Nov 1 • Australia, General News • 1780 Views • Comments Off on SPIRIT FALLS TO BRISBANE CITY IN BUILDCORP NRC FINAL

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The Perth Spirit has suffered a heartbreaking 37-26 loss to Brisbane City in the inaugural Buildcorp National Rugby Championship (NRC) grand final this evening at Ballymore Stadium in Brisbane.

In a tight match, the opening half saw both sides score three tries apiece but Brisbane City’s dominance at the set piece saw them take the upper hand in the latter stages of the match.

The Spirit’s effort across the board couldn’t be faulted with everyone stepping up including a huge match from flanker Brynard Stander, who played with a rib injury and continued to exert his weight around the field.

Perth Spirit coach Kevin Foote said the team was extremely disappointed with the result but gave credit to Brisbane City and their performance.

“It was certainly one of our more disappointing performances tonight but full credit to Brisbane City and Nick Stiles on their effort and their set piece,” Foote said. “They strangled us out of the game and we just couldn’t get any momentum – their tactics worked and unfortunately we just couldn’t capitalise on that.

“We had some glimpses of really good play in that first half and I think we should have scored just before half time but the boys were calm in the sheds and knew where we needed to lift.

“Unfortunately we just didn’t get enough of the ball and tried to play catch-up rugby.

“The club overall has gone well in 2014 and the stats speak for themselves right through the age groups with our Under 17’s winning the Junior Gold Cup and the Under 20’s winning the Combined States.

“To to get to the Buildcorp NRC final was another huge achievement and we’ve got a super bunch of guys here so it’s just onwards and upwards.”

The Spirit was on the board early when they took the ball into City’s 22m before swinging it back to find Junior Rasolea, who dived over next to the posts. Zack Holmes’ conversion was good and the Spirit was ahead 8-0.

City hit back after the Spirit was penalised twice in their 22m and off the back of a rolling maul from the lineout, Liam Gill crashed over to even the scores 8-all with Liam McIntyre’s conversion.

The home side looked sure to take the lead as Matt Feaunati sprinted toward the try-line but a desperate chase from Dane Haylett-Petty saw him dragged down as he went to ground the ball.

They took the lead not long after however, when the subsequent scrum saw them push the Spirit back to their line and referee Rohan Hoffmann awarded a penalty try to take it to 16-8.

The lead was shortened to three points when a perfectly placed cross-field kick from Holmes was plucked from the air by a flying Haylett-Petty and dotted down as he hit the ground.

With five minutes remaining in the half, Robbie Abel scored his sixth try of the tournament when he was dragged down just before the line and stretched out to claim the points. Holmes nailed the conversion to give the Perth side the 21-16 lead.

Just a minute later, City stole back the lead when Pettowa Paraka crossed from the rolling maul and McIntyre slotted the extras.

Scores remained the same for the opening twenty minutes of the second half before City crossed twice through Paraka and Junior Laloifi to extend their lead to an unassailable 37- 21.

The siren sounded but the Spirit continued their fight and their consistent pressure allowed replacement Davis Tavita to score in the corner, cutting back the score line to 37-26.

Brisbane City 37 (Pettowa Paraka 2; Liam Gill, Junior Laloifi, Penalty tries; Jake McIntyre 4 conversions) defeated Perth Spirit 26 (Junior Rasolea, Dane Haylett-Petty, Robbie Abel, Davis Tavita tries; Zack Holmes 2 conversions) at Ballymore Stadium, Brisbane.

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