Wallabies No.9 Will Genia has endured a tough time in his return from an ankle injury as his NRC side Brisbane City were thumped 79-19 by Melbourne Rising.
Henry Speight and Will Genia’s Wallabies call-up hopes took a considerable hit in the third round of the National Rugby Championship on Saturday, but for completely different reasons.
Brumbies flyer Speight was a late withdrawal from the Canberra Vikings’ 26-20 win over Queensland Country due to hamstring soreness, while Genia had little chance to make an impact in his 40 minutes for Brisbane City.
Genia, in his first match in three months since ankle surgery, spent the majority of his stint back-pedalling behind a well-beaten forward pack at Ballymore in Brisbane as his side were hammered 79-19 by Melbourne Rising.
The tough halfback had a nightmare start with one of his first touches, handing Melbourne a five-pointer while his second major involvement led to his sin-binning for 10 minutes.
“It’s not so much about how I played, it’s more about just getting back out there and playing,” Genia said post-match.
“It’s my first game back and we really couldn’t get into the game in the second half – we just kept turning the ball over.
“So there’s not much you can do as a halfback when you’re not getting any ball.”
It was a comprehensive Rising performance, with clean hands, quick feet and sheer physicality the order of the day from the opening whistle.
The Melbourne outfit put the rest of the competition on notice with the 61-point thrashing of Brisbane, who were undefeated heading into the match.
“We started well but they’re a big, physical team that put a lot of emphasis on pressure at the breakdown – so we didn’t get a lot of clean ball – and even when we were hitting the advantage line we were turning it over,” Genia said.
“They played really well and 79-18 is a good reflection of the game.”
Brumbies players Jarrad Butler and Robbie Coleman crossed for tries in Canberra’s tight victory, Jerome Niumata and Nigel Ah Wong also got on the scoresheet and Jesse Mogg booted two conversions.
In Saturday’s other match, the Perth Spirit were handed their second consecutive loss in their home-away-from-home match against the Greater Sydney Rams at Adelaide Airport Stadium.
After trailing for the majority of the game, the Rams showed their poise late and stormed home to secure their first win of the competition, 44-34.
On Thursday night, the North Harbour Rays were unable to break their duck in their first home game at Brookvale Oval against the NSW Country Eagles, who kept their perfect record intact with a 33-21 win.
Winger Andrew Kellaway picked up two more tries, taking his tally to six from the Eagles’ first three starts.