NRC: Brisbane City's finals hopes alive after tight win over Eagles

NRC
by Staff Writer

Brisbane City and Canberra Vikings will play a sudden-death, final-round showdown for a spot in the NRC playoffs next week after City snatched a dramatic one-point win over NSW Country.

Trailing the Eagles for most of the game, and with less than ten minutes left, Brisbane City came from behind to score and held on to claim a 28-27 in Camden.

At four tries apiece, the mistake-free goal-kicking of Quade Cooper proved telling in the final result.

The win ensured City held onto fifth spot on the ladder, with 17 points. Canberra are one point ahead in fourth but in perfect scripting, the two teams meet in the last round next  on City's home turf, at Easts' David Wilson Field in Brisbane.

“To an extent we’re disappointed we weren’t able to take more of the opportunities today, but all we needed to do was win and we did that, so now we move forward,” coach Mick Heenan told the Reds website.

“We were creating opportunities from the start of the game, but we only managed to take a small percentage of them and thankfully when it mattered we were able to convert.

“Next week is affectively a semi-final for us. You know it’s great to still be alive in the competition. 

“The last couple of weeks we’ve had contrasting games – I thought we controlled the game very well last week against Queensland Country, but this week we just had to find a way. Even when we were down 13 points with 10-to-go we toughed it out and found a way to win, so we’ll take some confidence out of that."

The visitors scored first when winger Emori Waqavulagi crashed over courtesy of a last-pass from prop JP Smith, but NSW Country responded soon after when they counter-attacked from a turnover near their own line.

Winger Jaline Graham's speed and a lovely pass in traffic set Alex Newsome on his way to the line for a 90-metre effort.

Newsome was binned for a cynical foul but it didn't stop Country from scoring again, this time courtesy Graham finishing off sustained pressure in the right corner.

Country's lead didn't last long, though, when Tautalatasi Tasi burst through the line from a Quade Cooper switch, and Matt Gordon strolled over under the posts. 

City held a 14-10 lead at halftime but NSW Country emerged with the better intent and after Jed Holloway almost scored, Jack Grant crossed after cleaning up a sloppy line out.

The Eagles' next try came after a guru-like read of a bouncing ball from Sam Figg, when Cooper's short kickoff went back over the halfway line and the NSW flanker was waiting for it.

He sprinted away, offloaded and a few phases later Matt Gibbon scored.

At 27-14, it looked like the hosts were heading towards their second win of the season but Brisbane kept fighting.

A clean break from Cooper saw the visitors in behind the line, and Pat Morrey scored a try from short range in the 68th minute to cut the deficit to six.

Sam Wallis scored the game-winning try five minutes later try when City went back on the attack, and his big right foot step was enough to see him score under the sticks.

Cooper's easy conversion was made and the Eagles couldn't find their way down to a position to score any more points. 

BRISBANE 28

Tries: Waqavulagi, Gordon, Morrey, Wallis

Conversions: Cooper (4)

NSW COUNTRY EAGLES 27

Tries: Newsome, Graham, Grant, Gibbon

Conversions: Saifoloi (2)

Penalties: Saifoloi (1)

Keep up with all the stats here.

TEAMS

NSW Country to face Brisbane City

1. Harry Johnson-Holmes

2. Tom Horton

3. Paddy Ryan

4. Sam Thomson

5. Emmanuel Meafou

6. Sam Figg

7. Will Miller

8. Jed Holloway

9. Jack Grant

10. Rohan Saifoloi

11. Alex Gibbon

12. Apo Latunipulu

13. Seb Wileman

14. Jaline Graham

15. Alex Newsome

Reserves

16. Mahe Vailanu

17. Matt Gibbon

18. Robert Lagudi

19. Patrick Tafa

20. Rory Suttor

21. William McDonnell

22. Dwet Roos

23. Denny Godinet

Brisbane City to face Country

1. JP. Smith – Reds/GPS

2. Moli Sooaemalelagi – Sunnybank

3. Feao Fotuaika -  Souths

4. Zach Moimoi – Bond University

5. Nathan Den Hoedt - Sunnybank

6. Adam Korczyk – Reds/University of Queensland ©

7. Matt Gicquel – GPS

8. Sam Wallis – University of Queensland

9. Moses Sorovi – Wests/Reds

10. Quade Cooper – Reds/Souths

11. Emori Waqavulagi – Souths

12. Matt Gordon – Easts

13. Tautalatasi Tasi – Souths

14. Con Foley – University of Queensland

15. Karmichael Hunt – Reds/Souths

Reserves

16. David Paice – Souths (Potential NRC/Brisbane City debut)

17. Misioka Timotea – Wests

18. Josh Nasser – University of Queensland

19. Tuaina Tualima – Sunnybank

20. Pat Morrey – University of Queensland

21. Scott Gale – University of Queensland

22. James Dalgleish – University of Queensland

23. Jaye Thompson – GPS