Brisbane City’s 2019 National Rugby Championship (NRC) campaign has ended following a narrow 42-38 loss to the Western Force in Perth.
After a tightly contested first-half, the hosts opened up a 25-point lead in the second-forty through a ten-minute, three-try blitz, before City fought back late to come within four-points of the minor premiers and earn the chance to snatch victory after the siren.
The Force held strong however, booking their spot in the Grand Final next week and bringing an end to City’s season.
Maile Ngauamo scored a double in the loss, while Seru Uru, Isaac Henry and Brandon Paenga-Amosa also crossed for tries.
Head coach Jim McKay said: “First and foremost full credit to the Force, they deserve their win and we wish them all the best in the final.
“For the most part we stuck to our guns, and it was just a few errors where we tried to push things that cost us in the end.
“It was a terrific effort and coming back like we did in the last 15-minutes epitomises the spirit of this team, we can’t fault the commitment and effort of the players.
“The group has really come together, they play for each other.
“We really wanted to play in the final so it’s disappointing, but there’s been some great friendships formed and it’s been a fantastic campaign,” McKay said.
Force winger Jonah Placid opened the scoring in the eighth-minute with a runaway intercept try to give the home side an early 7-nil lead.
City replied with their first try in the 13th minute, after Bryce Hegarty split the defence through the middle before finding Uru on his outside who crossed close to the right-hand corner. Hegarty converted to even the scores.
A yellow-card to Jeremy Thrush reduced the Force to 14-men in the 22nd minute and City quickly capitalised, with a strong rolling maul from the ensuing lineout delivering Paenga-Amosa his sixth-try of the season. Hegarty again slotted the conversion attempt to give City a 14-7 lead.
After a number of handling errors limited scoring opportunities for both sides, the Force locked up the scores once again on the stroke of half-time, with Deegan crossing to make the score 14-all at the break.
Issak Fines was first to cross for the hosts in the second stanza, opening up a 21-14 lead, before a Hegarty penalty brought City within four points at the 49-minute mark.
Three tries in the following 10-minutes stretched the home side’s lead to 42-17, with another five-pointer to Fines and a double to Pama Fou giving the hosts a 25-point lead by the 59th minute.
City rallied to cross for their third try in the 68th minute, Ngauamo burrowing his way through the defence from close to the line after a build-up of phases in the Force half. Hegarty continued his perfect form off the tee to bring the score to 42-24.
Ngauamo had a second five-pointer in the 77th minute to lessen the deficit to nine-points, before Isaac Henry dashed over 50-metres to score and bring City within four-points with just seconds to play.
The side was unable to break through the Force in the final seconds however, with the home side holding on to secure a four-point win.