Toowoomba’s proud Confraternity Carnival history will continue this year when the city that delivered the likes of Johnathan Thurston is again well represented at Runcorn.
St Mary’s College, Toowoomba – Thurston’s former school – will compete in the boys’ Division 1 while St Joseph’s College will field teams in Division 2 and the girls’ competition.
St Joseph’s first competed at “Confro” in 1995, building a proud legacy that extended with its involvement in the girls’ draw.
St Joseph’s will feature experienced players alongside Carnival rookies as they look to build on last year’s momentum.
The boys finished last year’s Carnival in Mackay with a 28-4 victory over Faith Lutheran College while the girls managed to keep St Ursula’s College scoreless in their final match.
Both teams will play their first games during the morning session where experienced Confro players such as Jess Grutt and Libby Ganly, (girls’) and Andrew Uprichard-Green and Nicholas Fuller (boys’) will assist their teammates.
St Joseph’s College rugby league coordinator and girls’ head coach Thomas Moore said: “We have numerous students who will attend three carnivals over their time.
“The Covid-interrupted competitions really impacted the understanding for our students of what Confro is about and being able to play six games in five days.
“Having a full Carnival last year and a number of students backing up this year in both teams has been great in building that understanding in the squad.”
Joining the St Joseph’s teams travelling to Brisbane this year are three players from Our Lady of the Southern Cross College, Dalby. It marks the continuation of a partnership formed in 2022.
Col Speed is the head coach of the boys’ team. He is a member of staff at St Joseph’s and head coach of the Warwick Cowboys in the Toowoomba Rugby League and the Toowoomba Clydesdales’ 47th Battalion Team.
Both teams have been active in the lead up to Confro.
The boys’ have played in the weekly Toowoomba competition and the Mercy Shield, a three-day competition for rural schools within the Toowoomba Diocese.
The team produced mixed results due to the impacts of injury but have started to gel toward the end of the term.
The girls’ have played in the local Darling Downs Nines Gala Days where they have been highly successful. The team has also managed to remain undefeated through 13-a-side trial games in preparation for the Carnival.
“Confro is key to the development of our girls rugby league program,” Mr Moore said.
“Attending the Carnival is a goal for a number of our juniors. We have really strong numbers in our Year 9 and 10 cohorts.
“There is minimal 13-a-side rugby league in town, even at a club level, so to have this Carnival gives us clear goals and something to work towards. Word is starting to get around town that we have a burgeoning girls rugby league program which is fantastic.”
The Confraternity Carnival is a significant event in the calendar of those in the St Joseph’s community. Friday night trial games during the season have attracted over 200 spectators.
Travelling with the group to Brisbane is Paul Canning who will mark his 40th Confraternity Carnival. He will be joined by Brian Cantwell who will attend his 20th and Mitchell Kilgour who is a past player for St Edmund’s College, Ipswich now staff member of St Joseph’s.
– Read the previous story: #Confro2023 preview: Ignatius Park College