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New South Wales City have overcome a 12-6 half time deficit to outclass NSW Country by 40-18 in Orange tonight.
With NSW Blues State of Origin spots up for grabs, City halfback Peter Wallace was a standout, scoring a try and out-shining Country halfback Jarrod Mullen who tried hard all night. City hooker Robbie Farah also made his mark while out-performing Country rake Michael Ennis.
Wallace and Farah set up three tries each while Michael Jennings set up another and scored the final try of the contest, placing the Penrith centre on track for a Blues jumper.
Country had the momentum early on and dominated the opening 30 minutes. Two tremendous tries to centre Jamie Lyon and full-back Luke Patten set up the 12-0 lead.
Lyon scored in the 11th minute after winger James McManus leapt high above Jarryd Hayne to tap Mullen's kick-back into Lyon's hands. In the 26th minute, second rower Ben Creagh threw a sensational reverse flick off-load for Patten to cross for a four-pointer.
Country appeared to be well in control with Canberra Raiders pivot Terry Campese and hooker Alan Tongue leading the way along with prop Michael Weyman setting up the foundations.
But City worked their way back into the game on the back of some quality defence by Luke O'Donnell and Farah to get on the score board in the 33rd minute - a try to NSW forward Mark Minichiello saw Country with a 12-6 lead at the break.
Minichiello finished the night with a double while City utility Craig Wing and wingers David Williams and Hayne also scored. Tongue scored Country Origin's only try of the second half.
The judiciary will look at two incidents with St George Illawarra Dragons' Beau Scott and Ben Creagh being placed on report. The Country pair will be under scrutiny for separate lifting tackles.
South Sydney Rabbitohs may be without five-eighth John Sutton for four weeks, the City five-eighth sustaining a suspected broken hand after just 10 minutes of play.
*UPDATE* Country and St George utility forward Ben Creagh has accepted an early guilty plea to a grade one dangerous throw charge on Luke O'Donnell. He is reportedly cleared to play for the Dragons in Saturday's NRL clash against the North Queensland Cowboys in Townsville. Beau Scott was not charged for his tackle on Michael Jennings.
NSW CITY ORIGIN 40 Tries: M Minichiello 2, J Hayne, M Jennings, P Wallace, D Williams, C Wing Goals: P Wallace 6 NSW COUNTRY ORIGIN 18 Tries: J Lyon L Patten A Tongue Goals: J Lyon 3
Venue: Wade Park, Orange Referees: G Badger, S Hayne Crowd: 8,226 Half time: Country 12-6
[Pic by Phil Essam]