The Cowboys' Jake Clifford has distinguished himself in the Australian under-20s' win over New Zealand. Picture: Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images
The Cowboys' Jake Clifford has distinguished himself in the Australian under-20s' win over New Zealand. Picture: Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images

Cowboy stars as Junior Kangaroos down New Zealand

JAKE Clifford has proven he's a star in the making by steering the Junior Kangaroos to a 40-24 win over a rocks-and-diamonds Junior Kiwis at Auckland's Mt Smart Stadium.

The North Queensland playmaker had a hand in most of the Australian under-20s' best moments to earn man-of-the-match honours in the seven-tries-to-five victory on Saturday.

After six NRL appearances this year, Clifford is expected to take over the Cowboys' No.7 jumper from the retired Johnathan Thurston next season.

Fullback Corey Allan also showed why he was being touted as a potential NRL debutant for South Sydney next year and St George Illawarra winger Zac Lomax stood out with the boot by nailing five from six.

The Junior Kiwis produced a series of highlight moments, none better than when Chanel Harris-Tavita threw the ball behind himself, flicked it up with his heel and regathered for Isaiah Papali'i to give the home side a 12-6 lead.

However, the home side continually turned possession over and the Junior Kangaroos took advantage to win their fourth straight trans-Tasman encounter.

Australia led 24 -16 at half-time after Clifford and Lomax combined for Allan to score.

North Queensland winger Enari Tuala then produced an acrobatic put-down in the corner to extend Australia's advantage five minutes after the resumption, the first leg of his double.

Tino Fa'Asuamaleaui also scored twice in the final 20 minutes to inflate the winning margin.

News Corp Australia

Give the gift of love this Christmas

Give the gift of love this Christmas

MOLLY is looking for a forever home

Pookie needs a home

Pookie needs a home

CAN you open your heart and home this Christmas?

Our House celebrates another big milestone

Our House celebrates another big milestone

COMMUNITY organisation celebrates milestone

Local Partners