Brisbane City topple Vikings, retain Championship
Brisbane City have gone to back-to-back in the Buildcorp National Rugby Championship (NRC) after defeating the Canberra Vikings 21-10 in the Grand Final at Ballymore on Saturday afternoon.
Played in front of 4,327 passionate supporters, Brisbane City posted three-tries to Canberra’s two to claim the first undefeated season in NRC history.
Man-of-the-match Nick Frisby and lock Cadeyrn Neville scored a try each in the first-half to give Brisbane City a 13-10 halftime lead, but it was a staunch second-half defensive display that secured the home-side the championship for a second-consecutive year.
Brisbane City head coach Nick Stiles said: “It doesn’t matter what sport you play, it is always tough to win consecutive titles. When a team can achieve that, it shows the heart of the group.
“The team worked their way out of some pretty ugly situations throughout today’s match and that is a testament to the calibre of people we have have at Brisbane City.
“Every player on the field put their hand up for us today. Our players all stood up, but I think Nick Frisby and Liam Gill did a fantastic job directing us around the park.
“In saying that, the club players such as Luke Beauchamp, Ben Hyne, Waita Setu and Henry Taefu have lifted their game and showed that they belong at this level.
“We’ve really worked on our defence this season and to win the Grand Final is no accident. We always knew this game would be a tight one, but the time we devoted to our defence was significant. This is the result.
“Winning the NRC today is very exciting news for the Queensland Reds. We had a lot of combinations playing in today’s game for Brisbane City that will theoretically be starting for the Reds next year.
“When you throw in players like James Slipper, Greg Holmes, Kane Douglas and Rob Simmons into the mix, it just shows you the platform we’re going to have up front. There are some exciting times ahead for Queensland Rugby.”
The Vikings opened the scoring with only two-minutes on the clock when Francis Fainifo crossed in the left corner off the back of a dominant Canberra scrum. Fullback Isaac Thompson was unsuccessful with the conversion, but the Vikings held a 5–0 lead.
A knock-on from the returning kick-off cost the Canberra Vikings dearly, with Neville forcing his way over the line for a try. Flyhalf Jake McIntyre kicked the conversion to secure an 8-5 lead for City in the fourth minute.
Brisbane City’s scrambling defence was tested early by Viking scrumhalf Joe Powell, but fullback Karmichael Hunt proved up to the challenge with four consecutive tackles on cover defence.
Vikings fullback Thompson couldn’t be stopped in the 12th minute, bursting over from close range, however, he couldn’t add the extras leaving his side narrowly ahead 10-8.
The match ebbed and flowed for the next 20 minutes before Frisby scored Brisbane City’s second try, picking up a loose-ball and spinning out of a tackle to dive over the line.
McIntyre missed the conversion in the 32nd minute, however, Brisbane City were back in to the lead, 13-10.
Vikings hooker Robbie Abel was yellow carded for his involvement in an offside tackle in the 37th minute.
With a minute remaining in the first half, ‘The Ballymore Kid’ Junior Laloifi set his sights on the try line with a nicely placed grubber kick, but was beaten by the bounce to leave the half-time score at 13-10 to Brisbane City.
A premiership-worthy defensive display held the Canberra Vikings to nil in the second half, while a 72nd minute try to substitute winger Alex Gibbon secured the result.
Both teams attempted to speed up the tempo of the match in the second-half as time wound down. As mistakes crept into the match, Brisbane City’s game management through McIntyre and Frisby had the Vikings on the back foot.
The Vikings threw everything at Brisbane City, however the home team, buoyed by a vocal crowd, had enough in the tank to secure their second consecutive NRC title, finishing the 2015 season as undefeated premiers.
Brisbane City 21 (C Neville, N Frisby, A Gibbon tries; J McIntyre 2 conversions) defeated Canberra Vikings 10 (F Fainifo, I Thompson tries) at Ballymore Stadium, Brisbane.
News Source: Queensland Rugby/Brisbane City