NRC: Petaia hat-trick sparks dominant Queensland Country win

NRC
by Rebecca Szabo

Queensland Country has extended their unbeaten run to three games with a 52-22 win over the Fijian Drua 52-22 in Mackay.

Rising star Jordan Petaia claimed a first half hat-trick and winger Jock Campbell nabbed two tries of his own in the seven to three try win in the Drua’s first away game.

The Drua were the competition leaders coming into the Mackay clash but their hitorically patchy road form struck again in a match that they struggled to come in.

An early try to Apete Daveta was a positive sign but the positives really ended there for the Drua with prolonged momentum hard to come by.

The hosts got a reply eight minutes later with Petaia's first try and Country took the momentum with it, sparking a run of five tries in 18 minutes to stretch the lead out to 33 points and gave Petaia his hat-trick and Campbell his double.  

That scoring blitz wasn't the only worry for the Drua, with scrumhalf Frank Lomani also sent to the bin for a professional foul. 

Jordan Petaia had a hat-trick. Photo: QRU Media/Brendan HertelThe Drua had plenty of territory but just couldn’t convert their chances, with a misjudged pass and some basic errors costing them close to the line.

They weren't going to die wondering, though, hitting back with a penalty try and reducing the gap to 26 points, giving themselves a sniff. 

The Drua were the first to strike in the second half as Lomani took a quick penalty, catching the Country defence off guard and shifted the ball out wide to fullback Apisalome Waqatabu, who made it a 21-point game.

But their momentum was halted quickly with Country star Filipo Daugunu notching his first of the afternoon to snuff out the Drua's chances of a win.

Hooker Ratunaisia Nauma made sure that the away side was still in the contest when he dived over the line eight minutes from time but a 75th-minute yellow card f meant that Serupepeli Vularika was done for the day and the Drua's discipline became a distraction once again.

Replacement Harry Wilson made sure that the home side got the half century  as scored his first try in the competition right at the death.

The win now means that the Queensland Country are one of two teams to be undefeated and will face the Western Force.

The Fijian Drua were clearly not their best and showed glimpses today, but they need to sort out their discipline before they play the Sydney Rays next weekend.

RESULT

QLD Country 52

Tries: Petaia 3, Campbell 2, Paiaaua, Daugunu, Wilson

Cons: Stewart 6

Fijian Drua 22

Tries: Daveta, Penalty, Waqatabu, Nauma