QLD Country in powerful win over Vikings - Green and Gold Rugby
National Rugby Championship

QLD Country in powerful win over Vikings

QLD Country in powerful win over Vikings

On the back of Western Force’s statement yesterday in defeating the Fiji Drua in Suva, this match would become a crucial statement maker for both teams.  Forming a interesting little rivalry, at least since the recent resurgence of the Queensland Country side, these match ups are invariably close but never boring.

First Half:

Queensland Country made all the play early and it was basically all forward play.  On the back of repeated dominant scrums, Queensland were able to make all the territory. Once close enough, the pack picked and drove until Harry Hoopert was the one to get the pill over the try line. The conversion by teenage debutant, and flyhalf, Carter Gordon gave the home team a big boost early. QLD Country 7-0.

The Vikings were able to close the gap by three after Harry Wilson was penalised at a ruck and Ryan Lonergan kicked a simple goal. QLD Country 7-3.

The Vikings were prepared to use their backs to attack and made easy ground out wide with some basic hands through centres Irae Simone and Tom Wright.  They looked dangerous and set to score until Country skipper, Angus Scott-Young, was able to snaffle a penalty at the breakdown.

In contrast to the earlier match of the double header, tries were hard to come by.  It wasn’t until the 24th minute that QLD Country would score the next try of the match when Tate McDermott jinked his way through the Vikings defence to score a try.  The try came when the Vikings were reduced to 14 men with Tom Wright having been yellow carded for a deliberate knock down as the Queenslanders attacked out wide. QLD Country 14-3.

The Vikings didn’t need extra numbers to score though and managed to get the next try, while a man down, through winger Mack Hansen.  There were some lovely hands in the lead up, particularly amongst the fullbacks with Darcy Swain and Jake Simeon showing deftness belying their respective sizes.  Hansen himself had to pick up a wide pass off his bootlaces and retain his feet to dive over for an excellent try.  QLD Country 14-8.

Hansen was in again for the Harlem Globetrotters, sorry Vikings, again on the back of some freakish footy and wonderful support play.  It began with a clearing kick from the Vikings collecting Filipo Daugunu in the face and putting all the chasers on side. Pete Samu raced away before a series of passes would eventually find the ball in Hansen’s hands to again dive for the corner to score. QLD Country 14-13

With Canberra back to 15 men and the half time siren imminent, QLD Country were able to get over to extent their lead.  This time it was winger Joey Fittock who dived over for a try way out after some sustained forward work.  QLD Country 19-13.

But if that try was in the shadows of the break, then the Andy Muirhead that would come soon after was pitch black. Running onto a lose Pete Samu off-load Muirhead danced his way through the QLD Country team, with many seemingly already in the changerooms. The kick from Lonergan meant that the visitors would go to oranges with a  slim lead.

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Fred Kaihea charges into the Country defence

Second Half:

The intensity of the game continued in the 2nd half with neither team making it easy for their opponents.  Daugunu made a typical brilliant Daugunu run where he confused about 20 opposition players and a handful of his own team mates.  The Vikings held him out though and ground their way back up the field.  The pressure on  the QLD team told and Hamish Stewart and Lonergan took advantage with a penalty goal. Vikings 23-19.

QLD Country bounced back immediately, ironically through a former Viking. Replacement front rower, and huge human, George Francis couldn’t he stopped close to the line and gave his new team the lead again. QLD Country 26-23.

As the match entered the final 20 minutes the effort was far from  failing. In fact if anything, the hits were getting bigger as both teams clamoured for the upper hand.

One of the names rarely called this game would soon score a key try. Hamish Stewart had been very good, playing at 12 for QLD Country, and getting through a pile of work. He ran some strong lines to keep his backline moving forward.  One such strong run saw him break a few tackles and crash over outside for a critical score. QLD Country 31-23

It looked for all money that Country had scored again when Harry Wilson threw a ridiculous behind the back off-load to Stewart, again running a great line.  He drew the last line and threw a wide pass to Daugunu in space who was in for all money, over to drop the ball over the line. It all deserved more but only succeeded in given the Vikings important possession.

The points would come for the home-side soon however.  On the back of a penalty against Toni Pulu for a high tackle, Harry Hockings grabbed an incredible lineout take after which the Country pack was able to steamroll the Viking pack for a Harry Wilson try.  QLD Country 36-23.

When young Carter Gordon was yellow carded for a tip tackle in the last moments of the game, the Vikings had their final shot at a losing bonus point. The option to take the scrum was proven a poor one when QLD Country annihilated the Canberra scrum and score the penalty to end the game.

The double head teams swicheroo for next week now with Queensland Country travelling to Sydney to take on Sydney while the Vikings will host Brisbane.

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Harry Wilson – massive across the park

The Game Changer

This game was bloody close throughout so it was only really the back to back scores by Country, specifically the Hamish Stewart try, that really sealed the deal for the home team.

The GAGR Man of the Match

Darcy Swain was fantastic for the Vikings with Pete Samu and Irae Simone also strong Stewart and McDermott were always dangerous but Harry Wilson was monstrous all day and gets the gong.

The Rising Star Watch

Fred Kaihea for the Vikings had a very good first half and does more than a prop should. Mack Hansen did some great stuff out wide. But as above, Harry Wilson is the stand out here.

Match Details

Queensland Country 36

Tries: Harry Hoopert, Tate McDermott, Joey Fittock, George Francis, Hamish Stewart, Harry Wilson.

Conversions: Carter Gordon 3

Yellow Card: Carter Gordon

Canberra Vikings 23

Tries: Mack Hansen 2, Andy Muirhead

Conversions: Ryan Lonergan

Penalties: Ryan Lonergan 2

Yellow Card: Tom Wright

  • Thought Harry Hoopert was a monster.

  • Brumby Runner

    Thanks Reg. A great game and full marks to QldC for the win. Wilson is a real star, and a deserved MOTM.

    My only small criticism of the game was that that lineout win by Hockings was nowhere near straight. He caught it one handed with his outside hand and was well on his own side of his outside shoulder. I’m not sure if crooked throws are being let go as in previous years, but I did see a number pulled up in earlier games. Consistency, please.

  • idiot savant

    I love your passion for rugby and the NRC Reg. Good summary. I was at the ground and anyone who thinks the NRC is Mickey Mouse needs to watch this game. Both sides wanted it and it was a quality game of football that was very physical. Just ask Pete Samu. He needed treatment half a dozen times mostly for the shots he was putting on other blokes. Swain also poleaxed a few blokes. Enever limped off. Daugunu smashed Muirhead. Carter got a cork that won’t look good today. It was great to watch up close.

    I estimate about 9 players on each side had Super Rigby experience. They were mixed with the next gen of talent so the mix was very good. The young guys were really trying to show their wares while the slightly more experienced ones were welcoming them to the uplift in intensity and physicality.

    The Vikings loose forwards (Miller and Samu) made every ruck a struggle so ball was often slow on the QC side. The QC forwards are huge humans – Blythe, Hockings and Wilson are about 30 feet long. Yet they struggled in the line out such was the contest put up by Swain and co at the Vikings. The Lonergan brothers are hard little nuts.

    I was surprised QC won it because I felt they were only just matching the Vikings until the last 20 minutes. The Vikings back line has some class and Muirhead has serious gas. I guess the workload of bringing down the huge QC pack finally told. Wilson made them tackle him an awful lot. Got a big engine for a bug guy. And QC did tackle well.

    I was impressed with Carter’s first game at that level. They ran at him and he never flinched. Made his tackles. McDermott looked up at him to pass from a ruck and I saw Carter point to Stewart who was standing first receiver on the other side. It was the right decision because the defence was stacked on Carter’s side. Nice little sign from a first timer.

    Stewart impressed me greatly as a 12. Tough as nails, great hands, smart, secures a lot of ruck ball in potential isolation situations, tacked well. Just good at the hard unglamorous stuff. He was good last week too. It looks like his goose is cooked at 10 for the Reds with Hegarty, Lucas and Carter on the rise. Shame because I like what I saw of his work in that number at both NRC and Super level. Old fashioned. A million miles from the dilettantes so preferred these days….

  • idiot savant

    Just one more point on McDermott’s try. Wright had just been sent to the bin so the Vikings were down to 14 men. From the line out after the penalty kick, ASY went for a shortened line out. I thought that was odd given the Vikings were down one back. Wouldn’t it have made more sense to have a full line out and either stretch the back defence by going wide quick or throw to the front and go the blind if they Vikings shortened up on that side? Perhaps it was the double bluff that allowed the red and white sea to part in the middle for McDermott to run through!

National Rugby Championship
@RugbyReg

The original prop in a prop's body, but thankfully I have the rugby mind of a prop as well.

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