The CSU NSW Country Eagles have kept their season alive after defeating the North Harbour Rays 50-24 in Bathurst.
The County outfit will now have to wait upon the results of tomorrow’s NRC clash between the Melbourne Rising and the Sydney Stars to see if they advance to the knockout stage of the competition.
The home side earned the first points of the afternoon, as number 8 Sam Figg crossed off the back of a dominant Eagles scrum close to the Rays line.
The Eagles were in again minutes after as inside centre Dave Horwitz danced his way through the Rays defence, made possible after a barn storming run from prop Dashville Kuate. Jono Lance Converted and NSW Country led 16-0 fifteen minutes into the first half.
The Eagles scrum continued to dominate and the pressure eventuated in another push over try to Sam Figg, giving the home side a 24 point lead at the half.
NSW Country were in again minutes into the second half, as outside centre Ed Stubbs capped of a brilliant piece of attacking foray that begun from inside their own forty metre line.
The Rays finally got in for their first score of the game off the back of halfback Josh Homes, who weaved through some tired Eagles defence.
The home side then produced another well worked try as fullback Andrew Kellaway took a nice hand-off from Jerome Vaai and gassed his way to the chalk, bringing the score to 34-8 fifteen minutes into the second stanza.
The North Harbour outfit then crossed for two scores in succession with Harry Bergelin and Luke Holmes capitalising on some lazy Eagles defence, bringing them to within three trys of the home side and, had the score stood, disallowing them the crucial bonus point.
Mitch Short answered the Country prayers eight minutes out from full time, pouncing on a Rays mistake and grubbering through for the Eagles’ sixth try of the afternoon.
Replacement Eagles lock Pauli Tuala capped off a terrific outing for the home side, crossing over on the buzzer earning his side a 50-24 victory, and the bonus point needed to ensure they’re title aspirations remain intact.
The Eagles will progress to the semi finals if the Sydney Stars defeat the Melbourne Rising tomorrow, or if Melbourne beat the Stars and the Stars fail to earn a bonus point.
Source: NSW Country Eagles