- April O’Neil – Reporting Correspondent
Late Double Gets the Saints Home Against a Gutsy OCC in Catholic Cup 2022
The MacKillop Saints u15s Boys Rugby League team were able to keep the Catholic Cup at MacKillop for another year following a tightly fought 30-18 win against city cousins, O’Loughlin Catholic College, at MacKillop Field this afternoon.
The Saints got out to an early lead thanks to Lachlan Coble, who beat defenders with an impressive show of strength, to score in the 4th minute of play. When joint-captain, David Stevens, scored only 4 minutes later, it appeared that MacKillop could be in for quite the day out but a determined OCC were able to rope a try back in off the back of some sloppy Saints play in the back end of the opening half.
At 10-6, the game was either side’s to take and in stages, it looked like OCC would, but staunch goal line defence from the likes of club debutants Noah Ferguson, Damien Cock and George Tekopua prevented that from happening. With the tide beginning to turn, livewire fullback, Jayden Mick, hot-stepped between defenders to put the ball down underneath the black dot. This allowed Eli Williamson to make an easy conversion and take the match to 16 – 12 where it stayed as the halftime whistle sounded.
Coming back from oranges, the game went set for set as MacKillop fought hard to maintain their slender lead and O’Loughlin, featuring former Saint, Nate Jarrett-Wright, fought hard to claw it back closer to a neutral score. Eventually, representative player, Alfred Walker, was able to cross the line for the first of his two tries for the day to extend the Saints lead. It wouldn’t last long, however, with OCC striking back to bring the game within a 2 point margin at 20-18 thanks to some pin point conversion successes.
With 10 minutes left in play and scores only separated by a mere conversion, a scuffle broke out which saw a player from each side sent from the field for the remainder of the match. Boasting a fuller bench with fresher legs, Saints were able to take advantage of more space with Ethan McKenzie breaking through the OCC line from 40m out to score a try to the right of the posts. McKenzie was a mammoth in both attack and defence today and along with back row partner, Lachlan Coble, had a major influence on he result of the game. Walker crashed over with 2 minutes left of the game to break the visitor’s hearts and confirm that the cup was coming home to MacKillop with the final score reading 30 -18.
Head coach, Mr Matthew Sharp, who had to leave in a hurry post-match, was able to offer the following comments from the comfort of his favourite table at Fannie Bay Super Pizza via video link later on in the evening –
‘I’m pleased for both the players and the College that the Catholic Cup will remain at MacKillop for another year. I do have to commend O’Loughlin and their head coach, Mr Luke Beatty, however on the manner in which they played in the match today. The result was truly in the balance with only a couple of minutes to go and our Saints were pushed all the way to the end of the game. O’Loughlin are a very improved team and our Saints will need to train hard if they wish to keep the Cup in the 2023 edition of this event’.
While complimentary of all players in the team, Sharp made special mention of Chris ‘Brown’ Bell and Kole Heikkinen, in addition to our other debutants today. All our debutants impressed and look to have bright futures in the Navy and Ochre.
April O’Neil – Reporting Correspondent