Ballymore boilover puts Brisbane on the brink

by Brett McKay

The Greater Sydney Rams have done several teams in finals contention a huge favour, with a 24-point second half against Brisbane City securing them a 31-19 upset win in Brisbane.

The Rams, winless since round two, came back from 19-0 down in the first half to win, putting a dent in City’s hopes of finishing in the top four in the process, while making life somewhat easier for both Perth Spirit and NSW Country.

City started the game in ominous fashion with consecutive lineouts and scrums, before a wonderful Quade Cooper inside pass sent centre Dylan Riley over under the posts in the fifth minute, and they followed that up with multiple line breaks, before Karmichael Hunt put Ed Fidow over in the corner in the 11th minute.

Fullback Jake Strachan’s curling sideline conversion made it 14-0 to the home side, and the Rams were yet to really have the ball, let alone fire a shot.

They were able to get their hands on the ball, but the wet conditions at Ballymore made handling difficult, and the Rams were guilty too often of simple mistakes handing possession back to Brisbane City.

Karmichael Hunt was one of the stars in the City lineup. Photo: WalmsleyAnother strong scrum platform allowed Cooper to have a crack from first phase, and after a great carry from Riley, Chris Kuridrani was over in the corner in the 35th minute.

The Rams were able to get on the board just before the break, with a Mack Mason break and a nice inside ball from prop Jed Gillespie enough to see lock Adrian Hall score next to the posts.

Mason’s conversion was good, and the Rams were much happier to go to the sheds down only by 19-7 at halftime.

The Rams carried this momentum into the second half, and certainly put the Brisbane City side on the back foot early on.

A well-executed lineout drive saw lock Albert Tuisue score out wide in the 52nd minute, and a Mason conversion followed by a 56th minute penalty brought the margin back to just two points.

As momentum shifted, City became the team guilty of making the simple mistakes and conceding the turnovers.

Jed Gillespie looks for an offload. Photo: WalmsleyRams winger Ben Cotton scooted away with some loose ball in the 65th minute, before finding skipper Jed Holloway in the corner to put the visitors in front for the first time.

Holloway scored again eight minutes later, with a huge Rams scrum five metres out doing all the damage.

Another Mason conversion made it 31-19 with five minutes to play, with a huge upset looming, and with potentially massive ramifications for the top four contenders.

A swathe of penalties gave City one last play, and a superb lineout drive took them to within metres of the Rams line, but an errant pass into the third row of seats killed that chance dead.

The win was the Rams' third of the season, while City now have a tough task to secure a spot in the NRC finals series in next week’s last regular round..


Brisbane City 19

Tries: Riley, Fidow, Kuridrani

Cons: Cooper , Strachan 

Rams 31

Tries: Holloway 2, Hall, Tuisue

Cons: Mason 4

Pens: Mason