The XXXX Queensland Rangers prevailed in a tight and entertaining contest against the Ron Massey Cup representatives, claiming an 11-4 win at Pizzey Park last night.
It was a fast and physical encounter, with both sides proving resolute in defence; while the big hits impressed the crowd and typified the depth of feeling of an interstate match between Queensland and New South Wales.
With just over 10 minutes gone in the match, Queensland had their first good attacking chance, with a kick into the in-goal by skipper Chris Ash earning them a line dropout.
The Rangers attacked hard in the next play, but a determined charge to the line by Corey Blades was brought undone when NSW were able to drag him over the sideline.
Blades provided a number of highlights for the match, with the Toowoomba Souths rep proving a handful for the opposition whether it be darting across the field or in the air fielding high kicks.
However, it was Kennedy Pettybourne who put the Rangers ahead when a long ball put him through a hole and over to score.
The conversion attempt was unsuccessful from Ash, meaning the Rangers lead remained at 4-0.
Despite putting themselves under pressure by giving away back-to-back penalties with just over 10 minutes to go in the half, they proved their worth in defence and were again able to hold out the Cup side to maintain a 4-0 halftime lead.
It was Queensland who were the first to score in the second half in the 52nd minute, when Ono So’oialo ran in over the line after the Rangers were able to mount sustained pressure on the line.
However, NSW finally scored with 20 minutes to go in the match to ensure the tension remained, when a nice ball to Joel Latham saw him run in untouched in the right side of the field. Chad Porter missed the conversion attempt meaning a converted try would draw them level with Queensland.
However, neither side was able to break the other’s line once more, with the arm wrestle continuing until the final minutes.
With less than a minute remaining in the match, skipper Ash put it beyond doubt with a field goal to seal the win.
XXXX Queensland Rangers 11 (Kennedy Pettybourne, Ono So’oialo tries; Ono So’oialo goal, Chris Ash field goal) def NSW Ron Massey Cup team 4 (Joel Latham try) at Pizzey Park on Sunday, July 24
Man of the Match: Mitch Wilson (Queensland Rangers)