Thursday, August 24, 2023


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

Record Breaking St Patrick’s College

Celebrate Dual Challenge Titles

Aaron Payne Cup

North Queensland Cowboys bound half back Jaxon Purdue demonstrated his class as rugby league powerhouse St Patrick’s College completed a unique championship double last week in Townsville.

The famous Mackay sporting nursery unveiled several Cowboys’ stars of the future when they slammed Kirwan State High 32-10 to lift the Aaron Payne Cup premiership trophy at Queensland Country Bank Stadium.

Played as a curtain raiser to the NRL clash between the Cowboys and Cronulla Sharks, the St Patrick’s colts proved too strong for their rivals with playmaker Purdue showing local supporters his array of skills in a taste of things to come.

Purdue’s outstanding display earned him the Player of the Grand Final and Most Valuable Player of the competition awards and capped a memorable 24 hours for the college.

The previous day, St Patrick’s toppled Ignatius Park College 24-10 to clinch the Cowboys Challenge Shield at the Mackay Junior League Fields.

Both St Patrick’s teams etched their names in the record books by winning the prestigious North Queensland schoolboy competitions undefeated.

Ian Schifilliti’s first grade charges overcame an injury crisis to regain the Cup with Queensland Schoolboys reps Purdue and hooker Xavier Kerrisk leading the charge.

Cowboys fans would have marvelled at the performance of Purdue, who scored two of St Patrick’s six tries and created others to show why he is regarded one of the best young prospects in the State.

The talented half - along with the crafty Kerrisk, centre Will Shears and lock forward Kayne Smith - is contracted to the Cowboys and ready to take the leap into professional ranks in 2024.

Elusive winger Bailey Anderson also collected a try double with five eighth Bailey Venz and lock Kayne Smith grabbing four pointers as the St Patrick’s juggernaut dominated from the outset.

Goalkicking winger Hunter Harris completed the rout with three conversions.

Rising fullback Hayden Cumming, centres Shears and Tenzin Contor and wingers Anderson and Harris capitalised on the slick service from halves Purdue and Venz to launch many an attacking raid.

In the engine room it was young props Cohen Jackson and Tyler Shandiman, back rowers Diesel Costigan, Harrison Considine and lock forward Smith that paved the way with non-stop displays.

Coach Schifilliti saluted the efforts of his all-conquering unit, heaping special praise on interchange players Hudson Clark, Reece Morris, Will Whippy, Darcy Daly, Javen Ramsamy and Jake Bryan.

“This Grand Final victory means so much to the boys who have put in hours of hard toil to reclaim the trophy,” revealed Schifilliti.

“It was a magnificent team effort and a title triumph so thoroughly deserved,” he added.

The proud mentor also praised his coaching staff in Assistant Chad Buckby and trainers Shane Mau, Will Gilbert and Patrick Daly.

“Everyone contributed to this incredible Cup win” concluded Schifilliti.

St Patrick’s will now focus on winning the 2023 Queensland State Championship and square off with Emmaus College Rockhampton in a challenge that doubles as a National Schoolboys Cup State semi-final in Mackay this week.

Winner of this clash advances to the State Championship Final to play the winner of the Allan Langer Trophy showdown between Palm Beach-Currumbin State High and Ipswich State High for the Phil Hall Cup.

Cowboys Challenge

St Patrick’s College have regained the Cowboys Challenge Shield after toppling rivals Ignatius Park Townsville 24-10 in the 2023 trophy decider staged at the Mackay Junior League Fields.

Talented hooker and skipper Cooper Deguara was named the official Player of the Grand Final for his tireless two try effort in a mighty performance from the undefeated champions.

For coach Tom Gaviglio it was a deserved premiership in his first year at the helm - with the Shield triumph erasing the memories of last season’s heart breaking after-the-bell loss to Kirwan State High.

Emerging forwards Mark Morrow, Ryan John, Caleb O’Brien and Declan Grady turned in superb performances along with fullback Hamish Donohue, half back Adam McSherry, five eighth Cooper Cavell, centre Norm Campbell and winger Trae Cora.

Key moment in the match was John’s classic try-saving tackle on a flying Ignatius Park fullback Lincoln Baker with the Mackay boys leading 18-10.

St Patrick’s lost Queensland Under 15 Schoolboys prop Sam Anderson early in the match with a damaged knee but led 14-0 at the break following tries by Deguara, a rampaging Morrow and prop Kereama Gartner.

Utility Billy Cruden scored after the break to extend St Patrick’s lead before Ignatius Park hit back with two quick tries.

Deguara sealed victory with a smart try to cap a best-on-ground display.

St Patrick’s will now meet Dolphins Cup champions Emmaus College Rockhampton in a Queensland Regional Grand Final challenge.

By Chris Karas

St Patrick's College players and officials celebrate their Aaron Payne Cup rugby league championship triumph at Queensland Country Bank Stadium

St Patrick's and Queensland Schoolboys half back Jaxon Purdue received the official Player of the Grand Final and the competition's Most Valuable Player awards for his superb performances in 2023. Photo credit: Michelle Bettini

Mackay Cutters Head Coach Michael Comerford with St Patrick’s hooker and Player of the Grand Final Cooper Deguara (left) and boom forward Mark Morrow

Jubilant St Patrick’s College players and officials celebrate their Cowboys Challenge premiership win over Ignatius Park College

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