Northern Fusion under-12s win rugby league state championship

Malakai Letufuga celebrates scoring the winning try for the Northern Fusion under-12s at the 2019 Junior State Championships finals for rugby league. Picture: Energy Images
Malakai Letufuga celebrates scoring the winning try for the Northern Fusion under-12s at the 2019 Junior State Championships finals for rugby league. Picture: Energy Images

A TRY 10 seconds from the end of the game helped guide the Northern Fusion to a second straight under-12s state title, defeating the Southern Pride 18-16 on the final day of the 2019 Junior State Championships for rugby league.

Trailing 14-16 heading into the final play of the game, the Fusion kept the ball alive before Malakai Letufuga crashed over in the corner for his second of the game, and ultimately, the match-winner.

After finishing top of the standings after pool action, and having already recorded a 28-10 win over the Fusion earlier in the tournament, Pride came into the contest as slight favourites.

However, it was the Fusion who burst out the blocks the quickest with forward Hayden Pokare scoring a try to give his side a 4-0 lead in the first five minutes.

The Fusion extended their lead just moments later thanks to Letufuga.

Northern Fusion claims the the 2019 Junior State Championships finals for rugby league.

Desperate to be the next to score, Pride found themselves back in the contest when Heath Tuhakaraina scored their first try.

Then just before the half-time break, Pride captain Gabriel Salelea danced his way over the ine and converted the try to hand his side a 8-10 lead.

In a see-saw contest, Fusion regained the lead just six minutes after the restart as winger Seth Kramme made it a hat-trick of tries in the left corner.

But Pride’s Ty Paton put his side back in control of the contest with a try then converted by Sam Walsh to take the score to 14-16.

Driven by their desire for back-to-back titles, the Fusion kicked up a gear and got their reward just before the full-time siren as Letufuga claimed his double and the State bragging rights.

Players of the game went to Kahn Pokare for Northern Fusion and William Blair for Southern Pride.