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2015 Season Reports

1st XV Rugby

The 2015 ISA season for the 1st XV was memorable for many reasons, and for the boys involved, particularly the Year 12s, it was a team and a year to remember.

We believed that this was a year of great potential; we set attainable goals for the season to lead us to success. We knew that there would be challenges as we approached the year with a small squad. This forced us together and was of benefit to the team but also made some games very difficult with injury and unavailable players.

The players who were there during the more difficult times were always selfless but committed to contribute to the team in the best way. We also enjoyed fantastic support from the Under 16s team and players. There were occasions where this made it possible to field a team and gave us great support from the interchange bench with boys always willing and wanting to take to the field.

The belief that the team carried into every match, the courage and determination that they played with was a credit to the players. They played with emotion and control on all occasions. The players would run onto the field every Saturday focused and determined to do better than the week before and loved playing rugby with each other. No matter what the result was, the players would leave the field with heads held high, confident that they had performed well, had improved as the season progressed and had worn the College jumper with pride and represented it well.

This is the way All Saints’ College rugby has been played over the years and particularly in home games on Watson Oval. This is what makes All Saints’ College a standout school irrespective of results and trophies. The development of these young men is the true success of this unique little rugby school and morally strong student rugby club. It sets us apart from other schools.

The year did not follow the script that the squad had in mind. The first half of the season was full of optimism but it was interrupted from the start with the first game a washout against St Andrew’s Cathedral School (Sydney), followed by three losses and then a win against Redlands College. The second half of the season followed a similar pattern with a washout (or more appropriately, a freeze-out), three losses and a final game win at home.

The final game of Term 2, also the first game of Round 2, was All Saints’ hosting St Andrew’s. St Andrew’s had won four from five games and we had only won one game. We went into the game very confident although the statistics all had us looking to be well beaten. We knew we were good and we were. In a very entertaining rugby union match the score was tight through the first half until the All Saints’ 1st XV moved ahead in the game. Our strong running forwards had been excellent and the backs had been skilled and expansive scoring tries out wide.

The All Saints’ boys dominated the game forging a nine point lead with only five minutes to go. St Andrew’s scored to make it 26-22 with less than two minutes to play. All Saints’ regained possession from the kick through a scrum and pressured the kick off. The scrum was won but whilst applying immense pressure in a tense situation, St Andrew’s forced the turnover and from broken play scored a try after time had finished. This was devastating for the All Saints’ boys who were unluckily beaten by a point 27-26. The boys lost graciously knowing that they had contributed to a fantastic game and had really deserved the victory that did not come their way. 

The long three week break followed by a non-playing weekend as a result of frozen roads meant that it had been a long time between games before we resumed playing. It was very pleasing to finish our competitive season when we hosted Redlands College on Watson Oval. The All Saints’ 1st XV squad was committed to sending out our Year 12 players with a success in their final schoolboy match on Watson Oval. After a well contested first half the All Saints’ boys were confident that they could finish their year well with a great second half. The players got on the front foot and played very well moving the ball wide to score multiple tries and win the game 33-0. It was a fitting way to end the season for our departing Year 12s and a great way to finish for the players looking to continue in the 1st XV jumper next year.

 We would like to thank everybody who makes rugby at All Saints’ College possible: Mr David Hitchick who assisted with coaching the 1st XV team; the other coaches and staff at All Saints’ College including Mr Scott Gardner, Mr Geoffrey Siegert and Mr Patrick Sinclair who all contributed to the season and provided the opportunities for us; the All Saints’ College Friends of Rugby, the referees and officials for all games; and the parent, student and school support that we enjoyed all year was greatly appreciated.

A special thanks to the Captains of Rugby, Richard Vincent and Jack Pople, who led All Saints’ rugby this year.

Mr Bradley Allen (Coach) with contribution from Luke Johnstone (1st XV Captain)

1st XV Awards:
Best Forward: Nolan Parker
Best Back: Lachlan Wilkinson
Most Improved: McLangton Mbakada
Coaches’ Award: Mitchell Thompson
Players’ Player: Marshall Fox
McLeod Trophy: Harry Hailstone

Under 16s Rugby

2015 has been another exciting, challenging, and rewarding year for everyone involved with the Under 16s team. A special thanks to the unfaltering support of Mr Peter Clyne who has once again always been there offering assistance and guidance to the team and myself.

With the wonderful inclusion of some extremely committed Under 15s and a couple of new recruits, our team grew to a squad of 23 players. For the first time in three years, our bench was full and a sense of playing for your position assisted enthusiasm and attention, both on and off the field. 

As a coach, if you had a choice of coaching a team of champions or a team of committed team-minded individuals, I would always wish for the latter. These young men have not disappointed in this respect.

They were always early to training, eager to listen, and willing to learn. Every Tuesday and Thursday, rain, hail or shine, we had great numbers and plenty of willing participants, to the point that sometimes I had to limit their insatiable desire for physical contact and aggression. I found myself for the first time, holding back some of the exuberance to ensure we had our best chance of going into game day injury free and at full strength.

Our season was full of wonderful displays of teamwork and spirit. Starting off strongly against Canberra Grammar School in a pre-season trial was once again encouraging. Chevalier College continued to present challenges for the team in Round 1, but strong results against SCECGS Redlands, Central Coast Grammar School and St Andrew’s Cathedral School laid the platform for the business end of the season.

This year the team was given a wonderful opportunity to tour to Queensland during the June/July holidays. The trip solidified the already strong bonds our boys have and was to prove a defining week in their aspirations for a finals football appearance.

As a coach the aim was to come into game one of Round 2 of the season at home against arch rivals Chevalier, game fit and having built cohesion during the holiday break. Unfortunately, the game was snowed out and we were unable to test ourselves against the Bowral lads.

From that point on the season was mixed with some great wins and some close losses; a try after the bell loss to Central Coast at Erina was a massive wakeup call for the team. It was this loss that was to ensure a finals clash against Chevalier which was not ideal.

Oakhill College was to be the scene for one of the most amazing games of football I have ever been involved in. Our boys ran onto the field with a resolve and commitment that I had never seen from them. They played for each other and the never-give-up attitude they developed over the last few years came through with an awesome win against the minor premiers. We had beaten a team which had not been beaten all season, we had achieved our pre-season goal of going one further than last year and were set to clash with Redfield College in the grand final.

We started the game where we finished off the week prior and I believe we were the better team in the first half. The Redfield players were in shock and wondering what had hit them! The boys were playing with patience and maturity and were looking for a chance to steal the trophy from an extremely well drilled Redfield outfit. However, a massive build up and busy week leading up to the weekend, along with unlimited substitutions from the opposition meant we ran out of steam late in the second half and the game got away on us.

Finally, I would just like to say that these boys are fantastic young men and a credit to themselves, their families and their school. This year has been a memorable experience for all of us and I look forward to seeing the new team go one better next year.

Mr Geoffrey Siegert (Coach)

Under 16s Awards:
Best Forward: Ryan Clyne
Best Back: David Cant
Most Improved: Dougal Murphy
Christopher Mould Memorial Shield: Cameron Redpath
McLeod Trophy: Harrison Gavey

Under 14s Rugby

Term 1 trial games against Kinross Wolaroi School and Canberra Grammar School provided the team with much needed match play. Wins in both these games gave the boys great confidence for the season which lay ahead of them.

Again, we aimed at setting realistic goals for success this year which required a determined and single minded approach to their rugby. We wanted to concentrate on improving those aspects of play that had let them down during games whilst continuing to cover new strategies to further their skill set. It was essential that we made progress, if the boys’ goal of making the semi-finals was to come to fruition.

The opportunity for the majority of the squad to participate at the Gold Coast Rugby Carnival in July proved to be an important catalyst for the eventual success the team experienced.

The Under 14s win in the final against last year’s Premiers, SCECGS Redlands, was a courageous effort and testament to the team’s developing composure when games got tight and never-say-die attitude. This was particularly evident when with five minutes to play in the final and 12-10 down on the scoreboard the boys rallied and provided the opportunity for Nickolas Anderson to run 90 metres and score under the posts. The conversion made the score 17-12 with just under four minutes to play. From the restart Redlands competed successfully for the ball and were repelled on several occasions by great scrambling defence by the boys.

With energy levels on empty and only adrenaline fueling the team, Redlands attacked our try line one last time as the hooter sounded. We watched anxiously from the sidelines and grandstand as the Redlands backline moved the ball through the hands in a last ditch effort to penetrate our defence. Good pressure from the backline and a knock on from our opponents meant that the team could finally relax, as Premiers.

The smiles and tears on the faces of not only the players but the supporters and families who were able to witness the win, was priceless. The emotion and joy that sport brings was well represented on Saturday, 22nd August, by the All Saints’ College community. The charging mass of players off the bench, the roar from the students and parents from behind the ropes when the referee finally blew full time, will stay in my memory for many years.

The 2015 Under 14s rugby squad has developed as rugby players and young men. They have a competitive spirit but are humble in victory and have shown great respect for their counterparts on the field. A group of boys who still feel the disappointment of defeat but appreciate that from facing adversity we get stronger. This aspect, in hindsight, allowed them to take stock of their performances at the Gold Coast Rugby Carnival and helped in resolving our defensive problems and allowed us to prepare for the challenges we faced at the business end of the season.

Their hilarious antics and craic at training and on bus trips show they are still larrikins at heart. I hope that never changes. The boys’ success this season is due to their commitment to each other and a developing understanding of the significance and reward that comes from representing their school on the rugby field.

I congratulate Mr Benjamin Bayliss for his continued enthusiasm and energy as assistant coach of the Under 14s squad. His developing skills and contribution during training sessions and game days have been invaluable. To Mr Andrew Townsend and Mr David Blackshaw, thank you for your support and camaraderie during the season. Your unflappable patience with the boys and insight was appreciated by all members of the squad.

The Season: 21 players; 320 points scored for/85 against (ISA Competition); Undefeated Minor Premiers; First on 39 points to Redlands on 28 points; 10 try-scorers - 52 tries (av. of 8 tries per game ); 3 goal kickers - 30 conversions.              

Mr Scott Gardner (Coach)

Under 14s Awards:
Best Forward: Jesse Mason and Jeremiah Ovenden
Best Back: Nickolas Anderson
Most Improved: William Mitchell
McLeod Trophy: Joshua Stanmore

Under 13s Rugby

Under 13s rugby is always an interesting challenge. The players arrived to their first training session with a huge variety of skills and experience. The great beauty of rugby is the requirement for a team to function together and this was a season of learning that essential skill for our Under 13s boys. 

A pre-season game against Kinross Wolaroi School showed that our boys had a strong running backline and plenty of speed, but it also revealed that defence would be an area to work on throughout the season. 

The first away trip to Canberra was a new experience for the boys heralding a season of long bus trips with the requirement to get out and play not long after. This is a difficult task and one with which the boys dealt happily with all season. This game revealed some character and attitude that stayed with the boys all season, and was also the first sighting of a season long phenomenon - the second half fight back. 

While it is true that the boys suffered some convincing losses throughout the season, it is also the case that in every single loss they fought back in the second half and were successful in restricting their opposition. In all cases the boys played with heads held high and demonstrated an indomitable spirit. So in looking back at the season with only a couple of wins and many losses, I am nonetheless proud of what the boys have achieved.  

It is without question that the boys learnt the game this year, learnt to support each other on the field and learnt the value of that support. The forwards’ set piece work by the end of the season was of a high standard and the work of the scrimmage at the semi-final against Redfield College was a testament to just how much these boys had learnt in a single season. 

Twice during the season we played against Bathurst Bulldogs and after losing the first round came back toward the end of our season to win through the excellent work of a backline that ran up quickly, recovered in defence, and was incisive in its running.  

It has truly been a pleasure to watch these boys learn the game, develop skills and most of all develop personally as they faced the challenges of the season. I must express my gratitude for the assistance I have received in this endeavour from the Under 14s coaches and also from Mr John Cusick and Mr Joel Lo Ribeiro (Gap student).

Thanks also must go to all the parents who have supported the boys and myself on the sidelines, in coming to games both at home and away, and especially to those who have been able to assist with the Friends of Rugby. The support of the Friends of Rugby is vital to our programme and I encourage as many as possible to become involved.

Mr Patrick Sinclair (Coach)

Under 13s Awards:
Best Forward: Benjamin Cant
Best Back: Samuel Petersen
Most Improved: Matthew Parkinson
McLeod Trophy: Sean Gardner

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