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  • Writer's pictureApril O’Neil – Reporting Correspondent

MacKillop Saints & PC Clontarf Put On A Thrilling Rugby League Clash

Rugby League fans were treated to an exhilarating afternoon of Rugby League as the MacKillop Saints clashed with the Palmerston College Clontarf Middle School Boys Rugby League team. The atmosphere was electric as both teams battled it out, leaving the spectators on the edge of their seats.

The game kicked off with an unexpected twist as the Saints stumbled in their opening sets, committing uncharacteristic errors. This lapse in performance allowed the visiting Clontarf team to seize the opportunity and apply relentless pressure in the Saints' redzone. However, the Saints' defensive line stood strong, particularly under the leadership of Cooper Moore and Kole Heikkinen, who put their bodies on the line to repel Clontarf's early advances.

Before long, the visitors managed to break through the Saints' defense when a cross-field bomb by Jackson Jones was intercepted by Clontarf's agile left winger, who sprinted an impressive 80 meters untouched to put first points on the board.

MacKillop was quick to respond, with clever play around the ruck from Rohan Cram, who exploited a gap in Clontarf's defense to even the score. Energized by this breakthrough, the Saints went on a scoring spree, notching up two consecutive tries. Year 9 standout Jaxon Boulton took the spotlight, earning a hat-trick that showcased his impressive agility and speed. Not to be outdone, George Tekopua followed Boulton's lead, contributing two tries of his own.

Clontarf, facing an onslaught of attacking prowess from the Saints, showcased their resilience by mounting a mini-comeback during the middle of the second half, clawing back a hard-fought try. However, their efforts were ultimately in vain, as the Saints sealed the deal in the dying moments of the game. Ralph Lonsdale bulldozed over the line to secure a commanding 38-12 victory for the home team.

The MVP of the match was awarded to prop Khai Nguyen, whose exceptional yardage runs provided the likes of Mason De La Pair and Glen Ah Mat with ample time to exploit Clontarf's defense. Coach Mr. Matthew Sharp praised Khai's contributions, highlighting his crucial role in the team's success.

The match shone a spotlight on the promising talents of the Year 7 debutants. Limited game time didn't deter these young athletes from delivering moments of brilliance, leaving Coach Sharp excited about the future prospects of the MacKillop Rugby program.

Mr. Oren Tyler, President of the Saints, extended his gratitude to the Clontarf team for their role in organising the match. He warmly welcomed them to return for future encounters, highlighting the spirit of sportsmanship that defined the day's events.

A special commendation was reserved for referee Marcos Steinhardt, whose exceptional performance in the middle ensured fair play and a seamless flow of the game. The support of NRL NT, who coordinated the provision of a referee, was also acknowledged and appreciated by both teams.

For some of the PC Clontarf boys, the journey continues, with an upcoming chance at redemption in the annual Palmerston Cup clash against Palmerston College. As for the MacKillop Saints, their hard work and dedication today, sets the stage for an exciting conclusion to the 2023 season. Stay tuned for more updates and thrilling rugby action.

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