The Eagles advance to their first NRC grand final - Green and Gold Rugby
Melbourne Rising

The Eagles advance to their first NRC grand final

The Eagles advance to their first NRC grand final

The “Clockwork Orange” Eagles has defeated the Rising in Newcastle to book their first NRC final.

In a vibrant match NSW Country prevailed 50-24 against Melbourne with an excellent game of rugby and will host the grand final in Tamworth next week against the winner of tomorrow’s match between Sydney Rays and Perth Spirit. The Melbourne team has lost its third semifinal in three years.

The Eagles showed great composure and patience during the whole game, controlling every aspect of the game and confirming their credentials to be the Brisbane City’s successors on top of the NRC.

First Half:

The Melbourne Rising were hot out of the block and scored two early tries thanks to speedster Sefa Naivalu and hooker Pat Leafa in the first six minutes. Jack Debreczeni converted both majors to give an early 16-0 lead to the visitors.

The Rising kept attacking and put the Eagles under pressure, but a brilliant intercept from backrower Sam Figg saw the home team score one against the run of play.
Shortly after it was Reece Robinson to cross the chalk and thanks to another precise conversion by Andrew Deegan. The Country winger wasn’t done and scored another try after just 2 minutes to give the home team the lead for the first time in the game.

Three minutes before the end of the first the half, Figg scored another try for the  Eagles to extend their lead to 12 points into the break.

First half score: NSW Country Eagles 28 – Melbourne Rising 16.

Second Half:

The second half started with the Eagles camped into the Rising’s 22 meters. After extended pressure Rohan O’Regan pushed his big body over the line and scored the 5th try for the clockwork orange.

The Eagles kept attacking the visitors’ try line and find another major thanks to scum half Jake Gordon, who scored an impressive 30 meter try from a well directed scrum.

Jordy Reid gave the Rising one back with 15 minutes to play but the clock was against the visitors and the 18 points gap impossible to close.

Jake Gordon put the icing on the cake with his second try after the siren to make it 50 point to the Eagles.

Final score: NSW Country Eagles 50 – Melbourne Rising 24

The Game Changer

Sam Figg’s intercept try really on in the game shifted the momentum that the Rising built early on towards the Eagles. The visitors were leading 16-0 and looked impressive, they took 55 minutes before scoring again. In the meanwhile the hosts scored 6 tries to open a comfortable lead.


Jake Gordon was superb in orchestrating his team, he kept the forwards moving and gaining meters before unleashing his backline, a brilliant display in the midfield for the young Waratahs.

OZ BaaBaa Watch

Future Brumby Rob Valetini had another good game coming from the bench in a losing team.

The Details:

NSW Country: 50

Tries: 7
Figg (20 12', 37'
Robinson (2) 28, 31'
Gordon (2) 60', 80'
O'Regan 50'

Conv: 4
Deegan (3/6) 13', 29', 50'
Adams (1/ 1) 80

Melbourne: 24

Tries: 3
Naivalu 2'
Leafa 7'
Reid 64'

Conv: 3
Debreczeni (3/3) 3', 8, 65'

Referee: Graham Cooper

Attendance: tba

New South Wales Country Eagles: 1. Paddy Ryan (c), 2.* Tolu Latu, 3. Tom Robertson, 4 .Rohan O’Regan, 5. Tim Buchanan, 6. Sam Figg, 7. Rowan Perry, 8. Sam Ward; 9. Jake Gordon, 10. Andrew Deegan, 11. Alex Newsome, 12. Kyle Godwin, 13. David Horwitz, 14. Reece Robinson, 15. Andrew Kellaway. Replacements: 16. Luke Holmes, 17. Jed Gillespie, 18. Sam Needs, 19. Ryan McCauley, 20. Tom Cusack, 21. Mark Baldwin, 22. Tayler Adams, 23. Angus Roberts. Coach: Darren Coleman.

Melbourne Rising: 1. Toby Smith, 2. Pat Leafa, 3. Tyrel Lomax, 4. Sam Jeffries, 5. Alex Toolis, 6 .Ikapote Tupai, 7. Jordy Reid, 8.Colby Fainga’a; 9. Mick Snowden, 10. Jack Debreczeni, 11. Jonah Placid, 12. Sione Tuipulotu, 13. Tom English, 14. Sefa Naivalu, 15. Dom Shipperley. Replacements: 16. James Hanson, 17. Tom Moloney, 18. Tim Metcher, 19. Rob Valetini, 20. Jordan Uelese, 2.1 Keisuke Yamada, 22. Taiso Silafai-Leaana, 23. Ah-Mu Tuimalealiifano. Coach: Zane Hilton.

* Lineup changes

  • Fatflanker

    Thanks for the write-up, Diego. Sounds like it was a pretty decent game despite the lopsided score. C’mon Eagles!

  • Muzz

    Awesome stuff Eagles. On to the big dance.

  • Rebels3

    Rising continually giving the opposition easy points was the difference between the two teams.

  • Pedro

    Great to see the Eagles make the finals. They have been the pace setters all year and seem to always be able to score when necessary.

    thanks for the write up Metri.

  • John Parker

    The Rising very fast out of the blocks and after 10 mins. looked like all they had to do was keep focused to gain a big lead. As a fan disappointed to see they did the opposite, with a half-hearted passing moving providing an intercept, a sloppy lineout through leading to another Eagles try, and then some sloppy rucking by Rising giving them a turnover and another one. Rising were their own worst enemies, while Eagles played strongly and exposed what looked like lesser levels of fitness in the MR squad.

  • Rebels3

    Is it any coincidence that the two most impressive teams (make that 3 – include the rams) have come from an independent structure from the dross that is being preached (coached) at our super rugby teams.

    They are so choreographed /unflexable, seem to be lacking in basic skills and stuck in a way of playing the game that isn’t complimenting the modern game.

    • Muzz

      Interesting thought mate. It’s certainly noticeable how the Vikings, for instance, play a very similar game to the Brumbies. Likewise Rising and Rebels.

  • With all the hype surrounding Jake Gordon, I was watching his whole performance very carefully. He was exceptional around the park in broken play, but there was a fractional delay in his pass off the ground from the ruck/scrum on a number of occasions. It wasn’t found out at this level, but it will put his 10 under pressure in Super Rugby. There is still plenty to work on.

    I thought Figg was absolutely MOM. He pushed himself so hard that towards the end he threw up on the field from exhaustion and then laughed it off and went again. I also thought Deegan was outstanding. People say he is pedestrian but today I thought he did everything right.

    The weakness in this team is 12/13. I thought Godwin was only good in the last quarter and I used to be a Horwitz promoter, but not any more. I think Simone and Foley are clearly superior and maybe we will see next week.

Melbourne Rising

Diego Ghirardi is a rugby fanatic from Italy, living in Melbourne. Played on the wing, now mainly couch flanker or sideline halfback. Enjoys writing in broken English, which should be read in a Franco Cozzo accent to render it more original. In case you understand Italian, you can read his banters on or better not

More in Melbourne Rising