After winning our way through the NSWCCC Cup Sydney Gala Day at Smith Park, East Hills on Friday 11 May, the team moved into the Round of 16. The draw was finalised at the NSWCCC Selection Trials and we drew Loyola Senior High School, Mt Druitt.
The team headed out for their warm-up to see a very big Loyola team already on the field. This set the tone for their preparation as the boys got ready for a bruising encounter, knowing full well they needed to be prepared to play tough. A very nervous energy surrounded our preparation.
The plan from the outset was to move the bigger opposition around and take some out of their legs early. Our first set from the kick-off certainly relieved some of the nerves as the team went about moving the ball to our edges and the boys completed a very good set to finish tackling the opposition just off their try line. A couple of sets end to end followed as both teams got into the grind of the game. Some slick ball movement from the left edge saw Nick Armstrong dive short and momentum taking him over the line to score.
A few mistakes in the sets from the kick-off saw Loyola score near the posts to lead 6-4. The team certainly realised that the big Loyola forwards would be right in the game if we gifted them possession in good field position. This seemed to trigger a reaction from the boys as some stiff defence in the ensuing set saw us rewarded with possession in good field position and from there the tries seemed to flow. Playing to our strengths, quick ball movement and speed of play lead to some fantastic tries. Leading 32-4 at half-time.
Early in the second half a few handling mistakes crept in to both sides and the half was slow to start. On the back of some quick short side play, Boston Passeri finished off a great attacking raid to run away and score. Loyola rallied to score two late tries, with the eventual score line a win to St Edward’s 42-16.
The team now progresses to the NSWCCC Cup Gala Day at St Mary’s on Wednesday 29 August.