Rocky rep stars on debut in Test series
TOUCH: Cooper Marshall has next year’s Youth World Cup in his sights after his stellar debut for Australia in the Youth Trans-Tasman Test Series.
The 18-year-old could not have scripted much better his first appearance in the green and gold.
He scored three tries in his first Test and was integral in the Australian 20s boys winning their best-of-three series 2-1.
He was named the team’s players’ player and also received the Troy Malcolm Award, which is given to the Male Player of the Series and the most promising Australian program player.
Marshall was one of 15 Central Queensland players who played in the YTT in Newcastle.
Australia scored a clean sweep, winning all six divisions against New Zealand.
Fellow Rockhampton reps Lachlan Crow and Riley Huggers were also in the 20s boys team.
Tallis Stanhope was in the 20s mixed, Jaymon Bob, Jardel Bob, Nate Hannay, Flynn Kelso, Zayne Cox and Patrick Crow in the 18s boys, Emma Paki, Jaya Acutt, Kirralee Costelloe and Sophie Duff in the 18s girls and Brayden Huggers in the 18s mixed.
Two of them also brought home awards - Jaymon Bob the 18s boys players player and Flynn Kelso the 18s boys coaches award.
Marshall said the series delivered everything he was expecting – fierce rivalry and high-quality touch football.
The Aussies won their first game 7-4 before going down 6-3 in the second, setting the stage for a thrilling decider.
Marshall said the team played well to establish a 5-3 lead at half-time but the Kiwis got within one midway through the second half.
“That last 10 felt like forever,” Marshall said.
“It was really tough. It was probably one of the toughest games I’ve played.
“We managed to dig deep and not let them score again and it was a big relief when the final hooter went.
“We were very happy with the result; it didn’t come easy but we got the job done.”
Marshall said a lot of the CQ players’ families – including his parents - made the trip to Newcastle.
“They were great support all weekend and they definitely helped our team get home in the decider,” he said.
Marshall said he felt he was reaping the rewards of his hard work over the past 18 months.
Now he has experienced the elite level, he wants more.
“It’s one of the best things I’ve done so far. It’s something special to represent your country,” he said.
“I would love to play next year in the Youth World Cup, and they’ve just revealed it’s in Manchester in England.
“I would definitely like to be there.”