Queensland has won the Under 16s State of Origin curtain-raiser, with a hard-fought 10-6 victory at ANZ Stadium.
Five Eels Harold Matthews Cup players were selected for the NSW Blues side - Ethan Parry, Tui Afualo, Josh Curran, Alex Seve and PJ Vaigalu, with Travis Turnbull representing the Queensland side.
Blues centre Campbell Graham kicked off the scoring for the Blues, scoring a big solo effort try on the left edge, converted by Luke Metcalf.
The young Eels representatives featured heavily in the first half action, with Blue and Gold teammates Ethan Parry and Tui Afualo combining well on the right edge.
Parry was denied two tries by some desperate Queensland defence, with his feet finding the sideline and bundled into touch.
Fullback Travis Turnbull made a big line break in the 20th minute but was brought up short after the offload went awry, but moments later he crossed for himself after receiving an offload from his side’s strong forward pack.
The speedy redhead, who has played in the halves for the Eels in Harold Matthews Cup this season, converted his own try to even the score at 6-6 at halftime.
The second half showed strong defensive efforts from both sides, with just one try being scored.
Queensland piled on the pressure earning a number of repeat sets in the middle of the half, but the Blues’ defence held out until the 53rd minute with Nathan Barrett scoring from the bench for the Maroons.
Turnbull’s final conversion was just wide, with the Maroons coming away with the win 10-6.
Queensland U16s 10 (Turnbull, Barrett tries, Turnbull 1 goal)
NSW U16s 6 (Graham try, Metcalf goal)