Thursday, August 24, 2023
Mackay and Whitsunday Life
Ian Schifilitti was renowned for his dedication and work ethic as a professional rugby league journeyman.
The industrious forward – who represented Italy at the Rugby League World Cup – was highly regarded during his playing career in the Townsville region and English Super League for his tenacity, courage, ball play and copybook defence.
Those admirable traits have rubbed off on his St Patrick’s College Mackay team that has just secured the minor premiership in the Aaron Payne Cup.
The all-conquering Mackay colts edged out Kirwan State High 22-16 to extend their winning streak and set up a semi-final showdown this week with St Augustine’s Cairns.
While proud of his charges’ efforts during a crippling injury crisis, the respected mentor faces a selection headache in the finals with ten key players returning to bolster the team.
“Reducing my 30-man squad to 17 remains a difficult proposition with so many of our fringe players stepping up in recent weeks to push their claims,” coach Schifilitti revealed.
St Patrick’s College can now claim to be the powerbase of northern Queensland school rugby league after wrapping up both the Aaron Payne Cup and Year 10 Cowboys Challenge minor premierships and the Girls team finishing runners up at the QISSRL Confraternity Shield Carnival.
The College is on track to secure a championship double with both sides preserving their undefeated records after rousing victories over Kirwan State High in Townsville.
Boosted by the return of Queensland Schoolboys reps Xavier Kerrisk and Jaxon Purdue and a slick display by centre Will Shears, the Mackay giants grabbed a psychological edge over their rivals.
It has been a tremendous team effort by the senior Mackay colts who have all contributed to the minor title with courageous performances.
Promising fullback Hayden Cumming, wingers Bailey Anderson and Hunter Harris, centres Tenzin Contor, Will Whippy and Reuben Saron, five eighth Bailey Venz and forwards Darcy Clark, Tyler Shandiman, Diesel Costigan, Jake Bryan, Kayne Smith, Hudson Clark and Cohen Jackson, Darcy Daly, utility Nelson Fenlon, Javan Ramsamy, Harrison Considine, Mikey Hinchy, Lachlan Starr and Jack Townsend have also shown dedication to training and a will to win despite the College fielding depleted line-ups.
“We even had to blood 15-year-old forward prospect Mark Morrow in the top grade and he rose to the challenge,” said Schifilitti.
“I am just so proud of their commitment and the energy they take into each game,” he added.
Morrow, who has signed a three-year contract with the Canberra Raiders, is one of the big guns in a powerful and hungry St Patrick’s Year 10 team that is on the prowl for another Cowboys Challenge Shield title.
Coach Tom Gaviglio has the side in tip-top form.
Having conceded only three tries in this campaign, the St Patrick’s outfit are warm favourites to sink Mackay State High in this week’s semi-final and book a berth in this year’s Grand Final.
Talented half back Adam McSherry, centre Norm Campbell, lock Caleb O’Brien, Queensland Under 15s prop Sam Anderson and hooker Cooper Deguara led the way in a 28-0 victory over Kirwan High.
By Chris Karas
St Patrick’s College senior rugby league coach Ian Schifilitti is proud of his squad’s efforts in claiming the Aaron Payne Cup minor premiership