Wallaby lock Will Skelton has been busy in his return to the National Rugby Championship, scoring a try and spending time in the sin bin for Sydney Stars.

Dumped Wallaby lock Will Skelton has made an eventful return to the National Rugby Championship, spending time in the sin bin, scoring a try and making several bullocking runs in Sydney Stars’ 37-all draw with Canberra Vikings at Leichardt Oval in Sydney.

His start to the round 5 match was similar to Will Genia’s Brisbane City debut a fortnight ago, when he was yellow carded within the first 15 minutes.

But Skelton made up for his earlier indiscretion with a try that levelled scores at 29-all with 15 minutes to play.

After JP Smith crossed for the Vikings and Jesse Mogg converted from the sideline, the Vikings looked as though they would leave Leichardt with the four points.

But a try on the siren under the posts to the Stars handed the cellar-dwellers their first points of the season.

Elsewhere, Melbourne Rising opened up a nine point gap on top of the ladder with a 37-16 win over the second placed NSW Country Eagles at Orange.

It took 20 minutes for the competition leaders to open their account but three quick tries in the second quarter of the match opened up a 24-8 half-time lead.

An early second half try to Telusa Veainu – his seventh of the campaign – put the game to bed with 30 minutes to play, with the Eagles only adding one try, to Andrew Kellaway, in the final 40 minutes.

The Eagles’ loss leaves them with a 3-2 record after they started with three successive wins. The opportunity to break away from Brisbane City on the NRC ladder – who have the bye this week – has been missed.

On Thursday night, Queensland Country secured their first win of 2014 with a 24-13 win over Greater Sydney Rams at Ballymore.

It was a hard, gritty affair in front of another solid Ballymore crowd, as Country props Haydn Hirsimaki and Greg Holmes dominated at scrum time, with the Rams being penalised five times for scrum indiscretions across the 80 minutes.

Country fullback JJ Taulagi was awarded man of the match for his line-bending runs and match-winning try with seven minutes to play.

In Saturday’s late match, North Harbour Rays leapfrogged Perth Spirit into seventh spot on the ladder with an enthralling 32-29 win at Brookvale Oval.

Bustling No. 8 Sam Ward bagged a hat-trick for the Rays, as they claimed their second win in as many weeks.