Country Eagles win big in Tamworth

BREAKING THROUGH: Pat McCutcheon fends of a Perth Spirit defender in Saturday's game against the reigning NRC champions at Scully Park in Tamworth. Photo: PETER HARDIN.
BREAKING THROUGH: Pat McCutcheon fends of a Perth Spirit defender in Saturday's game against the reigning NRC champions at Scully Park in Tamworth. Photo: PETER HARDIN.

Narromine’s Pat McCutcheon came off the bench for the NSW Country Eagles in a tough National Rugby Championship game in Tamworth over the weekend. 

The team took on Perth Spirit in a grand final rematch from last year. 

Eagles outside centre Alex Newsome has described Saturday’s clash as one of the toughest National Rugby Championship games he’s been involved in.

Not that that came as any surprise to the Glen Innes product.

He knew better than anyone knew how tough a test it was going to be, playing alongside most of the Spirit side with the Western Force.

All of the backline featured regularly for the Force as did several of the forwards.

“It was pretty funny. [But]  I sort of tried not to take too much notice,” Newsome said of facing his Force team-mates, although there were a few words exchanged, albeit in good jest.

He was stoked to come away with the 15-10 win, especially after last years grand final disappointment. But they had to work hard for it.

“That was one of the toughest NRC games I think I’ve played, really high quality opposition and I think our boys really rose to that standard as well,” he said.

“It was 0-all at half-time it was really tight and then we came out and started the second half really well and scored a couple of tries.”

“That 10 minutes the other side of half-time I think really won us the match.”

Quick tries to winger Seb Wileman and fullback Andrew Kellaway gave the Eagles a 10-point lead they were never headed from and proved to be the difference.

The support at home has been great and just looking forward to more games in the bush.

Alex Newsome.

A late try to replacement hooker Samo Malolo gave the Spirit a chance but the Eagles were able to snuff that out much to Newsome’s relief.

“A few of us were watching from the bench. It was pretty nerve-racking, but great to see our reserves come on and just close that game out,” Newsome said.

They had to win to stay alive in the competition.

The Eagles’ second game in the region this season, and second win, Newsome said he loves coming out to the country regions.

“The support at home has been great and just looking forward to more games in the bush,” he said.

The Country Eagles will take on Melbourne Rising on Saturday and Brisbane City in Orange on October 28.