The Canberra Vikings opened their 2019 NRC campaign with a blistering 47-22 defeat of Melbourne Rising at Box Hill running in seven quality tries to see off a tenacious opposition and underline their quality in the early stages of the season.
In a first-half filled with attacking intent, the Vikings led 28-3 at the break having swamped the Rising with a display of powerful forward forays allied to some effervescent and scintillating back-play.After trailing to an early penalty, the Vikings unleashed their talented backs and Irae Simone began the onslaught, collecting an offload after a burst from the lightning-fast Toni Pulu in the 9th minute to stroll over.
Ryan Lonergan, who converted all four tries in the first half, and six of the seven overall, was at the hub of the Vikings good work and it as his pass that allowed Ton Wright to embark on a scything run that ended with Mack Hansen finding his way over in the corner.
Andy Muirhead followed, forcing his way over the line in the 27th minute off the back of another slick back-line move, before Pulu got his reward for an enterprising display, bumping off a couple of attempted tackles to go over under the posts close to the break.
The second half began in much the same vein as the first, flanker Pete Samu lurking wide with intent and gathering a huge miss-pass to bulldozer his way across for the fifth try of an increasingly productive afternoon.
Justin Maters replied with a try for the home side, but that merely made the Vikings lift once more and, after a rolling maul orchestrated by Lachlan Lonergan was halted, Ryan Lonergan fed a pop pass to Noah Lolesio who had too much class to be stopped, waltzing through to dot down next to the uprights.
It was game over by this stage with the Vikings leading 40-8 but Rising were to finish strongly with two tries of their own from Semisi Tupou and Ross Haylett-Petty, however these tries sandwiched the main course, the try of the game from the visitors in the 79th minute.
Sensing an opportunity to attack from deep, Wright spotted a gap on his own twenty-two and cruised through before sending Pulu streaking away down the right flank.
Wright was perhaps the only man on the field who could keep pace with the speedster and he gratefully accepted the return pass to canter away for a glorious length of the field try.
It summed up the day as a bright and inventive Vikings started the 2019 season with panache.
Melbourne Rising (3) 22 (T: Masters, Tupou, Haylett-Petty, C: Maloney (2), P: Maloney)
Canberra Vikings (28) 47 (T: Simone, Hansen, Muirhead, Pulu, Samu, Lolesio, Wright, C: Lonergan (6))
1. Fred KAIHEA (17. Bo ABRA 71’), 2. Connal MCINERNEY (16. Lachlan LONERGAN 60’), 3. Jake SIMEON (18. Nick DOBSON 53’), 4. Darcy SWAIN (20. Angus ALLEN 71’), 5. Blake ENEVER, 6. Pete SAMU, 7. Will MILLER (19. Nick FROST 71’), 8. Rob VALETINI, 9. Ryan LONERGAN (21. Seamus SMITH 77’), 10. Noah LOLESIO (22. Bayley KUENZLE 62’), 11. Mack HANSEN (23. Andrew ROBINSON 73’), 12. Irae SIMONE, 13. Tom WRIGHT, 14. Toni PULU, 15. Andrew MUIRHEAD