A resurgent AIC 1 scored 19 unanswered points in the second half after GPS 1 dominated the first to pull back a historic draw in the annual Queensland schoolboys grudge match.
Wet conditions limited a possible GPS whitewash in the first half, forcing numerous handling errors and expansive back-line play was substituted for an opportunistic kick and chase style for scoring in the second half in front of a large crowd at Ballymore.
In the earlier matches GPS 2 ran in six tries to one against CSS 1, GPS 3 ran over CSS 2 and the Chairman’s XV claimed the scalp of AIC 2.
GPS 1 vs AIC 1
In the headline act of the trials GPS dominated the first half and tested the AIC tryline defence early on, but handling errors and desperate counter rucking kept GPS attackers out and it was only off a piece of broken play that centre Harry Wathen was able to cross for the first.
AIC then got into a good attacking position in GPS’s 22, until the ball was turned over and GPS centre Landon Hayes split through the AIC line before being wrapped up by the last line defence around the halfway mark.
Off the ensuing ruck GPS scrum-half Isaak Fines-Leleiwasa saw that nobody was home for AIC and boxed kicked into the corner for flying winger Isaac Nathan to regather two metres from the try-line and stumble over.
GPS got their third after winning a scrum against the feed on the AIC five metre line when fly-half Nathan Russell showed great vision and changed his line to run untouched through the disjointed AIC defence and score under the posts.
The absence of Australian Schoolboy back rowers Brad Wilkin and Junior Fakaosileo was sorely evident with GPS outmuscling their AIC counterparts, constantly putting them on the back-foot with the majority of possession, and an opportunistic snipe off a strong scrum by Fines-Leleiwasa saw GPS back in the AIC 22.
However AIC were saved by the half time whistle just as their floodgates were beginning to open and the half ended with 19 unanswered points for GPS.
The match was a much tighter affair in the second half with GPS still controlling proceedings, having the lions share of the possession and looked dangerous with ball in hand, however handling errors due to the conditions restricted them from adding more points.
AIC’s best attacking opportunity came when a chip by replacement fly-half Laughlin Lewis was fumbled by the GPS fullback and kicked through again by his opposite number Adrian Henley, but it bounced out before he could reach it.
AIC thought to have identified a chink in GPS’s defence and off a turnover they spread it wide and hooker Shaun Laurie chipped it through again for his St. Peter’s schoolmate Henley to regather and dive under the posts.
Momentum began to swing in AIC’s favour and Sam Clarke crashed over after some strong rumbling forward play worked them into the GPS 22.
And in a frantic last minute AIC drew level when Henley regathered another chip kick and dived under the posts to score a try almost identical to his first, converting it in the last play off the game.
By the reactions of the players after the full time whistle it was evident that AIC players and coaches considered this an historic result whilst the GPS contingent found it disappointing considering the amount of front foot ball they had throughout the match.
GPS 1 – 19 (tries: Wathen, Nathan, Russell, cons: Todd 2) AIC 1 – 19 (tries: Henley 2, Clarke, cons: Henley 2)
GPS 2 vs CSS 1
GPS ran in six tries to one, with winger Harry Whyte bagging a hat-trick after finding acres of space out wide numerous times throughout the match.
The scoring was opened in the first five minutes when Whyte strolled over after the GPS fly-half Carlin Anderson took advantage of an overlap sending a cut out pass his way.
CSS fly-half Guy Hamilton’s pinpoint kicking got them into their attacking zone but the potent attacking combination of the GPS back three Josh Bowyer, Tyrone Southorn and Harry Whyte along with some barnstorming runs by flankers Jayden Rodwell and Douglas Macmillan saw them get back into the CSS 22 and both Whyte and Southorn crossed in their respective corners.
GPS scored another just before the break when centre Liam Jurd crossed in the corner after they capitalised upon yet another overlap. Scores at halftime read GPS 2: 24 – CSS nil.
CSS showed some spirited defence in the second half but Anderson exploited a mismatch up against a font rower in space, beating his man on the outside and drawing the fullback before handing it off to Whyte for his third.
GPS scored again when Macmillan scooped up a loose ball to Bowyer who ran 30 metres undisturbed.
But some astute kicking from Hamilton got CSS deep into GPS’s 22 in the closing stages and centre Pedro Ikitau managed to slip his tackler out wide for a consolation try.
GPS 2 – 34 (tries: Whyte 3, Southorn, Bowyer, Jurd, cons: Bowyer 2) CSS 1 – 7 (try: Ikitau, cons: Hamilton)
GPS 3 vs CSS 2
GPS dominated the match but failed to capitalise on many scoring opportunities due to handling errors brought on by rainfall during the game.
GPS’s early attacking raids in the first half paid off on the fourth attempt after hooker Bronson Tauakipulu barged over underneath the posts.
Centre Campbell Magnay was destructive, tearing trough the CSS line on numerous occasions throughout the match and counterpart Antoine Iosefa continually beat his opposite number on the outside freeing up space out-wide, but this couldn’t translate into points with the slippery pill proving hard to hold onto.
GPS muscled their way into the CSS half again and Magnay sliced through the line to run 30 metres and scored their second.
However CSS managed to pin down GPS in their 22 late in the first half, and they scored on the stroke of half time after their winger chipped over and regathered to score out wide.
Magnay again sliced through the defence and linked with Iosefa to get into the CSS half and after some barnstorming drives from Tauakipulu and no 8. Jamason Fa’anana-Schultz, flanker PJ Van Den Berg drived over inches out, from the back of the ruck.
CSS began to work their way back into the match through some disciplined forward play, however GPS ended the match with another try after they pressured CSS’s tryline defence and Tauakipulu proved too much to stop, crashing over from a metre out.
GPS 3 – 24 (tries: Tauakipulu 2, Magnay, Van Den Berg, cons: Dorrough 2) CSS 2 – 7
Chairman’s XV vs AIC 2
In the first match of the day the Charimans XV claimed the scalp of AIC 2 in a sloppy match that was ominous of the matches to come.
The Chairman’s XV pressured AIC’s defence early on and pounced on a dropped pass by AIC in their 22 with fullback Ed Gibson toeing it into the try area and dived on it for the first score of the match.
AIC managed to answer back on the counter attack through fullback Clifton Setu who attracted 3 defenders and managed an offload to winger Jacob Manning in space who ran 30 metres to score in the corner, to see AIC trailing Chairman’s by 2 at the break.
The wet conditions didn’t alter AIC’s plans and they continued their expansive style of attack and two splitting runs from centre Josh tam saw AIC in Chairman’s 22.
But they were unable to capitalise with this territory and the Chairman’s XV were the final to score, when despite spending a considerable amount of time in their own 22, they rumbled into the attacking zone and Gibson again dived on a loose ball in the try area after a smothered clearance kick.
Chairman’s XV – 14 ( tries: Gibson 2, cons: Gibson, Tittor) AIC 2 – 5 (try: Manning )