Country has scored a 34-22 victory over Jason Clark’s City outfit in the annual City v Country match, played this year in Wagga Wagga.
A hat-trick to City’s Blake Austin wasn’t enough to lift the city-slickers, with Country notching up six tries to City’s four.
City halfback, Austin kicked off the scoring in a big way when he grabbed a double inside the first 11 minutes of the match – his first a screamer that saw Andrew Fifita desperately bat back a ball from over the touch-line back inside to Austin to score.
Austin’s second came from long-range, with the Canberra product backing up a City break to race in under the sticks. Matt Moylan added the extras from right in front to give City a 10-0 lead.
But when Country got their first meaningful use of the ball, the tide turned with James McManus and Akuila Uate both grabbing tries. It would ultimately be the goal-kicking of James Maloney that would send Country to the break with a 12-10 lead.
On the resumption, Country picked up where they left off by gaining momentum inside the first two minutes of the half. A change of direction and off-load from Josh Jackson to David Mead saw the latter crash over the line. Maloney added the extras to make it 18-10.
Twenty minutes from full-time, Tariq Sims showed brilliant footwork from short range to go over the try-line despite an attempted kick from Josh Reynolds – the City five-eighth being placed on report for the incident. Maloney made no mistake to take Country’s lead out to 24-10.
City hit-back four minutes later when Jason Clark opted to pass out the back-line instead of take a hit-up resulting in James Tedesco racing over in the corner. Matt Moylan’s conversion attempt hit the upright before going between the sticks to make it 24-16.
Blake Austin wasn’t done scoring though, with the Raider taking the opportunity to notch up a hat-trick after some great lead-up work from his City teammates. Moylan added the extras again to make it a two point ball-game at 24-22 with 15 minutes remaining.
But two late tries to Jack Wighton and and Jarod Croker in the final 10 minutes snuffed out a potential City fightback – Country running out 34-22 victors.
Country 34 (James McManus, Akuila Uate, David Mead, Tariq Sims, Jack Wighton, Jarod Croker, tries; James Maloney 5 goals)
City 22 (Blake Austin 3, James Tedesco, tries; Matt Moylan 3 goals)