Under-20s Make It Fantastic Five
The Dean Pay coached NSW U-20s Origin side have made it five wins in a row thanks to a dominant 36-22 display at ANZ Stadium.
There were many good individual performances for the Blues, but no more so than Tyrell Fuimaono, who ran hard for the entire game and constantly threatened the Maroons attack with his incredible offloading skill.
Zac Woolford was dominant off the bench and Matt Dufty was a constant threat at the back, while the halves pairing of Lachlan Croker and Jack Cogger were dominant for the entire 80-minutes.
The Blues started the match with all of the ball and all of the field positions, having multiple scoring opportunities but were unable to convert.
Queensland had to withstand a lot of defence, and they did not waste their first real chance at the Blues’ line as the ball was shifted right, and Gideon Gela-Mosby threw a skilful offload for Bernard Lewis to score.
Off the ensuing set, Queensland made a raid down the right sideline and Gehamat Shibasaki made a charge towards the try-line, before a bone rattling tackle from Tyrell Fuimaono forced the ball free.
The Blues would certainly have started to get frustrated after not being able to crack the defence of Queensland despite so much ball, but they finally locked up the scores when the ball was shifted left, and the overlap created thanks to a magic flick pass by Fuimaono, and eventually found Reuben Garrick to score in the right corner.
The wind had been swirling around like crazy for the entire day, but that did not worry Brian Kelly, who started the ball left and it faded in between the posts to take the lead to 6-4.
Back-to-back penalties allowed NSW to march up-field and go straight back onto the attack, and increased their lead after Max Elliott threw the ball of the night - a no look flick pass out the back – which alike the first try, fractured the defence, and Lachlan Croker straightened through a hole to muscle his way over to score.
NSW started the second half like they ended the first, which was in good field position, and thanks to Zac Woolford they scored back-to-back tries inside three minutes.
Woolford darted out of dummy half to set up the first try adjacent to the posts, before a great run by Garrick down the right sideline put them back in position off the kick-off set, and Woolford exposed some lazy marker defence to go short side and dive over in the corner.
After both kicks were converted, the Blues had a commanding 24-4 lead with half-an-hour remaining.
Momentum is a hard thing to stop in Rugby League, and Queensland began to understand that when the red-hot Blues once again marched up-field with ease, and Bayley Sironen was a recipient of yet another incredible offload by a Blue – this time Taniela Paseka - to crash over next to the posts.
The Maroons finally hit back when Lachlan Lewis was held up, but managed to get the ball out to back to Gela-Mosby to score.
They earned a penalty off the kick-off and had a chance to make a game of it, but they turned the ball around and Curtis Scott capitalised just a few tackles later, when he made a linebreak thanks to yet another great offload by Fuimaono, and passed it to a lingering Matt Dufty who has lightning speed, meaning you could shut the gate then and there.
The same combination as the opening try linked up again when Lewis scored in the right corner after some great service Gela-Mosby to knock back the deficit to 36-14.
Gela-Mosby and Lewis were outstanding in a losing side, and they linked up yet again in the last 10 minutes for Lewis to record his hat-trick, and they nearly scored another one through Bacho Salam, but an incredible chase by Dufty – despite the result being sealed – cut him down.
Salam recovered a few tackles later to score the final try of the night, making the final score 36-22.