IT was a day to remember for Queensland’s Under 16 side as they held off a tough NSW/ACT team in front of their home crowd at Metricon Stadium in the National Under 16 Championships. In the earlier game, Tasmania impressed in their 75-point drubbing of Northern Territory.
Tasmania 19.10 (124) defeated Northern Territory 7.7 (49)
Tasmania stormed out of the blocks in the first half to set up an emphatic 75-point win over the Northern Territory (NT) Thunder.
The Mariners revelled in perfect conditions at Metricon Stadium with fast ball movement and strong marking forming the basis of their game. Their mix of strength and speed through the middle of the ground proved to be vital, while the likes of Jacob Steele, Samuel Collins and Samuel Banks dominated the airways in defence against their smaller NT opponents.
Despite the scoreboard, it was not all bad for the Thunder as they had some solid individual performers. The game started off with the newest Rioli, Maurice booting the first goal, with Jeffrey Simon and Jamal Lynch showing serious class from midfield and half back. Meanwhile, Jye Menzie and Will Harper combined for almost half of Tasmania’s first half goals with three and two respectively, with another six individual goal kickers helping them to a commanding 63-point half time lead. The message made vocal by the Mariners leaders was that there was ‘still another half’ to play, and they would put NT to the sword in the second half.
Northern Territory came out with a point to prove in the third term, as Graham Moniz-Wakefield slotted the first goal. Tasmania soon clicked back into gear to put on four goals to NT’s three. The Thunder would go on to score another three majors to close out the game, with Brodie Lake claiming two of them. The Mariners also continued their good scoring form with another four goals meaning the margin was almost identical to the previous term.
Jackson Callow had an impressive second half to end with four goals from full forward, clunking some big marks on the lead and demanding the ball. Harper was also among the best with his four-goal effort, while the likes of Oliver Davis and Patrick Walker were industrious from midfield.
For the Thunder, Rioli looked lively with ball in hand up forward, while Simon was consistent through the middle with Malcolm Rosas.
Queensland 13.5 (83) defeated NSW/ACT 10.8 (68)
Queensland held on for a solid win in front of a home crowd against a spirited NSW/ACT side by 15 points.
With the scoring favouring their end, Queensland were poised to get off to a good start. The Maroons burst out of the gate with five first-quarter goals in a free flowing opener, with the Rams managing two of their own to keep in touch. Riley Johnson found space on the outer side to bag a double from set shots, while Liam O’Brien also troubled the scorers with his goal pushing up from the wing.
The second term saw the visitors take advantage of the conditions and boot four of their own majors, with the likes of Marc Sheather and Errol Gulden taking over the game. Sheather was superb initially on the wing, and eventually deep forward as he took down some impressive overhead contested marks, sliced paths through opponents with good agility and booted an important major. With Saxon Crozier helping to keep NSW/ACT at bay with two goals for Queensland, Marco Rossman’s second goal for the term cut the margin to five points at the main break.
The third term proved to be the ‘premiership quarter’ as The Maroons extended the gap out to 21 points with four goals. Shanta Cashen-Harris started to impose himself on the contest with his clean hands and inside 50 pressure, and his lone goal for the game at the end of the term was a vital one. With the game well and truly still on, NSW/ACT threw everything they could at Queensland in the final term as the ball stuck around in their forward half. Braeden Campbell was a bull through the midfield, with Coopa Steele helping him to will the Rams forward. It was to no avail though, as their three goals fell just short, with Hugh Fidler adding six points to the score after the siren to cap off a memorable day of football.