Thursday, September 21, 2023


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

A Year Of Triumph And Growth

Sarina State High School Rugby League Academy

Sarina State High School's Rugby League Academy has had an exceptional year, demonstrating both on-field success and a commitment to community involvement and mentorship. Led by Academy Coordinator and Head Coach Mr. Brett Watton, the academy's achievements in 2023 are a testament to their dedication and passion for the sport.

On-field Success

This year, the Sarina State High School Rugby League Academy soared to new heights in the local Mackay District Schools Rugby League Competition. With the 7/8, 9/10, and Opens teams all making it to the finals, the academy showcased its depth of talent and determination. These teams secured impressive finishes, with the 7/8 team claiming 4th place, the 9/10 team taking 3rd, and the Opens team finishing as runners-up.

Not content with local success alone, the academy clinched victory in the Mackay District NRL Trophy competition for both the Year 9/10 and Opens divisions. This triumph paved the way for an even grander achievement: winning the Capricornia competition for the Opens category. The academy's impressive journey continued as they secured a spot in the Opens North Queensland Grand Final for the NRL Trophy, ultimately finishing as the 2nd best team in North Queensland.

In addition to their male teams' success, the academy's Open Women's team also made their mark, finishing 3rd in the Karen Murphy Cup tournament. These accomplishments underscore the academy's whole school approach to developing rugby league talent.

Participation Beyond Local Competitions

The Sarina State High School Rugby League Academy was invited to participate in the inaugural season of the Mackay Cutters Cup, a prestigious competition featuring local top-tier talent. Despite facing tough competition, the academy proved their mettle by finishing 2nd, with their only defeat a close 24-10 loss against the formidable St. Patrick's Colleges’ A side.

The academy's influence extended beyond their own school as they celebrated NAIDOC Day by hosting an interschool women's and men's rugby league tournament. They also welcomed visiting academies from Rockhampton at the end of term 2, fostering a sense of community and camaraderie within the sport.

Mentorship and Leadership

One of the hallmarks of the Sarina State High School Rugby League Academy is its commitment to mentorship and leadership development. Senior students have taken on coaching roles for Year 7 students, offering guidance and support as part of their senior sport and recreation assessments. This mentorship not only enhances the skill development of younger players but also instills leadership qualities in the academy's senior members.

The academy has also been instrumental in shaping the leadership landscape of the school. Several students from the academy hold leadership roles on the Representative Council and serve as Sports house captains, exemplifying the character and discipline instilled by their involvement in rugby league.

Representative Honours and Rising Stars

The academy's commitment to nurturing rugby league talent goes beyond the school grounds. This year, the Sarina State High School Rugby League Academy proudly saw four of its members selected for Mackay District Rugby League Representative Teams. Their exceptional skills and dedication have earned them the opportunity to compete at a higher level.

But the achievements don't stop there. The academy's talent pipeline extends to the professional realm, with four students selected for the Junior Broncos Academy. This prestigious recognition highlights the potential of these young athletes to someday compete at the highest levels of rugby league.

Furthermore, an impressive seven students were selected for the QRL Rise Program, showcasing their immense promise in the sport. With multiple students vying for spots on upcoming Mackay Cutters Representative Teams, the academy's influence on the regional rugby league scene is undeniable.

Looking Ahead

The Sarina State High School Rugby League Academy continues to shine both on and off the field. Their dedication to fostering talent, promoting leadership, and engaging with the community sets a standard for excellence in school sports programs.

In the words of Mr. Brett Watton, "Our academy is not just about winning games; it's about developing good young men and women for our local community and instilling values that extend far beyond the field. We're immensely proud of what our students have achieved this year at Sarina State High School."

for 2024 enrolment information for the SSHS rugby league academy please contact Sarina State High School on or 07 4943 8111.

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