All the NSW teams won and all the QLD teams lost. Look I just don’t want to talk about it. I did love the Rising winning the Horan-Little Shield though. Check out Tom English on instagram for all the evidence we needed as to how much they enjoyed the victory! I don’t think Horan – Little have seen that much spilled beer since they toured regional QLD with the Web Ellis trophy back in 1991.
But back to the NRC, there were some absolutely killer performances on the weekend, so let’s take a look at our NRC Team of the Week.
Worked his way into a powerful scrummaging game, which set a platform for his backline to attack from. Carried strongly, offloaded, tackled resolutely and captained calmly. Rory O’Connor of the Rays worked tirelessly too.
It’s tough to overlook a hat trick of tries by a hooker, even though it is the Canberra way. Robbie Abel benefited from the clinical rolling mauls a couple of weeks ago and now it’s Bongo’s turn.
The third week in the team for the man monster from the west. Part of a dominant Rams scrum and with a significant workload for someone so large. Also managed a pilfer or two which shows immense skill and game understanding.
Ned continues his golden run (to match his golden hair) and is building a fairly strong case for a Waratah starting spot next year. His work rate and running game is a given, but his lineout work is particularly pleasing. Kieran Stringer of the Spirit worked a very solid lineout too.
RHP came very close to making the team last week when he played at blindside flanker. The move to lock this week slowed him down not one bit as he was particularly prominent for the Spirit around the rucks in defence and attack. Lukhan Tui worked tirelessly for Brisbane.
There’s not many backrowers out there who hit the line as consistently hard as Dempsey does, and fewer still that have the speed to run away from the defence as he did on the weekend (and previously for the Rays). Tom Cusack made his presence known for the Eagles.
The Melbourne Rising won their game against the Vikings through the power of their forward pack and at the heart of much of the combat was rookie backrower, Tapuai. In only his 2nd start, Tapuai stood out and not just because of his white headgear.
Isi finally snags a starting jersey in this team despite being one of the competition’s standout players all season. Likely to be off to the Force next year, Isi was relentless with the ball in hand and has a bright future in Australian rugby. Tyrone Viiga was dynamite for the Rams too.
There’s not much more to say about Jake’s performance on the weekend that hasn’t been loudly proclaimed by the rugby media already. He was electric. Mick Snowden was a late call up for the Rising and snagged the MOM award. He just wasn’t quite Gordon.
They are going to have to retire this jersey at the end of the year given the regularity that Jono Lance is selected in it. Lance was again super impressive on the weekend and kept the Spirit in the game and looked dangerous every time he got the ball. Tayler Adams filled in at pivot for the Eagles very handily.
A bit of a quiet achiever on the wing for the Rams this season, Smart has looked just that in his limited opportunities. His time came this weekend with two tries, one a crucial one close to full-time that gave the Rams a shot a victory. A shot they would soon accept. Reece Robinson had flashes of class for the Eagles.
Naisarani was close to best on ground in the Rays v City match on Saturday, except for one man. Irae Simone. Simone was fabulous – tries, line breaks, solid in defence. He was a danger EVERY TIME he touched the ball. Duncan Paia’aua was excellent for QLC Country too, unfortunately a brain fart played a big role in his team’s loss.
Rarely has a centre combination been so critical to their team’s victory but that was the case on Sunday at Ballymore where Simone and Foley made metres seemingly at will. Foley has had a mixed NRC debut season coming back from Rio, but showed his worth big time on the weekend. Ammon Matuauto was again impressive for the Spirit.
English must be one of the most accomplished finishers in the competition and showed as much again on the weekend with a hat trick of tries. Not burdened by carrying the responsibility of captaincy, English in fact seems to be thriving on it.
After a taste of Super Rugby earlier this year, Banks is thriving in the NRC environment that encourages players to chance their arms a little. His counter attacks from the back are proving a valuable weapon for Country while his flyhalf Mack Mason loves to send him away with one of his long flat passes.