Despite the NSW Blues going down 2-1 to the Queensland Maroons in State of Origin, NSW fans had plenty to cheer about with three impressive victories for the state’s junior teams. The NSW Under-16, Under-18 and Under-20 sides all got one up on their Queensland counterparts when they faced off as a curtain-raiser for Origin I, II and III respectively.
As the series opener came around, so did the under-16s clash and the NSW boys put forward an outstanding defensive effort. Parramatta’s John Paul Nohra was the young Blues’ best, while Phoenix Crossland and Jock Madden also shone as NSW won 12-10.
The second encounter featured a classy NSW Under-18s outfit, with a much more dominant display at Suncorp Stadium; the visitors kept the home side scoreless as they ran out 26-0 winners. Skipper Cameron Murray was deservedly namedman of the match in the victory, while backs Zac Lomax, Issac Lumelume and Ryan Papenhuyzen also contributed heavily to the result.
Finally, the NSW Under-20 team was out for a fifth-consecutive victory over Queensland, who have not won the match since it began. Back at ANZ Stadium, the home side did just that with a 36-22 victory – a game in which Tyrell Fuimaono, Zac Woolford and Matt Duftry featured heavily. With the three junior teams playing well – especially the consistently-performing Under-20 team – it is a good sign for the future of the NSW VB Blues in the Origin arena.