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Crafty Country conjure last-minute victory
The 2011 City Country game was taken to Albury's Lavington Sports Ground which greeted the sides with cold and slippery conditions, conditions Country made the most of, taking the game 18-12 thrilling the Albury crowd.
The first half was dominated in attack and defence by the City side, but their last tackle options and wonderful cleanup efforts by the Country backline only allowed one try, scored by Champion in the 10th minute. Country returned serve in the 21st minute after dominating possession following the Champion try. Mullen put in a high bomb, Hayne leapt for it but had it snatched by Gordon who scored easily from the pickup. Goal kicking was the difference, when Soward's boot gave City the 6 - 4 lead they took to half time.
The second half was more evenly contested, but just like the first, goal kicking was the difference. City put the second half's first points on the board, with a great ball play from Pearce putting Hayne in to score. Merritt again failed to convert and City's lead was 2. Pearce's hands set up another try just minutes later, this to Dwyer in the 54th minute. Merritt again failed to convert and City led 12 - 6.
Country began to dominate possession after the try and converted it into points of their own in the 65th minute, with a beautiful try out of dummy half from hooker Hinchcliffe. Gordon took over goal kicking with Soward off the field, but did just as well, levelling the scores. Momentum swung to and fro in the minutes that followed and the last 5 saw a few missed field goal attempts, but it was a failed chip and chase from Hayne which led to the match winning points.
Houston picked up the ball off Hayne's attempt and put Uate into a gap for a long range try in the final minute of the match. Gordon nailed the extras and Country snatched the game with an 18 - 12 victory.
Country 18 defeated City 12
City v Country - Country v City Origin - Friday May 6, 2011 7:45pm
Venue: Lavington Sports Ground, Albury
Referee: Ben Cummins and Ashley Klein
Video Referee: Russell Smith
Touch Judges: Daniel Eastwood and Luke Potter
Halftime: Country 6 City 4
Tries: Michael Gordon, Akuila Uate, Ryan Hinchcliffe
Field Goals: Jarrod Mullen (0/2)
Conversions: Michael Gordon (2/2), Jamie Soward (1/1)
Tries: Beau Champion, Jarryd Hayne, Simon Dwyer
Field Goals: Mitchell Pearce (0/1)
Conversions: Nathan Merritt (0/3)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Welcome to Lavington Sports Ground in Albury for this traditional night of City v Country. BOTH sides are as per program! Earlier tonight in the curtain raiser, the Western Rams defeated the Newcastle Rebels 36-10.
1 min: Single figure temperatures here in Albury as Soward kicks us off to get the match underway.
1 min: First kick of the night comes from inside the 40, but a deep one and Gordon picks it up from the goal line.
2 min: The Country side can't make it past halfway with the ball either and Mullen puts the ball skidding toward the goal line.
4 min: City pass the halfway line and a high bomb tests Dugan.
5 min: PENALTY to City, giving them an opportunity to launch an attacking set.
6 min: Strong attacking set from City, but Pearce's boot cannot be cleanly taken and comes out the sideline off a City hand.
8 min: Some messy play, but Cummins rules the first infringement a knock on off Country, to give another good opportunity to the City sde.
9 min: PENALTY to City offering them a wonderful attacking opportunity with a full set of six from about 30 out from the Country line.
11 min: TRY
TRY to City! City run it on the last play and Champion is put in, running over the top of Morris to score. Merritt fails to convert.
13 min: PENALTY to Country, their first of the night will give them their first taste of City's side of halfway.
13 min: PENALTY to Country about 5 metres out, perfect opportunity for Country now.
14 min: Stewart has the ball "stripped in the act of scoring" words of the referee and City get the ball.
16 min: Country have all the attacking play now as they got the ball back and have just earnt a repeat set upon earning a line drop out.
18 min: City get a scrum off a Country error but can't hold onto the ball off the back of the scrum and Country have it ten out from the City line.
19 min: A Soward cut out ball is put down by Gordon and City are let off the hook after several sets of superb defence keeping Country out.
20 min: City finally get the ball out of their own half, before booting it back to the Country side.
22 min: TRY
TRY to Country! High bomb from Mullen is snatched from Hayne by Gordon who twists away to score. Soward is given the kicking duties and gets this between the uprights to give Country the lead.
24 min: Strong defence from City after the try and the boot is forced from inside the 40.
25 min: Barraging set from City, but Pearce's high bomb is easily taken by Uate.
26 min: Low trajectory kick from Mullen just inside his half is taken well by City as they make some good metres.
27 min: Great set from City, Jennings puts a little grubber in at the line, Uate picks it up and gets taken in goal to give City a repeat set.
28 min: City lose the ball and their raid is ended.
29 min: Country lose the ball in the tackle and City get a scrum on the 20 metre line.
30 min: Knock on against Country, playing at a Jennings offload to give City a scrum 10 metres out.
31 min: PENALTY to City who are camped in the Country red zone.
32 min: Minichiello knocks on near the line and Country are let off the hook.
32 min: City doing very well in defence, making it very difficult for Country to make yardage.
33 min: City make the metres easily, but Pearce's boot is easily taken by Dugan.
34 min: PENALTY against City to piggy back Country down field.
35 min: Dugan kicks at the line, between the posts, Symonds cleans it up before himself being cleaned up to give Country a repeat set.
36 min: Banana kick by Mullen at the line and Merritt takes it beautifully.
37 min: City make their way to the other end of the field, but don't offer much to finish the set with.
38 min: Mullen boots the ball into touch, for a City scrum 25 metres out.
39 min: Dugan cleans up beautifully at the back for Country after City make their way to the Country line.
40 min: Knock on from Country to give City one last shot at the line in the first half.
40 min: Soward makes a huge tackle on Jennings and that will be the half, Country go into the interval 6 - 4.
41 min: Play back underway here in Albury.
41 min: PENALTY to Country, piggy backing them to about half way.
42 min: Strong set from Country, well cleaned up by City.
44 min: Game is getting very competitive in this second half as both sides are hitting up hard.
45 min: Soward breaks through and Hayne is hit in the face tackling him.
47 min: City defending well, but Country showing attacking intensity, Soward bombs at the line, falconed by Keating to the in goal, picked up by Jennings who gets tackled to give Country a repeat set.
48 min: Another high bomb, this one knocked on by Uate and City get the scrum feed.
49 min: PENALTY to City and they are helped well past halfway to give them a great attacking opportunity.
51 min: TRY
TRY to City! Great work from Pearce in the lead up, attracts the defenders and then finds Hayne with a cut out ball and puts him in to score. Merritt's boot very wide.
52 min: City boot it from their 40 on the 4th, their defence chases beautifully.
53 min: Knock on Country, Shackleton dives on it and City are right back on the attack.
53 min: Champion appears to be injured, taking his time to get up and is now being helped off the field, looks to have a shoulder injury.
55 min: TRY
TRY to City! Beautiful short ball from Pearce puts Dwyer in to score. Merritt again fails with his shot at goal.
56 min: Forward pass takes back some momentum from the City side and gives Country a chance to hit back.
58 min: Smart kick from Soward earns Country a repeat set.
59 min: Country attacking the line, called back for a forward pass.
59 min: Soward comes off with what looks like a groin complaint.
60 min: Country looking hungry in attack and defence now.
61 min: Hayne making some mistakes at the back and Country now have the ball about ten out.
62 min: Stewart puts a little kick in and earns Country a repeat set, making the tackle himself.
64 min: PENALTY! City showing some great on line defence but concede a penalty 5 out to keep themselves right under the pump.
66 min: TRY
TRY to Country! Hinchcliffe straight out of dummy half twists and muscles over. Michael Gordon with the kicking duties now converts the try to level the scores.
66 min: PENALTY for offside from the kick off and Country have another hit at the City line.
68 min: PENALTY to Country right on the line, City right under the pump here.
69 min: Not a great set from Country, but a phenomenal kick from Mullen gives them six again as the ball is played at and dropped by Merritt.
70 min: Another average set from Country at the line and some great defence from City, Mullen kicks it low this time and Pearce dives on it 5 metres out.
71 min: City work their way away from their line and Pearce boots it to the Country line.
72 min: Country's set a little lack lustre.
72 min: PENALTY to City, piggy backing them out of their territory.
73 min: Symonds loses the ball as he is upended by Morris who hurts his Shouder in the process, Gordon makes a huge break down the ground and is chased down by Pearce before dropping it himself.
74 min: A backwards kick from Dwyer trying to offload is picked up by Gordon.
75 min: Dugan with an exciting play chips and chases before finding Hayne beside him who kicks the ball out the dead ball line.
77 min: FIELD GOAL ATTEMPT
Mullen makes a field goal attempt and misses.
78 min: FIELD GOAL ATTEMPT
Pearce with a long range field goal attempt misses.
79 min: FIELD GOAL ATTEMPT
Mullen with a field goal attempt from 35 out hits the crossbar and bounces back into the field of play.
79 min: Jarryd Hayne rolls the dice with a chip and chase attempt, but Houston covers it.
80 min: TRY
Houston gets the ball to Uate, putting him in a hole to make a big break and score between the posts. Gordon converts easily.
80 min: Three tries a piece, but goal kicking the difference and Country take the game 18 - 12.