NRC: Force snatch late win over Rising in thriller

by staff

The Western Force scored a try with in the dying minutes to inflict a narrow defeat on the Melbourne Rising, writes Brynn O'Connor.

In sunny conditions at GMHBA Stadium in Geelong, the Rising’s first Victorian home game of the NRC developed into a nine-try thriller that saw the lead change hands often.

The Rising led 28-26 but in the 76th minute but the Western Force retook the lead with a try to pacy winger Clay Uyen, and though Melbourne were attacking after the siren to steal back the win, it was to no avail.

The defeat officially ended Melbourne's faint chances of playing finals but positioned the Force well for a home final, in second place with a round remaining.

The Western Force got off to a fast start in the sixth minute, when a rolling maul enabled Tessman to reach out and score a hard earned try, giving the visitors a 0-5 lead.

After a tense 10-minute period which saw the Rising dominate possession, the home side broke through when a four phase attack resulted in Richard Hardwick charging through the Force defence for a try. An Archie King conversion gave the Melbourne side a 7-5 lead. 

After the half time siren, a well placed kick by the Force’s Harry Scoble saw a fortuitous bounce avert three Rising players, allowing Brynard Stander to score an uncontested try. A conversion to Ian Prior gave the Force a 7-12 lead at the main break. 

At the recommencement of play, the visitors achieved the perfect start when in the 42nd minute, Tevin Ferris scored the Force’s third after a rolling maul. Prior made no mistake on a slight angle to give the Force a 7-19 lead. 

The Rising responded quickly though, when a terrific run by Harrison Goddard set up Kemu Valetini, who ran through his first try of the game under the uprights. Another conversion to King cut the lead to five points, with the Rising trailing 14-19. 

In the 58th minute, the Rising drew level when a series of wonderful ball movement from the breakdown, highlighted by a behind the back pass by Michael Ruru, allowed winger Tom English to score his first try. King’s third conversion for the match gave the home side a 21-19 advantage. 

Down by two points, the Force upped the ante on attack, and after a strong lineout drive next to their own try line, Harrison Orr was able to cross for a five-pointer. Prior converted on a slight angle to regain the lead for the Western Australian side, leaving the Rising trailing 21-26. 

With the game ebbing and flowing, the Rising kept try try for try pattern going when another multiple phase attack resulted in Isi Naisarani lunging for the try line and scoring. King kept his perfect conversion record for the match to give the Rising a 28-26 lead with 10 minutes to play. 

In the 76th minute, a quick line break by the Force allowed winger Clay Uyen to streak away from the Rising defence for a try. A missed Prior conversion gave the Force a 28-31 lead with only four minutes remaining. 

As the full time siren sounded, the Rising held possession and threw one last ditch effort to re-take the lead. However, a knock on 30 metres from the try line dashed any hope of a last gasp win. 

Melbourne Rising: 28

Tries: Naisarani, English, Valetini, Hardwick. 

Conversions: King (4) 

Western Force: 31 

Tries: Tessman, Stander, Orr, Ferris, Uyen. 

Conversions: Prior (3) 

Highlights on and see all the stats here.


Rising to face Force

1. Mees Erasmus

2. Andrew Tuala

3. Jermaine Ainsley

4. Esei Ha’angana

5. Robert Leota

6. Ikapote Tupai

7. Richard Hardwick

8. Isi Naisarani

9. Harrison Goddard

10. Archie King

11. Tom English

12. Kemu Valetini

13. Sione Tuipulotu

14. Angelo Leaupepe

15. Justin Marsters


16. Anaru Rangi

17. Fereti Sa’aga

18. Pone Fa’amausili

19. Will Clift

20. Kojiro Yoshida

21. Michael Ruru

22. Sione Tui

23. Fabian Goodall

Force to face Rising

1. Harrison Lloyd

2. Heath Tessmann

3. Kieran Longbottom

4. Fergus Lee-Warner

5. Jeremy Thrush

6. Harrison Orr

7. Tevin Ferris

8. Brynard Stander

9. Ian Prior

10. Andrew Deegan

11. Rod Davies

12. Rodney Iona

13. Bradley Lacey

14. Clay Uyen

15. Jack McGregor


16. Harry Scoble

17. Markus Vanzati

18. Chris Heiberg

19. Leon Power

20. Henry Stowers

21. Issak Fines

22. Peter Grant

23. Masivesi Dakuwaqa