QLD Win the Coastal Country Clash - Green and Gold Rugby
National Rugby Championship

QLD Win the Coastal Country Clash

QLD Win the Coastal Country Clash

Queensland Country is leading the competition. NSW Country is on a roll with two wins in a row. Who will come out on top? This was either going to be a legendary game or…… one of those games that you want to put out of its misery before it is done.

Kyle Godwin is bought to ground

Kyle Godwin is bought to ground

First Half

Well, the heart got firmly planted in the mouth when 28 seconds into the game Patrick McCutcheon charged down a Hamish Stewart clearing kick. Luckily for QLD Izaia Perese was switched on enough to beat McCutcheon to the ball and force a 22 drop out.

It wasn’t long before the Queenslanders started the scoreboard ticking over. Hamish Stewart kicked to the corner from a penalty, and a few phases after the line out Patrick James slipped through the NSW line to score.

For the next 20 minutes, possession was traded between the teams as each played a territory game. Eventually, QLD got their back line humming and after a series of slick passes and some nice running Angus Scott-Young was pushed over for a try. (Boy he is starting to look like his Dad. I actually wrote SSY in my notes….).

The battle continued with NSW Country being their own worst enemies by kicking possession away and with a bunch of handling errors. They were probably lucky that QLD didn’t make more of the opportunities as QLD only scored once more in the half after Izaia Perese made a great break downfield. Following a number of settling phases, Daugunu stepped through the defence & dotted the ball down for yet another try.

The teams went into the halftime break with the score 17 to zip.


James Tuttle clears the ball

James Tuttle clears the ball

Second Half

In the first six minutes of the second half it looked like QLD were going to put NSW to the sword.

Eto Nabuli thought he would join the forwards and executed a perfect pick and drive to score a try. Then from the kick-off, he gathered the ball, stepped through some defenders and made a nice pass to put Perese over for a try. Other than a penalty kick at 69 minutes this was the last time QLD troubled the scorer. For the rest of the game, NSW took their opportunities and started the relentless chase.

Persistence paid off when eventually one of Tayler Adams’ cross field kicks found it’s mark and Andrew Kellaway scored in the corner. NSW was excused the embarrassment of a nudie run.

QLD started to get a bit eager in their defence and was repeatedly penalised when NSW ventured into the 22. From a line out NSW mauled the ball over the line with replacement hooker Connal McInerney coming up with the points.

After QLD’s last scoring penalty, NSW pulled probably the best stunt I have seen in an NRC game. Adams kicked off so quickly that most of the QLD players were still returning to their positions with their backs to the ball. The grubber kick was gathered by Maclean Jones who bullied his way through the disorganised opposition to score. Boys. Never. Never turn your back on the ball.

A few minutes later Adams decided that we needed to see a replay of the first NSW try. Again he kicked across field to find Kellaway to prove the first wasn’t an accident and bring NSW to within 10 points of QLD.

They continued to apply pressure to QLD and eventually, Referee Cooper binned Caleb Timu with less than a minute to go. From the resulting scrum Jake Gordon topped off a good game with a try.

QLD just hung on in the coastal country clash to win 34 to 31. Phew.

Alex Mafi juggles the ball

Alex Mafi juggles the ball


The Game Changer

What happened after QLD’s second try in the second half? They seemed to switch off and NSW switched on. I see some long sessions in the QLD Country’s future. Although coach Torn appeared calm on the outside right to the end I can’t see him being all that happy with the last 30 mins of the game.


This one is hard. The best of QLD was probably Daugunu. He scored a try, made some wonderful attacking runs and absolutely bone crunching tackles in defence. Timu also played a good game, only for it to be blotted by a yellow card for being in the wrong place at the wrong time when the ref ran out of patience. From a NSW perspective Adams was probably their most important player, controlling their game in the second half and clawing their way back into the game. But my MOTM actually goes to Tom Stamiforth. He was in everything. Ran and tackled all day.

Oz Baabaa Watch

Again there were not many players in this game who are not already spoken for by a Super Rugby club. I really hope Daugunu is signed somewhere. He is an elusive winger that is sorely needed in Australian rugby. Other than those mentioned in the MOTM comments, McInerney showed promise when he came on for NSW. Liam Wright and Maclean Jones also continue the churn of decent openside flankers in Australia. 

Taniela Tupou hits it up

Taniela Tupou hits it up


The Details

QLD Country: 

Tries: James, Scott-Young, Daugunu, Nabuli, Perese

Conversions: Tuttle  (3/5)

Penalties: Tuttle (1/1)

NSW Country:

Tries: Kellaway (2), McInerney, Jones, Gordon

Conversions: Adams (3/5)

Penalties: n/a

Yellow Cards – Timu

Izaia Perese attempts a charge-down of Tayler Adams' kick

Izaia Perese attempts a charge-down of Tayler Adams’ kick

Duncan Paia'aua evades the tackle of Alex Newsome

Duncan Paia’aua evades the tackle of Alex Newsome

  • I was called out an hour before kick off. Thanks for the review but the fade out is a bit of a worry!

    • SuckerForRed

      Very much so. I am not sure if they just weren’t switched on today or NSW Country really had their measure. I guess the next game will tell.

      • Waz_dog

        see above

    • Waz_dog

      Not a worry at all – Thorn rang the changes too early and invited them back in. If he’d held the main team out there for 10min longer it would have been a massive blow out

      • Alister Smith

        I was there too and agree that the changes to the QC team were the critical point but NSWC also made some changes at a similar time so maybe they also had the better bench. I thought the NSW half (Jake Gordon) was their best by a fair margin. I travelled 2-3 hours to see the game – my first NRC game this year. The crowd was a little disappointing. Bond University are a good sponsor and the facilities are great but I wonder if Toowoomba would be a better centre for the QC team (which would be even further for me to travel so i dont know why I am suggesting it).

        • Waz_dog

          I actually think you’d be right saying that the crowd numbers would be better out at Toowoomba – I don’t think the GC guys realise what they’ve actually got. Last home game QC has is at Ipswich if that suits you better.


        • Alister Smith

          No I am a NSWelshman – coming up from Maclean near Grafton so the Gold Coast is the best for me – but I used to play out in the Darling Downs comp and they are a little starved of high level sport and have a strong rugby community so I thought it might be a better option (and perhaps a little more “traditional” country). I might try and get out to the ‘swich though. I also found it a little hard to find info about the lead up games too. I couldnt find anything before 4pm so we just rocked up then but we would have gone earlier if we knew there was a prelim (i think Southport must have played someone as there were some blokes still in their jerseys). I think its a great comp and has the potential to be even better – I like the country teams playing at different venues – NSW played at Goulburn and Armidale too so its great that they are getting around. I really hope it takes off and eventually becomes self-sustaining – i wouldn’t be disappointed if this became our main comp either with or without the Kiwis – maybe wishful thinking that it would earn enough money to be able to retain our players

        • Alister Smith

          the hit from Eto Nabuli in the first half was my “play of the day”…you know when you get that feeling that you wish you could be out there playing…it disappeared almost immediately.

        • Waz_dog

          hahaha – yeah that was good. That hit in the 2nd half with about 10 to go was bigger I reckon. Took the NSWC player about 1min to get up from that hit.

          Yeah you look at them and think there’s nothing special about their size but when you see impacts like that I’m glad my playing days are over hahaha.

          What I really, really, really enjoyed was the family members that came up to the players after the game. A grandma was at the game congratulating her grandson player (winger from NSWC) really hit home that this is a good national comp and whatever the rugby tragics among us need to do whatever we can to support this comp.

        • Alister Smith

          yes it might well have been that one that I remembered but Eto had a few notches on the belt by the end of the game and they blurred into one for me

  • idiot savant

    I think the draw has been kind to Thorn, given that the Qld country performance has been one of the quoted elements in support of his appointment at the Reds. Their winning streak has been against the sides who are taking a more developmental approach playing a bigger clutch of younger bodies from under 20s and clubs. I think they are in for a rude shock in their last 2 matches against the bigger more experienced bodies in the Fijian and Perth sides.

    I like the style of football Thorn has them playing and hope something similar is applied to the Reds. Its foundation first, defence a priority with fast even line speed, and play it down the other end kicking for territory football. And when they do get into the opposition half theres a lot of inside passing early in the phases, compressing defences before spreading to the flanks. I like the freedom he gives Stewart to kick and the encouragement he gives the looses to run and pass. He seems to use Thor out wide a bit too which must worry defenders in the 13 channel!

    • Waz_dog

      Maybe – I was at the game. It was very clear that QC had their measure and after the first try of the second half Thorn rang the changes – about 10mins too early. That signaled a mentality shift where the guys put the cue in the rack early and gave the NSWC the opening which they duly took. A good spectacle in the end but a coaching blunder that Thorn will learn quickly from. It really should have been a 50-0 game to be honest.

      I must say that tuttle kicked really well – that penalty against the wind was telling in the end. The NSWC kicker slotted a couple of nice ones out wide too.

      • idiot savant

        Thanks Waz. What did Tayler Adams look like live? Is he a potential rep player?

        • Waz_dog

          His tactical and goal kicking was of a high standard on Saturday – his vision and execution to get the ball in behind the defense when they rushed up was pretty good.

          He needed the forward pack to give him that time to create though. He didn’t spark anything really in the first half.

          Hamish was a little underwhelming live which is a shame – I rate him. Didn’t do anything wrong and has a really strong boot. Just didn’t try to take the line on to create space for the back line (just simple catch pass).

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