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  • Writer's picturePhil Connors - On-Site Reporter

Legacy on the Line as Saints Prepare for 2024 Eels Cup

The MacKillop Saints U18s Boys Rugby League team is gearing up for the 2024 Eels Cup with the weight of expectation on their shoulders. As defending champions, they stand at the precipice of greatness, ready to etch another chapter in their storied saga.

Last year, the Saints secured their place in NT Schools Rugby League history by clinching the Eels Cup trophy for the third time. However, the upcoming season brings about change as departures have reshaped the team's roster, paving the way for fresh faces to make their mark.

Notably, the departure of 2023 Eels Medalist TJ Van Der Walt and the explosive Zion Lafaele-Selio has opened up opportunities for emerging talents within the Saints system. Among those returning to the fold, both Koen Hughes and Cohen Patch will be on a mission for redemption after the heart-wrenching 2022 Grand Final loss to Taminmin College.

The Saints' program boasts depth and resilience, aiming to field two formidable sides in this year's competition. Coach Matthew Sharp's meticulous planning and unwavering commitment set the tone for the team's preparation to defend their 2023 title.

Coach Sharp holds the Eels Cup in high regard, describing it as more than a tournament but the heartbeat and crescendo of their season. The move to a new age group adds an element of intrigue, with the Saints thriving on the challenges that lie ahead.

Key players like Harry Heath, the elusive playmaker, Ethan McKenzie, the workhorse in the engine room, Deacon Summerville, the fearless 5/8th, and Jack Elliott, the rangy back rower, are expected to play pivotal roles in the team's success.

Mark your calendars for Wednesday, March 27th, as the qualifying rounds kick off at TRL Stadium. The Boys will battle for a spot in the decider first, leaving sweat and dreams on the hallowed turf. The following day, the Girls will take center stage.

Should the Saints prevail in the qualifier rounds, a curtain raiser awaits—a tantalizing playoff before the Eels vs. Dolphins NRL match at TIO Stadium on the 19th of April. The prospect of the roar of the crowd and the floodlights illuminating their path fuels the team's determination to march, heads held high, chasing glory.

Saints President Oren Tyler emphasizes that the boys wear the emblem not just on their jerseys but etched into their hearts, making them the keepers of the legacy.

Note: All match dates, times, and locations are subject to change. Stay tuned for updates.

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