Queensland Country take out 2017 NRC title - Green and Gold Rugby
Queensland Country NRC

Queensland Country take out 2017 NRC title

Queensland Country take out 2017 NRC title

Queensland Country have claimed their maiden NRC title after a 42-28 win over the Vikings in Canberra. It was a game fitting of the Grand Final between first and second place on the ladder and it came down to the final minutes for Country to seal the game with two late tries.

A hat trick to winger Filipo Daugunu and a double to captain Duncan Paia’aua, who also had a hand in a few of the other tries, were instrumental in the Country win but the Vikings will rue their second half after letting slip a 21-7 lead at the break as Country had it all their way and their possession dominance finally told in the end.

The Match

It was a fairly uneventful opening ten minutes, unless you’re a prop, after numerous scrums and resets. Country spent almost the whole period in the Vikings 22 and looked good early with Taniela Tupou and Caleb Timu combining to put a warning shot across the Vikings bow but they got out of trouble after Country knocked on and then were penalised.

Country were dominating the possession and territory for the opening 15 minutes and went very close to scoring after an acrobatic attempt from Filipo Daugunu saved a Caleb Timu grubber from going over the sideline and Tai Ford looked to have come up with the five-pointer but was denied by the TMO.

Country finally did get on the board after 20 minutes after a brilliant move starting with a huge cut out pass from Duncan Paia’aua in midfield found Eto Nabuli down the left wing, and with Chris Feauai-Sautia also involved, it eventually fell to James Tuttle for the opening try. He converted his own try for a 7-0 lead.

The Vikings hit back not long after with their first real chance with the ball. An error on the restart by Qld Country followed by a penalty gave them a chance to execute their rolling maul but the Country defence was up to the initial task. A numerous pick and goes near the line, James Dargaville found a way over the line. Hawera converted to level the scores.

Despite all their dominance in the opening half, Country were unable to convert with a knock on right near the Vikings line getting them out of trouble and shortly after, the Vikings had taken the lead with Harry Lloyd, in as a late swap with Faalelei Sione, barging over from close range after the Vikings backs were bale to find gaps in the midfield to set it up.

The Vikings went further in front just before half time with back rower Rob Valetini getting amongst the try scorers. The try was setup by fullback Tom Banks as he found space out wide and offloaded to Dargaville who was brought down just short but Valetini was able to finish off the move. Hawera landed his third conversion of the match from out wide to make it 21-7 at the break.

Embed from Getty Images

Country got the second half started on the right foot with a try to leading try scorer Filipo Daugunu in his usual acrobatic fashion after a look from the TMO. Tuttle converted from the sideline to make it 21-14. This came on the back of a Vikings error after they kicked out on the full from their 22 after it was carried back and, again, Paia’aua’s passing in the lead up played a crucial role.

Country tied up the game after 15 minutes in the second with a well worked try off first phase. Paia’aua was again involved as he took on the line and Daugunu ran a nice line behind him to take the pass and score under the sticks. Tuttle’s simple conversion leveled it at 21-21.

The points kept coming for Country, this time the beneficiaries of a charged down box kick and Paia’aua collected the crumbs and score to make it 21 unanswered points in nearly as many minutes and the momentum all in their favour.

The Vikings couldn’t get much going as Country disrupted most of their set piece opportunities as they could barely get their hands on the ball.

With 15 minutes remaining, Country went down to 14 men after Paia’aua copped a yellow card for a high shot and soon after the Vikings hit back with replacement Lausii Taliauli given the nod by the TMO, the second hardest worker at the ground after the blokes on the BBQ and Hawera made it 4 conversion from as many attempts.

With five minutes remaining, Country sealed the match after Paia’aua came back from the sin bin to score his second and then straight off the restart, Filipo Daugunu collected the ball then ran to the line to seal his hat trick. Tuttle’s 100% conversion rate continued as he made it 42-28.



The Game Changer

The second half – After being down 21-7 at the break, Country scored 35 points in the second half even after being down to 14 men at one stage.


The G&GR MOTM

Filipo Daugunu – continued his awesome try scoring form with a hat trick and added 168 running metres and 12, that’s right, 12 tackle busts.


The Details

Score & Scorers

VIKINGS 28
Tries: Dargaville, Lloyd, Valetini, Taliauli
Conversions: Hawera 4
QLD COUNTRY 42
Tries: Daugunu 3, Paia’aua 2, Tuttle
Conversions: Tuttle 6

Cards

66 mins – Paia’aua (Qld Country) – Yellow

  • Great game of footy. My team won so it’s all good. Thanks for the write up Steve. How was the steak sandwich?

    • Sandwiches, thank you… Very good I might add.

      • BigNickHartman

        is there going to be a separate report on the sangas any time soon? a video on the facebook page perhaps?

        • No, because just like the Tongan Thor in this match, it was fast paced and the handling was exceptional.

          And that was just me eating them.

  • Brumby Runner

    Very little between these two sides, and a couple of fairly poor tackle attempts out wide by the Vikings allowed the QC side to steal the game.

    I have to say that Darcy Swain again showed he is the premier lock among the U20s from this year. A real shame he missed the WC.

  • Pedro

    Excellent match befitting a final. Thanks for the write up Steve.

    Really impressive from QLDC, Paia’aua especially, wrongly sin binned, but put in a virtuoso performance. QLD change came back from the death in a game that was nearly always in the balance, regardless of the scoreboard.

    Canberra can hold their heads up, they stuck to their guns and didn’t do much wrong. A few moments the other way and who knows.

    Just a great game with everything, hopefully someone was watching.

  • paul

    Great game to watch on the TV, exciting with plenty of action, with a half decent crowd, genuine passion from the QLD country players after the whistle.

    This is the future of the game here, we don’t need globetrotting competitions that span half the f___g universe.

    Plant the seed and the tree will grow.

  • RugbyReg

    Fantastic game and I really didn’t think QLD Country would get the win at half time.

    Vikings were ruling the scrum and also causing havoc in our normally strong lineout. Then our attack close to the line was far too dependant on the pick and goes. Duncan barely was involved too.

    It all changed that 2nd half though and we pulled off a couple of big scrums at critical moments and Blythe and Hocking got their lineout operating better. And then we used the backs and Duncan came to the fore.

    Really impressive game and a wonderful advertisement for the NRC

  • Brisneyland Local

    JUst watched the game. Fantastic.
    – Firstly commiserations to the Vikings, valiant effort and great season, but pipped at the post.
    – Qld Country, what a champion comeback. Soooo much patience and effort. Fantastic.
    – From cellar dwellers to champions in a year! Brad Thorn has just layed down the marker!

    Great season of NRC. Cant wait for next year.

  • Jack

    Thoroughly entertaining game to close out a season of fantastic rugby. Stoked to see Queensland Country grab the toast rack. Tupou needs to keep working on his scrummaging, but man with ball in hand he’s awesome to watch..!!

  • Waz_dog

    Giddy up QC – rightfully the best team all season to win. And what a way to show it after the so called fade outs QC has had in second halves. Bring on next year for back to back. There are a lot of guys on this list that are only going to get better!

Queensland Country NRC
@steve_l15

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

More in Queensland Country NRC