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First blood to Maroons

Queensland has thrashed Tasmania by 58 points in the opening clash of the Division Two section of the Under 18 National Championships.

The Maroons 14.12 (96) defeated Tassie 5.8 (38), in cool conditions at Optus Oval in Melbourne, after the Queenslanders ran over the top of Tasmania in the second half.

Led by vice-captain Tim Harders and skipper Paul Shelton, the Queenslanders outplayed the Tasmanians after the main break, booting seven goals to one, in a comprehensive display. Harders racked up 21 possessions and booted two goals, while Shelton notched up 25 touches.

Queensland’s Joel McDonald was also a solid contributor with 22 possessions, along with Mark Harris and Billy English who managed two goals each, while Kris Jahnke showed plenty of dash across half-back.

It was a disappointing opening for Tasmania – the reigning title holder in the second division – although skipper Luke Shackleton, Trent McCrossen and Brett Robinson were some of the Apple Isle’s better players.

In a skill-marred opening term, Tasmania’s Allan O’Sign kicked off the championships with the first goal of the match, before Queensland claimed a three-point lead at quarter-time.

The sunshine state didn’t post its first major until mid-way through the term, when Harders kicked truly.

The Queenslanders kicked five goals in the second term to lead by 20 points at half-time, which included two team-lifting goals from Arnold Knight, who started the match on the bench.

Rory Lake also displayed his skill in the second quarter, when he threaded though a fine checkside goal from the pocket for Queensland.

However, the Queenslanders turned it in on in the third quarter, when they booted five goals to zip in an impressive display of football that forced Tasmania to make costly turnovers at critical periods.

This was shown when Jahnke rebounded out of defence and sent a spearing pass to Matthew Giles, who converted Queensland’s fifth to give the Maroons a 52-point lead at three-quarter time.

But Tassie’s quarter turned from bad to worse when Chris Thurlow was carried from the ground.

Queensland managed a further two goals in the final term, while Shackleton booted the Apple Isle’s only major – in the second half – late in the last quarter.
QUEENSLAND 2.4 7.5 12.9 14.12 (96)
TASMANIA 2.1 4.3 4.5 5.8 (38)
GOALS: Queensland:English 2, Harders 2, Harris 2, Knight 2, Merrett 2, Giles, Hay, Lake, Pardew
Tasmania:Crane, Laycock, O’Sign, Shackleton, Thurlow
BEST: QueenslandHarders, Shelton, MacDonald, English, Harris, Jahnke
Tasmania:Shackleton, McCrossen, Robinson