RUGBY League coach Scott Mieni may be tempted to suspend his immediate representative career but he's going out a winner.
Mieni guided New South Wales Indigenous Under-16s to a rugged 22-18 victory over Queensland in the curtain-raiser to the World Cup clash between Australia and Papua New Guinea on Sunday night in Townsville.
It makes up for the side's shock loss in the first match prior to the Anzac Test.
“We had to do it the hard way after losing the penalties 15-2, not to mention the oppressive heatwave and the unbelievable humidity,” Mieni said.
“With all that against us, the boys played fantastic football and I was really pleased when the Cane Toads coach Larry Corowa came up and admitted we should have won by 30 points.
“You've gotta keep putting it over those Queensland fellas.”
Six years after the interstate series began, NSW is now one victory in front. Mieni's original team had three players with Group 2 affiliation but lost two of them before a ball was kicked.
Kempsey's Kieran Vale withdrew with injury and Bowraville's Leroy Buchanan, a student at St. Joseph's College, Hunters Hill, had to miss the match due to end-of-term examinations.
But Port Shark Kristian Kelly was one of the team's best players.
“Kristian scored our second try and Macksville supporters will be happy to know he's almost certain to be coming north next year to link up with the Sea Eagles,” Mieni said.
But after two years in command and winning every game (bar one), Mieni feels it's time for a change.
“I've got an addiction for helping kids and for coaching football but with a new job, it may be time to bring new blood into the ranks,” he said. “Ron 'Rambo' Gibbs has indicated he'd like to try his hand and I might eventually be his manager or part of the support staff.”
“I'll give it some time and see what happens in the New Year.”