It was a close one in Canberra but the Vikings managed to hold on for a tense one-point win over Brisbane City, 36-35 at Viking Park. It looked like Brisbane would snatch the win in the last ten minutes but a Ryan Lonergan penalty goal with five minutes remaining saw the Vikings home.
The Vikings didn’t have it all their own way with their scrum under real pressure and had to play 20 minutes with 14 men with two yellow cards handed out in an entertaining game that saw both sides score five tries.
It was evenly matched for the opening 15 minutes with both sides with chances to score but unable to take advantage of good field position.
It took just under 20 minutes for the scorer to be troubled with the Vikings first on the board to hooker Lachlan Lonergan off the back of a maul as the Vikings took advantage of some poor Brisbane discipline in their own 22.
That score was quickly followed up by another try to the Vikings after Noah Lolesio gave them good field advantage after sliding through the defensive line and eventually the ball fell to Luke Gersekowski out on the left to make it 14-0.
Brisbane weren’t deterred and they responded with a try of their own to Brandon Paenga-Amosa after winger Jordan Luke, who was looking impressive in the opening half, had put them on the front foot with a good run down the left wing.
The joy didn’t continue too long for Gersekowski as he copped a yellow card after the Vikings were on a warning from for repeated infringing.
The visitors had a few injury concerns to deal with in the opening 30 minutes with both Michael Wood and Ruan Smith having to be replaced due to injury.
Despite the extra man advantage, the Vikings were the next to score as they turned over the Brisbane ball and went from their own 22 with Mack Hansen cutting through on the left before offloading to Andy Muirhead who found his way to the line. Ryan Lonergan continued his 100% kicking off the tee to make it 21-7.
Just before half time Brisbane hit back with a statement at scrum time five metres out to put the Vikings under real pressure that they couldn’t contain and resulted in a penalty try to make it a seven-point game.
It looked like Brisbane would hold out until half time but the Vikings hit back right on the break with Toni Pulu over in the right corner with Pete Samu giving the last pass to make it 26-14.
Brisbane started off the second half on the front foot and armed with their big scrum they put the Vikings under pressure again in their own 22 and a moment of genius from Isaac Lucas saw them over again as his grubber kick was grounded just before the dead ball line by Teti Tela and the conversion Lucas reduced the margin to five.
The try scoring shootout continued with Tom Wright the beneficiary of some good work to give them a little bit of breathing room as he scored their fifth try and restore the 12-point margin.
The scrum of Brisbane had been impressive all day and it was again that weapon that lead to their next try with Paenga-Amosa claiming his second of the day from close range. He was then denied a chance of a hat-trick as he was hooked straight after.
The Vikings went down to 14 men again with replacement prop Bo Abra given a yellow card with the dominance from the Brisbane side evident and give them a chance of snatching the win.
With ten minutes remaining, Brisbane hit the lead for the first time as replacement Tuaina Tualima burrowed over from close range and the conversion from Lucas put them in front, 35-33.
But a penalty goal from Ryan Lonergan with five minutes to go put the Vikings back in front by a point at 36-35 and they managed to close it for the last two minutes and hold for a tense one-point win.
The last ten minutes looked like Brisbane would come back and snatch the win but Ryan Lonergan’s penalty goal with five minutes left was enough.
The G&GR MOTM
Plenty of options across the board but the nod goes to Brandon Paenga-Amosa who claimed a double and was part of a dominant scrum for the Brisbane side.
Noah Lolesio is in the mix for the starting 10 jersey for the Brumbies in 2020 and was been reasonably solid in this tense game. Big mention to Jordan Luke from Brisbane City who had a couple of chances to stretch the legs and looked impressive when doing so and helped setup Brisbane’s first try.
Score & Scorers
Tries: L Lonergan, Gersekowski, Muirhead, Pulu, Wright
Conversions: R Lonergan 4
Tries: Paenga-Amosa 2, Penalty try, Tela, Tualiam
Conversions: Lucas 4
28 mins – Gersekowski (Vikings) – Yellow
65 mins – Abra (Vikings) – Yellow