GRUDGE MATCH: Gympie’s greatest rugby rivalry on this week
RUGBY UNION: St Patrick’s College and James Nash State High School will lock horns once again this week in a fierce but fair battle to determine local schoolboy rugby bragging rights.
The action will kick off at Jack Stokes Oval on Wednesday afternoon, and will culminate in a tense Open Boys standoff at 7.30pm.
One of the James Nash coaches, Rod Cross, said the proud tradition was all about “ripping in and having a go” once the players cross the white line.
Cross said it was also about mateship off the field.
“Half the time these kids are mates off the field, but when you step on the field it’s battle stations,” he said.
“Leave your friendship at the door when you’re playing, but at the end of it you shake hands.
“As much as it’s very competitive, it’s about mateship too.
“We were down there the other day watching St Pat’s play, and all our boys were supporting the St Pat’s boys.
“We’ve sort of had a little bit on top of them over the years, but it’s very very close. And that’s how it should be. They lift when they play us. I’ve watched them play this year and they’re a good side.
“Out of all teams we play, it’s a pleasure to go up against them.”
Cross said his school’s recent form had been impressive.
“We played St John’s last week, their A-side is basically equivalent to a club side and our boys beat them 12-10.”
“That was a great win, and we’ve got kids who get to grade 12 and just put their hand up and say they’ll have a go.”
More to come.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
JAMES NASH STATE HIGH
Joshua Dean (halfback) and Denim Osrecki (fullback).
While James Nash State High, one of two Gympie teams in the Garth Hunt Shield, has endured a tough season there’s still been plenty of highlights among the squad.
Rugby co-ordinator Rod Jenkins said Joshua Dean and Denim Osrecki were two who had battled away impressively.
“(Dean) is pretty good defensively and just at organising the play – It’s what you’re after from a halfback,” Jenkins said.
“He’s got a little bit of zip off the mark and might go for a little nip and break the line so that’s not a bad skill.”
Jenkins said Osrecki was proving a sharp talent in offence.
“He’s a fairly good attacking player, particularly in broken play,” he said.
“He kicks some through and he usually returns the ball and gets you back over the gain line.
“He is pretty good defensively too and talks to the backs to make sure they know what to do.”
ST PATRICK’S COLLEGE GYMPIE
Sean Hayes (forward) and Seph (Joseph) Morris (No. 8)
St Pats has endured a rough season in the U18 competition, bottom of the ladder.
However, their students have been putting in the hard yards, with rugby co-ordinator Patrick Anstock revealing Sean Hayes and Seph Morris as to standouts.
“He’s (Hayes) one of the better forwards for us,” he said.
“His defence and turnover of ball is (great) and he carries strongly.
“(Morris’) work around the ruck is good and he has strong ball carrying and pick and go.
“They’ve been our standouts.”