Thursday, August 24, 2023
Mackay and Whitsunday Life
Prominent Mackay rugby league coach Pat Daly knows all about the importance of preparation for major sporting competitions or annual tournaments.
The respected mentor showed his value in the lead up to this year’s Confraternity Games Rugby League Championship in Brisbane by recently guiding St Patrick’s College Reds to a Mackay School Sports Division 2 Opens title.
A knowledgeable Daly – who is highly regarded at the Walkerston Wanderers JRLFC - demonstrated his coaching prowess by steering the emerging colts to a spirited 10-6 Grand Final victory over Sarina High School in the 2023 trophy decider at the Mackay & District Junior League Fields.
The premiership triumph underlined the College’s depth of talent in the senior ranks with several of his charges pushing for spots in a star-studded top tier Open side, coached by former Italy World Cup international centre Ian Schifilliti, that is chasing honours in the Cutters Cup, Confraternity Shield and Aaron Payne Cup competitions.
As a schoolboy, Daly himself tasted success in various rugby league carnivals that included winning the 2000 Confraternity Shield trophy in Bundaberg with a St Patrick’s unit that featured the likes of future NRL stars Grant Rovelli and Brett Seymour.
The St Patrick’s Class of 2000 was captained by half back Rovelli – who was named Player of the Carnival after they defeated St Mary’s Toowoomba 26-16 in the Shield decider.
There was no shortage of class in the St Mary’s team with a skinny and naturally gifted playmaker in Jonathon Thurston - an all-time great in waiting – lining up at five eighth.
Just like his recent triumph with the Reds, the astute Daly and former teammates put in the hard yards in preparation for Confro and reaped the dividends.
Sarina High jumped to an early 6-0 lead in the Grand Final before wily hooker Hudson Clark weaved through defenders to score on the cusp of half time.
Power running forward Javin Ramsamy nabbed the match-winning try for St Patrick’s after the interval when he burst through tackles from 40 metres out with Clark converting.
In a mighty team effort, the Reds were best served by fullback Lane Maunder, elusive backs Tura Larry, Fletcher Russell, Bailey Caruana, skilful halves Brad Manera and Jack Aslette and industrious forwards Ramsamy, Clark, Reece Morris, Saxon Crofts, Pat Shanks, Leo Gupwell and Campbell Grisan-Hodges.
Daly also praised the efforts of his nephew Darcy Daly, who missed the title decider with a hand injury after turning in strong performances during the campaign.
The Reds dominated the series and lost only one match when forced to forfeit a fixture against St Patrick’s Navy Blue side due to a spate of injuries and Mackay Cutters representative commitments.
There were double celebrations on Grand Final Day when St Patrick’s Navy toppled Mackay State High 24-12 to capture the Division 2 Year 7-8s premiership.
Promising fullback Nathan Simon, centre Sonny Doring, five eighth Matt Fenech, prop Nate Faulkner, back rowers Tayte Rowe and Angus Barns and lock Flynn Taylor produced strong games for St Patrick’s in a rousing team effort.
Contributed by Chris Karas
Jubilant St Patrick’s College Red players celebrate their Mackay Schools Rugby League Division 2 Opens premiership after toppling Sarina High in the Grand Final at the Mackay Junior League Fields