NSW seal Darren Lockyer Shield with tense victory
Tuesday 24 April 2012 1:26 PM
(Kane Evans, Chanel Mata’Utia, Harry Siejka Tries; Siejka 3/3 Goals)
(Edrick Lee 2, Aaron Whitchurch Tries; Mitchell Frei 1/3 Goals) at Centrebet Stadium.
A phenomenal performance by prop Kane Evans has led NSW to an 18-14 victory in the inaugural Under 20s State of Origin game at Centrebet Stadium.
Evans scored a magnificent solo try, and was a constant threat for the Queensland defence in the win.
In front of a vocal crowd of 5,105, the Queenslanders took an early lead, but NSW fought back to lead 18-8, before the visitors brought the game to a tense finish.
What did you make of the Under 20s State of Origin match? Let us know in the comments below.
The game started with typical Origin intensity, as both sides fired up in defence. NSW had the early ascendency, with Jacob Miller pulling the strings and forcing a repeat set in the 3rd minute, a play which also saw a fight erupt in the in-goal.
While nothing came of the next set, the Blues still maintained the early momentum, before some simple errors handed Queensland possession in the NSW half. The kicking game of captain Ben Hampton came into play straight away, as he spotted a NSW winger up in the line and grubbered through for Aaron Whitchurch to plant down in the corner in the 12th minute for a 4-0 lead.
Chanel Mata’utia almost grabbed one back in the 23rd minute when he got to a Miller grubber, but the bounce evaded him just at the line. They didn’t wait much longer however, forcing a mistake from the Queenslanders in the next set, with Kane Evans bursting through the line and running 40m to score an amazing try. Harry Siejka converted to give NSW a 6-4 lead.
A good kicking game from NSW put the Queensland side under pressure, but they responded in the best possible fashion, with Edrick Lee breaking the line down the short side from a scrum and running 80m to score an equally brilliant try, and give the visitors the lead back at 8-6, as Mitchell Frei was again unable to convert.
But right before the break NSW stole the lead back through Mata’utia, who was the beneficiary of some good work by centre Cheyse Blair to draw two players and give the Knights winger a sight of the line. Again Siejka nailed the conversion from the sideline to give NSW a 12-8 lead into the break.
And they came out from the break the stronger as well, extending their lead in the 42nd minute as Siejka spun out of three tackles and scored under the posts, converting his own try for an 18-8 lead.
Simple errors and sustained pressure from Queensland allowed them to get back in the game in the 54th minute through Lee, who ran a great line off a Tautau Moga pass to get over the line. Despite looking like being held up, Lee was given the benefit of the doubt by video referee Paul Mellor, and Frei’s conversion closed the gap to 18-14.
Queensland had plenty of chances in the dying stages to grab the victory, but some strong defence from NSW, forcing a last minute error from Queensland five metres from the line, sealed the win, and handed NSW the Darren Lockyer Shield in it’s inaugural year.
Injury and Team News
NSW Boyd Cordner (ankle).
Queensland Ben Hampton (leg).
E Cummins, Y Tonumaipea, C Blair, E Murphy, C Mata’utia, H Seijka, J Miller, M Groat, M Lichaa, K Evans, A McKinnon, B Cordner, V Tia-Kilifi.
Bench: P Carter, J Stockwell, D Klemmer, S Boyd. Coach: D Pay.
L Maranta, H Hunt, T Moga, E Lee, A Whitchurch, K Mann, B Hampton, B Tago, A Elisala, D Napa, C Timu, M Frei, C Grevsmuhl.
Bench: B Malley, C Oates, T Peeters, M Mbye. Coach: K Walters.