A SECOND half shut-out paved the way to victory for the Queensland Maroons Under 16 team as they overcame New South Wales Country 22-8 at Lismores Oakes Oval on Friday night.


Country five-eighth Jayden Ehsman put his team in a strong position at half time after a try and two goals, with a Tristan Hope try narrowing the half time gap to 8-4.


A few words from coach Craig Grauf at half time stirred Queensland into action, piling on three converted tries to set up the winning margin.


I wish we wouldve won by more actually, Grauf said at fulltime.


We kept them in the game, but the boys effort in defence kept us going well.


I think we showed we had a bit more footy in us, but we let ourselves down a few times.


"The boys are just that next level down in their development; just that extra metre and a half of effort from where they need to be for higher footy.


Queensland had their fair share of quality performers, with five-eighth Joshua Faiud and man of the match Bernard Lewis putting in a strong performance at fullback.


Unheralded replacement hooker Aaron Ulai shone from the bench, while Fauid and Cameron Torpy drew praise from Grauf.


Josh was fantastic. He had a lot of responsibility playing five-eighth and captaining the team, but he stood up and showed he could do it, Grauf said.


Cameron lifted the side really well. He was only supposed to play on the edge but he slotted into the forwards and made plenty of metres.


Wes Mooka caused them trouble all night and Aaron was fantastic.


QUEENSLAND 22 (Yorston, Fauid, Hope, Uluiviti tries; Herbert 2, Faiud goals) def NSW COUNTRY 8 (Ehsman try; 2 goals) at Oakes Oval, Lismore.


PLAYERS TO WATCH


Country NSW



Jayden Ehsman (Glenn Innes): No secret why he scored all of Country's points. Directed attack and always there in support. Performed well behind beaten forward pack.


Queensland Maroons


Joshua Faiud (SEQ): My man of the match. Was in everything. Created many opportunities. Scored a try. Big future.


Keenan Yorston (SEQ): Queensland always have a sensational centre. Yorston could've finished with four if he grounded all opportunities. Amazing speed and footwork, untouchable in heavy traffic. Slippery.


Bernard Lewis (Marlins): Safe as a bank at the back. Turned defence into attack. Good positioning in defence.


Aaron Ulai (SEQ): Plucked from Brisbane Second Division as replacement hooker. Broke tackles with ease, provided good service for halves. Give him an inch he'll take a mile.