A second half fightback wasn’t enough for the NSW Country Eagles as they went down to the Western Force 54-28 in their National Rugby Championship opener in Perth on Sunday.
Eagles captain Paddy Ryan and Glen Innes product Alex Newsome both crossed for the Eagles, who early in the second half trailed by 28 points.
Led by evergreen flanker Chris Alcock and a big Force pack, the WA men shot out to a 28-7 lead at halftime courtesy an opening 40 minutes that saw Marcel Brache cross twice.
But the Eagles, playing their first game and with only a handful of training sessions under their belt, began to find their rhythm in the second half and brought the score from 35-7 back to 35-28 with 10 minutes to play.
The Force found a way to wrestle back the momentum, however, and scored three tries in the final stages to push away once again, and remain unbeaten after the opening two rounds.
The Eagles host the Melbourne Rising in Mudgee in round three.