NRC: Queensland Country secure home semi with big win over Eagles

NRC
by Rebecca Szabo

Queensland Country secured themselves a home semi-final next week after five second-half tries saw them pocket a bonus-point victory over the NSW Country Eagles in Tamworth.

With the Western Force (23) failing to pick up a point against the Drua in Perth, the win saw Queensland Country finish the regular season in second spot on 24 points.

The result of Sunday's winner-take-all clash between Canberra and Brisbane City will determine who will play Queensland Country in their semi-final, but given the for-and-against tallies, it is likely to be the Force.

The battle of bushies is always a willing affair but the Queensland Country side were even pumped up than normal, with the possibility of a home semi-final relying on a bonus point win.

The Eagles were not not in finals contention but they too had plenty to play for; bidding farewell to Captain Paddy Ryan from Australian rugby in his hometown of Tamworth and also Sam Figg, as he ventures down another career path outside of rugby.

And, as they've done all season, the Eagles made decent contest of it for the first half. The scores were locked at 14-all at the break, before Queensland Country scored five tries in the second 40 to roll over the hosts.

The first half proved to be back and forth with no-one side finding momentum. 

Queensland Country was awarded a penalty try off a rolling maul 10 minutes into the game, but the Eagles replied minutes later the winger Denny Godinet dived to score in the corner.

The Eagles were testing Queensland Country all throughout the first half and finally Emmanuel Meafou surged over the line after with a brilliant pop pass assist from Mahe Vailanu.

 

Queensland Country regained composure at the end of the half, and Chris Feauai-Sautia scored off a fast break and evened the scores 14-14 as they went to the sheds for halftime.

Queensland Country needed to come back in the second half and it was obvious that the halftime talk provided sufficient motivation.

The Queensland boys came out with purpose and started to accumulate tries.

Jordan Petaia showed signs of form that will see him in Spring Tour contention when he opened the scoring in the second half with great footwork.

He grabbed a second later in the half, and it looked like they'd run away with it.

Figg scored to bring the Eagles back into things but three more tries from the Queenslanders, via a dominant pack, ended the contest.

View all the match stats here.

NSW COUNTRY EAGLES

1. Matt Gibbon
2. Tolu Latu
3. Paddy Ryan (c)
4. Sam Ward
5. Emmanuel Meafou
6. Nick Champion DeCrespigny
7. Mahe Vailanu
8. Sam Figg
9. Jake Gordon
10. Rohan Saifoloi
11. Alex Gibbon
12. Apolosi Latunipulu
13. Will McDonnell
14. Denny Godinet
15. Jaline Graham

Reserves
16. Charlie Abel
17. Cody Walker
18. Chris Talakai
19. Patrick Tafa
20. Alex Humfrey
21. Rory Suttor
22. Mick Snowden
23. Afa Pakalani

QUEENSLAND COUNTRY

 
1. Richie Asiata - Easts
2. Effi Ma’afu - Wests
3.James Slipper – Bond University/Gold Coast
4. Harry Hockings – Reds/University of Queensland – Bowen
5. Angus Blyth – Reds/Bond University – Gold Coast
6. Angus Scott-Young – Reds/University of Queensland
7. Tom Kibble - GPS
8. Caleb Timu – Reds/Souths
9. James Tuttle – Reds/GPS
10. Hamish Stewart – Reds/Bond University – Pittsworth
11. Chris Feauai-Sautia – Souths
12. Duncan Paia’aua – Reds/Norths - Rockhampton
13. Jordan Petaia - Reds/Wests
14. Filipo Daugunu - Reds/Wests
15. Jock Campbell - University of Queensland – Gold Coast

Reserves
16. Alex Casey - Souths
17. Harry Hoopert - Reds/Brothers – Jondaryn
18. Kirwan Sanday - Easts
19. Rob Puli’uvea – Wests
20. Harry Wilson – Brothers
21. Tate McDermott – Reds/University of Queensland – Sunshine Coast
22. Tom Lucas – Sunnybank - Rockhampton
23. Patrick James - Brothers