Thursday, August 24, 2023
Mackay and Whitsunday Life
A twelve-month edict to lift the Queensland Independent Secondary Schools Rugby League championship trophy has nearly come to fruition for the St Patrick’s College Mackay Girls team.
In another heart-breaking moment, the famous sporting nursery had to again settle for runners up medals after The Cathedral College Rockhampton were crowned Confraternity Carnival champions last Thursday after a thrilling 14-10 victory in the Shield decider at the St Laurence’s College grounds in Brisbane.
It was the St Patrick’s girls first loss and only points conceded during the tournament after stringing four wins on the trot.
The Cathedral side stunned Mackay with two early tries by fullback Zoe Robson and winger Cadence Lee and a conversion from classy half back and Player of the Carnival Caitlin Tanner.
When key prop Ciara Thomson left the field with a damaged knee, the Mackay team’s task became harder.
Trailing 10-0 the St Patrick’s girls staged a revival and levelled the scores after winger Hanna Humphries and utility hooker Shaylee Hazledine crossed for second half tries with Paige Mooney potting a goal.
St Patrick’s mounted plenty of pressure and came close to grabbing the lead, only to be repelled by gritty Cathedral defence.
In a tense finish, the livewire Tanner created the match-winning try for centre Mackayla Oakley with four minutes left on the clock.
Leading into the decider, the Mackay girls had conquered all with a dominant forward pack and skilful backline to remain undefeated.
But the loss revived the painful memories of last year’s Grand Final defeat at the hands of Burleigh Waters’ Marymount High in Mackay.
It was in the dressing rooms of BB Print Stadium following that devastating result that the St Patrick’s girls pledged to bring home the trophy in 2023.
With the nucleus of last year’s outfit back on deck they avenged that defeat by eliminating Marymount High 16-0 in a semi-final last Wednesday.
Watching on was St Patrick’s best player - star hooker Paityne Johns who was unavailable due to her commitments with the Queensland Schoolgirls representative team.
Capricornia props Ciara Thomson and Chelsea McLeod and promising lock Gracie Watt laid the foundations for success with their powerful running and ball skills and were rewarded with selection in the QISSRL Merit Team along with utility Shaylee Hazledine and centre Ruby Lucas.
Watt was also named St Patrick’s Player of the Carnival and Thomson the Player with Most Potential by tournament officials.
Play making halves Lily-May Carige and Keely Pitt turned in classy performances – providing snappy service to outside backs Trinity Grigg, Maddison Simon and the sharp Lucas who menaced opponents with their pace and footwork.
St Patrick’s coach Imogen Healy praised the efforts of all squad members and revealed that the championship tilt was built on the team’s superb defence.
“The girls combined well as a unit and hit their straps in the finals” beamed a proud Imogen.
“Unfortunately, we lost some key players through injury in the decider and conceded our only points against a strong Cathedral side,” said Healy.
“Ciara’s knee injury early in the final was a huge blow but the girls showed courage to fight back – we just couldn’t capitalise on some late scoring opportunities,” she added.
By Chris Karas
St Patrick’s College Mackay’s talented Girls rugby league squad that were pipped 14-10 by The Cathedral College Rockhampton in a thrilling QISSRL Grand Final in Brisbane.
They are pictured with College Principal Janelle Agius
Emerging Mackay rugby league colts Bailey Anderson and Kayne Smith have gained selection in this year’s Confraternity Carnival Rugby League Boys Merit Team.
The promising duo were officially recognised for their standout performances at the 2023 Queensland Independent Secondary School championships in Brisbane where they guided heavyweights St Patrick’s College to the Division One Shield semi-finals.
Elusive winger Anderson and industrious forward Smith turned in top displays for an under-strength St Patrick’s side that toiled hard and soaked up pressure to reach the final four.
Minus their Queensland Schoolboys representative half Jaxon Purdue and hooker Xavier Kerrisk, the Mackay colts still managed to produce quality efforts throughout the tournament.
St Patrick’s bowed out in the semi-finals after a 10-4 loss to championship runners up Emmaus College Rockhampton in a hard-fought contest.
Emmaus led 4-0 following an early try from winger Slade McMeeken and extended their advantage when five eighth Clancy Hohn crossed in the 40th minute with half Isaac Walker adding the extras.
Tough centre Will Whippy put the Mackay boys back in contention with a fine try soon after – only for Emmaus to stave off a late challenge with sturdy defence.
St Brendan’s Yeppoon clinched a record-extending 14th Confraternity Shield title when they later toppled Emmaus 18-10 in the Grand Final.
Trailing 4-0 at the interval the Yeppoon boys bounced back with second half tries from prop Jake Peirce, half back Tommy Green, centre Anasta Tamwoy and winger Izaiah Waters with five eighth Tyler Melrose booting one conversion.
St Brendan’s talented quartet of playmaker Melrose, Peirce, centre Rydell Tyrrell and prop Carter Ford were named in the Confraternity Merit team along with Emmaus trio Hohn, fullback Seth Carpenter and front rower Baylee Meilland.
Anderson nabbed a brace of tries to spearhead St Patrick’s 18-6 quarter final victory over Iona College and also impressed in the play off with Marymount College for third/fourth spot.
The Burleigh Waters boys – led by powerhouse second rower and Player of the Carnival Cooper Bai, son of Papua New Guinea legend Marcus Bai – edged out Mackay 4-0 in an absorbing tussle.
Inspirational prop and skipper Darcy Clark was named St Patrick’s top gun along with hooker and Spirit Award recipient Hudson Clark in a powerful engine room that also featured the tireless Smith, Jake Bryan, Tyler Shandiman, Cohen Jackson and Diesel Costigan.
Rookie halves Bailey Venz and Nelson Fenlon, centres Whippy and Tenzin Contor, winger Hunter Harris and fullback Will Shears also left their mark.
St Patrick’s coach Ian Schifilitti praised the efforts of his competitive young squad that conceded just 20 points for the entire Carnival.
By Chris Karas