Next gen stars arrive in epic No.1 dual as Broncos unearth Reynolds successor: U19 Origin lessons (2024)

Raiders rising star Chevy Stewart was outstanding for the Blues U19s side in their 14-10 win over the Maroons U19s at Leichhardt Oval.

It’s the Blues’ third straight victory in the U19s State of Origin.

Stewart, who has enjoyed the most NRL experience of anyone on the field, looked like a man among boys at times in a man-of-the-match performance.

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Game 3

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He ran for 175 metres, had three line breaks and a whopping 13 tackle busts.

“He was outstanding tonight,” Aaron Woods said on Fox League.

The Blues opened the scoring with Stewart in the eighth minute, when the fullback took the line on and proved too strong for three Maroons.

There would be a fracas which spilled over the sideline which involved Stewart and at least ten other players but it was broken up fairly quickly.

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The Blues had a couple of chances to extend the lead throughout the first half but their execution was poor.

Queensland would take advantage and went over for their first try in the 22nd minute after a barnstorming run from Harry Armstrong close to the line.

NSW would lead 10-6 at HT after 18th man Connor Voltano reached out to score in the corner.

Voltano came into the game after starting winger and co-captain Jesse McLean was forced off the field after sustaining a Category 1 HIA in the opening minutes.

After Maroons winger Tyreece Tait scored in the corner, it was 10-10 with 25 minutes to play.

Both teams went close to hitting the lead but it was the Blues who scored the matchwinning try, with Matt Arthur, son of former Eels coach Brad, crossing in the 59th minute, with Stewart laying on the last pass.

Read here for a comprehensive break down of both the NSW and QLD U19 squads.

WHAT WE LEARNED

CHEVY WINS FULLBACK BATTLE

On paper, it was the most tantalising matchup in the game. Fullbacks Chevy Stewart and Jaxon Purdue have both looked good at times during limited NRL action this season and entering this clash, they were pegged as the most important players for their respective states.

There were some growing pains for Stewart at fullback when tested at NRL level earlier in the year, but there was plenty of positive signs that this kid

Stewart was the best player on the park by the length of the Flemington straight, and was duly named the man of the match, but Purdue was very strong in his own right.

While he didn’t have the impact that Stewart had, Purdue was asking plenty of questions of the Blues defence.

The Cowboys rising star ran for 167 metres, had four tackle busts, a line break and a try assist.

HALFBACKS LOOK SET FOR HUGE FUTURES

Coby Black and Mitchell Woods may not be seen in the NRL this season, but be sure to remember their names.

Black, a Broncos junior earmarked as a star of the future, has a cool head and a kicking game that would already measure up in first grade.

Both of those attributes were on display against the Blues.

Woods, a Bulldogs junior, has plenty of raps around him and he proved why at times against the Maroons.

His deft kicking game was evident and with some luck, he would have had two try assists after two perfect grubbers found winger Michael Gabrael.

Gabrael dropped one over the line to bomb a certain try. He would chase down the other to score but it would be disallowed after a knock on was found in the lead up to Woods’ kick.

Woods showed a keenness to put his body on the line as well with 11 runs and 25 tackles.

“He was outstanding. The carries he had were like front row carries and almost sliced through a couple of times,” Aaron Woods said in commentary.

“He showed great touch with his grubbers as well and almost set up two tries.”

DRAGONS WRECKING BALL MAKES IMPRESSION

The best forward on the hallowed Leichhardt Oval turf on Thursday night was far and away Loko Jnr Pasifiki Tonga, who was such a handful in a busy 45-minute body of work.

The hulking 195cm 18-year-old ran hard all night and made a number of half breaks which kept the Blues rolling forward and provided a great platform for the halves.

Pasifiki Tonga had 13 runs and made all of them count, recording 134 metres and five tackle busts. He also made 21 tackles.

“I spoke to (Dragons coach) Shane Flanagan during the week and he said he was going to be a big player of the future, Tonga,” Woods said on Fox League.

MIXED NIGHT FOR BLUES BROTHERS

Jesse and Casey McLean started at wing and centre respectively for the Blues on the same day the highly touted Penrith juniors signed extensions to remain with the Panthers.

Jesse, who has played in two NRL games, lasted just two minutes before a head knock ended his night.

His younger brother Casey was very good on the left edge for the Blues, running with purpose and proving hard to bring down.

Casey finished with 158 metres from 17 carries with three tackle busts.

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Next gen stars arrive in epic No.1 dual as Broncos unearth Reynolds successor: U19 Origin lessons (2024)
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