The team were adjusting to the pace of the synthetic pitch and playing together for the first time. The result finished 0-0.
The second game of the pool was against St Bridgit’s Catholic College and the team changed shape with three at the back to be more aggressive going forward and were instantly rewarded. The game finished 7-0 with a range of goal scorers, including, James Stiffle, Jude Rankin, Jesi Wanjohi, two for Kit Gillings and Taj Werner. The opposition was not strong, but our boys did not drop the pace or level of skill.
The third game was the showpiece of the day and it was disappointing that it was not the final. It was against MacKillop Catholic College and the players were familiar with each and knew of the threats each posed. After a slow start to the tournament, Will Rankin came alive with a clinical finish in front of goal to put St Edward’s one ahead. MacKillop rallied and put immense pressure on our backline with Owen Bradstreet doing very well to marshal one of the strongest players of the day. The pressure continued until a controversial penalty was awarded to MacKillop, which was converted. In the second half, both teams pressed with greater intensity and the game became more physical and emotionally charged. The turning point came from a flowing move started by Jude Rankin that released Josef Louis to bury the ball in the back of the net. Our young keeper, Finn Pamlqvist was outstanding and helped keep us in the game. The quality of this match attracted a crowd and when the final whistle sounded, it did feel like the victory of a final.
Because of this crucial win, St Edward’s won the pool and had eight players selected to play in the possible and probable’s round. Those players will wait to hear if they were successful in making the Broken Bay team to play in a further tournament.
The semi-final saw St Edward’s (rather tired by now) take on Mater Maria Catholic College. From the whistle it was a one-sided affair. We dominated possession and created multiple chances that should have been converted. Our defensive backline where hardly troubled as a tenacious opposition flooded the box, defended deep and threw bodies behind and in front of the ball. The game finished 0-0, much to the players disbelief and we went to penalties.
The penalties were dispatched well by both players until the Mater Maria keeper made a strong save that won the match.
All the boys in the squad conducted themselves with professionalism and showed great sportsmanship. It was a pleasure coaching them and a huge thank you to Richard Ellis who provided coaching support throughout the day.