National Rugby Chamionship
Brisbane City defeat Perth Spirit in grand final
ESPN Staff
November 1, 2014
Report Match details
Date/Time: Nov 1, 2014, 19:40 local, 09:40 GMT
Venue: Ballymore Stadium, Brisbane
Brisbane City 37 - 26 Perth Spirit
Half-time: 24 - 21
Tries: Gill, Laloifi, Paraka 2, Penalty
Cons: McIntyre 4
Tries: Abel, Haylett-Petty, Rasolea, Tavita
Cons: Holmes 2
Brisbane City's Laloifi Junior Laloifi celebrates his try with team-mates, Brisbane City v Perth Spirit, National Rugby Championship grand final, Ballymore Stadium, Brisbane, November 1, 2014
Brisbane City's Laloifi Junior Laloifi celebrates his try with team-mates
© Getty Images

Brisbane City have won the inaugural National Rugby Championship, defeating Perth Spirit 37-26 on the back of a strong set-piece in the grand final at Ballymore.

City led by just three points at half-time, after playing with a strong breeze in the first stanza, and Perth would have fancied themselves to overturn the deficit with the wind in the second 40. But "we couldn't control the pill, our set-piece was poor", Spirit captain Sam Wykes said, acknowledging that his side had their chances. "Brisbane were too good; they controlled the pill, their set-piece was so dominant, we couldn't get any front-foot ball."

Perth bookended the match with tries from Junior Rasolea in the second minute and Davis Tavita in the second minute of time added on, but Brisbane meanwhile scored five tries including a penalty try awarded after the Spirit front-row stood up as the scrum was driven over the line under the posts. Perth fullback Dane Haylett-Petty outjumped Brisbane counterpart Brando Va'aulu to claim an up-and-under and hooker Robbie Abel touched down as the sides traded scores in the first half, but the hosts eventually proved too strong.

Man of the Match Liam Gill opened the hosts' account before prop Pettowa Paraka bagged a brace and replacement winger Laloifi Junior Laloifi scored the best of the lot, a fine individual effort, to put City out of range with six minutes to play.

"Perth pushed us all the well as expected in the grand final, but I'm so proud of my team," Brisbane captain Dave McDuling said. "We worked for the jersey, we worked for each other."

McDuling was full of praise for the competition, which delivered plenty of attacking rugby without attracting substantial support through the turnstiles.

"It's a fantastic tournament. I've seen my team - young inexperienced guys - grow so much each week. Guys who are ready to step up now [to Super Rugby] and I think that's the same over the whole competition. Long may it continue. I've enjoyed every minute of it."

Brisbane City's David McDuling celebrates victory with fans © Getty Images
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