Strong Queensland and New South Wales performances summarised Day Two of action at the Australian Schools Championships as the stage is set for a State of Origin decider on Saturday.
Queensland II came out fighting in the first game of the day against the Cavaliers Barbarians.
Opening their account early was winger, Ethan McFarland from The Gap High School. Two more tries to Jayden Hayes and Maconal Grealy put Queensland in the box seat, 15 – 0 up at the break.
First half discipline hit the Cavaliers Barbarians hard, getting penalised three times less than five metres short of scoring but Peter Koen’s side shaped up as a new team in the second half.
In attack, passes came together better as they opened their account via Oscar Cheal. Late in the game they pulled themselves within a score thanks to Will Fagan.
It wasn’t to be though as the maroons held on for a 15 – 12 win and will move on to the Five/Six Playoff while the Barbarians will battle out for their first win in the Eight/Nine Playoff.
In Game Two New South Wales II ran over Victoria in a comprehensive performance against Victoria.
The Sky Blues crossed the white line two times in just six minutes and it didn’t get much easier for the southerners from there.
St Ignatius College centre, George Clark and Barker winger, Lucas Vass both scored a hat-rick in outstanding personal efforts.
Their efforts where complimented by Charlie Adams who had plenty of kicking practice, slotting five for the day.
New South Wales will take on Queensland in the first State of Origin matchup on Saturday at 10:15. Meanwhile, Victoria will hope to not take the wooden spoon back with them on the plane to Tullamarine at 8:30 as they take on the Cavalier Barbarians looking for their first ever win.
In the first Semi-Final Queensland I came out in the same fashion as their II’s counterparts as they eyed off their spot in the final.
Sandy haired fly-half, Max Plath crossed over for the first try and was followed soon after by flanker, Keenan Timu who placed the Gilbert under the posts for number two try.
Plath added to his first, before fullback Jasper Mellish dove on a loose grubber for a stunning fourth Queensland try.
Mellish also continued his form with the boot putting three conversions and a penalty over the black dot taking his total tournament points up to 24.
Combined States fought valiantly, particularly in the second half with tries to Harry Herbert and Matthew Baggs but ultimately fall short to a stronger side.
In the final game of the day, NSW I built a cosy lead in the first half and never really looked back.
Seven separate boys scored points for the blues in a comprehensive team performance with lock, Dally Bird able to touch the ball down twice on his home turf of St Ignatius College.
ACT showed promise in patches but will now fix their eyes on the bronze play-off against Combined States.
ACT will challenge the Combined States team eager to prove a point at 11:30 in the battle for third place.
With NSW I booking their spot in the final for the seventh time in eight years’ punters can expect a fiery final in the fourth State of Origin clash of the tournament as Queensland I eye off the Jika Travers Trophy for the first time since 2011.
Boys will not only be searching for wins in their respective playoff games on Saturday but they’ll also be eager to impress selectors in their last outing before the coveted Australian Barbarians side is named following the Saturday final.
DAY 2 RESULTS:
QUEENSLAND II – 14
Tries: Ethan McFarland, Jayden Hayes, Maconal Grealy
CAVALIERS BARBARIANS – 12
Tries: Oscar Cheal, William Fagan
Conversions: Spencer Spalding
NEW SOUTH WALES II – 64
Tries: Max D’Agostino, William Smith, Langi Joe Gleeson, Ronald Volkman, George Clark (3), Lucas Vass (3)
Conversions: Charlie Adams (5), Lucas Vass
VICTORIA – 0
QUEENSLAND I – 39
Tries: MaxPlath, KennanTimu, Max Plath, Jasper Mellish, Nate Searle, Taelyn Nukunuku
Conversions: Jasper Mellish (3)
Penalties: Jasper Mellish
COMBINED STATES – 14
Tries: Harry Herbert, Matthew Bagg
Conversions: Harry Snook
NEW SOUTH WALES I – 36
Tries: Dally Bird (2), Daniel Breden, Benjamin Gallacher, Dan O’Brien, Kae O’Weekes
Conversions: Jack Mossman (2)
ACT – 14
Tries: Remsy Lemisio, Daniel Shaw
Conversions: Tony Alofipo