NORTH CONFERENCE v SOUTH CONFERENCE
Less than a metre separated halfback Luke Millwood from hero status, with a missed penalty attempt from halfway leaving the inaugural Southern v Northern Under 19s match to end in a 32-all draw.
Handed a shot at victory when Southern kicked out on the full from the final restart, Millwood stepped up to the plate and planted the ball on the tee 50m out from his intended target.
The chunky halfback had already scored Northern?s last try of the afternoon and his decision to go for goal from distance showed great confidence, given some ordinary attempts earlier.
Yet not even supreme self-belief could lift the kick that final bit extra; spectators and live television viewers holding their breath as the ball sailed a fraction beneath the crossbar.
Nevertheless, the result at Langlands Park would have counted as a victory of sorts to the underdog Northern team, which found itself behind 20-6 midway through the first half.
The only NRL-experienced player to take the field, Berrick Barnes, led Southern brilliantly through the opening exchanges, bamboozling the defence and laying on the opening four tries.
Barnes?s combination with Toowoomba teammate Steve Michaels netted two four-pointers. The first came with Barnes switching across the back of the ruck, then the second from a bullet pass to the rampaging Michaels.
Probing on the opposite side of the field, Barnes then put Darius Boyd into a hole, who subsequently offloaded to Anthony Perkins. Going it alone, Barnes then dummied his way through some tackle-shy defence for Southern?s fourth try in just over 10 minutes.
Fears of a flogging in the junior representative showpiece were put on hold, as Northern struck back with a try in the shade of halftime, leaving a 20-10 scoreline.
They followed up by scoring the first try of the second stanza, before a tit-for-tat pattern emerged.
Lock Tyron Haynes of Rockhampton Brothers was simply outstanding in bringing Northern back to life, making inroads with his running and hitting hard in defence.
His Herculean effort was certainly needed after teammate and Northern linchpin Scott Bolton left the field with what is suspected to be a broken jaw.
Full teams for the XXXX Queensland Under 19s and Queensland Maroons Under 19s will be listed on www.qrl.com.au at 5pm Sunday, May 15th.
NORTHERN CONFERENCE 32 (Tyrone Coppedge, Liam Campbell, Drew Campbell, Luke Millwood, James Andersen, Tyron Haynes; Luke Millwood 4 goals).
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