Monaro gained their first lead of the match early in the second half when centre Gideon Afemui burrowed over from dummy half close to Riverina's line. 

Following some quick tries from Davison and Lachlan Ingram, prop Jesse Martin showed impressive ball skills with Monaro in attack once again, executing a wrap around play with his centre before throwing a cut out ball to put Withers in the corner for his double. 

The game was all but wrapped up at 36-18 with just over five minutes left until Riverina scored two back-to-back electric tries to make the game a try the difference.

However, their last stitch efforts weren't enough and Monaro held on for the remaining three minutes to secure the win and a semi-final spot. 

Women's Country Championships

Monaro Colts 44 d Riverina Bulls 0 

Last year's champions picked up from where they left off, showing dominance once again in the first game of their 2024 campaign. 

Winger Caitlin Turnbull opened up the scoring in style, running around the entire Riverina defence before straightening up to score.

Monaro scored two more before the break through prop Jessica Howard burrowing over, and simple draw and pass to beat a compressed Bulls defensive line to put centre Lucy Prosser in the corner. 

The game was still very much in reach for the Bulls going into the break at 14-0, but the floodgates opened for Monaro in the second half, as they went on to score six unanswered tries. 

Fullback Tijana Zdravevska was first to cross through a dummy half scoot, followed by a quick tap from Turnbull who went the length of the field after the ball was caught in goal. 

Monaro continued to pile on points with tries to prop Kaitlin Andrews, centre Madyson Tooth, winger Anna Tabuai-Dingley, and Turnbull securing her hat-trick.

Despite their big victory, Monaro still must win their next game against the Western Rams to make the grand final.  

Regional Lisa Fiaola Cup 

Monaro Colts 64 d Riverina Bulls 4

The Monaro Colts showed no mercy in their first game of the year, piling on points for the full 60 minutes. 

The Riverina Bulls simply could not contain Monaro's forwards, with majority of the points coming through their big and mobile pack.

Prop Mila Ahkey and edge back-rower Uta Uatisone Poka both scored four tries each, and lock Makenna Ravouvou scored a double. 

For Monaro, it was as simple as giving early ball to these players and letting them cause havoc on Riverina's defensive line.  

That's not to say Monaro's backs didn't have an impact on the result as well. Both play-makers Sabrina Marela and Adelaide Norris showcased their deceptive running game to create gaps and silky ball skills to set up tries. 

The outside backs played their hand in the result as well through impressive backline ball movement.  

Riverina's best moment came through prop Samantha Simpson who scored an impressive try by running laterally and fending off multiple defenders before putting the ball down in the corner. 

Monaro's forward dominance was shown on the stroke of full-time when Ahkey made a barnstorming run off the kick off before off-loading to Uta Uatisone Poka who bumped off and dragged multiple defenders with her to the try line on the buzzer.  

Monaro carry plenty of momentum into their next game against the Western Rams, who defeated Riverina by a similar score line last week. 

Acknowledgement of Country

Canberra Raiders respect and honour 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.