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Country triumph - Australian Rugby league News
globalrugbyleague - Sat, 23 Jun 2007 19:53:00 GMT

Leigh Coghill has put his name at the head of the queue for Queensland Residents selection, scoring a hat-trick as XXXX Country came roaring back to beat XXXX City 42-22 at BMD Kougari Oval.

Along with fellow benchman Ben Black, Coghill was the impetus for a shock Country victory, responding from a 16-0 deficit after less than a quarter-hour.

The win was Country’s biggest since the City Country concept began in Queensland in 1913 and broke a three-year stranglehold by annual favourites City.

After appearing dead in the water at halftime, Country responded to score seven tries to one in the second stanza.

Let go by the cowboys at the end of last year, Coghill submitted a dynamic performance that extended beyond his three pivotal tries.

The Burleigh forward was called upon when starter Andrew Moroney suffered a game-ending knee injury in the 25th minute, leaving Country one man short and in extreme trouble.

Coghill came charging into the contest, almost sending Wizard Cup stalwart Michael Roberts into the bleachers with one of his first touches. Seconds later he grabbed Country’s first try from a Jackson Nicolau grubber.

It was just the shot in the arm Country needed going into halftime and set the stage for one of the most entertaining games of the season.

Feeding off the momentum, the underdogs game thundering back at the start of the second half.

Replacement half Ben Black picked up a loose ball and shot into the smallest of gaps before finding Nick Parfitt out wide in the 43rd minute, reducing the lead to 16-8.

With five goals also to his name and a 75m try later in the contest, Parfitt amassed 18 individual points to shade Ryan Cullen in an intriguing battle between fullbacks.

Coghill then notched his second four-pointer in the 49th minute, breaking free from would-be tacklers as he exhibited a strong combination with inside man Shane Muspratt. Suddenly Country was only two points in arrears.

Reluctant to give away their lead, City subdued the revolt with a fantastic team try started by their best player, half Shane Perry.

Having orchestrated his team’s lightning start, Perry again came to the fore as he turned Scott Anderson into a gap. Anderson then found a flying Marc Brentnall, who fed onwards to Matt Lockyer as he was cut down from behind.

The continual exchange had Wynnum’s famed Chook Pen at full voice, with a surprising number of Country supporters in the crowd.

Those with their hearts still in the bush were certainly pleased when the scheming Black once more found a gap and slotted Muspratt over in the 64th minute. Coghill followed in style three minutes later to put Country ahead for the first time.

While he spent the majority of the game trampling over defenders, hitting the line like a man possessed, for his final try Coghill found himself supporting a long break by the fastest man on the field, Shannon Walker.

As supporters began celebrating Country’s first win since 2003, they were given a powerful voice in the last 10 minutes as Parfitt, Scott Alo and Isaak Ah Mau plowed over for further tries.

The captivating flow of the contest, the manner in which players celebrated each others’ success and the history-breaking outcome of the game left little doubt it was one of the showpiece events of the year.

The naming of the XXXX Queensland Residents team tomorrow, Sunday June 24, sets the stage for the next big clash on the calendar.

Premiership-winning Redcliffe coach Anthony Griffin will take the selected squad into a July 4 showdown with New South Wales Residents at Suncorp Stadium, the main curtain-raiser to State of Origin III.

XXXX COUNTRY 42 (Leigh Coghill 3, Nick Parfitt 2, Shane Muspratt, Scott Alo, Isaak Ah Mau tries; Nick Parfitt 5 goals) d XXXX CITY 22 (Jamie Simpson, Denan Kemp, Scott Anderson, Matt Lockyer tries; Alwyn Simpson 3 goals) at BMD Kougari Oval. - Read More, Here