QLD U16s in nationals nail biter

By Beth Newman

It was another week, another thriller between the next generation of Queensland and NSW footy stars, with the southerners claiming a nine-point win in the U16 National Championships.

A half of footy could not separate the two teams, with scores level at the first two breaks, before NSW/ACT nabbed a sliver of breathing space in the third, to take an 11-point lead into the last change.

Queensland charged home, with the wind at their backs, cutting the deficit to just three points but couldn’t finish off their hard work, with a number of long bombs ending in the Rams’ hands, as they held on for a  9.5 (59) – 8.7 (50) win.

Queensland coach, John Rankin, said it was that decision-making which cost his side in the end.

“The mids did really well, they got their hands on it but just bombed away in hope, like we were going to take the miraculous mark,” he said.

“Unfortunately, you get a rush of blood and as much as we spoke about it at three-quarter time and we had the runner going out in the term, lower your eyes, they just kept bombing it.”

Despite the close loss, Rankin was hard-pressed to find faults with his side, focusing on the bigger picture.

“I can’t fault the kids, they did their best and I would’ve thought the blokes, the recruiters that were here, would be happy with what they saw,” he said.

“The question really is, ‘what are we here for?’, we’re here to provide them with the opportunity to go to the next level.

“We like to win – you don’t play to come second -but if you don’t win, you don’t win.”

Palm Beach Currumbin’s Curtis Marsden was outstanding for the Queenslanders on the wing, showing explosive pace, while Jacob Allison was impressive and Rankin sang the praises of Declan Watson, who was thrown into the last line of defence.

“He’s normally a half-forward, wing, or pretty anywhere but where he played today,” he said.

“It was a really big job and when I said, ’mate, you’re playing fullback,’ he just smiles and says, ‘yeah, I’m up for that.’”

In the final quarter frenzy, Palm Beach’s Brad Scheer won plenty of ball for the Queenslanders, while Mt Gravatt’s Luke O’Sullivan continued a strong carnival and Zillmere’s Reuben William showed his trademark intensity in the forward line.

Sydney Hills’ Lyndon Hupfeld was impressive for NSW/ACT, while Zachary Sproule ran hard all day.

Queensland take on NT at Metricon Stadium at 1:30 on Saturday, still with a chance of taking home the title.

Queensland 2.1 5.2 6.4  7.8 (50)
NSW/ACT 2.1 5.2 8.3  9.5 (59)
Queensland: Hipwood 2, Esam, Hewitt, William, Watson, Scheer
NSW/ACT: Hupfeld 2, Fisher 2, Morgan 2, Mutch, Sproule, Gray
Queensland: Marsden, Scheer, Hewitt, West, Wells
NSW/ACT: Garthwaite, Sproule, Setterfield, Mutch, Clark, Brown

Twitter: @bethknewman

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