The NSW Under-20s have come from 10 points down against Queensland Under-20s to record an historic against-the-odds 30-16 victory that extends their unbeaten streak at this level to six.
The Danny Buderus-coached young Blues looked down and out early in the match, trailing 10-0 after 16 minutes – but they showed tremendous fight and courage to come back and seal a memorable win away from home in Brisbane.
The Blues’ scintillating second-half performance led them to victory, scoring 14 unanswered points to give them their sixth consecutive success at under-20s level.
Second-half tries to Jai Field, Jack Murchie and Nat Butcher paved the way to victory.
Field got NSW off to the perfect start after the break, bursting into back field with lightning speed and some elusive footwork, touching down in the corner. His conversion tied the match just five minutes into the second half.
Repeat sets and continued pressure deeper into the second period eventually took its toll on the Queensland defence, with Murchie powering over the line to give the Blues a six-point lead. Field’s conversion took the lead to eight. Butcher’s try on the stroke of fulltime sealed the victory.
A fiery patch early in the second stanza saw Corey Horsburgh and Raymond Stone both sent to the sin bin, with the penalty ultimately handing NSW an 18-16 lead, their first of the match.
In the first half, Maroons front-rower Horsburgh, promoted to the starting line-up after originally being named in the team on the bench, crashed over under the posts just four minutes into the game to give the hosts the best possible start.
The young Queenslanders extended their lead 11 minutes later, with a smart right-to-left shift putting Tristan Sailor, the son of Wendell, into space to find the line to extend the lead to 10.
Lawrie got the New South Welshmen back into the game in the 20th minute, carrying four Queenslanders across the line to get the Blues on the board. Field’s conversion cut the deficit to four.
The Queenslanders, however, weren’t about to let the tide turn completely, cutting the NSW team to shreds through the middle of the field with six minutes remaining in the half. The Blues simply couldn’t control Queensland’s powerful individual runs after a smart short pass, with half Brodie Croft streaking away to score under the posts and threaten to take the game away from NSW.
But, just 90 seconds before the break, the Blues showed they had plenty of life left, with a right-side shift on the Maroons' line seeing the ball land in the hands of Curtis Scott. The Storm's NRL-contracted centre flicked the ball Reuben Garrick who crossed in the corner, ensuring the Blues stayed in touch at the break.
That period of play proved pivotal, with the Blues stretching their lead in the second half to ultimately seal another sensational victory.
Congratulations to Buderus and his team on another sensational effort.
NSW 30 (Blake Lawrie, Reuben Garrick, Jai Field, Jack Murchie, Nat Butcher tries; Field 4 goals) def Queensland 16 (Corey Horsburgh, Tristan Sailor, Brodie Croft tries; Sailor 2 goals)