The South East Queensland Under 16 pre-season challenge came to an exciting conclusion with all three games being decided by two points in the fourth and final round at Emerson Park.
Players made the most of their final chance to impress selectors ahead of the 2018 SEQ squad announcement on April 18 by producing an outstanding day of rugby league.
Game 1 saw Gold Coast White taking on Ipswich and it was Gold Coast White who took an early 6-0 lead. They controlled the first half and led 14-0 at halftime.
However, the young Diggers played with great enthusiasm in the second term, eventually hitting the front 18-14 with five minutes remaining.
The game had one last twist, though, as White winger Noah Croudace grabbed his second try in the final minute of play snatching a thrilling 20-18 victory for his side.
Game 2 was a seesawing battle between Brisbane Red and Gold Coast Yellow, with Gold Coast posting the first try to lead 6-0 after 15 minutes.
Red hit back not long after for a 6-4 scoreline, and then a strong try to Brisbane winger Farani Pritchard-Malaki handed his team a 10-6 advantage at the half-time break.
Yellow were again first to score in the second half and retook the lead 12-10, but again Red hit right back to take a 14-12 lead into the final stages.
In a frantic final few minutes, both sides tried to seal a win, but it was Gold Coast who scored their third try of the afternoon in the last minute to claim a 16-14 win.
The undefeated Brisbane Grey took on Brisbane Blue in the final game of the day and they scored an easy try in the opening stages to throw down the gauntlet.
Blue, however, worked tirelessly in defence frustrating their more fancied rivals and that proved to be the only score in the first half.
A good try to Blue lock Jack Howarth saw them edge ahead 6-4 with 10 minutes remaining. Howarth’s second try was an even better effort under the posts for a 12-4 Blue lead.
Grey hit back to cut the margin to just two and setup a grand stand finish, but Blue held on to post an exciting 12-10 win over Brisbane Grey ending the side’s unbeaten series.
The day also featured a trial between Toowoomba Under 16s and players from Brisbane’s squads who had only seen limited match time across the series. The visitors won 26-18, scoring five tries to four.
The Division will announce its extended Under 16s training squad on Wednesday, April 18, with final SEQ teams for this year’s QRL State Junior Carnival in Mackay to be named after these initial training sessions.
Players will commence training on Wednesday, June 6 to confirm fitness for the carnival and also to ensure that club commitments are ongoing for final eligibility to attend the State Carnival event, where the Queensland 16 team will be selected.
For any further details, contact Michael Pease on firstname.lastname@example.org.