The NSW Country Eagles continued their unbeaten start to NRC v3.0 with an impressive 36-16 win over the Sydney Rays today at Pittwater Rugby Park.
In an outstanding display of end to end attacking football that lived up to all the pre-match hype, the Eagles overcame a slow start to run away with the match. Like last week in Tamworth, all of the early running was made by the Rays, as forwards Will Miller and Conor Vest stamped their authority on the battle at the breakdown. Vest barged over in the 3rd minute to put the Rays ahead 8-0, and only some brave goal line defence from the Eagles prevented them going further ahead soon later. After this period, it was all the Eagles as they channeled the attacking prowess of previous weeks, combined with astute tactical kicking from Andrew Deegan and Angus Roberts to score twice through Tolu Latu in the 20th minute, and Reece Robinson on the stroke of half time.
The second half saw the end to end football continue as both sides chanced their arms looking for any opportunity to bust through the line. 10 minutes into the second half, repeated attacking raids from the Eagles resulted in our very own Figgie Smalls breaking through two tackles before putting Reece Robinson over, untouched, for his second. The Rays hit back soon after however, as repeated infringements on our line resulted in a penalty try to the boys from the North, leaving the score 22-16 with 20 minutes to play. In what is becoming an all too familiar story for the Eagles this season, the Eagles picked up back to back yellow cards in the 55th and 65th minutes to Tolu Latu and Folau Fa’ainga. This sparked the boys in black into action, as the last 10 minutes of the encounter was typified by intense collisions and brutal work at the breakdown. Ultimately, Tom Cusack and Jake Gordon scored in the last two minutes of the game to blow the scoreline out, in the process, stamping the Eagles as true title contenders. The final score finishing 36-16.
The Eagles now make the trip to Orange for next week’s fixture against the Perth Spirit at Endeavour Oval.
NSW COUNTRY EAGLES 36
Tries: R. Robinson (2), T. Latu, T.Cusack, J. Gordon
Cons: A. Deegan 2/3, T. Adams 1/2
SYDNEY RAYS 16
Tries: Penalty Try, C. Vest,
Cons: M.Lucas 2/2
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