Croker & Pangai Junior star in Blues' Under 18's win
New South Wales continued their dominance over Queensland in the Under 18s clash after they emerged victorious 24-10 at ANZ Stadium.
Queensland got off to a flying start after a handling error from the Blues gifted the visitors with a great chance after just the opening minute of play. And they made New South Wales pay with prop forward Linday Collins crashing over from close range to score.
But the Blues levelled up in the eighth minute after a Queensland fumble close to their own try line. New South Wales were able to spread the ball wide with centre Tom Trbojevic going around his man and managing to get the ball over the try line despite having little room to work with.
Jackson Hastings failed to convert the try but he was able to split the Queensland defence just three minutes later before sending full-back Matthew Dufty over for the try. Hastings failed with the kick but the Blues were ahead 8-4.
Prop forward Ofa-Ki Samisoni Hala put the Blues on the attack with a powerful run. Three tackles later, Trbojevic put winger Latrell Mitchell over in the corner. The latter did well to stay inside the in-goal touchline. Hastings kicked the sideline conversion to give New South Wales a 14-4 lead.
With six minutes remaining, Blues second rower Tevita Pangai Junior ran across field before getting over the try line but was unable to ground the ball before being taken over the in-goal touchline.
The Maroons had their chances to score but were held out by determined Blues defence. New South Wales went into the half-time break leading 14-4.
It took just two minutes of the second half for New South Wales to extend their lead to 20-4 after a fantastic run from Lachlan Croker, racing 60 metres to score under the posts. He was tackled short of the line but his momentum carried him over for the four pointer.
After the try was scored, a scuffle broke out involving most players with referee Liam Nicholls speaking to both captains to settle down things.
Blues lock-forward Hame Sele looked set to score but had the ball stripped just as he was about to touch down.
And Dufty went close to registering his second try of the night when he got his hands on the ball after following through a kick. However, Queensland centre Elijah Alick managed to ground the ball just in time for a goal-line drop out.
It didn't matter for Dufty as he managed to push away in a tackle and then launched himself for a try in the 50th minute.
There was no love lost between both sides with Queensland's Samuelu Lavea and New South Wales' Alex Twal sent to the sin bin for their involvement in a fight.
Kieran Duffin scored a consolation try for the Queensland Maroons with Cooper Bambling kicking the goal.
New South Wales 24 (Matthew Dufty 2, Tom Trbojevic, Latrell Mitchell, Lachlan Croker tries; Jackson Hastings 2 goals) defeated Queensland 10 (Lindsay Collins, Kieran Duffin tries; Cooper Bambling goal) at ANZ Stadium. Referee: Liam Nicholls. Touch Judges: Michael Laverty, Jason Higgins.