Brisbane City just edge out Fijian Drua - Green and Gold Rugby
Brisbane City NRC

Brisbane City just edge out Fijian Drua

Brisbane City just edge out Fijian Drua

With no form guide on the Fijian Drua and Brisbane City with a lot to prove after their last season, this could be anyone’s match.   With a good crowd at Ballymore to watch this first home match of the season, this was tipped to be a cracker in the Saturday afternoon sun.

The Match

The big units of the Drua looked like a solid machine as they worked their initial set pieces well, but it wasn’t enough to stop a mass of Brisbane City bodies crossing the line with Ready at the bottom to open the scoring for Brisbane City.

Lukhan Tui in his return from knee surgery was making his presence felt for City with some strong runs and hits alongside Kane Douglas who also dominated his hits.

The Drua followed with a try to their fullback Peceli Nacebe in the 11th minute.  A poor pass from Lachlan Maranta to Moses Sorovi (still in fine form following his mastery in QPR for UQ) after he made a lovely break was intercepted resulting in the try.

Brisbane City v Fiji

Not to be outdone, Brisbane City’s Ed Fidow hit back with the first of his three tries to cross after being set up beautifully by Jayden Ngamanu.  Quade Cooper kicked the conversion and City were in the lead again.

Nacebe crossed again for the Drua after a dodgy tackle by Quade Cooper and it was successfully converted by flyhalf Kini Douglas.

QC’s match had its ups and downs, but overall he put in a solid performance.  A couple of wobbles yes, but his kicking was on point and generally he executed the tackles he made.  That may all seem a bit basic, but City and the Reds (and possibly the Wallabies unless Foley can pull a rabbit out) need a Cooper that is firing on all cylinders.

Brisbane City built phases well, the backline was clicking very well and it resulted in a try for Tui from almost 10 phases across the field and back.  Fidow’s speed then came to the fore as not 10 minutes later he crossed for his second and City’s 3rd.

Brisbane City went to the break at halftime leading 33-12 after Michael Gunn, returning from what seems like never-ending injury cross from a rolling maul.

Brisbane City v Fiji

The second half started back with sustained pressure from both sides that didn’t result in anything.  Kerevi may have had a quieter first half but came into his own in the second half when he jagged a lovely intercept to cross in the 61st minute, converted by Quade Cooper.

The Drua capitalised not much later on a mistimed chipkick from Quade Cooper as it rebound off a Fijian player.  QC was flattened and could only watch on in crankiness as Mosese Voka raced away for a try.

Brisbane City had an enviable lead and Mick Heenan started to use his bench.  There was lots to be positive about in the Brisbane City play, but they will need to have a look at their lineouts and the loose, long passes to no one.  They weren’t punished frequently, but often that was only luck – Fiji grabbing an intercept but then fumbling themselves.  This team has to tighten up and be ruthless to restore the Glory, Glory days of 2014 and 2015.

Fidow’s final try came off a lovely pass from Samu Kerevi who should be pleased with his hit out following his less excellent than expected Wallabies showing against the All Blacks last month.

Brisbane City v Fiji

The Fijian Drua will be a formidable force for any team that takes their foot off the gas or tires as they scored 3 tries in the last 10 minutes of the game – pushing their chances always.  Their bench made a big difference with tries to Eroni Sau, Seru Cavuilati and Cyril Reece.

Their last try to Reece was scored after the buzzer from a ballsy play along the sideline because they had nothing to lose.

The introduction of Fiji to this competition is excellent, and I am really looking forward to their matches, particularly their home matches which I expect to go off like a frog in a sock.


Key Moment

Fiji’s bench pulled back a large deficit and some of them should perhaps start next week. Their heart was excellent and it was matched by their skill.


Ed Fidow with a hat-trick in his NRC debut looked the goods, following on his good Queensland Premier Rugby form for Wests.  He threatened with several more runs down the sideline and will be one to watch.

Oz BaaBaa Watch

With the competition now being a breeding ground for Super Rugby and so many players capped for the nations with Sevens and U20s, I can’t think of anyone who fit this bill today.  If I have missed someone, hit me up.

The Details

Score & Scorers


Tries: Ready, Fidow 3, Tui, Gunn, Kerevi

Cons: Cooper 4, Alatimu


Tries: Nacebe 2, Voka, Sau, Cavuilati, Reece

Cons: Douglas 2, Nacebe

Cards & citings

Yellow: Mudu, Tawake

  • How good was it to be at a NRC game again! Random thoughts from behind the lens.
    Lukan Tui had a monster of a game never stopped. Not bad for his first game back after a long lay off
    The Drua will cause a lot of sides a fair bit of trouble. They are big, strong, fit and organised. Their set piece is nothing to be sneezed at.
    Moses Sorovi and Ed Fidow look the goods.

    • Kate Elizabeth

      Yeah, Tui out since first week in June – hopefully a long and successful SR career for the Reds! And then kill it at Wallabies level.

      • dru

        Tui for my MOTM. You would never have guessed the master/apprentice relationship between Douglas and Tui just by watching the game.

        Is it Touyavuca at 5 in that line out pic? What awesome athleticism, absolute ballet of line out jumping. Beautiful. Awesome photography whoever managed that!

  • Brisneyland Local

    Kate, great write. I didnt see you in person at the game but was looking. Saw Sully with his camera gear.
    Today was a great game. Really enjoyed it. Was great to be back at Ballymore, great to be with my Fijian friends. I was on a win win with this game. BL’s points in no particular order:
    – The Fijians are unknown to most, but a lot of these boys are strong players in the National Provincial Champs in Fiji. These guys are fringe players for the Fijian squad, we will see more of them again.
    – It was a most enjoyable game. First time I have enjoyed a rugby game in about a year.
    – The que for beer was bloody ridiculous. They certainly need to have more serving windows open at Ballymore that is for sure.
    – Lokan Tui had a blinder. So did the No.15 for Bris City. Didnt catch his name, but everytime he got the ball, he made serious yards.
    – I hate to say but Kane Douglas played prety well.
    – Andrew Ready had a few errors but was a monster up front. And that is saying a lot because those Fijians boys were bloody huge units.
    – The Bris City scrum was very strong, over powering the Drua in the first half.
    – QC has a few bad moments. Slipped off one tackle. Had a kick charged down. But also slammed a few really solid tackles, kicked well from place and in hand. Demonstrated what we are clearly missing with PopGun Nard Foley. His passing was really very accurate, even if some times his team mates could hold onto it. His distribution of play was quite good. He got slammed hard in a blistering tackle that I thought would end his game, but he got up and got on with it. A solid game over all.
    – Samu Kerevi was looking reall quite good. Always making yards, even when he had two or three players hanging off him.

    The crowd was fantastic, lots of islanders, the warmer game was Brisbane Fiji vs Brisbane Samoa. It was a pretty entertaining game. Overall it re-installed my faith in Rugby.
    Over to you gagr’s!

    • City 15 was Jayden Ngamanu.
      QC thinks his nose is broken. I’m not so sure but he will definitely have a couple of shiners tomorrow and a very sore snoz.
      Say g’day next time you see me. I don’t bite.

      • Kate Elizabeth

        Hahah. But I do. Which is why I sit in the media box.

        • Brisneyland Local

          No wonder I didnt see you then. I was out with the plebs. I hope they bring you beer in the box. Because that que was just silly.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Thanks Sully. Jayden was really exciting. I hope the Reds are smart enough to bring that young fella on. Next time I promise I will!

    • Kate Elizabeth

      Good points all. Good to see Douglas stepping up – hasn’t had impact for a while. I thought their flyhalf Douglas had a good one too – smooth running of the backs for his part. Our 15 was Ngamanu – super player from Souths.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Yep Jayden, really exciting. As I said to Sully I hope the Reds were looking at him. He made truck loads of yards very quickly.

    • Bobas

      Kerevi and Cooper both had similar games overall to the Fiji side. Both showed their strengths and weeknesses.
      Let’s hope they build from here.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Yeah they did. But both of their strengths certainly over come their weaknesses. Cooper’s kicking was good. And he defended. Was really impressed with Kerevi’s yards. I would love to see his yards in contact statistics. I think he spent half the game making yards with players hanging off him. Half of them were probably his cousins!

    • Nicholas Wasiliev

      Looked like there was a decent crowd there! Good to see more people coming to games! Was a damn entertaining match to watch.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Nick, I agree. I felt positive about rugby for the first time in a long time. The really large Fijian crowd were so vocal and that was fantastic. Love the Fijians!

    • Damo

      The NRC is truly one of the really positive things happening in Oz rugby at the moment. When you compare it to Prem rugby you can clearly see talented club players step up to this next level. I would put Sorovi and Gunn in that category from yesterday. Playing NRC week in week out will build a level of familiarity with this higher level of intensity and allow these guys to be more ready to slot in if they get SR opportunities next year. I guess that’s the obvious purpose of this comp but it was good to see the reality of it in action yesterday. The opportunity for players such as Ready using NRC to get their games back together is real plus as well.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Good call Damo!

      • Bernie Chan

        Been telling mates in Sydney for a couple of years …pencil in Sorovi for a “gold” jersey… Has he rediscovered his pace since his knee injury?

    • John Tynan

      I thought Tui was a bit too upright in everything he did, but he did a lot regardless. Agree on Douglas and Ready, two good games. Ngamanu at fullback I’m pretty sure.
      As well as the beer queue, there was one place (food truck) to get food, one place (also the merchandise shop) to get soft drinks, nowhere to get chips or ice creams for kids.
      Should allow clubs to do a Bunnings on food at least.
      But a great day, nonetheless.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Yeah I agree on the catering. We bought our stuff for the kids with us. I think allow the clubs to do a BBQ is a great idea, I hope QRU picks up on it.

  • Bobas

    This was a great match. Never really close, but good to see a new team show their colours.
    I am a bit worried about the discipline problems of the Fijian team though. They we’re lucky to get away with alleged biting as most other referees would have given a red card just for the suspicion.

  • joy


    The Drua is an ocean going canoe that affords the cannibal the ability to cross vast oceans in their quest for people with big ears. When found the ears are immediately chewed off and swallowed au natural. The assailants practice catch and release in the belief that victims will grow a new set of ears before their next visit. Inhabitants of surrounding islands are advised to expect further raids and to keep head protection gear at hand at all times.

  • Nutta

    Sorry to reflect on the negative but has old mate been cited for biting? A clear head pre scrum and then blood and apparently teeth marks after the scrum leaves no doubt who the culprit is so anyone saying ‘didn’t see it’ is hiding behind semantics.

Brisbane City NRC

Arty-farty. Loves rugby. Good cook. Contrary. Is a New South Welshwoman who has never supported NSW. Only has eyes for the Reds. Likes raspberries and that intense mustard-yellow most people don't.

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