Matt Encarnacion, NRL.com
1. Matthew Russell – Made more metres (120 metres) and broke more tackles (five) than any other Braveheart. His controversial try now takes him to three for the tournament. 8
2. Alex Hurst – Worked as hard as any other Scot, carrying the ball 15 times – equal most with Russell. 7
3. Ben Hellewell – Crossed twice in the final half hour, including finishing off a memorable try that tied the game. 7
4. Kane Linnett – Didn’t see much of the ball, so we didn’t see much of him. He did make three one-on-one tackles though. 6.5
5. Brett Carter – Showed poise to send Hellewell over for his first. 6.5
6. Danny Brough – World-class kicking game from a world class player. Missed the final shot at goal, but kicked four from five and collected 452 metres through his boot. 8
7. Peter Wallace – His missile pass put Carter on a trajectory to the tryline. Was the perfect foil for Brough, and didn’t shirk his defensive workload. 7
8. Adam Walker – Toiled hard for his 83 metres from 11 runs, and made 26 tackles. A solid outing. 6.5
9. Ian Henderson – A typically busy performance from the former Warriors, recording game-highs in tackles (43) and offloads (3). 7.5
10. Luke Douglas – The only Braveheart to reach the 100-metre barrier in yardage, the unbreakable Titan led the defence as well, making a game-high five one-on-one tackles and 37 overall. 7.5
11. Danny Addy – Backed up his impressive outing against Tonga with another robust performance against Italy, carrying the ball 11 times for 66 metres, making 41 tackles and scoring a try. 7
12. Dale Ferguson – Worked hard in defence with 33 tackles, but didn’t feature much with the ball. 6.5
13. Ben Kavanagh – Got the start over the more experienced Oliver Wilkes, but like Ferguson, failed to make a real impact. 6
14. Ben Fisher – Ran the ball once, but made 24 tackles. 5
15. Brett Phillips – Was used sparingly against Tonga and didn’t see much more action against Italy, running the ball once for nine metres. 4.5
16. Mitchell Stringer – Made more metres (59) than anyone else on the bench, but also gave away a game-high three penalties. 5
17. Oliver Wilkes – Ran more vigorously than against Tonga, but that says more about his first game than this one. 5.5
1. Anthony Minichiello – The national captain gave his side the lead with a lucky try late in the game, and was safe as houses at the back. 7
2. Josh Mantellato – Arguably the best kicker in the competition nailed a perfect five from five, but didn’t see a lot of action in-field. 6.5
3. James Tedesco – Wasn’t as involved as the Welsh game, but made a few handy runs. 6
4. Aidan Guerra – Cracked the 100-metre barrier from 16 carries, set up a try, a line-break and offloaded twice. His breakout year continues. 7.5
5. Chris Centrone – Ran the ball 11 times and scored off his only opportunity. 6.5
6. Ben Falcone – A solid performance from the Souths Logan hooker, but needs to get more involved. 6.5
7. Ryan Ghietti – Steered his team around the park, finding 210 metres from his nine kicks and was creative in the Ciraldo try. Missed a field-goal attempt. 7
8. Anthony Laffranchi – One of Italy’s best, making 143 metres from his team-high 18 carries and team-high 33 tackles. Offloaded twice, too. 8
9. Dean Parata – Made a couple of darts from hooker but was overshadowed by his more direct back-up off the bench. 6
10. Paul Vaughan – The impressive youngster out of Canberra continues his rise, backing up his 141 metre effort against Wales with a 147 metres outing against Scotland. He did commit three errors, however. 7
11. Mark Minichiello – Proved a handful in attack, breaking three tackles and tallying 96 metres. 6.5
12. Cameron Ciraldo – Solid without being spectacular, making just 72 metres and 24 tackles. 6.5
13. Joel Riethmuller – Made 37 metres and 21 tackles, but not much to note about here. 5.5
14. Kade Snowden – His introduction midway through the first half coincided with the momentum swinging to Italy’s favour. His combination with Laffranchi and Vaughan certainly isn’t to be sneezed at. Not bad for his first action since his long-term NRL suspension. 7.5
15. Ryan Tramonte – Saw little action and contributed as much. 4.5
16. Brenden Santi – You can see why Ricky Stuart stole him from the Tigers. Short on size, but not on heart, almost racking up 100 metres. 6.5
17. Raymond Nasso – Named Man of the Match and it’s hard to argue. Made Scotland pay for not respecting him close to the line. 8
How It Happened...
14 minutes: Scotland halfback Peter Wallace hit late by a shoulder charge from Italian hooker Dean Parata, giving Danny Brough an easy shot at goal which he converts successfully for a 2-0 lead.
21 minutes: After numerous looks at the replay, video referee Thierry Alibert deems Scotland fullback Matthew Russell’s individual effort a try. The former Titans under-20s custodian, who has recently been signed by the Warrington Wolves, shows great strength to beat three players and plant the ball over the line. Brough converts again and the Scots push out to 8-0.
25 minutes: Scotland shifts left in attack and a fortunate ricochet from a grubber falls into the hands of centre Kane Linnett. Brough kicks truly and the Bravehearts are well in control 14-0.
33 minutes: Italy hit back the best way possible. Cameron Ciraldo parades his true Italian roots, soccering the ball twice before getting the lucky bounce and scoring. Josh Mantellato nails the conversion, reducing the deficit to 14-6.
39 minutes: Momentum has well and truly swung in favour of the Tricolours. They force a line drop-out before interchange hooker Ray Nasso scurries over from dummy-half. Mantellato converts and the Italians are back in business, trailing 14-12.
42 minutes: Scotland second-rower Danny Addy exhibits his excellent support play, touching the ball twice in a passage that began with a towering Brough bomb. Brough’s conversion extends Scotland’s lead to 20-12.
46 minutes: It worked well the first time, so why not try it again? Nasso burrows over for a second time and Italy just won’t go away. Mantellato’s goal brings us back to 20-18.
50 minutes: Wallace puts his stamp on the game, his cut-out pass putting winger Brett Carter free before he sends Ben Hellewell over. Brough can’t miss, and Scotland regain their eight-point lead. It’s 26-18.
53 minutes: Not surprisingly, the Azzurri return serve through NRL premiership-winner Aidan Guerra, who just put a foot wrong this year. His miracle pass gifts Chris Centrone a try and the Italians sniff another upset. Mantellato can’t miss either, and it’s game on again at 26-24.
59 minutes: And there you have it. Current Man of Steel Brough has been impressive, but former Golden Boot winger Anthony Minichiello gets a lucky bounce off James Tedesco’s grubber and scores. Mantellato extends Italy’s first lead of the match to 30-26.
70 minutes: Hellewell crosses for the tenth try of the match, but it’s by far the best of them. Brough chases his own kick, the Scots shift right and the Featherstone Rovers centre finishes it off. The final try also gives us our first miss at goal from Brough, and after a couple of attempts at field- goal, neither team can come up with the goods. What an entertaining match!