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Young Storm playmaker Cooper Johns made his debut at feeder level on the weekend as the Falcons fell just short to the Townsville Blackhawks 18-20 at home.

Johns made the step up after showing great promise for the Victorian Thunderbolts in the Queensland Under-20s competition.  

The 18-year-old admitted it was a step up in intensity but held his own at five-eighth.

"Obviously the physicality was up a bit from playing under-20s but it was really good, a lot of fun playing with the boys,” Johns told the South Burnett Times.

"That's been my goal… to impress the coaches enough to come up here and play with the Falcs.

“After a big pre-season with the NRL squad, it's really got me prepared for playing against men, with the physicality of the game.

"So it was really good and I'm looking forward to hopefully keeping that spot there.”

The Falcons looking to have taken the points with a try in the 72nd minute however the Blackhawks struck at the death courtesy of a grubber kick to snatch the win.

Despite the result, there was plenty of promising with three Thunderbolts; Johns, Tino Fa'asuamaleaui and Harry Grant all taking another step forward in their development.

“They are all young guys and that was a really good experience for them, playing against a really experienced Intrust Super Cup side,” Falcons coach Craig Ingebrigtsen said.

“They applied themselves really well, I am really proud of them.

“I am really excited for these young blokes. We get to be part of their journey as NRL players, that is our job.”

** Image courtesy of News Limited/John McCutcheon

Townsville Blackhawks 20 (Jaelen Feeney, Jonathon Reuben, Kalifa Faifai-Loa, Paul Byrnes tries; Zach Clay 2 goals) def Sunshine Coast Falcons 18 (Jye Ballinger, Matt Soper-Lawler, Christopher Lewis tries; Joe Stimson 3 goals) at Sunshine Coast Stadium.

Acknowledgement of Country

Melbourne Storm respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.