25 rounds, 192 games, #Origin on a Sunday, and a September Grand Final.
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?I don?t think the Queenslanders thought we?d resist so strongly,? NSW coach Maurie Hulbert said. ?Considering I had only two light runs to prepare the boys I felt they did reasonably well.?
But Hulbert believes his squad will need to be a great deal sharper when they take on New Zealand next weekend.
?There was a lot of one out running today,? he said. ?To beat the Kiwis there has to be more second phase play and sharing the ball around."
In a shock to the Queensland system the home state led 6-0 within the opening two minutes. The visitors looked decidedly uninterested in the affair and it wasn?t till a blast from the coaching bench was delivered by a trainer that the side came alive.
Within 20 minutes they?d scored three times before again turning off the switch.
Closely watching the Academy side in action was former Nambucca boss Mark Morrison, who next week switches hats to coach the NSW Schoolboy team opposing them.
?About nine from that side will face us next week and despite their slack periods, they still have oodles of class,? Morrison observed. ?They only turn it on when it?s necessary.?
But playing football in ?quarters? can be tricky when one eye is not kept on the clock. With minutes to go and holding a 10 point advantage, most of the northern stars withdrew from the action to watch time wind down. Then, NSW shocked them with a late try and spent the final seconds crawling all over their tryline, forcing Queensland to drag all hands out of their tracksuits and back onto the park to hold back the tide.
At the death, Country stumbled when a draw seemed possible, allowing the Academy a final escape. ?They made me proud considering what they had to contend with,? coach Maurie Hulbert said. ?We had one late withdrawal and lost two injured in the game leaving us with a bare 14 by the finish. ?I?m not making excuses but that?s a pretty fair effort against a full team of 24.?