The school that delivered Michael Morgan and Valentine Holmes into rugby league’s elite level hopes a new batch of stars can help them reign at the Confraternity Carnival tomorrow against a rival chasing its first touch of schoolboy footy’s most cherished prize.
Townsville’s Ignatius Park College will meet Rockhampton’s Cathedral College in a showdown for the 40th Confraternity Shield after both teams claimed their semi-finals in Bundaberg today.
Ignatius Park stormed through their clash with a brave Padua College, winning 40-4.
They will shoot for their sixth Confraternity Shield, adding to the treble claimed from 2011 to 2013 when Holmes, Coen Hess and Patrick Kaufusi were among their best.
Ignatius Park coach Steve Lansley has kept his team low-key throughout the week and he ensured his players retained their composure as they withstood a howling headwind to lead comfortably at halftime.
Padua College has much to smile about after claiming a top-four berth. They rushed from their school rugby union season into this Carnival – Monday’s first pool match was their maiden league game for this season. But their epic quarter-final comeback against St Brendan’s College – Confraternity’s most successful school – should rank among the finest league moments in Padua’s long history.
The Cathedral College has never won the Shield – they lost in the final five years ago. Their list of former players includes former Broncos coach Anthony Griffin and Broncos CEO Paul White.
Cathedral surged into tomorrow’s decider with a 22-6 win over the emerging Marymount College, Burleigh Waters.
The game turned in the final seconds of the first half when Marymount ignited a length-of-the-field raid sparked by damaging lock Riley Boaza, leading to a try to Zayne Cox that pushed Cathedral College into the lead.
Cathedral College and Ignatius Park met in the Aaron Payne Cup four weeks ago in a match won by the Townsville team but coach Lansley said that result would have no bearing tomorrow.
“You can forget recent form when you come to the Confraternity Carnival because it is such a different atmosphere – these boys play six games across the four playing days so it tests them at every level,” Lansley said.
“We’ve got enormous respect for Cathedral because they’ve shown this week that they’re reallyclicking at Confro. It’s about momentum and they have that. But we know we can still improve.
We’ve only conceded two tries this week but I think our attack is still nowhere near where we’d like it.”
St Patrick’s College, Shorncliffe, has gained quick momentum to move into the final of the second-tier Bob Lindner Trophy against Confraternity powerhouse St Patrick’s College, Mackay.
The Shorncliffe team lost their three pool matches but, under the Carnival system, were able to move into tomorrow’s decider with two fine wins – today’s 18-14 victory over St Augustine’s College, Cairns was full of merit.
The third-tier Confraternity Plate will head back to Brisbane after St Thomas More College, Sunnybank and Clairvaux MacKillop College, Upper Mount Gravatt, won their semi-finals today.
The hosts were rewarded when Shalom College qualified for the Confraternity Bowl final after a hard-fought win today over Beenleigh’s Trinity College. The home team will meet St Columban’s College, Caboolture, tomorrow.
QISSRL president Peter Elmore said the semi-finals were well contested.
“We continue to be proud of the way these young men represent their schools. This Carnival is all about sportsmanship, respect and fellowship and we saw plenty of that today,” Mr Elmore said. “Tomorrow’s finals will be exciting and we wish all teams the best of luck.”
Almost 1000 players are in Bundaberg for the Carnival, returning to the birthplace of a competition that began with only six teams in 1980.