Queensland Fire in NYC Finals
The QSST Fire have dominated the National Youth Championships at the Sunshine Coast Stadium winning both Boys and Girls divisions today.
The QSST Girls proved far too good for the Sharks, winning the decider in convincing fashion and they took no time in getting themselves on the scoreboard with Abby King crossing just 14 seconds into the match.
The Sharks with some quality field position levelled the scores after three minutes when Laura-Jane Cashman found an outstretched Ellie Draper to get the ball down, but with eight players backing up from the recent Youth World Cup it didn’t take the Fire long to respond as Leesa Mi Mi hit Kirralee Costelloe with a long ball to re-establish the lead. A lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Kaitlin Shave scored the first of her double to take the score along to 3-1 and the lead extended further when Player of the Final, Taylah Connell crossed. Connell was at it again when she laid it on a platter for the Fire to go 5-1 and tries to both teams just before the break saw QSST take a 6-2 lead into half-time.
The Sharks had to be the first to score to keep in touch with the Fire, but after holding them at bay for the first four minutes of the second half, some smart play saw Queensland’s Kaitlin Shave run the length of the field to score her second for the match. A five-try lead quickly became six and seven as the Fire put on a masterclass for the crowd, eventually running out winners 10-3.
The Boys’ affair was a much tighter one, with the QSST Fire defending their title with a come-from-behind 5-4 win over NSWCHS.
The opening half was a tough one, as both teams traded blows in an entertaining end-to-end battle that couldn’t be converted into points as both teams’ defence held firm. The tight tussle saw the tempers flare at times and it wasn’t until Brad Russell stripped the NSWCHS short side of defenders to send Drew Price across for a 1-0 lead which the Fire took into half-time.
The scoring opened up in the second half and it didn’t take long for CHS to level it up when Kyle Latina and in the blink of an eye found themselves in front 3-1 after a sublime short ball from Conor Hickey to Tom Leaney.
Queensland had to be next to score and they did that as Hayden Rowbotham found himself on the end of an equally great pass to stay within striking distance. Both teams traded tries to move the score along to 4-3 as the final entered the last quarter of the match.
Player of the Final, Cooper Marshall (pictured), strolled through the middle of the ruck to draw Queensland level and the momentum started to swing in the local’s favour on the back of a very vocal Sunshine Coast crowd.
Back-to-back penalties four minutes from time gave Queensland possession in attacking position and they made CHS pay full price when Lachlan Watt crossed to hit the front for the first time in the second half. NSWCHS had a last-ditch lunge at sending the final into a drop-off but fell just short as QSST held onto to defend their NYC title.