It was a surprisingly thrilling finish, but Brisbane City have finished on top of Queensland Country, winning 58-52 in a fifteen try point-scoring spree that broke the record for most points in an NRC match.
The win ensures City hold onto the Andy Purcell Cup contested by the two sides, and will also retain the local derby bragging rights for another year.
“Yeah, it feels great to end the season on a good note,” a relieved Brisbane City skipper Sam Talakai said immediately after the win.
“To get the win and retain the Andy Purcell Cup, I couldn’t be happier for the boys to finish off that way.”
A second half double to rampaging no.8 Isa Naisarani pushed City out to a 44-22 lead, but Country hit back through Izaia Perese and a double for Tuttle to make it a six-point ball game.
Alex Gibbon then scored off a nice little chip kick behind the posts from Jake McIntyre, to push City back out to 52-38.
Country winger Tyrone Lefau scored a late try, and then fullback Tom Banks scored a converted try with 60 seconds on the clock to make it 58-52 and threaten a grandstand finish.
City held on from the last play to win their third consecutive Ballymore Derby, and relegated Country to the 2016 wooden spoon.
Earlier, it was City on the board first, with big lock Lukhan Tui putting centre Toby White away down the left flank to score in the corner in the fourth minute.
Queensland Country hit back nicely soon after, with flanker Ted Postal crashing over after a patient build-up through the pick and drive.
But it was all City for the rest of the half, with White scoring his second from long range, running a beautiful line from the lineout set piece, and that was quickly followed with tries to lock Luke Beauchamp and winger Chris Kuridrani, pushing City out to a 28-6 lead.
Taniela Tupou then barged his way over from close range, and when scrumhalf James Tuttle scored in the 36th minute, Country had pulled City’s lead back to 28-22 at the break.
BRISBANE CITY 58
Tries: T. White 2, I. Naisarani 2, A. Gibbon 2, L. Beauchamp, C. Kuridrani
Cons: J. McIntyre 5/8
QUEENSLAND COUNTRY 52
Tries: J. Tuttle 2, T. Postal, T. Tupou, I. Perese, T. Lefau, T. Banks
Cons: M. Third 0/1, D. Paia’aua 5/6