Try-feast at Concord Oval
NRC ROUND FIVE WRAP: The National Rugby Championship's first ever double-header produced 22 tries at Concord Oval.
This came amidst a Pacific Island tournament contested by NSW Samoa, NSW Tonga, NSW Fiji and NSW Maori.
Interstate in Canberra and Brisbane, the Melbourne Rising and Sydney Rays overcame see-sawing scorelines to emerge as victors in Round 5.
After their home game in Orange had to be relocated due to torrential rain, NSW Country Eagles' bonus point 48-24 win over Perth Spirit at Concord Oval in Sydney secured their place in the finals. A hat-trick to Country's Jake Gordon sealed the victory against their admirable West Coast opponents who consistently threatened in attack.
In the biggest comeback in NRC history, the Rams were handed their first win of 2016 in front of an elated home crowd when successive scrum penalties against Queensland Country after the final siren forced referee Amy Perrett to award a penalty try.
The Rams' forwards were crucial in their 38-20 victory with their monster scrum proving the difference late in the game, despite Brad Thorn packing down opposite them.
University of Canberra Vikings' 60-44 defeat to Melbourne Rising has seen them lose the Horan-Little Shield. Three tries to Rising captain Tom English set the stage for the visitors' victory, despite the Vikings laying down six tries, including a hat-trick to Wallaby-capped Josh Mann-Rea.
The Sydney Rays sit second in the ladder after their 38-32 triumph at Ballymore, with Brisbane City's heartbreaking loss leaving the valiant reigning champions with a bonus point for their efforts. After promising Brisbane youngster Moses Sorovi opened the scoring while standing in for Nick Frisby, it was Irae Simone who spearheaded the Rays' revival with two crucial tries.
Scorers and scorers
NSW Country Eagles 48-24 Perth Spirit
NSW COUNTRY EAGLES
Tries:J Gordon 3, R Robinson, K Godwin, N Hanigan
Cons: T Adams 6
Tries:B Tapuai, M, Eden, A Matuauto
Cons: J Lance 3
Western Sydney Rams 50-46 Bond University Queensland Country
WESTERN SYDNEY RAMS
Tries:L Smart 2, T Viiga, P Asquith, B Paenga-Amosa, A Latunipulu, Penalty try
Cons: P Asquith 4
Tries:L McNamara, T Banks, T Pincus, A Casey, A, Scott-Young, M Jones
Cons: M Mason 5
Canberra Vikings 60-44 Melbourne Rising
Tries:T English 3, L Johansson 2, S Jeffries, J Debreczeni, A Toolis, S Tuipulotu
Cons: J Debreczeni 3
Tries:J Mann-Rea 3, T Staniforth, S Carter, I Thompson
Cons: I Thompson 4
Brisbane City 32-38 Sydney Rays
Tries:I Simone 2, J Dempsey, J Turner, C Alcock
Cons: M Lucas 3, A Sinclair
Tries:M Sorovi, J McIntyre, L Tui, B Lacey, C Tupou
Con: J McIntyre 2
Pen: J McIntyre
Saturday, October 1
Queensland Country v NSW Country Eagles, Clive Berghofer Stadium, Toowoomba - Kick-off: 13.00; 03.00 GMT
Sydney Rays v Canberra Vikings, Pittwater Park - Kick-off: 15.00; 05.00 GMT
Sunday, October 2
Perth Spirit v Brisbane City, UWA Sports Park - Kick-off: 14.00; 06.00 GMT
Melbourne Rising v Western Sydney Rams, Harlequins Oval - 15.00; 05.00 GMT