NRC: Perth Spirit too good for the Vikings - Green and Gold Rugby
National Rugby Championship

NRC: Perth Spirit too good for the Vikings

NRC: Perth Spirit too good for the Vikings

The much awaited NRC finally kicked off in Canberra with the Vikings taking on the Perth Spirit at Viking park.

The Match

The Vikings were fielding 11 Brumbies contracted players in their starting side but that didn’t deter the Perth Spirit as they came away with a tough 28-23 win. The Spirit came out of the blocks quickly and managed to keep their hands on the ball for the majority of the opening period and kept the Vikings defence working hard. They took the lead after Zack Holmes sliced through the onrushing defensive line to score the opening try after eight minutes and converted give his side an 8-0 lead. The Vikings did have their chances to hit back but were let down by handling errors and some great defence from the visitors who were sell supported by a small section of the crowd. That would be the theme for the half with the Force attacking the line on further occasions only to be repelled by the Vikings defence. The Vikings had to play a lot out of their own 22 and were unable to get much field position. The Spirit extended their lead on 28 minutes with a lick backline move that saw fullback Dillyn Leyds go over for the second Spirit try in the left corner. Holmes could not convert from wide out to leave it at 13-0.

The second half was reverse of the first half with the Vikings having the better of the play early in the half. The Vikings finally got on the board with flyhalf Isaac Thompson scoring their first try in the left corner to make it 13-5. The forwards started to get involved and on one occasion, a rolling maul involved all but three players the ball popped to Thompson who kicked cross field and Robbie Coleman dived on the ball for the Vikings second try. With less than 20 minutes to go, Perth suffered a double blow with two players receiving yellow cards in quick succession. Replacement Richard Hardwick was marched first then just minutes later, prop Alec Hepburn joined him for slowing the play down. The weight of numbers proved too much for the Spirit, and centre Nigel Ah Wong scored in the right corner to give the Vikings the lead. Christian Lealiifano’s kicking woes continued as he missed his third shot at goal. Robbie Coleman claimed his double shortly after after weaving through the line to score under the posts and Lealiifano finally landed a conversion to make it 23-13. The Spirit weren’t giving up and scored two tries in the last 10 minutes, with Heath Tessmann diving over the close the gap and the second went to centre Amman Matuauto who ran 50 metres untouched to the line to get his side back in the lead with only minutes remaining. The Spirit held onto the ball for the last minutes and added a penalty goal after the siren for good measure to complete the 28-23 win.

The Game Changer

The yellow cards the Spirit received in the second half allowing the Vikings back into the game.


A few too choose from the Spirit but I’m giving the nod to Luke Burton.

Players to Watch

Tim Cree got through plenty of work for the Vikings whilst Zack Holmes and Luke Burton showed plenty of promise leading the Spirit backline around.

The Details

Score & Scorers

VIKINGS 23 Tries: Thompson, Coleman 2, Ah Wong Conversions: Lealiifano Penalties:
SPIRIT 28 Tries: Holmes, Leyds, Tessmann, Matuauto Conversions: Holmes, Burton Penalties: Burton


63 mins – Richard Hardwick – Perth (Yellow) 65 mins – Alec Hepburn – Perth (Yellow) 73 mins – Tom Staniforth – Vikings (Yellow) Crowd: approx 1500

  • Brumby runner

    After Thursday night I was really looking forward to a good open game of rugby. Unfortunately, only one team turned up to play. The Spirit lived up to their name and fully deserved their victory over a Brumbies-laden Vikings team that seemed to want to play force-‘em-backs whenever they did get the ball. In short, the Vikings simply kicked the game away, and that tactic was certain death as they were well and truly beaten at the breakdown.

    It would have been a travesty had the Spirit not won because of their two players in the bin.

    For the Vikings, Fotu Aluelua was very busy but really didn’t have the impact he should until late in the game. Robbie Coleman was sub-par on the wing and would be better at 10. Jesse Mogg kicked the game away, quite literally, with his kick from inside the Vikings half that went dead in goal with less than 5 minutes to play. From the ensuing scrum, No 13 Matuauto made a break on the half way line and outpaced the Vikings’ backline including Ah Wong and Mogg to score the winning try. Other than that, Moggy also kicked away possession on numerous occasions. If he continues to play that way, I will be looking to sell my season tickets on EBay.

    I’ve never been a fan of Rory Walton but today he was easily the best lock on the ground.

    • Mst

      You hit the nail on the head. Congratulations to the Spirit, they turned up and played well. I to will be putting my ticket up on ebay as well unless there a massive change. Not sure if it just me but some of deficiencies you mention I have seen previously this year, and I hope its not a systemic ingrained problem that will continue to live on after the NRC season ends – though I am becoming increasingly concerned.Gutted!

  • theduke

    Great write up. Terrific to see the match reviews up here. Thanks!

  • Trevor Hancock

    Great game assessment Steve… The UC Vikings looked better on paper before the kickoff, but the Perth team really bought their A-game, and played good team rugby. The UC Vikings looked disjointed in Defence, missing quite a number of 1st up tackles. In attack, they couldn’t keep hold of the ball. Personally, I think they were lucky to only be down by 13 at half time.
    In the 2nd half, the UC Vikings came out with more conviction & it led to 4 good team tries, and I thought the boys would run over the top of the Perth team. But you got to give Perth their due, as they never gave up and came home in the last 10 minutes to regain the lead and win the match. Zack Holmes was exceptional for the Spirit, and Ammon Matuauto is definitely someone to watch, that 50m run to score the last try was amazing, and really put the icing on a great game for him.
    Individually, a few of the UC Vikings went ok, but they seemed to miss that team gel, and I am really looking forward to seeing Tim Cree some more, he was voted the on-ground UC Vikings Man of the Match, and the award was well deserved.
    Hopefully, the UC Vikings can pick it up with their short turn around before the Rams game on Thursday.

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Canberra born and bred Rugby fan brought up on Canberra Kookaburra and ACT Brumbies Rugby.

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