Canberra Vikings vs Perth Spirit: NRC semi-final highlights, live scores, blog

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    Match result:

    The Canberra Vikings have secured a spot in the NRC Grand Final with a five-point win over the Perth Spirit.

    » Click here to read the full match report

    Final score
    Canberra Vikings 40
    Perth Spirit 35

    Match preview:

    It’s semi-final one when minor premiers the Canberra Vikings host the fourth-placed Perth Spirit in the nation’s capital on Saturday night. Join The Roar for a live blog from 7pm AEDT.

    The Perth Spirit will consider themselves lucky to be playing finals football. When down by more than 20 points last week against Queensland Country, they were 5th and out of contention.

    A stirring second half fightback and a kick after the siren to win, reminded everyone of their premiership credentials – it’s certainly a danger game for minor premiers Canberra.

    Indeed, the Canberra side has been boosted by the returns of Tom Banks and Wharenui Hawera. The fullback and flyhallf will add some serious potency in attack, and will look to continue their red-hot NRC form come kick off.

    For the Spirit, Isi Naisarani is a big-in at number 8, whilst the back three of Brendan Owen, Marcel Brache and Nick Jooste are hitting their straps at the right time.

    This will be an intriguing fixture.

    Where the game will be won
    In the forward pack. Both sides have big, damaging ball carriers in the form of Richie Arnold, Isi Naisarani and Rob Valetini, but I feel that the Vikings are a little more effective at the breakdown and in the contest.

    Their captain and openside flanker, Tom Cusack, has been a revelation this season, and will look to be a pest over the ball for the entire match. If Canberra control the breakdown, they progress to the big dance.

    Prediction
    The odds prove how close this fixture is to call. The Spirit have been buoyed by a few returning players, but the Vikings have been the model of consistency in season 2017. They’ll win this one in a close contest.

    Vikings by 12.

    Join The Roar for live scores of the match, starting from 7pm AEDT.