Thought I was done for the season, but one or two people have commented that my reports haven’t dealt evenly with every school. Which is true. So here, as evenly as I can, is my end of term report for the Associated Schools competition.
Rating: 9 snorts out of 10. Premiers with just one defeat.
Star: Tom Wilson. Mobile, aggressive hooker, who didn’t shirk his job in the tight or in the set pieces. Presentable goal kicker. Well-deserved selection for Australian Schools.
Best moment: Grinding out a 25-15 win over Trinity in the Hornsby mud – a victory over the previous premiers that opened up an unbridgeable gap over the rest of the field.
Quiet achiever: Ben Pearson. A flanker whose speed to the breakdown, solid defence and good support play was integral to Barker’s game plan.
Players to watch: Wilson, of course. Props Nick Ebney and Henry Pederson were mobile, aggressive and strong in the scrummage. Fly-half David Smerdon is only in Year 10, and grew in confidence as the year progressed. Brendan Flaherty was a handful in the centre.
Rating: 7 snorts out of 10. Clear runners-up.
Star: Jack Johnson. Fast, highly skilled flanker who runs freely and does his share of the grunt work in the rucks and mauls. Selected for Australia A, deserved better.
Best moment: Coming home with a wet sail to draw with Barker, 22-22 – proof that Waverley could match it with the best team in the competition.
Quiet achiever: Tom Morton – despite injuries, a willing lock who worked hard to keep Waverley’s tight five competitive.
Players to watch: Johnson. Will Paterson, fast and elusive at full-back. His goal kicking wasn’t always reliable, but he topped 100 points in the Associated Schools season, a very rare achievement.
Rating: 5 snorts out of 10. Hammered by injuries and underachieved.
Star: Cameron Orr started and finished the season injured, but in between the rugged prop played for Australian Schools.
Best moment: Powering past Waverley, 27-22, in the opening round.
Quiet achiever: hooker Geoff Coffill stepped up when the dynamic Vincent Morsello was injured, and put in several honest, hard-working efforts.
Players to watch: Orr. Henry Clunies-Ross, a full back with unusual pace, strength and balance. Junior Satiu, a tough, aggressive prop. Fly half Jamieson Clark, fallible, but seriously gifted.
Rating: 6 snorts out of 10. Started horribly, but salvaged respectability with some committed displays.
Star: Sam Kitchen, a talented hooker who earned Combined States representation before injury ended his season early.
Best moment: Knox 26, Barker 25. A win in the local derby that ended Barker’s unbeaten run.
Quiet achiever: Prop Tom Haggerty – a whole-hearted player whose commitment never wavered and whose work-rate impressed.
Players to watch: Kitchen and Oliver Nutbeen, an aggressive No8. Lively centre Liam Creeley.
Rating: 5 snorts out of 10. Some good days, but inconsistent.
Star: Harrison Williams. Mobile lineout forward who kicked goals and earned NSW 2nd XV selection.
Best moment: Completing the double over Knox.
Quiet achiever: Eliot Stuntz, who gave solid support to his more highly regarded second-row partner.
Players to watch: Williams. Fly half Luke Vevers, whose willingness to attack the defensive line earned him promotion to the CAS 1st XV.Full-back Rory Vevers, who sparked plenty of attacking moves when free from injury.
Rating: 3 snorts out of 10. Undergunned but never gave up, and enjoyed that win.
Star: Loose forward Tom Fay: athletic, fast, good hands, great defence.
Best moment: Cameron Mee’s try to secure victory over St Aloysius.
Quiet achiever: Full-back Oliver Maxwell, who worked hard in attack and defence.
Players to watch: Fay, Mee and flanker Hugh Summerhayes who came through from Cranbrook’s successful Under-16s