By Beth Newman
Queensland U18s proved their TAC Cup form was no fluke, with a 29-point win to kick off their 2014 Nationals campaign.
The Queenslanders proved their Division Two title credentials in the dominant 11.10 (76) – 7.5 (47) win.
Morningside bottom-ager, Ben Keays, continued his purple patch of state form, with 29 touches and four goals playing at half-forward and through the midfield.
Captain, Darcy Cameron-Reeves, led the way early, with 14 touches to half time, finishing with 27, while Hayden Bertoli-Simmonds and Cameron Stevenson played some of their best football of the year in the match.
Taking an eight-point lead into quarter time, Queensland edged away from Tasmania, increasing their lead each term and controlling the game.
After showing their ability in more open footy early this season, Queensland coach, Adrian Fletcher, said his side showed their grit against Tasmania.
“The games we’ve played before are a bit more free-flowing, but these ones are more roll your sleeves up type footy,” he said.
“These games you grind, grind, grind and when you have a chance you’ve got to take it and I thought we did, particularly in the second and third.”
It took until the second quarter for Queensland to really settle into the game, but once they did, they were hard to stop.
“We moved the ball with our numbers and our patterns really started to show,” Fletcher said.
“The pressure did go up and it was a great learning curve for some of our 17 year-old boys.
“There’s not a lot of time and space, they need to make strong decisions.”
In his first game back for Queensland after injury, Matthew Hammelmann provided a strong forward focal point, finishing with four goals in the match.
Tasmanian midfield duo, Tim Jones and Caleb Hislop were the best for their team, getting plenty of the footy.
Queensland take on the Northern Territory in their second National Championships match, in Melbourne, next Saturday.
Qld 11.10 . 76
QLD Goals- Ben Keays 4, Matt Hammelmann 4, Darcy Cameron -Reeves 1, Liam Dawson 1, Matthew Uebergang 1
Best Players – Ben Keays, Harris Andrews , Matthew Hammelmann , Cameron Stevenson, Hayden Bertoli-Simmonds.