ISA heavyweights St. Augustine’s College and Oakhill College set up a no-love-lost return-bout final when they won their Waratah Shield semi-finals at the T.G. Millner Field today. St. Augustine’s (Brookvale) accounted for St. Stanislaus College (Bathurst) and Oakhill (Castle Hill) defeated Marist College (ACT).
St. Augustine’s 53 – St. Stanislaus 17
A young Auggies team with nearly half its players from Years 10 and 11 (according to one of the masters) was too strong for Stannies. The Bathurst lads had periods of strong play and at one stage in the first half were behind just 10-19, but their forwards did not have the staying power and technique of the Auggies’ pack.
Stannies also had trouble with their opponents’ expansive play, and though they scored their first try when Auggies were too adventurous near their own line, they got sucked into playing into a loose game that didn’t suit them.
When the forwards were going well St. Stanislaus 10. Grant was a good organiser of the ball he got and rangy 15. Green was often a danger, and backed up for an opportunist try. He hoofed the ball many times out of trouble too.
The Auggies forwards provided a harvest of good ball for their backs. NSW Ones THP O’Connor had a storming game at LHPand scored 2 tries, whilst locks Phillip (Oz Schools) and Lloyd did the grunt work that knocked around the Stannies boys so much. Winger Blake, was a constant danger to defenders and scored two tries, and tricky flyhalf Taefotu got better and better as the minutes ticked by.
It was 24-10 at oranges and although Auggies became scrappy when their reserves came on in the 2nd half, they scored 29-7 in that time. From the bench Year 10 reserve 22. Afu showed good leg drive, driving defenders back when he had the ball.
Auggies old boy Phil Blake was a proud dad watching his son play, but the Auggies coaches were not pleased to see him attend because he is not always a good luck charm for the team.
St. Augustines College – 53- Tries: H. Blake (2), R. O’Connor (2), J.Walker, J. Kaplan, M. Cook, J. Ibbotson, M. Phillip. Conversions: Blake (3), Kaplan.
St. Stanislaus College –17 - Tries: J. Ferguson, M. Green. Conversion: Green (2). Penalty: Green.
Referee: Mr A. Richards.
Oakhill 41 – Marist 7
Marist were expected to make a strong showing in this game. They had beaten arch-rivals St Edmund’s twice this season and scored an emphatic win against Hills SHS in the quarter-final of the Waratah Shield. They looked intent but the bigger Oakhill forwards bullied them for most of the game. This was made easier when an ACT rep lock got a red card in the first half.
It was a mirror of the first game of the double header. One side got front foot ball to draw in defenders; then just when they put out that fire the ball would sing along the attacking line to the outside backs — or a centre would sneak in between the firemen. The red card did not help nor did the match ending injuries to other ACT reps 9. Powell and 10. Bodman, two of the best Marist players, but the remaining lads looked jaded from their long bus trip from Canberra.
They made too many errors, especially in handling the ball (which can happen when a winger has to move to play scrum-half), missing tackles, or tackling, but not dominantly so — and sometimes they lacked starch up front. But their worst feature was the lineout, and it was bad for all the reasons it can be. Yet when they got awarded penalties they kept kicking for touch.
It gives no pleasure to write so negatively, but I trust this game will build their character. They know they can play better than that, but the loss and the manner of it will not be the important thing for them: it will be how they learn to move on from it that will be the good life experience.
Oakhill had good players across the board: 2. Blacklock, 4. Linaker, 8. Goddard and skipper 7.Tuckwell were all tough and skilful and 10. Hoolahan was a good quarterback — but 9. Gonzalez had an elusive game, and ran through half of a bemused Marist team to score a top individual try.
Oakhill College – 41 Tries: B. Cotton, L. Casey, M. Gonzales, A. Blacklock, C. Daniels, D. Woodward. Conversions: Woodward (4). Penalty: Woodward.
Marist College – 7 - Try: D. McLauchlan. Conversion: R. Mcarthy
Referee: Mr J. Scholtens.
It’s going to be a cracking final in two weeks time at Forshaw. Oakhill beat Auggies in their big ISA game and are virtually assured of the title; so the Brookvale lads will itching to get revenge. Oakhill looked the better of these two teams today but the return from injury of the likes of Natoli and Cochrane of Auggies should make it an even contest.