OUTSIDE centre Kurt Wiltshire and fullback Caleb Tull's flashy skills sealed a 19-12 Junior Gold Cup victory, but it was the Central Queensland forwards who laid the platform for the season.
The Central Queensland under-17 boys celebrated at Rugby Park yesterday after a gutsy effort in defence during the second half helped them start the national competition with a Round 1 win over Gold Coast.
They'll now turn their attention towards their second round encounter with Brisbane Orange at Rugby Park on March 1.
CQ captain Rye Steele led from the front and was supported by hooker Harry Gambling, and try scoring prop Josh Wells.
Wells opened the home side's account when he barged over in the first half before Wiltshire crossed for his side's second try early in the second.
A day after he helped the Central Queensland Capras U18s to a 26-20 win over Mackay Cutters in a pre-season trial in Sarina, Wiltshire was at it again.
The Rockhampton Grammar School student received a short pass from flyhalf Creeden Weir before beating defenders to score five minutes into the second half.
Gold Coast hit back to level the scores 12 all after a mountain of field position and possession.
Then some individual brilliance from Tull saw the home side open up a seven point lead.
Tull received a Gold Coast kick at the halfway line and stepped through defenders before grubbering to score to the left of the posts.
Weir added the extras, but it wasn't long before the Gold Coast was on the attack again.
Tull received a yellow card for his efforts in defence and had CQ reduced to 14 men, but he stopped an almost certain try when he brought the Gold Coast side's fullback down a metre out from the try line.
From there the Central Queensland side continued to repel attacking raids by the Gold Coast.
"It was a good gutsy win," CQ coach Lachlan McMurtrie said.
"I couldn't be happier with the physicality - and the keenness to meet them at the gain line and march them back."
Gold Coast were too strong for the CQ U15 side, winning 41-10.
JUNIOR GOLD CUP
U17: CQ 19 def Gold Coast 12
U15: Gold Coast 41 def CQ 10
At Rugby Park yesterday.