A standout performance from Joshua Fauid helped Queensland claim a win over NSW in their Under 18s match earlier this evening.
Fauid scored the match-winning try with nine minutes remaining in the game to seal the win in front of more than 30,000 spectators.
However, the Queensland side had to endure a nervous final few minutes as NSW pressed hard for an equaliser with Blues five-eighth Brock Lamb denied a try in the closing stages of the match due to a double movement.
In a match that was evenly matched for most of the game; things did not start well for the young Maroons, with NSW able to get out to a 12-0 lead after 20 minutes of play.
Fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen was the first to cross the tryline and was followed soon after by Cronulla centre Curtis Scott putting Queensland firmly on the back foot.
However, when they got their chance close to the NSW line, a strong run from Ipswich product Thomas Mikaele got Queensland on the scoreboard.
They chased hard for the rest of the half and were finally rewarded when Toowoomba hooker Tristan Hope was able to break through at the stroke of halftime to draw scores level 12-12.
As they were in the first half, the NSW side were again the first to score in the half with Reimis Smith picking up a spilled ball at the back to put his side back in the lead.
It was a deft kick into the in-goal by Fauid six minutes later that earned a goal line drop out for Queensland; and man of the match Jaydn Su’A was able to convert the opportunity when a charging run at the line saw him plant the ball.
In a moment of drama, Fauid’s conversion attempt hit the post and left Queensland trailing 18-16 with time seemingly running out.
While disappointed to miss the equalling kick, the Norths Devils half did not drop his head and remained involved and alert to all chances.
With the line beckoning, but NSW’s defence holding on; Queensland keep the ball alive with some ‘hot potato’ passing at the line before Fauid spotted a hole to run in and score the match-winner.
Some well positioned high kicks caused Queensland some headaches in the final stages of the match as they had all game – but their defence was good enough to claim the win in front of the Melbourne crowd.
QUEENSLAND (Thomas Mikaele, Tristan Hope, Jaydn Su’A, Joshua Fauid tries; Joshua Fauid 3 goals) def NSW (Ryan Papenhuyzen, Curtis Scott, Reimis Smith tries; Brock Lamb 3 goals) at the MCG
Man of the Match: Jaydn Su'A (Queensland)