Finnley Neilsen scores on debut for NSW 16s in Pasifika victory

PROUD MOMENT: The NSW Country and Parkes Marist lock forward Finnley Neilsen scored under the posts right before half-time to give his side a handy 18-0 lead. Photo: Bryden Sharp
PROUD MOMENT: The NSW Country and Parkes Marist lock forward Finnley Neilsen scored under the posts right before half-time to give his side a handy 18-0 lead. Photo: Bryden Sharp

Parkes Marist's Finnley Neilsen was part of the NSW Under 16s' scintillating attacking performance that recorded a commanding 36-6 victory over Pasifika Under 16s on Sunday.

And the teen said he couldn't have been more honoured to pull on the blue jersey for the first time at Belmore Sportsground.

His debut became even more significant when the NSW Country lock forward scored under the posts right before half-time to give his side a handy 18-0 lead.

"I was pretty excited," Neilsen told Country Rugby League.

"The intensity was similar to when we played City - it was a very fast game and there wasn't much of a break for the first 15 minutes.

"I scored under the posts and it was awesome when the crowd went up and the boys surrounded me.

"It was a very special moment, especially because my family was there watching.

"Representing NSW - it's something I had always wanted to do especially doing it this young, I thought was pretty cool."

Despite the game's fast pace and Neilsen's mind running "100 miles an hour", he took the challenge in his stride and really enjoyed the experience.

"Once I found my rhythm it was the best feeling," he said.

"A highlight of the game was running out, knowing that I was representing my state and the feelings of my family, knowing they would be really proud of me."

Neilsen said he was very surprised at the final result.

"Especially knowing that Pasifika won last year," he said.

"But I knew we had a good side as well."

Neilsen played alongside Ryan Foran, Reef Sommerville, Tom Weaver and Oskar Bryant who will be touring the UK in November for NSW Country and Neilsen believes playing with a mix of players in various representative sides is valuable.

"It was pretty good getting to meet different fellas who I might play with again down the track," he said.

"I also got to know the Country boys a little bit better again; I think we're all getting pretty close now.

"After you play a game everyone starts to gel better and you get around each other a lot more."

After playing for Parkes Marist for the last 11 years and captaining the Andrew Johns Cup Western Rams side, Neilsen hopes he can continue on the CRL representative pathway.

"It's one of my goals for next year to try and make the Laurie Daley squad and if I can make that try and make Country again, but Rams is first priority," he said.

"It would be pretty good to be coached by Kurt Hancock and learn some new things next year."

The NSW Country Under 16's squad will be joined by the Under 18's and play three games in tour in the United Kingdom in November.

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