The Melbourne Rising have secured their first win of the 2019 NRC, recording an emphatic 49-7 victory over Queensland Country in Ballarat.
In the Rising’s first ever match at Mars Stadium, the Melburnians proved far too strong for last year’s runners up, holding Queensland scoreless in the second half to run away with a 28-point win.
Both Justin Marsters and Semisi Tupou collected doubles, while tries to Harry Potter, Rodney Iona and Moli Sooaemalelagi rounded out the Rising’s impressive score line.
In a tough day for Queensland Country, Rohan Saifoloi provided the only highlight for the visitors through his try in the first half.
The Rising opened up an early lead when a well-timed wide cut out pass to the short side from Rodney Iona found Justin Marsters, who ran in his first try. A James So’oialo conversion gave the home side a 7-0 advantage.
The Rising further extended their lead in the 19th minute through strong line defence, which caused a QLD Country turnover, and So’oialo provided an offload for Marsters, who helped himself to his second try of the game.
With the Rising holding the ascendency, it was QLD Country who started to click into gear with multiple phases halting the home side on their defensive line. Yet, the Melburnians held staunch, heading into the main break with a 14-0 lead.
The visitors came out firing after half time, and some cleaner possession and clever play by scrumhalf Tate McDermott resulted in Queensland’s first try and conversion through flyhalf Rohan Saifoloi.
With the game evenly poised, the Rising needed a bit of magic, and ironically it was substitute Harry Potter who provided it with a sensational chip and chase from the 22 ending in a try.
Potter’s try proved to be a tonic for the Rising, with another five-pointer forthcoming through Rodney Iona and a So’oialo conversion pushed the hosts out to a 28-7 lead.
The Rising were now firmly in control of the match and several close chances were finally converted when Moli Sooaemalelagi crossed for his first try of the season.
With the Rising home and hosed, Captain Semisi Tupou provided the finishing touches to the match with two tries in the final five minutes to round out a memorable day for the Melburnians.
The Rising will now look to secure back to back wins when they head interstate to tackle Sydney next Sunday.
Melbourne Rising 35
Tries: Marsters (2), Tupou (2), Potter, Iona, Sooaemalelagi
Conversions: So’oialo (7)
Queensland Country 7