Camden played host to a double-header on Sunday featuring NSW Country Women and Sydney Women and the men’s NRC game.
Sydney Women bounced back after defeat at Concord Oval last month to win 34-12 in a fixture that highlighted the growth of the women’s game and the opportunity for players to trial for Super W selection.
In the NRC match, despite leading for the majority of the game, the NSW Country Eagles couldn’t sustain the pressure on Brisbane allowing two late tries for them to sneak home winners 28-27.
In the end Quade Cooper’s ability to kick two conversions into a stiff breeze proved the difference on the scoreboard.
NSW Country were able to nullify the effect of Cooper and Karmichael Hunt for the majority of the game through great line speed in defence and causing Brisbane to live off scrappy ball through pressuring their set piece.
Brisbane were first to score when winger Emori Waqavulagi crashed over but NSW Country bounced straight back when they counter-attacked from a turnover. Jaline Graham showed great footwork and an even better offload to put Alex Newsome away for the try in a length of the field effort.
Newsome’s next action was a try saving tackle but cost him 10 minutes on the sideline. Despite playing with 14 men, NSW Country rallied and sustained pressure saw Jaline Graham score in the corner to take the lead 10-7.
Not long after Brisbane finally won some clean lineout ball and Quade Cooper was able to put Tautalatasi Tasi through a gap allowing Matt Gordon to score under the posts.
Brisbane took a 14-10 lead into the break but NSW Country came out of the sheds firing and scored early through Jack Grant after more pressure on the Brisbane lineout from Jed Holloway caused a turnover.
NSW Country went back to back after some great work from Sam Figg at the kick off and some fine support play led to a try to Matt Gibbon.
At 27-14 it looked like NSW Country may run away with a comfortable victory but they were unable to control field position or sustain the pressure on the Brisbane lineout late in the game. Brisbane made the most of their opportunities and a break by Cooper led to a Pat Morrey try followed by the match winner to Sam Wallis five minutes later.
NSW Country 27
Tries: Newsome, Graham, Grant, Gibbon
Conversions: Saifoloi (2)
Penalties: Saifoloi (1)
Tries: Waqavulagi, Gordon, Morrey, Wallis
Conversions: Cooper (4)
Meanwhile, a Filipo Daugunu inspired last 30 minutes to lose their NRC match against Queensland Country 64-24 at Bond University on the Gold Coast on the weekend.
At the 50 minute mark Sydney were right in this game but tries by the home side in the 53rd, 58th, 61st and a penalty try in the 65th minute put the match sealed the win for the home side.
The spark for Queensland Country came from the hand, kicking and running skills of Duagunu and he capped off his productive day with a try in the 67th minute.
It was quite an afternoon for the Fijian flyer, who came to Australia a couple of years ago with a soccer representative team as a goalkeeper, stayed and decided to have a crack at rugby.
Nothing though should be taken away from the effort of the Sydney side, they worked their way back into the game after trailing 12-0 after the first 25 minutes.
But tries to JP Sauni and Tayson Davis just before the halftime break got them within reach of the home side at 19-10.
Then five minutes into the second half it was game on as Shambeckler Vui scored after multiple passes by Sydney stretched the home side’s defence on the left hand side.
With Will Harrison’s conversion made the score 19-17 and the 75 percent winning rate Sydney have against Queenslanders looked like it was a good chance to be extended.
But once Chris Feauai-Sautia bullied his way over, the game took on a whole new complexion.
Skipper Jack Dempsey, who once again was one of Sydney’s best, said: “The same things seemed to have happened over the past couple of week. We’ve come out pretty red hot and got the 50 minute mark and just hit a wall.”
“I’m not sure what it is whether it’s fitness or a lack of confidence in the game plan but our aim is to put it together for 80 minutes and we’ve got one game left to do that in.”
On the injury front, Pama Fou dislocated his shoulder after taking five rounds to be ready to play after a couple of leg problems.
The long awaited rugby debut of John Folau became a reality in the 70th minute when he came on and shortly after scored a try off a scamper and a pop pass from Nick Duffy.
Sydney travel to Ballarat next weekend to take on the Melbourne Rising in their final NRC game of 2018.
Tries: Sauni, Davis, Vui, Folau
Conversions: Harrison (2)
Queensland Country 64
Tries: Tries: Petaia (2), McDermott, Asiata, Feauai-Sautia, Campbell, Casey, Daugunu, Nucifora, Penalty Try
Conversions: Stewart (5)
Yellow Cards: Daugunu (72nd minute)