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NRC: Brisbane push into second on ladder after beating NSW Country

NRC
by Emma Greenwood

Brisbane City have inflicted the NSW country Eagles' first loss of the NRC season to move into second place on the ladder and one step closer to a finals place.

City survived an opening arm wrestle and late fightback from the Eagles to win 24-19, although Country picked up a bonus point courtesy of two late tries to sit in their place, just a point behind Brisbane in third place on the ladder.

Brisbane did plenty of work in the opening quarter, an effort that told in the final minutes when they allowed Australian schoolboys star Joey Walton to score in the 80th minute, before Jack Grant crawled over in the 81st minute to ensure the bonus point.

Brisbane winger Sefa Naivalu escapes the clutches of the Eagles defence. Photo: Getty Images  

But they repelled the Eagles early, shutting down some of their stars before running in three tries in an 11-minute period in the first half that changed the game.

Brisbane headed into the round clinging to fourth place with a win, a loss and a draw from their first three games and needing to find consistency in the final month to ensure a semi-final spot.

And they have now set up their season, sitting in second place after losses to the Eagles (second heading into this round) and Canberra Vikings (third).

The efforts of a young buck and old hand guided City, with Junior Wallabies star Isaac Lucas putting in another assured showing at flyhalf in another step towards snaring the Reds' no.10 jersey.

Brisbane backrower Seru Uru tackles Eagles forward Pat Tafa. Photo: Getty Images

Winger Sefa Naivalu also turned in one of his best games, lifting his workrate in defence as well as attack to ensure Brisbane came away with the points.

The Eagles threatened to be first to score when halfback Jake Gordon scampered from the scrum base close to City's line but he was denied, with Brisbane opening the scoring after 19 minutes when Brandon Paenga-Amosa crossed.

Fullback Nick Chapman raced over six minutes later, with Naivalu completing the treble five minutes after that when he beat his man on the outside and raced down the sideline to hand Brisbane a 17-0 lead after 30 minutes.

The previously unbeaten Eagles hit back though, throwing everything at the home side in the minutes before the break but Brisbane held firm to maintain a clean sheet at halftime.

 

The Eagles eventually opened their account in the 57th minute after a break from Jake Gordon gave them good field position which they eventually converted into a try to Junior Wallabies winger Mark Nawaqanitawase.

The injection of several substitutions into the game midway through the second term breathed new life into the Eagles, with Angus Bell, Nathan Den Hoedt and Connor O'Shea all having a hand in their improvement.

But City looked to have iced the game when Chapman crossed for his second try of the afternoon in the 73rd minute, with Lucas's conversion giving City a 24-5 lead in the dying stages.

Late tries to Walton and Grant handed the Eagles a bonus point but the clock beat their fightback, with City leapfrogging them on the competition ladder.

RESULT

Brisbane City 24

Tries: Paenga-Amosa, Chapman 2, Naivalu  

Cons: Lucas 2

NSW Country 19

Tries: Nawaqanitawase, Walton, Grant

Cons: O'Shea 2