Brisbane City were crowned champions of Australia on Saturday after beating Perth Spirit 37-26 in the NRC Grand Final at Ballymore.
Brisbane City were crowned champions of Australia on Saturday after beating Perth Spirit 37-26 in the inaugural National Rugby Championship Grand Final at Ballymore Stadium.
The hosts outscored Perth five tries to four as they pulled clear in the second half in front of a 7889-strong crowd.
The success comes largely thanks to a dominant pack as the home side scored a penalty try while loosehead prop Pettowa Paraka touched down on either side of halftime.
Brisbane City led 24-21 at the interval after the teams scored three tries apiece in the first 40 minutes. Jake McIntyre converted all three of Brisbane City’s tries but his opposite number Zack Holmes missed one to leave the visitors trailing.
Perth Spirit were first to score when centre Junior Rasolea muscled his way over but Man of the Match Liam Gill replied for the home side. Both tries were converted to leave the score locked at 8-all after ten minutes (conversions are worth 3 points in the NRC).
Brisbane City moved ahead thanks to their dominant scrum, as they earned a penalty try after an extended period of pressure on the Perth tryline.
The visitors bounced back when full-back Dane Haylett-Petty beat Brando Va’aulu in the air to collect Holmes’ cross-field kick to score. Holmes sent the conversion wide though.
Spirit hooker Robbie Abel scored a great try after a powerful run to put the visitors back in front but Brisbane had the last laugh of the half as Paraka crashed over after a maul.
Papua New Guinean prop Paraka was on hand to score in the corner again as Brisbane stretched their lead after the break before Samoan flyer Junior Laloifi sealed the win with the breakaway try in the dying minutes.
Davis Tavita scored after the final hooter but it was too little, too late for the visitors.
For Brisbane City:
Tries: Gill, Penalty try, Paraka 2, Laloifi
Cons: McIntyre 4
For Perth Spirit:
Tries: Rasolea, Haylett-Petty, Abel, Tavita
Cons: Holmes 3
Brisbane City: 15 Brando Va’aulu, 14 Chris Kuridrani, 13 Toby White, 12 Jack Mullins, 11 Mathew Feaunati, 10 Jake McIntyre, 9 Nick Frisby, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Curtis Browning, 5 David McDuling, 4 Marco Kotze, 3 Sef Faagase, 2 Andrew Ready, 1 Pettowa Paraka.
Replacements: 16 Mathew Mafi, 17 David Feao, 18 Phil Kite, 19 Tim Buchanan, 20 Adam Korczuk, 21 Will Thompson, 22 James Dalgleish, 23 Laloifi Junior Laloifi.
Perth Spirit: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Luke Morahan, 13 Junior Rasolea, 12 Ammon Matuauto, 11 Marcel Brache, 10 Zack Holmes, 9 Ian Prior, 8 Alex Rovira, 7 Kane Koteka, 6 Brynard Stander, 5 Brent Murphy, 4 Sam Wykes, 3 Oli Hoskins, 2 Robbie Abel, 1 Pek Cowan.
Replacements: 16 Harry Scoble, 17 Joe Savage, 18 Chris Heiberg, 19 Kieran Stringer, 20 Richard Hardwick, 21 Justin Turner, 22 Davis Tavita, 23 Christian Joubert.
Venue: Ballymore Stadium, Brisbane