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Queensland outmatched by NSW in Under 18s

New South Wales are the inaugural champions of the Under 18 girls interstate challenge, outplaying the junior Maroons to record a dominant 24-4 win at North Sydney Oval.

A double to Blues winger Teagan Berry and a strong Nat Dwyer medal performance by second-rower Caitlan Johnston aided the Blues to the commanding victory.

It was a scintillating start to the maiden match as Queensland kicked off to the Blues, and New South Wales didn't waste any time in questioning the Maroons’ defensive line.

In the second minute, the Blues shifted the ball left for Tiana Graham to break the line and attempt to score, however lost the footy in the process.

Queensland hit back from the mistake with a counter-attack in enemy territory, seeing China Polata reach out to be only millimetres from the chalk.

The Maroons looked certain to score on the right edge in the next play until Berry plucked the ball out of mid-air in an all-or-nothing play, then running 95 metres to score the intercept four-pointer, the first for the night.

Seven minutes later, the Blues were in again when back-rower Olivia Kernick finished off a Johnston kick out wide to stumble over untouched.

An error-ridden first half didn't help the Maroon understudies with coach Ben Jeffries no doubt instructing the troops to concentrate on completing sets after only finishing 5/8 in the opening 25 minutes.

Match Highlights: U18 Women's Origin - NSW v QLD

Unfortunately, a Queensland mistake from the kick-off in the second half led to more pressure from NSW on the goal-line and Berry bagged her second of the night in the corner shortly after, extending the lead to 18 points. 

A rushed pass under pressure from the Blues enabled Courtney Tamati to cross for the Maroons with nine minutes remaining, giving a glimmer of hope to the visitors.

In the final minutes, the Blues sealed victory when Johnston ran down the left edge, stepping defenders to score herself a well-earned try.

The major difference between the two sides was Queensland's error rate - only completing 12/20 sets - which in the end, proved costly in greasy conditions at North Sydney.

Despite the result, Queensland co-captain Lyllian Mikaio was proud of the team's history-making efforts.

"I'm really proud of the efforts shown by the girls tonight in this history-making game," the prop forward said.

"The girls really dug deep and showcased the Queensland spirit, never giving up until the final whistle."

"Regardless of the result, I'm really proud of this group and it was such an honour to captain the team."

Acknowledgement of Country

Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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