Slow start can?t stop Queensland?s stars
EARLY in the first half of the women's final of the National Under 18's Touch Titles on Saturday, it looked as though the NSW Combined High Schools team were about to run away with the title.
From CHS's very first touch of the ball, they went to work and put the first points on the board with Jessica Absolum scoring on just the second set of six.
Only a minute and a half later NSW captain Nicole Beck showed why she is in the National Women's Open squad sweeping across the field to dish a ball off to winger Beccy Mounsey to score in the corner.
When Mounsey scored her second try it started to look like a one-sided show with CHS leading 3-0.
The opening script was nothing like the final's climax though, as the Queensland Secondary Schools Touch (QSST) team settled and scored 10 of the remaining 13 touchdowns to take the title.
QSST coach Peter Bell was in awe at just how well his team performed after being so heavily under the pump early.
"In a game of touch, especially at this level, to be down 3-0 it's hard enough to come back, let alone win," he said.
"It was ebbing and flowing there all the time in the first half and it was 6-all at half time and the girls were just amazing, they just hung in there and kept their cool, no-one in the sub box was panicking."
A hat-trick of touchdowns by Queensland's Genevieve LaCaze helped get the match back on level pegging and the scoreboard read 6-all at the break.
The second half was a totally different ball game as the free-flowing, high-scoring match that was played in the first half disappeared and suddenly desperate defence from both teams came to the fore.
"We've scored a lot of touchdowns in this tournament, we've scored probably as many as NSW had, which is about 50 odd, so we knew we had the ability to score, we just had to tighten up our defence," Bell said of the second-half plan.
"Six touchdowns at the break, that's a lot of touchdowns in a game of touch but there were two really good attacking sides and the side that was going to tighten up their defence best was going to win it, which is what our girls did and kept them to zero in the second half."
That's right, the QSST girls didn't let their opponents score in the second stanza and a run of four touchdowns in six and a half minutes sealed the match and the 10-6 result.
Ali Brigginshaw set up a lot of plays for the victors and teammate Lizzie Campbell was damaging from dummy half but Bell said that it was difficult to single out individuals in the team and that it wasn't just him who had this issue.
"Australian selectors are saying to me that they can't even pick a good player out of my team because they were all going well and sharing the team game."