The Perth Spirit have fallen to the North Harbour Rays 45-26 in their opening home match of the 2015 Buildcorp NRC season at McGillivray Oval this afternoon.
The men from the west dominated possession and territory for the opening 20-minutes scoring two tries but the Rays worked their way into the game to cross three times and take a 21-13 lead into the break. Two second half tries were not enough for the Spirit as
North Harbour ran out 19-point victors. Spirit head coach Tai McIssac said the Spirit were their own worst enemy and there is a lot to learn from today. DzIt was a tough result,dz he said. DzWe got out played but in many ways we outplayed ourselves. Way too many unforced errors, trying to push too many passes in tight and we lacked discipline in defence.dzDzIn defence we got caught scrambling and they were able to exploit holes in our line which really hurt us. DzWe know we can find space but we have to capitalise on those chances and thatǯs something we will be working on for next week.dzAfter dominating possession and territory in the opening 15-minutes the Perth Spirit opened the scoring for the afternoon through Richard Hardwick who controlled the ball at the back of a rolling maul to fall over the line. Albert Nikoro struck truly to give the Spirit an 8-0 lead. The Rays answered back almost immediately through Josh Holmes whointercepted a loose pass in midfield to break away and cruise in under the posts. Hamish Angus converted to level the scores at 8-8.In a huge play, the Spirit forwards rallied to push North Harbour off their own ball from a five-metre scrum before marquee-man Kyle Godwin put the ball through the hands to find Sevuloni Mocenacagi who charged down the right-hand wing to score in the corner and put the Spirit ahead 13-8.Making the most of their limited opportunities with ball in hand the Rays spread the ball wide to Alex Northam who found space down the left wing and darted in to score the Raysǯ second of the contest. Angus failed to convert, keeping the scores locked at 13-all. With Heath Tessmann in the sin-bin the Rays made the most of the extra-man pressuring the Spirit defence before Boyd Killingworth barged his way over for the try. Angus converted to have the Rays leading 21-13 at the break. The Rays began the second half just as they finished the first, with Killingworth spotting a gap in the Spirit line and putting his head down to burst through and touch down for his second. Angus converted taking the lead to 29-13. With their full complement back on the field the Spirit charged down into the Raysǯ 22 to take a lineout 15-metres from the line. After a Rory Walton take the Spirit formed a powerful rolling maul driving forward for Richard Hardwick to fall over the line for his second and close the gap to 29-18.
With the momentum shifting the Spirit swung the ball from one wing to the other finding Joondalupǯs Maaalonga Konelio in space who split the Rays defence and charged 25-metres for his maiden NRC try. Ian Prior knocked over the conversion to close the gap to 29-26.Sensing the moment the Rays charged deep into the Spirit 22 before Lawrance Hunting drove over the try-line. Angus converted to push North Harbour out to a 37-26 lead. A midfield turnover proved costly for the home-side as North Harbour quickly moved down to the Spiritǯs five-metre line before Harry Rorke lunged over for the Raysǯ third of the second half. Angus converted to finalise the 45-26 result. North Harbour Rays 45 (Boyd Killingworth 2, Harry Rorke, Alex Northam, Josh Holmes tries; Hamish Angus 5 conversions) defeated Perth Spirit 26 (Richard Hardwick 2, Maalonga Konelio, Sevuloni Mocenacagi tries; Ian Prior, Albert Nikoro conversions)