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Young guns primed to fire

By Verity O’Donoghue

Team photo of the Queensland Under-16 rugby league side for the 2016 State of Origin including coaching team.
The next generation of mighty Maroons are set to do battle with the Blues.

Preparations have peaked for the Queensland U-16 side before tonight’s (Wednesday) Origin curtain-raiser at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium after the teen titans entered training camp on Friday at the Gold Coast.

Comprised of young guns from the Cyril Connell Cup and the Queensland Academy of Sport, the team are hoping for a back-to-back victory following their 10–6 win over NSW last year.

With players from across the state joining the team, coach Kurt Richards said the most important aspect of training was education.

“Ensuring that the boys are all up to speed and understand the systems in place is vital in making sure they work well as a team,” he said.

“Our preparation has been great and we’ve gotten through without any dramas.

“The boys will be evenly matched on Wednesday night but hopefully we can come away with some strong results.”

The results the team are chasing come after a close win from last year’s match, prompting Richards to focus on certain weaknesses to ensure a better outcome this time around.

Richards has strived to strengthen some weak points, eyeing a more emphatic victory this year.

“We’ve been working on our inside assist and just focusing on our defensive efforts as key areas this year,” he said.

“It’s very important that the boys understand what it means to be a part of an Origin squad, and that they know the procedures we follow.”

The young Maroons also had the opportunity to meet with their senior counterparts, enjoying a lunch with the Queensland State of Origin team at Sanctuary Cove on Sunday.

“It was a great opportunity for the boys to meet the team; they made memories to last a lifetime,” Richards said.

“Billy Slater presented the team jerseys to the boys, it was really great to see.”

The match kicks off at 5.50pm this afternoon (June 1) and can be viewed via the QRL Live Stream page.


QUEENSLAND U-16 team

1. McKenzie Baker 2. Dejzha Pene 3. Jack Paterson 4. Ioane Seiuli 5. Jonathan Siofele 6. Cory Paix (c) 7. Tanah Boyd 8. Garrett Smith 9. Zachary McCormack 10. Geordie Brand 11. Ethan Bullemor 12. Thomas Gilbert 13. David Fifita (c) 14. Lazeryth Su'A 15. Hamilton Taia 16. Tino Fa'asuamaleaui 17. Blake Campbell 18. Sebastian Winters-Chang 

Coach: Kurt Richards

See the Photo Gallery from the captain's run