|Image credit: Claudia Baxter, Queensland Times|
A SCHOOL team taking on a national side is a rare experience.
So it pays to make the most of such opportunities.
The Ipswich State High School first grade rugby league team did just that on Friday when they hosted the Papua New Guinea under 18 team, going down 26-6.
"It was a superb event," ISHS coach Lee Addison said.
"The only thing that wasn't right was the weather."
Addison was left in awe of the ball skills of the PNG players.
He compared their ability to slip passes to the way Muttiah Muralitharan delivered a cricket ball.
"They off-loaded us to death," Addison said.
"The PNG boys' ability to throw the ball around made you wonder how that was possible."
Despite the loss Addison was delighted with how his team performed, as it was a quality team they were up against. One of the PNG under 18 forwards is in the Kumuls senior squad for this year's World Cup.
"I was really happy," Addison said.
"They scored three tries on our line from passive tackles.
"But there were not that many technical things I can pull my boys up on.
"We've had a few big wins and when you do players can get some lazy habits.
"But under pressure we stuck to our structures.
"It was a very good game.
"I don't think they were a 20 point better side.
"They were a better team but I was really proud of our boys."
At the end of the game both teams celebrated with singing and dancing, capping a memorable afternoon.
"It was very sporting," Addison said of the clash.
"There was no malicious play.
"The game was played in fabulous spirit and they were getting stuck into each other.
"It was a great experience for our kids."