NSW ON TRACK FOR SERIES WIN
|14 - 34
|TRIES : Tyrone Roberts 2, William Beale, Lance
Whitnall, Kevin Heath, Jordon Bolt GOALS: Tyrone Roberts 5
30th March 2007 WITH more steps than the Kangaroo Point Cliffs and bigger hits than Festival Hall, the annual Indigenous Challenge brought its special brand of razzle dazzle to Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium on Friday.
Winding up 34-14 to New South Wales, the match needed to be entertaining to placate the Maroon-loving crowd.
That fact was never in doubt however and in 60 minutes of fast paced action, the two sides crammed in plenty of highlights.
And well they might, with spots in the Australian Indigenous Under 16s team up for grabs and an opportunity to play before the Trans Tasman Test on April 20.
Two Queenslanders to submit an early claim were the supremely
impressive duo of Lyndon Law and Casey Fraser.
Centre Law brought the first cheer of the game when he pulled off a massive tackle on Blues opposite Tyrone Roberts. It was to be a feat he would recreate regularly throughout the clash.
Eight minutes in Law also grabbed the first points, slotting a penalty from within throwing distance.
Unfortunately for the Queenslanders that was to be the last time they would lead as New South Wales quickly grabbed the ascendancy.
Hitting back with three converted tries before halftime the Blues stormed to an 18-8 advantage at the break. Centre Kevin Heath grabbed the first for the visitors in the 19th minute, followed by a simple scooting try from lock Jordon Bolt four minutes later.
Yet the try that hurt most was Roberts’ effort 54 seconds from the siren, finishing great ball movement through several sets of hands on the left.
It was a fantastic team effort that nullified an outstanding individual try from Maroons lock Fraser moments before.
Charging up the middle and jinking twice powerfully to evade the defence, Fraser earned a deserved reward for a strong all- round game.
While a 10-point margin didn’t look insurmountable on paper, when the teams returned for the second stanza it was clear New South Wales had the wood on the opposition.
Queensland hooker Ricky Barber managed to bat down the last pass on a certain try five minutes in but then the floodgates opened.
In quick succession William Beale and Lance Whitnall crossed, while Roberts grabbed his second for the night. Earning a points decision over Law after their earlier confrontation, Roberts also slotted five goals for a personal haul of 18 points.
In the shades of fulltime the game degenerated in terms of handling, but not in defence.
Unable for long periods to promote the ball past its own 20m line, Queensland instead reeled off a succession of stinging hits and earned a consolation try with two minutes to go.