A starring performance from young Shark Luke Metcalf has helped guide NSW to victory in an exciting under 18’s Origin fixture at ANZ Stadium last night.
Metcalf, a member of the Sharks SG Ball side in 2017, notched a hat trick for the Junior Blues in their 35-28 win over Queensland and was rewarded with the man-of-the-match award following fulltime.
Alongside Metcalf in the NSW team were two of his Sharks clubmates in Jaeman Salmon and Teig Wilton, with the pair playing strongly in the narrow Blues win.
Salmon paired with Metcalf in the halves, while Wilton, although named to start the game on the bench, played the full 70-minutes in an energetic performance on the NSW left edge.
In the opposition team was another Sharks contracted player in Ronaldo Mulitalo, who after scoring a try for Queensland in an impressive first half unfortunately left the field injured just a few minutes before the break and failed to return to the game.
The match featured several momentum swings, with NSW building a 10-0 lead before three unanswered tries to the young Maroons saw them take a 16-10 advantage to half time.
Two four pointers to Metcalf straight after the break saw NSW reassert their authority as they led 22-16, before Queensland again replied to level the scores.
NSW jumped in front before Queensland again bounced back, with the scores locked at 28-apiece with time running out.
Young Dragons centre Zac Lomax slotted a field goal with three minutes remaining to give his team the lead, before a late NSW try and sideline conversion sealed the result.
The victorious NSW team was coached by Brad Fittler, while former Sharks and Cowboys centre Josh Hannay was in charge of the Queensland squad.
The NSW Under 16’s will play the Queensland 16’s in the curtain-raiser to Origin 3, with a handful of young Sharks Matthews Cup players in line to represent the Blues.
CLICK HERE to see all the tries and highlights, courtesy NSWRL.com.au