Perth Spirit, NSW Country final
Sydney: Perth Spirit will play in their second Buildcorp National Rugby Championship Final, after their breakdown and set piece dominated the Sydney Rays at Pittwater Park in Sydney.
The 42-24 win will see Perth facing off with NSW Country in next weekend’s decider in Tamworth.
The Spirit’s set piece netted two tries from lineout drives, while their breakdown pressure was immense for the whole game.
It was all Perth Spirit in the opening exchanges, but the Rays scored the first try through hooker Damien Fitzpatrick after they went the length of the field in the 8th minute. Harry Jones then made a line break and looked certain to score for the home side a few minutes later, only to be brought down with an ankle tap. But he wasn’t held and was able to barge over with his second effort. Matt Lucas used the breeze nicely from out wide, and the Rays were suddenly up 16-0 after 11 minutes. Perth needed to score next, and they did after some nice work to get into the Rays’ 22m, sending Semisi Masirewa over in the corner to make it 16-6. Marcel Brache then scored again for Perth, running a great line off centre Billy Meakes to score next to the posts. Ian Prior’s conversion made it a two-point ball game.
Prior extended that lead straight after the break, too, win the chase to his own little chip kick ahead and scoring next to the posts. His conversion made it 28-16, the perfect start to the second half. Both sides ended up with players in the sin bin around the 50th minute, with Perth first losing centre Bill Meakes for a deliberate knock down, and then the Rays lost flanker Jack Dempsey for throwing the ball away. NRC