One of the most open Confraternity Carnivals in memory has brought together three unbeaten semi-finalists and a Marymount College team that rode an extraordinary path into the final four of the famous schools meet in Brisbane today.
Marymount College, coached by NRL premiership winner Matt Geyer and featuring famous rugby league names, kept their cool in two dramatic finishes today at St Laurence’s playing fields at Runcorn.
Geyer went to bed last night thinking his players could be denied a shot at the historic Shield because their path to the semi-finals was so tough – the Burleigh Waters school needed to win today’s final pool match while hoping two-time defending champions Ignatius Park College lost their first “Confro” game since 2018.
It all unfolded within three tense minutes as Ignatius Park College lost to surging Emmaus College, Rockhampton while Marymount College scored after the siren on the neighbouring field to secure a superior points differential to qualify for the quarter-finals. Until that try, Marymount and Ignatius Park had been locked on the same points differential.
Marymount College then came from behind to defeat The Cathedral College, Rockhampton 10-6 to reach Thursday’s semi-finals along with three unbeaten teams: Emmaus College, Rockhampton; St Brendan’s College, Yeppoon; and St Patrick’s College, Mackay.
The Confraternity Carnival, sponsored by CQ University and staged by Queensland Independent Secondary Schools Rugby League, brings together 52 boys’ teams and 12 girls’ teams from Catholic and Independent schools across Queensland. The first carnival was played in 1980 with a host of Queensland’s greatest players emerging from the event.
This day is nicknamed “heartbreak Tuesday” because four draining matches in two days, including a quarter-final, can knock teams out of the Confraternity Shield race before tomorrow’s rest day.
The heartbreak came today for Ignatius Park College. The runner-up in last year’s Queensland open schools titles and the most consistent Confro team over more than a decade was a stunning casualty.
Meanwhile, Marymount College rejoiced as they reached the last four of the Confraternity Shield after storming home late in the semi-darkness at Bundaberg in 2019.
“I went to bed last night really hoping the players could make it through today because we know they’re a quality team but the path today wasn’t easy,” Geyer said.
“This is my ninth carnival and I can’t remember one that’s been so open so it’s a great opportunity for all teams in the semi-finals.
“We know we’ll have to play well on Thursday but we have a really good bunch of kids who play the game in the right spirit which is what this carnival is all about. It’s exciting to be getting ready for a semi-final.”
Some of the Marymount players’ surnames are familiar to league fans: centre Phillip Coates’ is the brother of Queensland winger Xavier; Oscar Laffranchi is the son of former Blues Origin forward Anthony; and powerful backrower Cooper Bai is the son of former PNG star Marcus.
But it took the speed of halfback Jimi Pedlow to claim the winning try for Marymount as a brave TCC scrambled to defend a counter-attack that broke their 6-4 at halftime.
Marymount will meet St Brendan’s College, Yeppoon in the semi-finals. The Confro heavyweight has won its four matches across the first two days and showcased its power with a 46-0 win over St Augustine’s College, Cairns in the quarter-final.
Thursday’s second semi-final brings together Emmaus College, Rockhampton and St Patrick’s College, Mackay.
Emmaus College has maintained its impressive lead-up form with an unbeaten run into the semi-finals. Their 16-0 win over Ignatius Park College in the final pool match sounded a warning backed up by a 20-0 semi-final win over Shalom College, Bundaberg.
St Patrick’s College overcame an impressive Iona College, Lindum in their quarter-final 18-6. Last year’s runners-up made the most of their opportunities to remain unbeaten for the week.
A total of 16 teams each contest the boys’ Divisions 1 and 2 while 20 teams are playing in Division 3.
The second-tier Bob Linder Trophy will be decided between: Marist College, Ashgrove; St Peter Claver College, Riverview; Ignatius Park College; and St Mary’s College, Toowoomba. They each won their quarter-finals this afternoon.
Ignatius Park faced one of the most stunning losses in Confro history only to hold on to defeat Division 1 debutants St Edmund’s College, Ipswich 18-16 in their Trophy quarter-final. St Edmund’s dominated the last 10 minutes of the match in one of the most stirring performances in recent carnival history.
The quarter-finals were held across Division 2 today and 2022 champions Our Lady of the Southern Cross College, Dalby are in the running again. They reached the semi-finals alongside Columba Catholic College, Charters Towers; St Columban’s College, Caboolture and host school St Laurence’s College, South Brisbane.
The quarter-finals for Division 3 will be contested on Thursday with finals for all Divisions on Friday.
Boys’ Day 2 results
Emmaus College, Rockhampton 16 d Ignatius Park College, Townsville 0
Marymount College, Burleigh Waters 18 d Padua College, Kedron 10
St Augustine’s College, Cairns 14 d Marist College, Ashgrove 12
St Patrick’s College, Mackay 10 d Rockhampton Grammar School 0
Iona College, Lindum 24 d St Peter Claver College, Riverview 6
St Brendan’s College, Yeppoon 34 d St Patrick’s College, Shorncliffe 0
The Cathedral College, Rockhampton 40 d St Edmund’s College, Ipswich 6
Shalom College, Bundaberg 20 d St Mary’s College, Toowoomba 12
St Patrick’s College, Mackay 18 d Iona College, Lindum 6
St Brendan’s College, Yeppoon 46 d St Augustine’s College, Cairns 0
Emmaus College, Rockhampton 28 d Shalom College, Bundaberg 0 Marymount College, Burleigh Waters 10 d The Cathedral College, Rockhampton 6
Bob Lindner Trophy quarter-finals
Marist College, Ashgrove 18 d St Patrick’s College, Shorncliffe 0
St Peter Claver College, Riverview 12 d Rockhampton Grammar School 8
Ignatius Park College, Townsville 18 d St Edmund’s College, Ipswich 16
St Mary’s College, Toowoomba 18 d Padua College, Kedron 16
Our Lady of the Southern Cross College, Dalby 16 d St Teresa’s College, Abergowrie 14
St Columban’s College, Caboolture 28 d Holy Spirit College, Mackay 10
Aquinas College, Ashmore 2 d St Joseph’s College, Toowoomba 0 Marist College, Emerald 8 d All Souls St Gabriel’s College, Charters Towers 4
Villanova College, Coorparoo 20 d St Thomas More College, Sunnybank 12
St Laurence’s College, South Brisbane 12 d Columba Catholic College, Charters Towers 10
Assumption College, Warwick 28 d Clairvaux MacKillop College, Mt Gravatt 16
St Michael’s College, Merrimac 16 drew with Blackheath and Thornburgh College, Charters Towers 16
Neil Bloxsidge Plate quarter-finals
Columba Catholic College, Charters Towers 14 d Aquinas College, Ashmore 12
St Laurence’s College, South Brisbane 46 d Marist College, Emerald 0
St Columban’s College, Caboolture 20 d Blackheath and Thornburgh College, Charters Towers 6
Our Lady of the Southern Cross College, Dalby 20 d Assumption College, Warwick 0
St Teresa’s College, Abergowrie 36 d St Michael’s College, Merrimac 10
Holy Spirit College, Mackay 10 d Clairvaux MacKillop College, Mt Gravatt 8
St Thomas More College, Sunnybank 26 d All Souls St Gabriel’s College, Charters Towers 4
Villanova College, Coorparoo 26 d d St Joseph’s College, Toowoomba 6
Xavier Catholic College, Hervey Bay 38 d Emmaus College, Jimboomba 0
Unity College, Caloundra West 16 d Gilroy Santa Maria College, Ingham 10
Trinity College, Beenleigh 8 d Mt Maria College, Mitchelton 4
St Patrick’s College, Gympie/Good Samaritan College, Bli Bli 24 d St Augustine’s College, Augustine Heights 12
Mt Maria College, Mitchelton 12 drew with St Augustine’s College, Augustine Heights 12
St Patrick’s College, Gympie/Good Samaritan College, Bli Bli 24 d Trinity College, Beenleigh 10
Southern Cross Catholic College, Townsville 14 d Faith Lutheran College, Plainland 6
St John’s School, Roma 8 d St James’ College, Spring Hill 4
Chisholm Catholic College, Cornubia 8 d St Mary’s College, Woree 6
Chanel College, Gladstone 28 d St John’s College, Nambour 6
Good Shepherd College, Mount Isa 26 d Ryan Catholic College, Townsville 0 St Anthony’s College, Townsville 4 drew with McAuley College, Beaudesert 4
Ryan Catholic College, Townsville 16 d St Anthony’s College, Townsville 6
Good Shepherd College, Mount Isa 30 d McAuley College, Beaudesert 6
Quarter-finals to begin on Thursday