Spirit join NRC ladder logjam

by Brett McKay

As if the NRC table wasn’t close enough, Perth Spirit have only complicated things further after their comprehensive 62-28 win over Brisbane City at the University of WA 

The ten-tries-to-four bonus point win means Perth jump back into third spot, joining Queensland Country, Canberra, and the Fijian Drua in a four-way share of the competition lead.

It was a helter-skelter start to the match, with both sides showing plenty of attacking intent and an ability to get down the other end of the field quickly. 

Brisbane City looked dangerous early with Quade Cooper prominent as you’d expect, but it was the Spirit who scored first, with skipper Michael Ruru scooting away from a quick tap to score next to the posts.

Perth speedster James Verity-Amm relished the move into outside centre, and he was the next to score in the 15th minute, ghosting through a gap and putting the foot down to score from forty metres out. Peter Grant’s second conversion made it 14-0, and suddenly Perth had all the momentum.

Perth skipper Michael Ruru pushes away from Brisbane City star Quade Cooper. Photo: Andrew MayberryLock Richie Arnold was the next to score for the Spirit, finishing off what began as a Chance Peni break down the right-hand touchline, and Grant’s conversion had Perth out by 21.

Brisbane City had to score next, and they did through prop Salesi Manu, who crashed over against his former NRC club from close range. But just as they were back in the game, Perth hit back with two tries, to Peni and hooker Anaru Rangi, which saw the Spirit take a 31-7 lead into halftime.

Perth started the second half in ominous fashion, with Brisbane City worryingly falling off tackles early. The Spirit looked certain to score through Onehunga Havili, only for the lock to drop the ball cold with the line in front of him.

City replacement back Lachlan Maranta found the loose ball in his hands and he raced the ninety metres to score behind the posts, but as was the case before halftime, Perth hit straight back. Replacement flanker Matt O’Brien swooped on loose ball himself, running around to score behind the posts to maintain the Spirit’s lead.

Perth looked set to score again after Kane Koteka broke out, but he was brought down just short of the line with City infringing just as the Spirit wanted quick ball. Brisbane winger Ed Fidow earning a ten-minute spell on the naughty chair.

Perth dominated the first half and held on as City formed a second half comeback. Photo: Andrew MayberryPeni crossed for his second in the 62nd minute, and it became a bit of a precession after that, with Ruru also crossing for his second, prop Mees Erasmus scoring in the corner in the 71st minute.

Maranta notched his double for City only a minute later, and Fidow crossed from a wonderful Cooper offload from the restart, but Perth would have the last say through flanker Tevin Ferris, scoring in the corner to wrap up the big win.


Spirit 62

Tries: Ruru 2, C. Peni 2, Verity-Amm, Arnold, Rangi, O’Brien, Erasmus, Ferris

Conversions: P. Grant 5, H. Buick

Brisbane City 28

Tries:Maranta 2, Manu, Fidow

Conversions: Cooper 4

Cards: Fidow (60’)