Tevita Cottrell and his young New South Wales team mates have won the under 20s Origin clash with Queensland, 36 points to 22, at ANZ Stadium tonight (Wednesday).
The New South Welshmen led 30-4 at one stage of the game, and Kurt Wrigley’s Queenslanders mounted a spirited comeback in the final 20 minutes, only to run out of time to run down the Young Blues.
Despite all of the momentum being with NSW, Queensland were the first to score in the 12th minute, with winger Bernard Lewis crashing over in the right corner for a four-nil lead.
NSW had the better of the running throughout the first 20 minutes, but a strong defensive effort from Queensland and directionless play from NSW kept the Young Maroons in the contest.
NSW started to play as a team, rather than as individuals, and this approach paid dividends with winger Reuben Garrick scoring in the right corner following a terrific offload from left-side second rower Tyrell Fuimaono. Winger Brian Kelly kicked the conversion from the touchline for a two-point advantage.
Five-eighth Lachlan Croker scored in the 31st minute with Kelly again converting, giving the Young Blues a 12-4 advantage at the half time break.
NSW put on the afterburners in the first 20 minutes of the second half, with halfback Jack Cogger scoring in the 45th minute, hooker Zac Woolford scoring in the 48th minute, and second rower Bayley Sironen scoring in the 54th minute, opening up a 30 points to four lead.
The Queenslanders did not give up, with try scoring freak and fullback Gideon Gela-Mosby crossing in the 59th minute of play.
NSW scored five minutes later through fullback Matt Dufty following another special offload from Fuimaono, seemingly putting the result out of reach of Queensland.
However the Young Maroons were not done, with Lewis scoring his second and third tries in the 68th and 74th minutes, followed by a further try to centre Bacho Salam in the penultimate minute of the match.
The six-tries-to-five result would have pleased Queensland Coach and Rabbitohs Assistant Coach Kurt Wrigley whose side never gave up throughout the 80 minutes. His side was simply outclassed with NSW having the edge throughout the match.
Rabbitohs edge player Tevita Cottrell made the most of his 15 minutes on the field from the interchange bench, trying hard to get involved to spark the Blues at the back end of the game and put a stop to the Maroons roll-on.
NSW’s best player was Tyrell Fuimaono who punished the Queensland defensive line all night with his hard running and controlled offloading. Queensland’s best was hooker Jake Turpin who controlled the play for the Young Maroons, helping his side make the most of the opportunities that were presented to them. With momentum on their side, another ten minutes on the clock may have seen Wrigley’s Young Maroons steal the win.
New South Wales U20s 36 (Reuben Garrick, Lachlan Croker, Jack Cogger, Zac Woolford, Bayley Sironen, Matt Dufty tries; Brian Kelly 6 goals)
Queensland U20s 22 (Bernard Lewis 3, Gideon Gela-Mosby, Bacho Salam tries; Brodie Croft goal)