Perese vital as Country edge Eagles
A ROUSING return from the Wallabies squad by Izaia Perese has given Queensland Country a legitimate shot at a rags-to-riches run at the National Rugby Championship this season.
Perese slotted into outside centre with aplomb yesterday as a key figure in the 34-31 victory over NSW Country Eagles at Bond University on the Gold Coast.
A neat break set up the early try for flanker Angus Scott-Young and he backed up for one of his own to settle the match at 31-0 before the Eagles rattled home with five tries in the final 20 minutes when the cause was lost.
New Reds coach Brad Thorn has transformed the NRC’s long-time strugglers into four-from-five leaders.
No.8 Caleb Timu, winger Eto Nabuli and centre Duncan Paia’aua, with a fine, flat pass for the initial Patrick James try, were standouts again.
Timu’s growing confidence as a runner and a regular offloading threat is building a strong case for at least a bench role with the Reds next season.
Defence is all about desire and wanting to work for your teammates.
It is a positive sign for the Reds that Thorn has been able to engender that in the Country squad which was conceding 49 points per game when winning just once last season.
Eagles halfback Jake Gordon dived over after the fulltime bell to make the Battle of the Bush seem closer than it was after two tries to the sharp Andrew Kellaway.
COUNTRY BOY: Izaia Perese.