Friday, December 23, 2022


Mackay and Whitsunday Life


Paityne And Xavier Are Top Of The Nines Crop

Image: Queensland Country Under 17 representative hooker Xavier Kerrisk will spearhead a powerful St Patrick’s College Mackay squad in 2023

Outstanding St Patrick’s College and Capricornia representative hooker Paityne Johns is one of the best young number nines on the Queensland Girls rugby league scene

Rubbing shoulders on the training paddock with your NRL idols are moments to savour for any aspiring rugby league colt.

Mackay’s rising 17-year-old hooker Xavier Kerrisk tasted that thrill last week when he was part of a select band of St Patrick’s College footballers that participated in the North Queensland Cowboys pre-season Young Bucks Camp in Townsville.

Kerrisk was joined by skilful half back Jaxon Purdue, lock forward Kayne Smith and classy utility back Will Shears at the Bucks Camp where 25 of the Cowboys’ contracted schoolboys experienced “a week of a first grade NRL player” as part of the club’s Pathways Program.

The Mackay products joined other 17- and 18-year-old schoolboys from the northern Queensland region as they were educated on “game sense” and put through their paces with intensive skill sessions plus speed and power testing to prepare them for the rigours of top-grade rugby league.

During the Camp the players trained alongside the Cowboys Young Guns’ semi-professional squad that featured St Patrick’s College graduates in crack centre Kai Simon and power forwards Liam Doherty and Matthew Watts.

It was a fascinating experience for the emerging Kerrisk, who is regarded as one of Queensland’s finest up and coming number nines.

The Queensland Country Under 17 representative hooker produced superb performances to help St Patrick’s College finish runners up in both the 2022 Confraternity Shield and Aaron Payne Cup competitions and spearheaded the Walkerston Wanderers to an Under 18s premiership at the Mackay & District Junior League Grand Finals.

In fact, St Patrick’s College can now arguably boast the best two number nines in the respective schoolboy/girls rugby league ranks in the Capricornia region.

While the crafty Kerrisk continues to carve up the opposition in various Boys competitions his female colleague Paityne Johns has been dubbed the “Little Maestro” and premier hooker in the Girls cauldron.

Pocket dynamo Paityne proved a revelation on the Girls rugby league scene this season – impressing keen judges with her guile, vision and speed around the rucks and ability to lift teammates with her tremendous work ethic.

Her leadership qualities shone like a beacon at this year’s inaugural Confraternity Games Girls Rugby League Carnival in Mackay when she steered St Patrick’s to the Shield decider against champions Marymount College at BB Print Stadium.  

The talented Johns nabbed a crucial try and performed strongly in a heart-breaking 18-10 loss to the Burleigh Waters school and capped a memorable Games experience when she was later named St Patrick’s Best & Fairest player by tournament officials.

Tough-tackling Paityne also skippered her club side Norths Devils to the Under 18 Girls Grand Final in the Mackay & District Junior League competition where they were outclassed 38-4 by a red-hot Wanderers outfit and featured in the Mackay Cutters Under 19 Harvey Norman Women’s squad.  

All eyes will be on the Capricornia representative and fitness guru when she commences her 2023 campaign in the best shape of her life.

By Chris Karas

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