Finch shines as Country scores late win - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Finch shines as Country scores late win

By Steve Jancetic 13/05/2006 06:11:34 AM Comments (0)

Brett Finch doesn't hold out much hope of snaring the vacant NSW halfback jumper despite outpointing two of his major rivals for an Origin berth in Country Origin's 12-10 win over City Origin at Apex Oval in Dubbo on Saturday.

While all eyes were on City trio Craig Gower, Matt Orford and Braith Anasta, it was Finch who took the opportunity to show selectors what he had to offer with his controlled kicking and passing game in front of 11,423 fans.

But Finch won't be holding his breath come Monday morning, when the NSW selectors will announce their line-up for the May 24 Origin series opener.

"I'm pretty sure selectors had in mind who they wanted before tonight and I'm pretty sure one game isn't going to change that, but playing well isn't going to hurt my chances," Finch said.

"I made a few blues, but overall I was pretty happy with how I went.

"There was no real pressure on me, with the other halves really dominating the headlines, it was good, I just tried to relax a bit more."

Gower and Orford were let down by some ill-disciplined football by the City side, which only completed seven of 19 sets in the first half, though they almost overturned an 8-0 halftime deficit when they snatched the lead with 20 minutes to go.

But it was Newcastle winger Anthony Quinn who was the hero, showing great strength to touch down just inside the corner flag with five minutes remaining to get Country home.

Gower, who had a fairly quiet game playing out of position at five-eighth, talked down his NSW chances, saying he didn't think he did enough to guarantee a berth.

"In patches there I thought I played ok, I took the line on a little bit, kicking game was not too bad, but I could have worked a little more in attack," Gower said.

"But I suppose that comes back to completing sets as well."

City coach Tim Sheens bemoaned referee Tony Archer's allowance for defenders to slow down the play the ball, claiming his interpretation hurt everyone's chances of pushing their own claims.

Country forwards Brent Kite, Craig Fitzgibbon and Dubbo-boy Andrew Ryan did their NSW selection chances no harm with workaholic displays, dispelling any suggestions the match was more a spectacle than genuine contest with several big hits early in the game.

Country took a deserved 8-0 lead to the break after Finch set up a try for Anthony Laffranchi, but whatever Sheens said to his side at the break had the desired effect.

With Robbie Farah benched and Craig Wing now operating out of dummy half, the City side looked a lot more organised, hitting back through a try to young Cronulla winger David Simmons and then taking the lead when Luke Rooney pounced on a brilliant Paul Gallen pass to put City in front for the first time at 10-8.

Country then camped itself on the City tryline, but when both Chris Hicks and Adam McDougall were held up over the line, it appeared the local fans would go away disappointed.

But then Quinn conjured up some magic to emerge the hero.

City also came off second best on the injury front, with Manly prop Jason King suffering a suspected broken thumb and Gower and South Sydney centre Adam McDougall sustaining ankle and jaw injuries.

However, the latter are both expected to play for Penrith and Souths this weekend.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2020 AAP

0 Comments about this article

Post a comment about this article

Please sign in to leave a comment.
Becoming a member is free and easy, sign up here.

« All sports news