1st XV report – Grand Final – SPC v SKC

August 9, 2015

St Patrick’s College 1stXV vs. St Kevin’s College 1st XV – Division 1 Grand Final – August 8, 2015

Fulltime -“ 64-5 (HT 33-0)

Tries -“ Nicholas Donghi 1

Conversions -“ Cam Tranter 0/1

I would like to commence this final match report with a review of the game itself -“ and not the significance of the occasion. Can I congratulate St Kevin’s on a well-deserved victory. No-one will dispute the quality of this St Kevin’s side nor the comprehensive nature of their success. This is a side that has gone unbeaten through the season and done so in impressive fashion. History books will recall a record breaking victory for St Kevin’s, their fourth consecutive VSRU 1stXV Division I Grand Final triumph, in their 21st consecutive final appearance.

In the build-up to the game I said that it was -mission difficult, not mission impossible-. The early exchanges were going to be crucial, we would need to build scoreboard pressure and play at our very best.

Take nothing away from our brave young men, who have risen and conquered almost all challenges that have been presented-¦but, we were not at our best.

Early territory and possession belonged to SPC but we were not able to convert this into points.

If we lacked a cutting edge in attack we were well off our defensive best -“ poor tackle technique, static defence and ill-discipline invited pressure from St Kevin’s, which ultimately led to a number of scores in the first term.

It would be unfair to say heads dropped but simply this was the case on the cusp of halftime in a period that decided the outcome of this contest. Having finally conceded after concerted opposition pressure we needed to see out the last moments of the first half -“ however from the resulting restart St Kevin’s launched a length of the field score and then repeated this feat to score 14points and blow out the margin to 33-0 at the interval. We had spoken of accountability during the week and this was again the key message at halftime along with the finer nuances identified from play.

The second half was severely interrupted by a serious injury to St Patrick’s College winger, Jack Harrison, that resulted in an ambulance being called. Fortunately this was more precautionary and early prognosis from the hospital is positive.

After the game resumed play became more open as both sides tired. Changes from the bench were made by both coaches but this would ultimately highlight the strength in depth of St Kevin’s who continued their scoreboard dominance.

On a pleasing note our boys crossed the whitewash for our first score of both the game and this season in games against St Kevin’s in a moment of entertaining backline play, culminating in a score for fullback Nicholas Donghi who looked the most dangerous threat all afternoon for the boys from Ballarat. The resulting conversion was the final act of the game and so the kick was given to one of our departing Year12s but was unfortunately missed. The whistle blew -“ St Kevin’s had won.

We are beaten but not knocked out. There was disappointment but I was quick to bring our whole rugby community together to once more highlight the unparalleled success that they had created. It was a special moment, captured on camera, that will live long in my personal memory as I am sure it will for many others. Ranked ninth upon the conclusion of the 2014 season, we finish this season ranked second. State-wide. Only one side were able to beat us all season. We were unbeaten at home. Fortress Ballarat. The plaudits, accolades could continue and will.

I would like to finish by thanking the many people who assisted in this remarkable season. Our Director of Rugby, Mr Leigh McKee, our two assistants, Ben Shove and Duncan Ritchie. Our conditioning coaches, Matt Morrison and Tom Swan. Our U16 coach, Mr Mick Porter. Our team manager, -‘strapper’, first aider, Ms Tam Westwood. Our ground staff, maintenance team. Our Headmaster, Mr John Crowley. The many parents and/or guardians and all families. Amongst these I would like to make special mention of Chris Stevens for his fabulous photography. I hope I haven’t forgotten anyone but if I have, you know who you are, and-¦thank you.

Last, but absolutely not least, our players. To our Year12s, who pulled on the jersey for the last time today, we thank you for your hard work and unwavering commitment to our program -“ you have paved the way for so much success to follow. I now challenge all those in Year11 and below to be inspired by the accomplishments of our 1stXV and endeavour to strive for this same level -“ you all have it in you.

Best: 5 -“ Sean Howard 4 -“ Marcus Kaponga, 3 -“ Nicholas Donghi, 2 -“ Joshua Coward, 1 -“ Brendan Bell

Photo gallery:click here