An inspired defensive display from City has secured the visitors a 20-10 win over Country at Mudgee on Sunday.
(min cost $8)
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Played in front of a crowd of 8322 people in the final City-Country clash, Brad Fittler’s outfit stuck strong without the ball to deny the hosts points on three separate occasions, a Bryce Cartwright four-pointer right on full-time icing the win.
City skipper Paul Gallen pulled down in-form Gungahlin product Paul Vaughan inside the opening 10 minutes, while in the second term City miraculously halted Country backrower Tariq Sims on two separate occasions.
After intercepting a pass in the early stages of the final term, Sims was brought down by Nathan Ross, who sensationally pulled off a one-on-one strip.
Then, inside the final 10 minutes of the clash, Sims again found space, dummied several times to pass would-be tackles from Jake Marketo and Josh Addo-Carr, before Clint Gutherson came from behind to stop Sims a couple of metres short of the try line.
At 14-10 down, Sims break had to net points, but City’s line held firm to deny the hosts.
Earlier, City posted first points thanks to some slick work from Cronulla half Chad Townsend.
The Yarrawarrah junior provided the polish Country lacked through their halves Cody Walker and Tyrone Roberts.
Townsend sent 31-year-old debutante David Gower over early to gift their side a 6-0 lead.
It was then 6-all after Grafton Ghost Anthony don intercepted a Cartwright pass to race 90 metres to score.
The margin at the break was 8-6 thanks to a successful City penalty goal right on the siren from Gutherson.
That advantage was then 14-6 when former NSW Origin prop James Tamou sliced through some wafer thin Country defence to score City’s second four-pointer of the clash.
At that point, it was all City. But a string of penalties enabled the hosts to get back into the contest.
Tathra’s Adam Elliot darted through a gap on the hour mark to make it 14-10 and ensure a grand stand finish.
But the hosts stumbled at the crucial hurdles.
Cartwright’s try right on full-time sealed the result, City’s second win in succession over Country after a 44-30 win in Tamworth in 2016.
Vaughan was strong for the Country side, doing his chances of an Origin jumper no harm, while for the winners, hooker Cam McInnes and half Chad Townsend provided the steady-hand that Country lacked.
CITY 20 (Bryce Cartwright, James Tamou, David Gower tries; Clint Gutherson 2, Chad Townsend, Paul Gallen goals) def COUNTRY 10 (Anthony Don, Adam Elliot tries; Michael Gordon goal).
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