The Cathedral College (TCC) will send a twin assault to its 30th anniversary Confraternity Carnival in a bid to add another treasured Shield to Rockhampton.
TCC will be represented in the boys’ and girls’ competition in Brisbane, chasing a Confraternity Shield that has been claimed by a Rockhampton school only once in the competition’s 42-year history.
Rockhampton Grammar School won the Shield in 2017 while TCC boys have always played well since their 1993 debut, including a grand final appearance in 2019..
TCC will be among the main contenders in the girls’ competition, buoyed by intense interest from students in rugby league. A surplus of players meant some girls missed out on selection for the 19-player squad which competed in Rockhampton District Secondary Schools Rugby League competition.
TCC rugby league coordinator Mick Busby said the growth of girls’ rugby league had created real opportunities girls in the region.
“It’s astounding. The interest has been really strong and the teams are going well. All three of our junior girls’ teams played in their respective grand finals,” Mr Busby said.
“The numbers of interested girls we’ve got means many sadly missed out on playing the grand final because we can only pick 19.
“What really helps is having the girls’ game at the state league level and the NRLW level.
“There’s now realistic goals and pathways for girls who want to progress through this sport and Confraternity is now a big part of that pathway. The girls have some role models from here, particularly (Rockhampton-born, Queensland player) Tamika Upton who the girls to look up to.”
Mr Busby said the girls would enter Confro without a loss on the record this year.
Meanwhile, the boys’ have a 1-1 win-loss record in the Dolphins Cup, including a victory against Rockhampton Grammar School.
The team hasn’t played a game since earlier in the month leaving plenty of time for recovery ahead of their Confro campaign.
For most of the squad, it will be their first Confro tour but Mr Busby said he was excited for the team to compete following plenty of genuine competition in the lead up to the Carnival.
“Obviously you know it’s going to be a tough brand of football, it always is,” he said.
“And we know we’re coming against some quality sides like St Patrick’s, Mackay and Ignatius Park, Marymount, and Emmaus and St Brendan’s.
“We’re sort of lucky we do play against these good sides a bit so we know what we’re coming up against.”
The boys’ and girls’ teams have placed a strong focus on recovery throughout the season to ensure they can withstand the physical demands of the week of football.
“It’s a different beast Confraternity, it’s a battle of attrition and how you can keep your players fit, healthy and upbeat heading into those final two days,” Mr Busby said.
“They’re shorter games and sometimes players think they’ll be ok. But because there’s unlimited interchanges, the games are ferocious, very contact-heavy.
“It’s a lot of ice, a lot of compression, a lot of things like that which go on off the field.
“Often you’ll find that the teams who make the finals have managed their teams condition really well and had a sprinkle of luck and we’re doing everything for both teams to be there at the end.”
Coaching the boys’ again this year is former Melbourne Storm Premiership player Tony Martin while Scott Peters also returns for the girls’ team.
Martin is likely to face-off against old Melbourne teammate Matt Geyer who will again coach Marymount College, Burleigh Waters. TCC was victorious when the teams clashed last year, winning 14-10.
– Read the previous story: #Confro2023 preview: St Joseph’s College, Toowoomba