Soward limps off as Uate bags winner - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Soward limps off as Uate bags winner

David Beniuk 06/05/2011 10:39:04 PM Comments (0)

Favourite for the NSW five-eighth spot Jamie Soward limped from the field as winger Akuila Uate secured Country Origin a last-gasp 18-12 victory over City on Friday night in Albury.

Soward suffered a suspected groin injury midway through the second half after earlier impressing again with his running game in the Blues' State of Origin trial.

Uate ran 70m in the final minute to clinch the win after scores had been locked at 12-12, City kicker Nathan Merritt's inability to land a goal proving costly in the three tries apiece affair.

As well as Uate, Michael Gordon and man-of-the-match Ryan Hinchcliffe bagged four-pointers for Country, with Soward kicking one and Gordon two goals in front of 8,056 fans at a cold Lavington Sports Ground.

City halfback Mitchell Pearce threw the pass for all three of is side's tries, scored by Beau Champion, Jarryd Hayne and Simon Dwyer.

In a blow for the Melbourne Storm, their City centre Champion dislocated his left shoulder early in the second half and looks set for a stint on the sidelines.

In front of NSW coach Ricky Stuart, City props Keith Galloway and Tim Mannah were strong, while Country forward Tom Learoyd-Lahrs answered critics of his early season form with a powerhouse performance.

The tantalising battle between rival fullbacks Hayne and Josh Dugan came alive late when Hayne was forced to hurriedly boot away an attacking grubber from the Canberra star.

Country led 6-4 at the break before City bagged two quick tries through Hayne and Dwyer.

Hayne still had plenty to do as he carried defenders over the line, while Dwyer ran the hole for Pearce to put him through.

Merritt's goalkicking started to cost City when Hinchcliffe spun out of dummy half and Gordon added the extras.

With the scores locked at 12-12, Country half Jarrod Mullen missed two field goal attempts - one hitting the crossbar - to Pearce's one long-range effort before Uate's sprint to the line.

Earlier, City had scored first after just nine minutes when Champion beat opposite centre Josh Morris all ends up.

Country winger Gordon replied in the 21st minute when he stole a Jarrod Mullen bomb from Hayne's grasp and dived over.

Soward is also likely to need an x-ray on a swollen thumb, which he hurt at the same time he felt his groin go.

"I spoke to the physio, she said at the moment it's not torn, it just looks like a twinge," Soward said of the leg injury.

On his thumb, he added: "She doesn't think it's broken so the Dragons will probably X-ray it.

"I could miss Sunday or miss a couple of weeks, just wait and see."

While Country coach Laurie Daley didn't want to single out individuals who may have played themselves into a Blues jersey his counterpart Brad Fittler was more forthcoming.

He nominated Robbie Farah, Pearce, Dwyer, Galloway, Learoyd-Lahrs, Dugan and Uate as standouts.

Fittler said he'd asked his side to move the ball, warning NSW would need to score points to be any chance of ending Queensland's five-series Origin streak.

"You're not going to get to Queensland and just roll through them," he said.

"You've got to get there and play footy."

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