MacKillop dominate to win the College’s first Eels Cup
After many attempts, the MacKillop Saints finally tasted victory at TRL Stadium, defeating SEDA College to win their first Eels Cup.
The Saints first team, capably led by captains Noah Pinheiro and Player of the Tournament, Liam ‘Justin’ Kennedy, opened their day facing the highly fancied Taminmin 1sts. Despite a close final score line, the Saints rarely looked challenged against their long-term local rivals, as three unanswered tries saw the Saints lead 12-0 early. A spirited Taminmin comeback bridged the gap somewhat but it wasn’t enough to stop the Saints, wearing the ochre strip, with the final score reading 16-12.
The Saints’ second game of the tournament was against SEDA College, who would later be met in the competition final. SEDA presented a significant defensive challenge to the young Saints team with damaging ball runners on both flanks of the field. MacKillop opened the scoring with two early tries and then sealed the victory with a later try to win 18-6. This win meant that MacKillop finished the round games undefeated, atop of the Pool 1 table.
Taminmin 2 were the next challenge for MacKillop 1 in an elimination preliminary final. Coach Matthew Sharp turned to his bench for this match and gave extra minutes to impact players like Josh Hanslow and Shane Bracken who stamped their claims for a starting position in the grand final. MacKillop won this match in a 28-0 boilover of the opposition setting the team up for a Pool 1 rematch against SEDA for the title after they defeated Palmerston College in the other preliminary match up.
The grand final rematch began in the right tempo for the Saints with a lot of territory gained in the opening sets thanks to strong runs from the likes of Konnar Black, Liam Kennedy and Dylan Mugadza. Noah Pinheiro set the tone in defence and limited opportunities for SEDA to make meaningful gains into attacking territory. This allowed playmakers Beau Ryan, Izaiah Waters and arguably player of the pool rounds, Brandon Norris to capitalise on the earnt advantage and turn it into points on the scoreboard. When the fulltime horn sounded, MacKillop were declared victorious with a 24-4 win.
MacKillop’s second boys team dressed in the Indigenous strip for their tournament. Although they weren’t able to register a win on this occasion, each player conducted themselves with spirit, courage and determination. Standout players included Nkosolathi Sibanda who stepped just about all of Taminmin 2 to score his maiden try in spectacular fashion, and Talan Krout who was a rock in the centre of the field.
The girls team experienced some success beating Taminmin 2 in the pool rounds. As usual, Ana Malupo established herself as a dominant player early and was supported by the likes of Sophie Berry and Piper Heath who were also mentioned in positive tones. Congratulations to club debutants Hannah Burgoyne, Marley Morgan, Erica Mow, Paige McCourt, Aaliyah Nichols and Piper Heath for becoming involved with the program. The girls team is a young one, and expected to improve to a point of contending for the title next season.
Now that the Eels Cup has finished for 2020, we close the book on another successful chapter of Saints Rugby League. Thanks to all involved in this disrupted season. Highlights to look forward to for next year include an Open Boys tour to Townsville to compete in a Reconciliation Cup Gala Day, a visiting girls tour from Wilsonton State High School, Toowoomba, and the defence of the u16s Eels Cup for 2021.
April O’Neil – Reporting Correspondent