Rugby Union: North are outflanked

North 18 Queensland 27
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The North did their best to overcome the confusion and controversy of Epruc's edict banning member clubs from allowing their players to appear in the County of Origin matches, but were outwitted by a highly-motivated Queensland at the McAlpine Stadium, Huddersfield last night.

Although Leicester, North-ampton and Newcastle had barred their players from taking part, Wakefield, Orrell and West Hartlepool gave their unqualified support. So in theory at least, the North were able to field the strongest side of the four English Divisions. But the North never established sufficient forward control, they lacked cohesion and lost shape far too easily.

Like most Australian teams, Queensland were strong in the tackle, supported the ball carrier skilfully, and competed ferociously at ruck and maul. In Elton Flatley the tourists have a neat outside-half, two ball-winning locks in Brent Cockbain and Stefan Luke, in concert with the promising Tyron Mandrusiak at full-back Queensland were just too sharp for the North.

Mandrusiak kicked three of his five penalties before the break to counter the North's most convincing passage of play, a length of the field move resulting in a sumptuous try for Tom Beim.

North: Tries Beim, Morris; Conversion Stocks; Penalties Stocks 2.

Queensland: Tries Murray, Constable; Conversion Mandrusiak; Penalties: Mandrusiak 5.

NORTH: J Mallinder (capt, Sale); M Wood (W Hartlepool) G Stocks (Sale), D Edwards (Leeds), T Beim; J Baxendell (Sale), D Scully (Wakefield); P Winstanley, S Diamond (Sale), S Turner (Orrell), C Murphy, (W Hartlepool) P Rees, P Angelsea (Orrell) A Morris , C Vyvyan (both Sale). Replacements: P Manley (Wakefield) for Vyvyan, 12; P Shelley (Leeds) for Turner 69; J Ions (W Hartlepool) for Morris, 74.

QUEENSLAND: T Mandrusiak; D McInally, R Constable, N Grey, T Boston; E Flatley, E Moncrieff; S Webster, B Cannon (capt), J Watkins, B Cockbain, S Luke, M Murray, G Hislop, M Gabey. Replacements: G Panoho for Watkins, 13; C Knapp for Cannon, 45; M Bartholomeusz for Flatley, 74; M Cockbain for Gabey, 77.

Referee: A Lewis (Ireland).