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  • David Graham


MacKillop Saints secure top spot in pool with historic victory over Katherine High School.

MacKillop Saints have completed a remarkable pool round campaign with Wednesday’s 30 to 20 victory over long time rivals, Katherine High School. The win puts MacKillop firmly in the top position headed into the finals, and with the best possible opportunity for a Grand final berth at TIO Stadium. MacKillop took the field with a largely unchanged squad, confident of a positive result. Newly appointed Captain Campbell Smith set the tone early, barnstorming his way under the posts to put the home side ahead. Sharpshooter Nathan Dixon easily found his way between the uprights putting MacKillop ahead by 6 at the first exchange.

Philip Vo was next to strike, beating the Katherine outside backs to bring MacKillop’s tally to 10.

It was from there that the game found its rhythm. The forwards settled in for a tough slog as the ball went back and forth with some competent tackling from both teams.

A perfectly placed kick downfield saw dynamic forward Jayden Hunter regather and put the home side 10m out from the line on the last tackle. Quick thinking by centre Dan Hausler saw Hooker Nathan Dixon receive the ball, opting for footwork over a kick, Dixon stepped the scrambling Katherine defence to find the line just to the left of the woodwork. Converting his own work, Dixon moved the Saints to 16 unanswered points.

However, the game was far from finished, with Katherine posting a late 2nd half try to put 6 points on the board for the visitors.

When Dan Hausler crossed twice early in the 2nd Half, it seemed the Saints had finally had bucked their recent half time form slump. This was not to be, and the momentum shifted Katherine’s way. The next 10 minutes would see Katherine cross the line three times, bringing KHS within 6 points (26 – 20). However, a desperation penalty for lifting close to the Katherine line ended their comeback, with talented speedster Stepheno George closing out the game with a scoot from Dummy-Half.

Rugby League Director, David Graham said of the match, "We’re making great progress…today was a huge milestone. Katherine High have been the standard for years, so it is nice to get the win. This win is a testament to the hard work of not only this team but the hard work of all staff and students since 2012”.

Coach Matthew Sharp, commented on the game, “We had a great game across the park with some standout individual efforts. Katherine are a great team and they’ll return bigger and better next game, but things are going well right now and for the moment, we’ll enjoy the win”. MacKillop will now likely face off against Katherine in the semi-finals to secure their first grand final finish.

PARRAMATTA EELS CUP Rd 3: 16th May 2018 HALF TIME SCORE MacKillop Saints 16 – 6 Katherine High School FULL TIME SCORE MacKillop Saints 30 def. 20 Katherine High School

TRY SCORERS Campbell Smith Philip Vo Nathan Dixon Dan Hausler (2) Stepheno George CONVERSIONS Nathan Dixon 2/2 Philip Vo 1/3 Stepheno George 0/1

Man of the Match Campbell Smith

Most Valuable Players 4pts. Campbell Smith 3pts. Phil Vo 2pts. Dan Hausler 1pt. Kaylem Greenwood

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