NRC Review: Melbourne Rising v NSW Country Eagles - Green and Gold Rugby
Melbourne Rising

NRC Review: Melbourne Rising v NSW Country Eagles

NRC Review: Melbourne Rising v NSW Country Eagles

The Melbourne Rising have prevailed in a hard-fought 23 – 16 victory over the NSW Country Eagles.

What a difference a year can make.   During the inaugural 2014 season these two teams lead the competition, only to fall at the semis. Come the 2015 season and both teams are in a neck and neck battle just to make the playoffs. Melbourne Rising need to win their last two games to book a semi-final berth.  Any slip up will leave the door open for the other teams, many of who are still mathematically in with a chance. Last time these two teams met in 2014, the Melbourne came out victors 37-16 in Orange, over NSW Country Eagles.

The Match

For this part of the Melbourne Rising home game travelling roadshow, we found ourselves for this round 8 clash at Simonds Stadium in South Geelong.  Home to the Geelong Cats, this Stadium would have a great atmosphere with a full crowd. Tonight, only a handful of Rugby faithful witnessed what turned out to be a demonstration of tackling of the highest order.

First Half

The visitors kicked off and from the start they dominated the Rising and camped themselves down in the Rising 22. It was not long before the Eagles crashed over for a try via Hooker Tom Sexton, who wore the Rising jersey the previous season. Jono Lance added the extra 3 to make the score 8 – 0 to the Eagles.

In another early blow to Rising, fly-half Jack Debreczeni went off injured shortly afterwards, being replaced by “The Big Swede” Lloyd Johansson. This disrupted the Rising’s game plan, however they did soon hit back with a try.   Jonah Placid scored in the corner after Mark Baldwin from the Eagles was yellow-carded for a cynical foul. An unsuccessful conversion attempt by Lloyd Johansson left the score at 8 – 5 to the Eagles, where it stayed for the remainder of the half.

Despite the lack of points, there was still plenty of action and controversy. In the 20th minute it looked for all money that Eagles prop Dave Faeo had scored a try.  Referee Matt O’Brien however reversed the decision and called for a TMO review.

It was deemed that Faeo had been tackled and subsequently a penalty went to the Rising, letting them off a very big hook.

Despite the Eagles having over 60% of the possession, the Rising held strong with some very big tackles, including some monster hits from Lopeti Timani. One hit was said to have contacted the head of the opposition, leading to a 10 minute visit to the naughty chair for Timani.

Sam Jefferies followed him soon afterwards for repeated infringements, leaving the Rising with only 13 men for several minutes near the end of the 1st half.  The Eagles were unable to capitalise on this and when the whistle blew for half time, it was still neck and neck.

Second Half

While it was all the NSW Country Eagles in the first 40, it was Melbourne Rising who dominated in the second half. It didn’t start off that way, though, with Lloyd Johansson not making 10 metres on the restart.  The Eagles soon capitalised, going over for a brilliant converted try soon after, pushing their score out to 16 – 5.

As the 2nd half wore on the Eagles started to wear out, possibly due to all the bit hits they were taking from the Rising. The Rising scrum started to dominate and resulting penalties lead a yellow card for Eagles Prop Dashville Kuate.

The Rising capitalised on the scoreboard, with to Ben Meehan and Coly Fainga’a.  Johansson’s wayward boot was hurting the Rising, leaving the score at 16 – 15 to the Eagles.

The Rising soon hit the lead for the first time via a pushover scrum with Fainga’a getting his second for evening. The Rising were able to hold on for the last 8 minutes, giving them a 23-16 win and keeping their finals hopes alive for another week.

Rising v NSW Country

Jono Lance kicking for NSW Country Eagles

The Game Changer

Jack Debreczeni going off early in the game upset the Rising’s game plan.  The Eagles dominated for the rest of the 1st half, though were unable to put on the points. Referee Matt O’Brien was very whistle-happy, not afraid to penalise or card the slightest of infringements. The reversing of the Eagles try in the 1st half certainly had an impact of the game.   It was the Rising scrum in the second half that put the pressure on the Eagles, allowing the Rising to get the upper hand and the win.


Lopeti Timani, though he was yellow-carded, was not afraid to tackle anything, delivering some of the biggest hits of the season and preventing the Eagles to put on points.

Oz BaaBaaWatch

Jerome McKenzie for the Eagles was impressive, including a long-range try. Sione Tuipulotu continues to impress for the Rising and has been putting his hand up for higher duties.

The Details

Attendance: 500 ish

Score & Scorers

Melbourne Rising: 23
Tries: Jonah Placid, Ben Meehan, Colby Fainga’a (2)
Conversions: Lloyd Johansson 0/3, Ben Meehan 1/1
Penalties: Nil
NSW Country Eagles: 16
Tries: Tom Sexton, Jarome Mackenzie
Conversions: Jono Lance 2/2
Penalties: Nil

Cards & Citings

[11] – Yellow – Mark Baldwin (Eagles)

[30] – Yellow – Lopeti Timani (Rising)

[38] – Yellow – Sam Jeffries (Rising)

[64] – Yellow – Dashville Kuate (Eagles)

Rising v NSW Country - Colby Faingaa

“Sorry, Sir, I’ll have a word with them…”


Rising: 1. Cruze Ah-Nau, 2. Pat Leafa, 3. Duncan Chubb, 4. Sam Jeffries, 5. Lopeti Timani, 6. Luke Jones, 7. Jordy Reid, 8. Colby Fainga’a (C), 9. Ben Meehan, 10. Jack Debreczeni, 11. Stacey Ili, 12. Sione Tuipulotu, 13. Dom Shipperley, 14. Justin Marsters, 15. Jonah Placid.

16. Mitch Andrews, 17. Mike Tyler, 18. Tom Moloney, 19. Steve Cummins, 20. Pom Simona, 21. Maradona Farao, 22. Lloyd Johansson, 23. Filipe Vilitati.

Eagles: 1. Dane Maraki, 2. Tom Sexton, 3. Dave Faeo, 4. Nick Palmer, 5. Tom Staniforth, 6. Beau Robinson, 7. Mark Baldwin, 8. Sam Figg, 9. Mitch Short, 10. Jono Lance, 11. Charlie Clifton, 12. Dave Horwitz, 13. Ed Stubbs, 14. Jarome McKenzie, 15. Andrew Kellaway.

16. Peter Nau, 17. Jerome Vaai, 18. Dashville Kuate, 19. Jock Armstrong, 20. BJ Edwards, 21. Angus Pulver, 22. Tom Merritt, 23. Jack Pennington.

  • Pedro

    Thanks for the write up. It seems like defenses are staying to function properly towards the end of the season with some lower scores in the last few rounds. I hope the Rising make the finals as they would love to redeem themselves after last year’s effort.

    It’s a shame that these games aren’t held more central to Melbourne as I think they’d get better crowds, at least they seemed to last season.

  • Saus

    That solo try from Mackenzie was impressive. I was surprised that the Rising got up in the end though as Country looked like they had it over them until as you mentioned the rising’s forwards started to dominate..

    • Kiap

      Yep, Country looked good but they eventually got overpowered and overrun by the Rising. Good showing from both sides, though, in a low-scoring one by NRC standards.

  • jamie

    Timani may well be a better non-jumping lock than Skelton. Brings actual aggression and fire

    • Patrick

      That was obvioussix months ago!

    • TheMountain

      Prefer him at 8, fits the bill better. The rebels pack could be absolutely bollocking next year if you have Jones, Jeffries, McMahon, Reid and Timani playing together

      • jamie

        Faiinga surely has to geta start as well

        • TheMountain

          Think about next year when Adam Thompson and Culum Retallick turn up. Some seriously talented players are sure to miss out. Not to mention James Hanson

  • Stray Gator

    What’s the latest on Jack D’s injury status? Nothing posted on the club’s website.

  • oztimmay

    Great write-up GMR. Also, Photo credit to KevinO

    The Eagles certainly did own the first ha;f, but the dominant Rising pack soon too charge in the second half. The defence was immense and those hits could be felt a few rows back. This little highlight reel tells a good story – listen To Sean Maloney :)

  • TheMountain

    Holy snappin’ duck sh*t Timani is a broad unit! look at his legs in that photo!

Melbourne Rising

Who was it that said "there's always next season"? Oh yes, it was me, every year... Played every position in the forwards as a lad, was crap at all of them.

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