Scotland and Italy have combined to produce a scintillating 80 minutes of football with the 30 all draw a fitting result for all 7,280 fans in attendance at Derwent Park.
It was a battle between the two first up winners in Group C and they didn't disappoint creating 60 points between them in a rugby league classic.
The Braveheart's started at 100 km/ph against Tonga racing to a 24-4 lead and they set the tone again tonight. Danny Brough opened the scoring with a penalty goal after the video referee intervened to overrule a drop ball.
Scotland showed they weren't restricted to dour rugby league with back-to-back tries in the 22nd and 26th minute. Matthew Russell showed light feet to dance around several Italian players for the opener.
Peter Wallace offered the perfect follow-up with a 40/20 in the next Scotland possession. His kick led to Kane Linnett pouncing on a Danny Brough grubber to push the home side out to a 14-0 lead after half an hour.
Italy weren't going to fade quietly into the night and wrest momentum back from the Scottish side late in the first half. Cameron Ciraldo showed adept hands for a forward to latch on a grubber confirmed by the video referee.
Raymond Nasso though used brute strength instead of finesse to keep the Azzuri within two. He got the ball ten metres out and wouldn't stop until the try-line. The replacement hooker provided the jumpstart whenever the Italian side was lacking.
The mad-cap scoring continued right after the resumption as Scotland went 100 metres to extend their lead once again. Brough launched it high and through hands it got to Danny Addy to cross the stripe.
Once again though - Nasso took it upon himself to get the Italians back into the contest. Three straight plays were forwards launching themselves into the defense. Nasso should be nicknamed the bulldozer for his brace.
Despite being played in muddy conditions - the action was fast paced between all 34 players in the game. It swung like a pendulum being nudged by a psychiatrist. Hallewell finished off a lovely right side play from Danny Brough.
The Italian side finally wrestled control back - not in the play the ball like many NRL contests (both teams were penalised heavily for play-the ball infringements). Chris Centrone was on the end of a passing play that kept pushing left until he touched down in the corner.
It took 60 minutes but Italy had taken the lead in the enthralling contest. Captain Anthony Minichiello showed the handiwork that won him footballer of the year to pounce on a rebound. Mantellato converted in a duel between himself and Brough to who could keep their perfect record longer. The important aspect was though - Italy 30, Scotland 26.
I'm sounding like a broken record but Scotland dragged themselves up from their bootlaces once again. Danny Brough engineered the play as he chipped for himself, regathered and was tackled. On last Scotland pushed it right until Hallewell was in space, tying up the game once again.
Danny Brough who had been 5/5 until that moment had a chance to lift his side in front of the Azzuri once again. He started the kick off right but it was swung away at the final moment leaving the game locked up and onto field-goal mayhem.
Unlike standard NRL games - if the game was drawn at full-time it would remain so. There was one final effort from each side, both tinged with some controversy in how they came about. Referee Henry Perenara had called six again for Italy but reversed his call allowing Brough to get off a field goal attempt that was charged down.
This was Italy's tinge as the charge down was deemed to not be played at thus was an Italian ball inside the Scottish half. Forty seconds to play - Italy tried to prise some space for Josh Mantellato to get off a kick but he was closed down before Ryan Ghietti offered a weak attempt.
Full-time. A draw - like kissing your sister they say in the classics but not tonight. Derwent Park rose as one after the full-time siren to acknowledge the effort of both sides who still share the lead in Group C.
Scotland 30 Italy 30
Venue: Derwent Park
Halftime Score: Scotland 14-12
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Raymond Nasso
2 points - Danny Brough
1 point - Ben Hellewell
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary
Wow! What a game and it ENDS IN A DRAW!
UNSUCCESSFUL FIELD GOAL ITALY
Field goal attempt by Ryan Ghietti unsuccessful.
Italy are rucking it up.. giving time for Mantellato to take a drop goal but he was rushed upon so it is scrambled to Ghietti who can't get enough contact. FULLTIME.
Kade Snowden was down receiving attention but now is hobbling off. Here we go.. twenty seconds to go..
UNSUCCESSFUL FIELD GOAL SCOTLAND
Field goal attempt by Danny Brough unsuccessful.
Last tackle and you know what was coming.. a field goal attempt by Brough but it's CHARGED DOWN! Perenara calls not played at! Italy have a whole set to set up for the field goal now!
The referee has CHANGED his call! First he called six again for the Azzuri but overruled well himself and it will be a scrum to Scotland.
Unbelieveable! Scotland have done it again. Danny Brough chipped it for himself after Minichiello dropped deep. He recovered it, took the tackle and from the final tackle Scotland went to the right and Hallewell has his second TRY. Brough with a vital kick misses the first kick of the evening.
That wasn't needed! Reece Carter made a dogs breakfast of a routine kick return. Italy will look to seal the game with this set.
PENALTY Italy - ball stolen by Brough.
PENALTY Scotland - offside from the bomb were the Italian runners.
GREEN LIGHTS..TRY! Sorry it was Anthony Minichiello.. on last Italy were going nowhere so a stabbing kick was put in and it rebounded off a Scot to land in Minichiello's hands for the TRY and the lead! Mantellato converts like a broken record.
This game is swinging more than a rusty gate! Italy just kept the ball alive pushing it left until the looped basketball pass found Chris Centrone who dived over. Mantellato with pressure after Brough continued his perfect record.. as does Mantellato.
A dropout is coming here for the Italians after Anthony Minichiello stabbed one through.
This game is going at a rate of knots now! Brough goes down the right putting a cut-out onto the chest of the winger who draws Minichello and gives it to Hallewell who strolls in. Brough in a goal-kicking shootout pots another one.
Now a relieving PENALTY for the Scottish. A wry cheer went up after that call.
PENALTY ITALY! Another relieving penalty for the Azzuri.
NASSO THE BATTERING RAM AGAIN! It's a double for the diminutive forward - He just wanted to get over the defenders and didn't stop until he had. Mantellato from in front, has no problems.
PENALTY Italy after the Scottish were holding down.
Scotland have gone the length on their first set! A huge bomb was put up on last finding it's way to Addy who had the simple task of falling over the line. Brough continues his perfect goalkicking tonight.
Second half is underway! Scotland with first use.
The Braveheart's wilted under the pressure. Raymond Nasso took it upon himself to cross for the Azzuri and dived in. Mantellato from in front converts.
Another PENALTY for a strip. Italy camped on the Braveheart's line.
Fortuitous as it missed everyone but the bouncing ball landed in Scottish hands. Unfortunately though they will be forced to drop-out.
PENALTY Italy - raked out.
A huge bomb is dropped by the Scots so it'll allow Italy to attack again.
GREEN LIGHTS..TRY! Ciraldo was onside and gathered the grubber cleanly so the TRY signal comes up. Mantellato converts.
Cameron Ciraldo is claiming the four pointer but we're off to the VIDEO REFEREE..
PENALTY for Italy for taking out an Italian player from Brough's kick.
SIX MORE.. and a PENALTY for Italy as the Azzuri try to prise an opening.
GREEN LIGHTS..TRY! Kane Linnett does get the four pointer here. He latched onto a Brough grubber with the help of a deflection to cross. Brough adds two more to his tally.
VIDEO REFEREE: We're going upstairs to Alibert again.. Kane Linnett claiming this one.
Peter Wallace kicks a 40/20.
Peter Wallace with a perfect follow up to the try - booting a 40/20 for Scotland.
GREEN LIGHTS..TRY! Matthew Russell was in imperilous form against Tonga and he has brought that form to Derwent Park! He danced around several defenders before getting the ball down. Brough adds the extras.
SIX MORE for Scotland as the ball richoted off an Italian player.
PENALTY Scotland - two on one strip.
SUCCESSFUL PENALTY GOAL SCOTLAND
Penalty goal attempt by Danny Brough successful.
No troubles putting it through the rough conditions by Brough.
It was initally ruled a drop ball by Scotland but the video referee intervened, ruling PENALTY. Brough points to the sticks.
Dear, oh dear! Italy have failed to find touch. Well played by Hurst though to keep his feet in.
PENALTY Scotland - holding down.
Kicked out on the full by Danny Brough.
A fumble in the sun and the rain here forced Carter to spill it. Luckily he was in the in-goal so it's a dropout.