14 Oct, 2017, 03:00 pm
The NSW Country Eagles have prevailed over Perth Spirit in a grand final rematch today at Scully Park
In the lowest scoring first half in the history of the NRC, there isn’t much to elaborate on here. The score was deadlocked at 0-0 until the 43rd minute, as both sides struggled to control possession. Handling errors and pushed passes were the order of the day, and both sides were guilty of blowing good chances – Perth in particular, who had 61% of the ball, as well as spending the lion’s share of the game in Eagles territory.
The second half saw the deadlock broken almost straight away through Warringah winger Seb Wileman, who finished off a nice cut out pass from flyhallf Tayler Adams to dot down in the corner. The kick into the breeze missed, however – and the Eagles held only a five point lead as the game rolled into its 45th minute.
Two minutes later and it was the Eagles who were in again, Andrew Kellaway scoring his third try in two weeks after a half break and fend from try scorer Seb Wileman. Adams was finding kicking from the spot difficult, and his conversion attempt bounced off the right upright.
One of the strengths of the defending premiers is their ability to hit back when they fall behind quickly, and they were the next to score, Jermaine Ainsley with a fantastic solo effort – bumping off two Eagles defenders to score in the corner. Ian Prior’s conversion attempt was clever, manipulating the bend of the ball with the strong wind – but it didn’t quite have the legs.
Brandon Paenga-Amosa was next on the board, a wonderful team try coming off the back of a 20m rolling maul where the ball changed hands three times. Adams still couldn’t find his range off the boot – and with 23 minutes to play it was a 10 point ball game once more.
The next 20 minutes played like the first half, with a number of drop balls, knock ons and scrum restarts dictating proceedings. The Spirit scored in the 77th minute through Samo Malolo off a rumble from close range, and all of a sudden, the Spirit were a converted try away!
There was to be no late victory at the death for last years premiers, however, and that was how the game ended.
The NSW Country Eagles prevailing over the Perth Spirit by 5 points.
NSW COUNTRY EAGLES 15
Tries: S. Wileman, A. Kellaway, B. Paenga-Amosa
Cons: T. Adams (0/3)
PERTH SPIRIT 10
Tries: J. Ainsley, S. Malolo
Cons: I. Prior (0/2)
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