Brisbane City have splashed into the NRC top four, with a comprehensive 51-24 bonus point win over the Melbourne Rising in Brisbane.
City piled on nine tries to four in the win, played in pouring rain and plenty of puddles at the home of the Wests Bulldogs in Brisbane’s west.
Despite the conditions, winger Chris Kuridrani scored for Brisbane City in just the second minute, with the home side going wide from the outset.
Melbourne were happy to match the expansive play early, though they couldn’t convert the first opportunities into the City 22, with a penalty kick for the corner going dead and allowing Brisbane to regain possession from the restart.
City didn’t waste their next chance, with prop Markus Vanzati barging over after his strong carry became a mini-maul as the rain really started coming down.
Ed Fidow was denied a try on his club home ground in Toowong, with Rising fullback Jack Maddocks pulling off a wonderful try-saving tackle, but Fidow didn’t miss the next time, diving low and early to slide over to score in the 16th minute.
Quade Cooper couldn’t convert from the wettest side of the ground, but City led 17-0.
Fidow was in for number two with another long, muddy slide in the 24th minute, and Wallabies centre Samu Kerevi scored in the 30th minute to finish off a movement that started with a City maul that marched forty metres upfield. Cooper’s conversion made it 29-0, a strike rate that completely belied the worsening conditions.
Maddocks looked certain to score for the Rising from first phase in the 35th minute, only for City’s scrambling defence, led by Cooper, to somehow hold him up.
Kuridrani had his second just before halftime, with the ball finding him unmarked after Kerevi and Karmichael Hunt won the race to Cooper’s grubber kick ahead. City headed for the warmth of the sheds leading 34-0 at halftime.
Referee Graham Cooper followed through on his threat to escalate Brisbane City ruck infringements before the break, giving Hunt a spell in the 44th minute, from which the Rising were able to use the numerical advantage to send Kitione Ratu diving over in the corner for their opening points.
Rory O’Connor scored next for the Rising as the forwards began to dominate the contest, with a patient pick and drive rewarded with the Melbourne loosehead diving over next to the post pads. Jack McGregor’s conversion made it 34-12, and it felt like a momentum shift was happening.
Brisbane brought that to jolting stop when hooker Andrew Ready scored on the hour to push the score out to 41-12, and that was extended in the 65th minute when City countered from a Rising mistake in the Brisbane 22 to send Fidow in for his third try of the afternoon.
Ready nabbed his double in the 71st minute from another well-worked lineout drive, and a late double to Maddocks capped off a solid performance from the Rising fullback.
Brisbane City 51
Tries: Fidow 3, Kuridrani 2, Ready 2, Vanzati, Kerevi
Cons: Cooper 3
Cards: Hunt (44’), Tui (75’)
Melbourne Rising 24
Tries: Maddocks 2, Ratu, O’Connor
Cons: McGregor 2