After a lacklustre end to the 2021 season, with both the senior and junior competitions called off due to the current COVID-19 lockdowns, there has been one last bright spot for the Yass Magpies.
Four Yass teams were named minor premiers by Canberra Region Rugby League, which recently released a statement regarding the premature end of the season and subsequent lack of finals.
"With the unfortunate cancellation of the end of the rugby league season for the senior and junior competitions before the finals series, the CRRL committee considered how to officially recognise the conclusion of the competitions from Under 10s through to Canberra Raiders Cup First Grade," the CRRL said.
"The cancellation occurred before the end of the regular season and the committee advised that if the finals series was to proceed it would be on the basis of the top four at the date of cancellation. Subsequently, the whole season was then cancelled.
"The CRRL committee, after consideration, has unanimously decided to award the minor premiership only to all teams that were leading their respective competitions at the time of the shutdown."
To this end, the Yass Magpies' Reserve Grade and Katrina Fanning Shield sides were named minor premiers in the senior grades, while the Under 10 Yass Magpies White and Under 16s Yass Magpies were leaders in the junior divisions.
The result thrilled the Magpies, who said in a Facebook post that it was "a great result for these teams".
"Congratulation to our Reserve Grade and Open Ladies Tackle teams who were both awarded Minor Premiers for season 2021," the senior rugby league club said.
"Reserve Grade were on top of the ladder when play was ceased with 1 round to play. The Open Ladies were sharing top spot with Goulburn when play ceased so the final round grudge match to play between them did not occur so both teams were awarded jointly."
Yass's Reserve Grade side sat on top of the ladder for much of the season. There was a fierce struggle to place first among the top four, which also included the Queanbeyan Blues, Queanbeyan Kangaroos, and Gungahlin Bulls, but the Magpies held out despite a last-round loss to the Blues.
Richard Maher was the standout try-scorer for Yass, and with 15 from the season, he finished five ahead of Gungahlin's Richard Allen in second place. Jai Smith was the only other Magpie to make the leading try-scorers' list, with seven to his name.
Maher was tied with Magpies teammate, Chris Rawlinson, in equal third place on the overall point-scorers' list for the season, with 60 apiece.
The Katrina Fanning Shield women, meanwhile, were actually placed second on the ladder by the time the season was called off, due to a narrow deficit to the Goulburn Bulldogs on for-and-against tallies.
However, the two teams had the same number of points overall and so both claimed the minor premiership.
It is fitting, too, that the only team to beat the Bulldogs this year should share the title with them.
The Magpies women were outstanding in 2021, as they have been for many years, and collected nine wins and just a single loss.
Lucy Prosser was unstoppable with ball in hand for Yass, as she racked up 14 tries throughout the season to lead the competition. Samara Afele was similarly effective, with nine tries of her own.
As usual, Shannon Wright's golden boot slotted conversions for fun throughout the season, and her tally of 62 points was enough to place her third among the competition point-scorers.