It was billed as one versus two on the ladder and it was Brisbane City who came out on top and continue their undefeated season with a close 37-31 win over the Canberra Vikings and retain the Horan/Little shield.
Brisbane City found themselves under pressure right from the kick off as they were unable to secure the kick off but were let off the hook as the Vikings knocked on inside the City 22.
But after a poor clearing kick, the Vikings went to their main weapon of the rolling maul and it was captain Jarrad Butler who went over for his seventh try of the season after just two minutes..
That only sparked Brisbane City into action as they enjoyed the share of possession and territory with Karmichael Hunt starting to get his hands on the ball and causing problems for the Vikings defence and it was Pettowa Paraka who found a small gap and he scored with Jake McIntyre’s conversion putting City in front 8-5.
With both teams possessing excellent scrums so far this season, it would be interesting to see who got on top with the Vikings getting on top early (with some great player commentary) before City hit back with a penalty of their own to relieve the pressure after the Vikings knocked on.
The breakdown battle was no different with Liam Gill causing the Vikings all sorts of problems as they attempted to get quick ball and was well supported by his backrow.
The Vikings set piece was becoming an issue as they blew a number of lineout chances with good field position and their scrum was being put under pressure with City taking advantage setting up a brilliant move saw McIntyre hold the ball up for Junior Laloifi stroll over and extend the lead to 16-5.
with half time approaching, City started to find small gaps around the fringes of the ruck with Nick Frisby pulling out some razzle dazzle passing and eventually Ben Hyne ended up with the ball who darted over in the corner for s 24-5 lead.
The Vikings had one last chance to add points before the break off a scrum penalty but Brisbane City didn’t engage the maul to leave the Vikings with just the one try for the half compared to three for the visitors.
The second half opened with the Vikings with a handling error in their own 22 and City didn’t need another invitation to add more points with Karmichael Hunt taking advantage of an overlap to score his side’s fourth try of the game. McIntyre’s conversion made it 32-5.
With top spot to play for, the Vikings hit back with their second try Robbie Abel after diving over from close range and Lealiifano’s conversion made it 32-13 with 30 minutes to play.
The hosts hit back again with a big run from Jordan Smiler setting up good field position for the Vikings and quick hands saw Rodney Iona in the corner a five-pointer as the momentum started to swing in their favour.
That momentum swing continued as the Vikings grew in confidence and replacement hooker Albert Anae burrowed his way over in the corner but the missed conversion from wide out would prove costly to set up a great last 15 minutes.
Brisbane City regrouped and then put some breathing space on the scoreboard with a very loose play that ended up with Liam Gill with a crucial try but City would then go down to 14 men with replacement prop Markus Vanzati sent to the bin. The extra man would be too much for City to hold out and Les Makin scored to reduce the margin to just six.
With time running out, the Vikings launched one last raid with play continuing four minutes after the final siren but the City defence held tough to clinch the match winning turnover right on their own line.
The Game Changer
Brisbane City got out to a commanding lead before the Vikings launched a comeback bid with 30 minutes to go and almost snatched an unlikely win with Liam Gill’s try in that period crucial to sealing the win.
The G&GR MOTM
Nick Frisby – After a slow start from City, he got in and started to throw the ball around with some nice passing to unleash the City backline.
Oz Baabaa Watch
Henry Taefu for Brisbane City looked good when he came into the line and defended well.
Junior Laloifi has been tearing up the try scoring charts this year and added another to his list in 2015.
UC Vikings: 31
J. Butler 3'
R. Abel 48'
R. Iona 53'
A. Anae 59'
L. Makin 69'
C. Leali'ifano (2/5) 49', 70'
Referee: Andrew Lees
P. Paraka 11'
J. Laloifi 31'
B. Hyne 36'
K. Hunt 41'
L. Gill 64'
J. McIntyre (4/5) 12', 32', 37', 41'
M. Vanzati 68' — YC
University of Canberra Vikings: 1. Allan Alaalatoa, 2. Robbie Abel, 3. Ben Alexander, 4. Rory Arnold, 5. Blake Enever, 6. Jordan Smiler, 7. Jarrad Butler (c), 8. Ita Vaea; 9. Joe Powell, 10. Christian Lealiifano, 11. Lausi Taliauli, 12. Rodney Iona, 13. Nigel Ah Wong, 14. James Dargaville, 15. Isaac Thompson. Reserves: 16. Albert Anae, 17. Sione Taula, 18. Leslie Leulua’iali’i-Makin, 19. Rowan Perry*, 20. Dean Oakman-Hunt*, 21. Brent Hamlin, 22. Mitch Third, 23. Frankie Fainifo. Coach: Brad Harris.
Brisbane City: 1. Pettowa Paraka, 2. Andrew Ready, 3. Sam Talakai, 4. Ben Hyne*, 5. Cadeyrn Neville, 6. Waita Setu, 7. Liam Gill (c), 8. Adam Korczyk; 9. Nick Frisby, 10. Jake McIntyre, 11. Junior Laloifi, 12. Henry Taefu, 13. Samu Kerevi, 14. Chris Kuridrani, 15. Karmichael Hunt. Reserves: 16. Matthew Mafi, 17. Markus Vanzati, 18. Feao Fotuaika, 19. James Moore*, 20. Luke Beauchamp, 21. Moses Sorovi, 22. Alex Gibbon, 23. Andy Muirhead. Coach: Nick Stiles.
* Late change
Photos courtesy of Canberra Vikings