Despite a late comeback, Brisbane City have fallen 33-31 to ladder-leaders the Western Force in Perth in Round 6 of the National Rugby Championship (NRC).
After a tightly contested first-half, City trailed 33-14 with 20-minutes to play, before the side ran in three unanswered tries to almost snatch an unlikely victory in the dying minutes.
Jordan Luke crossed for a double in the narrow loss, while Seru Uru, Adam Korczyk and Isaac Lucas also scored.
“It would’ve been nice to jag a draw at the end there and it wasn’t to be, but we’re very proud of our guys.
“I think we can hold our heads high, all the finishers came on and did a great job and the effort was really good.
“At the end of the day, we gave away too many penalties which allowed them to get down into our end and build pressure and score points.
“Overall, we’re very proud of the team and staff, everyone contributed, and we gave ourselves a shot we just had a little too much to do at the end.
“The challenge for us next week is to put all the good things we’ve done so far this campaign together and we’re really looking forward to playing at Easts,” McKay said.
After a number of attacking opportunities in the City half, the hosts opened the scoring with a rolling maul try to Heath Tessmann in the 11th minute.
City answered back to even the ledger, backrower Uru pouncing on a loose pass and dashing 60-metres to score his first NRC try. Bryce Hegarty converted to make the score 7-all after 22-minutes.
Lucas was next to score, after the youngster sliced his way through the defence from 20-metres and streaked away to score under the posts. Hegarty made no mistake with the conversion to give City a 14-7 lead.
The Force replied with their second five-pointer to again tie the game, a Jonah Placid try and Andrew Deegan conversion locking the scores up at 14-all, before a try after the siren to Jeremy Thrush gave the home side a seven-point advantage at the half-time break.
Tries to Tom Sheminant and Feleti Kaitu'u stretched the Force’s lead to 33-14 by the 62nd minute, with Maaloga Konelio shown a yellow-card minutes before.
Despite the numerical disadvantage. City hit back in the 68th minute through Adam Korczyk, who barged his way over from close to the line to make the score 33-21.
City cut the deficit to a converted try with four-minutes to play, a Brad Twidale cut-out ball sending Luke flying across the line close to the left-hand corner post.
The Force were then reduced to 14-men with seconds remaining on the clock and City quickly capitalised on their advantage, a Konelio break putting Luke over the line for his second try of the afternoon. Hegarty had the chance to tie the game from close to the left-hand sideline after the siren, but was unable to land the kick as the Force held on for a 33-31 point win.
Brisbane City will look to clinch a top-four spot in the final round of the NRC when they host the Melbourne Rising at Easts Rugby Union Club on Saturday