Cudgen to unleash world champ Jakob in NRRRL semis
CUDGEN Hornet Jakob Hall has returned from Malaysia a world champion after his Australian Under-18 side took home the Youth Touch World Cup last week.
Now Hall's focus returns to Northern Rivers footy, where he will play a pivotal role in Cudgen's quest to reach the NRRRL U18s grand final.
Hall, a member of the Queensland U20 State of Origin touch squad and Gold Coast Titans, helped the Aussies to victory with four touchdowns, while directly assisting on another three, across the four-day Youth Touch World Cup tournament in Kuala Lumpur.
The Australian U18s defeated New Zealand in the tournament final, 12-7.
The Malaysian climate, Hall admitted, was a struggle to overcome, with matches, typically split into two halves, quartered to allow fatigued players more recovery time.
But ultimately, victory in such an atmosphere tasted all the more sweet.
"It was by far the best experience to date that I have been a part of, with the best bunch of boys and coaching staff,” Hall said after his first time representing Australia.
"There's no better feeling than to have pulled on the green and gold.”
All six Aussie teams came home from the tournament, which featured nine different countries, as division champions, with each side defeating New Zealand in their respective finals.
Overall, Australia finished with gold, New Zealand silver and South Africa bronze.
The Youth Touch World Cup, which this year returned after a 13-year hiatus, involved Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, New Zealand, host-nation Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa and the United States.
Now back on home soil, Hall is preparing for a critical NRRRL semi-final this Sunday, when he will suit up for the Cudgen Hornets to take on Ballina at Les Burger Field Cabarita - the winner of which will go straight through to the grand final.
"It's always a good, hard game between us and Ballina,” Hall said, noting that his side was yet to beat Ballina this year.
"Fortunately we have a chance at redeeming ourselves this weekend and the winner goes through to the big dance.
"I'm really looking forward to the test. It's been a fun year at the Hornets and a win this weekend will be a great reward for all our hard efforts.”
After the NRRRL finals, Hall's attention will shift to State of Origin duties in November, when he will represent Queensland in the under-20 touch series in Redcliffe.
NRRRL Under 18 semi-finals
Tweed Coast v Lower Clarence - Saturday, 11.45am, Ned Byrne Oval, Cudgen
Ballina Seagulls v Cudgen Hornets - Sunday, 11.45am, Les Burger Field, Cabarita