A handful of famous footballing families have helped the Australian Schoolboys deliver a crushing 70-24 defeat of the New Zealand under-18s in the first match of their two-Test series at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday.
Led by captain Nathan Cleary – son of Panthers coach Ivan Cleary – and with starring performances from Jayden Butterfield and Tyronne Roberts-Davis the Aussies scored 56 unanswered points either side of half-time to blow the Kiwis off the park.
Prop forward Butterfield produced the type of charges his great uncle Tony Butterfield was renowned for during his career at the Knights while Roberts-Davis showed the type of speed and class his cousin James delivered in scoring 16 tries for the Titans this season.
Having come nose-to-nose in the pre-game Haka the two teams then traded tries for much of the first half before the Australian team posted back-to-back tries to take a 24-18 lead into half-time.
The home side were first to score when Rueben Cotter pounced on a kick that had ricocheted off a defender before he beat the fullback to score but the Kiwis hit back in the seventh minute when centre Lewis Soosemea crossed in the left-hand corner.
New Zealand skipped out to an eight-point lead courtesy of tries to Rory Marshall-Barton and Morgan Harper but with defence flimsy at both ends of the field it wasn’t long before the Australians were back in front.
Centre Reuben Garrick and half Scott Drinkwater both crossed but the Kiwis again hit back, this time interchange forward Tyrone Nathan crashing over with a powerful carry.
The Australian team picked up in the second half how they finished the first with two quick tries that transformed an 18-14 deficit shortly before the break into a 36-18 lead 13 minutes into the second half.
Fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen backed up through the middle of the field after a long break from Titans winger Tyronne Roberts-Davis and then Jayden Butterfield produced a bullocking run, bumping Kiwi defenders out of the way on his way to a four-pointer left of the posts.
Roberts-Davis showed his class with a spectacular diving effort in the right-hand corner and when Curtis Scott scored his second the Australians had posted 32 unanswered points to take a stranglehold on the result.
And it didn’t end there. Cleary sliced through before finding Drinkwater in support on his inside and after a slight period of respite where the Kiwis had a number of shots at the Australian line Cleary again created a try for Ryan Papenhuyzen down the left-hand side of the field for a 58-18 lead 12 minutes from full-time.
The second Test of the series will be played at BMD Kougari Oval at Wynnum at 6.30pm on Thursday night.
Australia Schoolboys 70 (Ryan Papenhuyzen 3, Curtis Scott 2, Scott Drinkwater 2, Rueben Cotter, Reuben Garrick, Adam Keighran, Jayden Butterfield, Tyronne Roberts-Davis, Blayke Brailey tries; Nathan Cleary 7, Garrick 2 goals) def. New Zealand Under-18s 24 (Lewis Soosemea, Rory Marshall-Barton, Morgan Harpe, Tyrone Nathan, Tarquinn Alatipi tries; Jackson Ferris 2 goals).