Queensland Under 16 Country coach Matt Church is over the moon with his team after beating Queensland Under 16 City 44-4 at Dolphin Stadium this morning.
“It was awesome. A really good effort from the boys. Defensively they were just outstanding," Church said.
Church said the standouts for him were back rowers Jeremia Nanai, who scored a hat-trick and was named man of the match, and Brock Priestley “who did some really lovely things with the football and defensively”.
“I’m a very happy coach,” Church said.
City coach Brad Davis said his team "came up short" in a few areas today.
"That's the disappointing thing," Davis said.
"That was largely what our camp focused on - the effort areas required at this elite level. We probably weren't resilient enough. We didn't hang tough in those difficult times.
"The boys got a bit of a lesson today. Hopefully they can learn from that and come back stronger.
"Country played really strongly. Controlled the ball well and made us pay for everything, so that was difficult."
Country five-eighth Keanu Wright-Dunrobin, who was part of the winning Queensland Murris in March, was first to score after a few kicks down the field from surrounding players four minutes in. Toowoomba product Brayden Paix kicked the conversion for Country to take a 6-0 lead.
John Radel, who Church said was “big on effort areas”, was next to score under the posts eight minutes in, reaching out to beat a pack of City defenders. Paix converted to take the score to 12-0.
City then stopped two assaults on the line from Country, but Country’s Ragarive Wavik crossed during their third run at the line; Paix once again converted to take the score to 18-0.
City fullback Tuvalli Khan-Pereira responded with 10 minutes to go in the first half with some handy footwork to cross the white line and get four points for City. Halfback Harradyn Wilson’s conversion attempt hit the post and the score sat at 18-4.
City’s Tyler Keogh-Paladin ran the ball up with conviction from the kick and City looked dangerous, before Country ran the ball up and with some quick hands looked like scoring in the corner but did not.
A barnstorming run from Xavier Chatfield-Mooka saw him cross the line just before half time; Paix missed the conversion. The score sat at 22-4 for half time.
Match: QLD City U16 v QLD Country U16
Round 1 -
QLD City U16
QLD Country U16
Venue: Dolphin Stadium, Brisbane
Country’s Nanai crossed less than two minutes into the second half to take the score to 26-4; Paix missed the conversion.
Nanai made a cracking run and fended off City defence to score with a bit of flair – jumping in the air before grounding the ball - with 18 minutes to go. Paix converted to take the score to 32-4.
City looked dangerous with nine minutes to go, with Wilson kicking into the in-goal area but the City runners failed to secure the four points.
Nanai scored his third try – all in the second half – with seven minutes to go and Paix converted to take the score to 38-4.
Country were not done though. Radel scored his second try of the match with one minute to go to really rub salt in the wound for the City team and Paix converted to take the full time score to 44-4.