Country 26 (Mead 2, Gordon, McManus, Idris tries; Roberts 3 goals)
City 26 (Tupou 2, J. Reynolds, Fifita, Hopoate tries; A. Reynolds 3 goals)
The City team has stormed home to steal a 26-all draw with Country in the annual City v Country clash at Dubbo, in front of 9, 627 fans.
The game was touted as an Origin trial for a number of players, in particular five eights Jarrod Mullen and Josh Reynolds for Country and City respectively.
The points went to Mullen, whose kicking game was superb, setting up two tries, forcing two line drop outs and kicking a 40-20.
Josh Reynolds however was busy as ever for City however his lack of creativity at times was evident.
Other players that raised their hands were Andrew Fifita, who returned to his barnstorming best, Daniel Tupou showed he was a player of the future, and Paul Vaughn also showed he will be talked of in years to come.
Adam Reynolds was another with a solid game, and David Mead showed his speed and strength under the high ball, while Jamal Idris, who was named man of the match, put in a wonderful performance, scoring a try and proving tough to handle in both attack and defence.
The game started well for country when City prop Andrew Fifita dropped the ball in a heavy tackle on the first play of the game, however the country team couldn’t capitalise on the field position.
It didn’t take them too long to open their account however, when Beau Falloon coughed up the ball, allowing country to go back on the attack, where a short ball from Jarrod Mullen found his club team mate Beau Scott who in turn offloaded to Fullback David Mead to score untouched after twelve minutes.
The country side aimed up in defence over the next five minutes, with some big defence seeming to keep the city side pinned, before Fifita popped an offload to a running Matt Moylan, who approached Mead before chipping over the top for his five eight Josh Reynolds to catch and score.
The Adam Reynolds conversion from in front locked the score up after 18 minutes of play.
The city side went back to back as they began to dominate the game, Adam Reynolds first getting a repeat set from a drop out before putting a pin point kick across to Daniel Tupou, the winger flying high over opposite number James McManus to plant the ball down.
Momentum turned again shortly after when Tupou turned villain for city, dropping a swirling bomb and country made the winger pay.
McCrone, directing the play from dummy half threw a cut out pass to Kevin Gordon, the country winger managing to maintain enough balance to dive over in the corner to lock the game up at 10-all after 31 minutes of play.
The Country side then went back on the attack again just a minute later courtesy of a 40-20 kick from Jarrod Mullen.
The ensuing set saw the side score when Tyrone Roberts floated a pass into a gap, David Mead hitting the hole and diving over for a first half double, the 16-10 score line remaining at the half time break.
The second half turned into an arm wrestle, with both teams having chances at times, but no one able to seize the initiative.
City finally began to build on field position when Josh Reynolds blind sighted Kevin Gordon as he returned a kick, the winger dropping the ball as a result.
Country were their own worst enemies, knocking on a number of times and giving away penalties late in the count, however they clung on in defence, despite being pinned in their own half for almost ten minutes.
Yet after all the pressure was soaked up, Country scored in the 69th minute attacking set when a Mullen kick was taken by Jamal Idris, who planted the ball and extended the lead to 22-10 following the Roberts conversion.
Idris then turned provider when he barged over the top of opposite Dylan Walker throwing a pass over the top to James McManus who scooted to the line, Roberts failing to convert the try leaving City trailing 26-10 with ten minutes to play.
City looked to be dead and buried, however had other ideas, throwing the ball around frantically before big Andrew Fifita stepped and ran past the much more agile Jack Wighton to score, the Adam Reynolds conversion giving a sniff at 26-16 with three and a half minutes to play.
The game was well and truly back on when Daniel Tupou managed to somehow sneak in the corner despite a distinct lack of room.
From the restart, the City team spread the ball before Dylan Walker sped past Idris and ran down field, before being pulled down by David Mead, and with the siren sounding in the background Tony Williams offloaded to William Hopoate who stepped off his right and sped away to score and with the Reynolds conversion, the game was locked up at 26-all.