Two tries from Tesi Niu; including a stunning length-of-the-field effort when Queensland were under pressure has helped Queensland secure a 34-12 win at Suncorp Stadium in their Under 18 match.
The Souths Logan Magpies centre – who is contracted to the Brisbane Broncos – took the ball on his own 10-metre line and sprinted all the way to score, notwithstanding an outstanding chase by NSW prop forward Sione Fainu who came oh-so-close to dragging him over the righthand touchline.
It was an excellent display of football form both sides, but Queensland just had more spark in attack; and while they made mistakes, they were able to defend them.
Queensland had the ascendancy in the first half; and crossed for the first try of the match in only the fifth minute when hooker Jake Simpkin scored a good dummy half try when he went over himself close to the line.
The visitors responded five minutes later with a good try of their own, a solid effort from prop David Hollis who proved too strong when he charged over next to the posts.
The half evened out as it wore on, but it was Queensland who would finish the half on a roll, with Burleigh Bear Alofiana Khan-Pereira taking an excellent Brendan Piakura pass to score out on the left wing.
Niu was the next over the try line, getting his first with a strong run that was set up by an initial charge by Simpkin. Although held up, it helped the team set up to go to the right, where the young Magpie was able run in hard and slam the ball down.
Queensland held an 18-6 lead at the break, but NSW had showed signs of what they could do in that half and they acted on that to score the first try of the second when they capitalised on Queensland errors and Fainu showed pure strength to get over the line for his side.
For the next period, Queensland endured wave-after-wave of NSW attack, absorbing everything they could throw at them.
After holding them out – it was Queensland’s turn to attack and their backs shone.
Halves pairing Joshua James and Sam Walker directed the play well, with Walker especially causing headaches in the first half with his runs to the line.
However, it was a pin-point kick from James that was plucked out of the air by Xavier Coates that got the scoring started for Queensland in the second half; with no one able to match his leap.
Niu’s impressive effort came next to get the crowd roaring after they had endured some tense moments when NSW seemed to have the ascendancy earlier in the half.
While Niu had equal merit in claiming the honours, it was Coates who was named the player of the match, with not only his try swinging momentum towards his side, but also numerous incisions through the NSW defence where he cut them up through the middle of the field to help his side into strong positions.
A National Under 18 title winner with the Tweed Seagulls, has been a great season for the young Bronco.
His fellow Tweed and Broncos team-mate Reece Walsh put the icing on the cake for the Queensland when he followed Niu on a break and put the ball down to score.
Player of the match: Xavier Coates (Queensland)
NRL.com.au / QRL.com livestream replay:
Livestream: Queensland Under 18 v New South Wales Under 18