Tom English collected a record five tries as the Melbourne Rising hammered NSW Country Eagles 62-7 in a one-sided encounter in Mudgee.
English, playing on the wing, collected a hat-trick inside thirty minutes and had tallied up five tries by the 50th minute as the Rising ran through the Eagles' defence time and again. No player had ever scored five tries in the NRC before.
The Rising attack ran rampant all afternoon and NSW Country Eagles' only try was a consolation effort in the dying minutes.
Not many would have predicted such a one-sided scoreboard for this clash. Both teams were looking for their first win of 2018, the Rising last week were left stinging after a 1 point loss to Queensland Country and the NSW Country Eagles showed promise in a loss to the in-form Western Force.
A sunny but blustery day in Mudgee led to a few early mistakes for both teams, and frustration boiled over into some pushing and shoving.
It wasn’t until the dominant Rising scrum got into its rhythm that the pieces started to fall in place for the away team.
Tom English opened up the scoring in the 13th minute after a linebreak from Bill Meakes, and the veteran was only getting started.
He bagged himself a hat-trick within 30 minutes. English's third try came after fullback Justin Marsters burst through the NSW Country defence and offloaded on the inside to English to score.
Archie King's conversion made the score 19-0 to the Rising and they weren't finished.
Country found it hard to keep possession of the ball for most of the first half, with the Rising's relentless line speed helping to force errors.
Before halftime Melbourne were able to put more points on the board through the soccer skills Kiti Rutu, with the winger kicking through the Eagles line, getting a favourable bounce and then scoring in the corner.
Melbourne halfback Michael Ruru scored a great try by the posts from a 5-metre scrum and made the halftime score 31-0.
With their wind behind their backs in the second half, NSW Country fans in Mudgee were hoping to see an Eagles comeback but they didn't get one.
Country winger Jaline Graham was sent to the Sin Bin soon after they resumed and it proved to be costly as Tom English crossed the try line again.
A frustrated Country side tried to keep heads high while down to 14 men but a mistake on the their own try line resulted in another sin binning, courtesy of a deliberate knock down by Apolosi Latunipulu.
That left NSW Country scrambling for 3 minutes with only 13 men on the field.
The Rising continued to play relentless running footy with both the dynamic forwards and dangerous backline, and the tries kept coming.
English grabbed his fifth and Marsters scored a try from phenomenal support play and passing from Ruru.
A great run down the sideline from Fabian Goodall created Ratu’s second try of the day and King's conversion settled the Rising at 62-0 with 5 minutes of play left.
After their their best attacking sequence of the game, NSW Country finally crossed the line but wing Harry Potter was held up.
Reserve halfback Mick Snowden finally crashed over the line to give the Eagles their first points of the game in the 78th minute, but it was much too little and way too late against a dominant Rising outfit.
NSW Country 7
Tries: English 5, Ratu 2, Ruru, Marsters, Meakes
Cons: King 6