NRC Match Review: Country Eagles V Greater Sydney Rams - Green and Gold Rugby
New South Wales Country Eagles NRC

NRC Match Review: Country Eagles V Greater Sydney Rams

NRC Match Review: Country Eagles V Greater Sydney Rams

The first Sydney based game in the NRC was marked by dour conditions and an error ridden game that picked up in the second half to see the home team smash the Rams. The estimated 1000 strong crowd sprawled out from under the little shelter that was afforded to them at Coogee with an atmosphere of intrigue in what the ARU calls “rugby unleashed”.

The Match

The kick off occurred with little fan fair as an almost immediate eagles scrum was called, this was made the theme of the day as handling errors and slippery ground made penalties a certainty. The Rams had the upper hand in possession in the first half but this was offset by their inability to gain ground; often being limited to the middle ground, and play more than 4 phases without a handling error. 17 minutes in however, Ben Volavola was given an opportunity from 40 metres out and was able to convert the penalty. Of course due to the experimental laws this meant it was the strange score of 0-2. The Eagles quickly countered when Sam Windsor was gifted a kick 30 metres out and directly in front 2 minutes later, levelling the scores.


At certain points in the match there were sparks of brilliance from both the Rams and the Eagles, but much of it was muzzled by the wet conditions and inability to retain possession. The Eagles missed an opportunity when a stray ball came out a scrum the wrong way 5 metres from the try line to have the Rams touch it down for a 22 restart. As the rain cleared 10 minutes from the end of the first half the game picked up pace but handling errors were still present to end the first half at 2-2.


The game firmed up in the second half as the rain cleared and this lead to better play. The eagles started to dominate possession in the second half which was led by their forward power. Matt Carraro seemed to emerge from nowhere 10 metres out to score 5 minutes into the second half. This was then aptly converted by Sam Windsor. A rolling maul from 25 metres out got the eagles to within an earshot of a try only to be held up. This attack was aptly defended and countered. A messy scrum within 5 metres of the Rams try line saw the rams gain possession with an impressive display from Apolosi Latunipulu that that saw them end play at the Eagles 22. However this wasn’t good enough when in quick succession Andrew Kellaway Scored off a very good run and pass from Tala Gray and Will Miller and Apakuki Ma’afu also capitalised on the Eagles second half forward dominance, scoring two more tries to bring the score up to 31-2 were it would stay.


Photos courtesy of John Biboudis

The Game Changer

The Eagles 30 metre maul was certainly a show of dominance that couldn’t be ignored. I have a feeling that their strength to come will lie in their forwards. Ben Volavola was also having a bad day and this as well as the wet weather was a detriment to the Rams determined running style of play.


Matt Carraro – particularly with his try was fundamental to the Eagles gaining the psychological advantage

Players to watch

Tala Gray and Apakuki Ma’afu were fantastic for the Eagles. Jed Holloway definitely had an impact on the Rams side

The Details


Score & Scorers

NSW Country Eagles: 31
Tries: 4
Conversions: 3
Penalties: 1
Greater Sydney Rams: 2
Tries: 0
Conversions: 0
Penalties: 1

Cards & citings

None <strong></strong>

  • Matthew Lalor

    That was one depressing read….

  • Kiap

    Greg, much appreciate the write-up, especially the details of the scorers (including kickers) and the estimated crowd. And not forgetting the photos. GAGR are almost the official record for these non broadcast matches.

    And NSW Country seem like they have the goods. Good players and coaching.

  • Mike

    Wow, what a pounding. GWS Rams have to get up off the canvas now.

  • Pedro

    I was there too. Fun game to watch, particularly when it stopped raining.

    Eagles dominated but the game was pretty close for 60 minutes or so. The Rams with Benn Robinson on the field scrummaged really well but without him they struggled.

    Was great to see Ita Veea make his comeback too.

    Nice write up Greg.

    • Hugh

      Grass roots rugby as it should be.
      Ground announcer had a forgettable match with a few errors of fact.
      Fancy siren on the electronic scoreboard wouldn’t scare a bantam chook off its nest, so they use the old school bell from Randwick public school to signal time.
      Tough day for the folk at the BBQ. Onions were broiled not crisply fried. Steak was 3.5/5. Nice fresh bread. Queue handled efficiently. Overall grade 3.8/5.
      No one in The Mark Ella Stand.
      Forwards wearing Blades not boots with their longest legal screw in studs.
      Who played the curtain raiser?
      The score was fifty something to forty something. In the rain. Impressive. Was tackling optional?

  • dsb

    Are they working on televising these games!!

  • Hugh

    Three Yellow Cards. One to Tala Grey (Eagles) early on with no major scoreboard impact.
    One to Rams bench halfback, and one to Ben Robinson in quick succession had Rams struggling in defence as they were down to 13. Ayoub went into halfback, and Rams had to drop Pat Sio to bring another Prop on. Eagles looked very impressive with 15 vs 13.

  • Nick

    Thanks for the article mate. Did not expect a country carve up but glad they stuck one up those Western Sydney pricks! Just be gentle to the Rays.

  • Keir

    Looks like a smaller crowd than what Randwick gets.

    • wahoo

      Weather was terrible tho

  • James Geary

    Country all over it.

  • RugbyStu

    The NRC/ARU should start a kickstarter to fund getting these games onto free to air, or at least all televised on fox or at the very least live stream. What is going on.

New South Wales Country Eagles NRC

Weird kid with a love of Rugby. Otherwise known as RugbyFuture or Auspanda, there's no doubt Greg is a rugby tragic when you see him wearing one of the 40 international Rugby Jerseys in his collection.

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