The conditions for rugby league couldn’t have been better, and after a solid warm-up, the team started the game strongly. Sam Tracey, Toa Paea, and Billy Sands made impressive gains down the middle, propelling St Edward’s to a dominant position. This led to our first points scored by Kye McIntosh, thanks to the excellent teamwork of Kobi Flanders and Will McClelland, who orchestrated a fantastic backline play.
However, Central Coast Sports College was determined not to give up, pressuring the Eddie’s side with robust defence and powerful carries through the centre of the field. Costly errors in our half and too many dropped balls gifted the opposition valuable field position. While defending multiple sets on our line, Central Coast Sports College eventually crashed over and scored, taking advantage of the field position they had been given. They successfully converted the try, making the score 6-4.
The game continued to go back and forth for the rest of the first half, with neither side gaining the upper hand. However, the opposition slowly started to win the battle for field position as errors began to creep into our game. The halftime whistle blew, and after an inspiring speech by their team captain, our team was ready to give their all in the second half.
The second half began much like the first one ended, with both teams competing fiercely. However, Central Coast Sports College gradually gained the upper hand. The well-drilled opposition put our defence to the test and seemed likely to break through on multiple occasions. However, Jayden intercepted a pass, resulting in a try for Eddies, which went against the momentum of the game, bringing the score to 10-4.
Unfortunately, Central Coast Sports College did not let their heads drop, showcasing the impact of their weeks-long training programs and focus on the fundamentals of the game. They played with discipline and incredible structure for a school team, turning the momentum and capitalising on our persistent errors. In the final 10 minutes, they scored two tries, securing a victory over Eddies with a final score of 16-10. The difference on the day was discipline and the structure of the opposition, as our numerous errors and dropped balls allowed them to gain easy metres and field position. It was evident from watching Central Coast Sports College that their extensive training and focus on rugby league fundamentals gave them a significant advantage in a school-based competition.
Our team played with the great Eddies spirit and demonstrated immense pride in the jersey. The coaching staff is extremely proud of the effort and determination shown throughout the games. While there were many outstanding performances on the day, Will McClelland stood out, skilfully leading the team around the park and defending as if he weighed 20kgs more than he does. A massive congratulations to Will, who was also awarded the Player of the Game for St Edward’s by the NRL staff present. The team and I would like to express our gratitude to manager Mr Herringe for providing water and keeping the team well-supplied with essential lollies before each game.