Force secures home Grand Final
The Western Force fought deep into added time to hold off a fast-finishing Brisbane City and secure a historic home NRC Grand Final by four points.
The Force scored four tries in the first twenty minutes of the second half to seemingly break the game open with a 25-point lead. However Brisbane nailed three tries in the last ten minutes to take the game down to the wire, with the Force eventually home 42-38.
Try scoring doubles to Pama Fou and RetraVision Man of the Match scrumhalf Issak Fines saw the Force overcome a slow start to set up the victory.
With both teams’ level at the break at 14-14, Fines sparked the second-half surge with a cheeky dart from the base of the ruck to dot down for his first. A scintillating break from a lineout saw him accelerate past Brisbane fullback Bryce Hegarty for his second of the game.
The Brisbane fightback was countered by the Force backrow of Carlo Tizzano, Fergus Lee-Warner and Henry Stowers, who led the defensive line throughout the game.
In the pre-match build-up, both team captains predicted defence would be crucial to winning the fixture and the first half was emblematic of their views.
Having taken the lead early through a Jonah Placid intercept try, the Force conceded two tries to Brisbane City. The Queenslanders with the bulk of possession scored through Number 8 Seru Uru and captain Brandon Paenga-Amosa.
Paenga-Amosa’s effort came with Force lock Jeremy Thrush in the sin bin after conceding a penalty in his own 22m.
Trailing by seven, with half time approaching, the Force set its attack deep in the heart of Brisbane territory. Beautiful handling saw captain Andrew Deegan carry two defenders over the try line to drag his side level at the break.
A refreshed Force re-established their game plan to start their second half with hard and direct running from the entire team setting up the four try salvo.
When Hegarty slotted the last of Brisbane’s points there were ten seconds left, the Force was made to defend for four more minutes before Andrew Ready squeezed a penalty to book a maiden home final for the Western Force, next Saturday at UWA Sports Park at 12pm.
RetraVision Man of the Match: Issak Fines
Western Force 42 – 38 Brisbane City
(Half time: Western Force 14 – 14 Brisbane City)
Western Force: 42
Tries: Placid, Deegan, Fines 2, Fou 2
Cons: Deegan 6
Brisbane City: 38
Tries: Uru, Paenga-Amosa, Ngauamo 2, Henry
Cons: Hegarty 5
Penalty Goal: Hegarty