City make the trip up the range to Toowoomba to take on Queensland country in what many consider their Heartland. City are undefeated this season but Country will grow a leg with a decent crowd behind them.
It only took three minutes for the country side to cross for the first try. Country fed a scrum ten metres out from the City try line. The city scrum marched forward but Radike Samo produced one of his famous one handed pickups and snuck down the blind side of the scrum. City’s backrow didn’t react and Junior Loloifi was left trying to stop the huge unit on the line. He didn’t. Sam Greene Converted for an 8-0 lead.
Ten minutes later City struck back through Alex Gibbon. Karmichael ran at the line drawing two defenders before passing around their backs to put the winger in in the corner. Greene missed the kick but City is well in this contest.
The next 25 minutes of the half produced flashes of brilliant attack, brutal defense, a few scuffles but no scores. Both Radike Samo and Chris Feauai-Sautia left the field with head knocks but despite the disruption to their team they were still very competitive. With two minutes to go City crossed again. Jake McIntyre threw a long flat pass to his left and hit Ben Hynes as he hit the hole. From there he was too big and had too much momentum and crashed over to score. The score at half time was 13-8 to City.
In the second half the game opened up a lot. This coincided with the arrival of my steak burger so I may have got a little distracted but I think I have most of it right.
First off the rank was Junior Loloifi who finished off a great team effort that traveled a good 60 metres with Chris Kuridrani making good metres and throwing the final pass.
Country regained the ball from the kick off and ended up with the ball metres out pounding away at the line until Campbell Magnay crashed over. Greene kick the conversion to leave the score at 21-16. Swiss cheese and caramelised onion on my burger.
City was in next from a very nicely worked set move at a five metre lineout. He swept from the backof the lineout to the front taking the ball at full pace from the lineout jumper. Saia Fainga’a was waiting for him at the front of the lineout but wasn’t able to stop Gill squirming his way over. McIntyre missed the conversion.
In what seemed like moments later Junior Loloifi picked up a loose ball metres out from City’s tryline and sprinted the length of the field to score under the posts. This guy has jets for feet and no one really got close to him. After the conversion the score was 34-16 and things were looking grim for Country.
Jack Cornelson got Country back within striking distance when Country forced City back in a five metre scrum and he picked up from the scrum base and charged up the blindside carrying two city players over the line.
Then something peculiar happened. leading 34-24 City won a kickable penalty about 30 metres out. AND THE TOOK THE SHOT! Actually a really smart decision. They had stretched their lead to 36-24
And finally right on the final hooter Chris Kuridrani fielded a kick and set off up the left sideline. He drew and passed inside to Kerevi who did the same and passed back to put Kuridrani in the clear McIntyre kicked another conversion to make the final score 44-24
City were a class above Country and deserved the win.
The Game Changer
I said in the report that Country recovered well from the injuries to Samo and Feauai-Sautia but in hindsight I think it made a big difference to the shape of the team. This became more and more evident as the half wore on.
The G&GR MOTM
There were a lot of guys putting in quality performances today but Junior Loloifi was solid in defence, positioned himself perfectly in every situation and scored two meat pies. He is the GAGR MOTM
Oz Barbarian watch
City lock forward Ben Hynes smashed and got smashed and just kept going.
Score & Scorers
Tries: Radike Samo, Campbell Magney, Jack Cornelson
Conversions: Sam Greene 3/3
Tries: Alex Gibbon, Ben Hyne, Junior Loloifi 2, Liam Gill, Chris Kuridrani
Conversions: Jake McIntyre 4/6
Penalties: Jake McIntyre 1/1
Cards & citings
Cadeyrn Neville (cheese)
I had a steak burger on a proper bun not some fall apart Maccas crap thing. Swiss cheese, beetroot, caramelised onion, lettuce and tomato. Great quality although the steak was a little too cooked for my taste. 8/10
HIGHLIGHTS PROVIDED BY FOX SPORTS NRC EXTRA TIME