The Queensland Under 18 team take on New South Wales in the curtain-raiser of State of Origin Game I; providing an excellent showcase before the main event at Suncorp Stadium.
The emerging Queensland side have been in camp in Brisbane to prepare for the big game and are in fine form for their 5.15pm kick-off.
Match: QLD U18s v NSW U18s
Round 1 -
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Queensland Under 18 coach Kurt Richards said he had been impressed by how the boys were coming together as a team and was excited to see how the clash will play out against the Blues.
“We have been focusing on areas that require zero talent (like having a strong work ethic and effort); it’s an Origin game and it’s important to focus on that, and their defence,” Richards said.
During the team’s preparations in Brisbane, the players had the chance to run against the Maroons Origin team last Friday.
They also watched the senior men’s captain’s run before taking part in their own at Davies Park.
“That was our first training session; the boys were able to hold their own at times – but, were exposed as well,” Richards said.
“It gave us a bit of vision going back to start building the team up.”
This year’s team has representatives from nine clubs in the Auswide Bank Mal Meninga Cup, including six from the national title winning Tweed Seagulls, with two players with experience in the Intrust Super Cup in Xavier Coates and Tesi Niu.
“We’ve also got four or five 17-year-olds, so it’s a good mix of age and experience to come together as a group,” Richards said.
Captain Joshua James said he and his side had come together well during the week at camp and were ready to go for the big game.
“We are confident, all the boys are confident, and I am sure Richo (Richards) and the other coaching staff are confident in us," James said.
"We have been out here training really well, so hopefully we can get the job done on Wednesday night."
Watch the full video below:
Queensland Under 18 captain Joshua James
Representing clubs that are based across the state, each player has their own stake to play for in this game against the state rivals.
“We’ve spent a fair bit of time doing exercises around [representing Queensland], they’re all very excited to out the Maroons jersey on,” Richards said.
“It’s probably going to be the biggest experience of their life, all we ask is that they give us their all.”
Livestream: Queensland Under 18 v New South Wales Under 18
- Tune into the Livestream via QRL.com.au - game kicks off at 5.15pm