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Queensland Under 17 Country girls take out thriller over City

Regional Queensland is smiling after the Queensland Under 17 Country girls prevailed 24-20 over Queensland Under 17 City at Logan Metro Sports Complex on Saturday.

Both sides had tries denied in a frantic 16-minute period in the second half before winger Zaleah Mosby-Nona became the hero, breaking the deadlock in the shadow of full-time to end an entertaining contest.

It was a roaring start for Country, who scored two tries in the opening five minutes thanks to two magnificent line breaks and tries by second rower Takoda Thompson.

Her second was a particular highlight as she ran 40 metres, beating a number of would-be tacklers and showing plenty of determination to slam the ball down.

While they were down 10-0, the City side kept their composure and once they had a chance with the ball they made the most of it, getting their first try on the board in the seventh minute through Raewyn Olamalii.

The combatants were all square after a Olamalii dived over again in 12 minutes and City hopped in front 12-10 with the conversions by fullback Isla Talau.

Both sides had further opportunities but were turned away thanks to some desperate goal line defence.

Country tried asserting themselves with physicality in defence, showing off their technical skills with a number of jarring hits stopping the opposition forwards in their tracks, while in attack they shifted the ball cleanly and quickly.

Takoda Thompson scored two tries for the Queensland Under 17 Country Girls side. Photo: Erick Lucero/QRL
Takoda Thompson scored two tries for the Queensland Under 17 Country Girls side. Photo: Erick Lucero/QRL

They soon took back the lead when five-eighth Caitlin Tanner dived on a well-placed grubber into the in-goal area, and she slotted the simple conversion to make it 16-12.

City returned serve straight away with a Talau try in the corner in the final minute before the break, sending the teams into the sheds locked at 16-16.

They were also next to score on the resumption when centre Te Rina Pearse dived on a loose ball after a cross-field kick off the boot of five-eighth Ella-Jaye Harrison-Leaunoa proved too challenging for the Country defence, making it a four-point game with just over 20 minutes remaining.

But after holding out City's strong set after points, Country received a penalty to get into attacking position, with an enterprising series of offloads and passes leading to centre Jennifer Kimber crossing the stripe out wide in the 44th minute.

Country No.9 Emily Maher went within inches with nine minutes to go, but was stopped by City's tireless captain Jaida Faleono.

It was the start of Country dominating field position, regularly finishing their sets deep into City territory, making it hard for them to mount an attacking raid.

It ultimately took a moment of brilliance from outstanding Toowoomba playmaker and player of the match Chloe Pallisier to finish the game, with her stunning cut-out pass on halfway putting Mosby-Nona away down the left side for the match winner.

Player of the match Chloe Pallisier in action. Photo: Erick Lucero/QRL
Player of the match Chloe Pallisier in action. Photo: Erick Lucero/QRL

Queensland Under 17 Country coach Amanda Ohl said attacking down their left - where they scored four of their five tries - was a focus in camp during the week and was pleased with the execution from the outset.

"Takoda to her credit ran perfect lines and our goal and our game plan was to hit Takoda short for the first three or four times and really test their edge and then play out the back, so we 100 per cent executed the game plan we set out for," Ohl said.

"For them to go out and put that performance on, and for some of them in positions they have never played in before, it's remarkable."

Ohl, who the Central Queensland Capras BMD Premiership coach, said she was even more proud of the way the players carried themselves in camp to prepare for the game and develop the bond and resilience that got them the win.

"One of our values coming in, we said at the start of the week, was resilience, and they showed every bit of it of that out there today," she said.

"The country kids mate, they are just so easy to coach, they come together so well, they were in it for the fight and it's all driven by them to be honest. 

"The thing about this camp is it's not about the game at the end, it's what they've learned throughout the week.

"It's their first step into representative football, they had a week away from their families, and it's been a jam-packed schedule, so this is what they have to live up to if they want to go any further."

Queensland Under 17 Country captain Cailtin Tanner, who came off the bench in the corresponding game last year, said it meant a lot for the team and their families to come home with the win.

The Wests Bundaberg junior, who now plays for Brothers Rockhampton, said it all started with a fantastic camp experience.

"We gelled really well at camp. The whole week we were at camp, we all got to know each other and know a bit about what skills we got and what we can do to come together as a team, and we showed it out there today," she said.

Queensland Under 17 City coach Ana Fotu was proud of her side's efforts to take it right to the end after Country's hot start, spurred by their teamwork.

"I think it was just about realising their strength within their team and understanding who they had within the team," Fotu said.

"Most representative teams are a team of individuals, but they just needed to understand if they work together, they would be much stronger.

"I think we just had to take a couple of minutes to realise what we needed to do and find our feet and how we needed to kind of counter what they were doing and in the end, it could have gone either way."

Fotu said Raewyn Olomalii steered the side around well, particularly after shifting to the halves, and was full of praise for skipper Jaida Faleono for her leadership.

She said she hoped this opportunity gave the players on both sides on insight into the pathway ahead if they continued to work hard on their game.

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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