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 Annual Rugby League Confraternity Shield

Confro Report and Player write ups

On the first Sunday of the holidays, 15 of Xavier’s finest rugby league players ventured off to Rockhampton for the annual Confraternity Shield. ‘Confro’ draws together 48 of Queensland’s top rugby league schools to compete over a week long carnival, this year hosted by The Cathedral College, Rockhampton. We were also lucky enough to have Hayden and Vinnie join us from St Mary’s College Kingaroy and Lucas from Shalom Townsville to complement our squad and give us 18 keen players. After celebrating mass in the cathedral with players and staff from all schools, it was back to our cabins for the traditional jersey presentations and a talk about what it means to play at Confro and what the boys could expect over the coming week.

Monday morning brought wet and cold conditions which caused us a few headaches on the field. Some patches of poor ball control and some niggling injuries saw Xavier drop both of our opening games to Chanel Gladstone and Emmaus Jimboomba respectively. There was no questioning the effort on the boys’ part, and after an obligatory beef capital steak and a pep stalk, the side was good to go Tuesday morning. The early game against a strong Cathedral College 2 side saw much better play from Xavier despite the loss. The afternoon rematch against Emmaus saw Xavier in front until the dying minutes, with another narrow loss indicating the boys were drawing closer to a win. A trip across town to support the QISSN girls and a night out at the movies rounded out day 2.

The boys enjoyed a trip to Great Keppel Island on Wednesday, the weather turning it on and the cool clear waters helping to sooth the bumps and bruises of 4 tough matches. After a day filled with SUP’s, kayaking, tubing and a game of ‘water bottle chicken’ with a visiting netball team it was back home to rest up for game 5 and hopefully our first victory. Throughout most of Thursday’s match against Our Lady of the Southern Cross, Dalby it seemed Xavier was destined for another hard fought loss. The boys had other ideas and rallied late to take out their first win 26-16 and finally reach the performance level that they had promised all along. This win lead us to an early start for our final match on Friday against St Augustine’s, Springfield. In a spirited contest it was again Xavier that finished the stronger and ran out 22-6 winners. It was a great to see the boy’s hard work pay off and to get the result to finish the week.

Throughout the week the boys forged a bond with each other that was visible for all to see. While their execution on the field at times left them vulnerable, their effort and drive to ‘show up’ for each other, and to stand up for their mates could never be called into question. On another tour, this side could have easily won 6 from 6 and no-one would have been surprised. It was clear to all that there was no dropping of heads or low team morale even after a string of early losses. Isaac Mielczarek was judged to be Xavier’s Best and Fairest (a terrific effort for a year 10 student), and Jayden Shepherd was rewarded for his outstanding teamwork with the Spirit of Confraternity award.

Finally, some huge 'thank yous'!! Firstly to Angela ‘Mum’ Hogan, our Manager. She took on both the financial management of the tour, both before and during the trip, and probably the more daunting task of feeding the boys while away. She did an outstanding job with all of this, not to mention playing bus driver, baker, chef, accountant, tour guide, navigator, counsellor and stand in mother. Angela's attention to every detail off the field played a huge role in the performance of the side on the field. It’s no mean feat to keep 18 belly’s full for a whole week. Thank you for everything Mumma Hoges!!

Finally to Norman and Mandy Shepherd who stayed with the team as trainer and medical officer respectively. Mandy’s professional approach to tending and managing injuries enabled the boys to play to their best, not to mention the hours spent strapping and preparing the boys for each match. We were blessed to have such a dedicated person on tour who stopped at nothing to look after the boys. Norman tapped in to his many years of rugby league experience, providing targeted advice for players on how to improve their game. His messages and encouragement during games enabled the players to lift and ultimately come away with some victories. A big thank you also to Yr 8 student Brock Shepherd to took on the role of touch judge for all 6 of our matches. The tour would not have been a success without their help.

 

Coach's comments​

​1 Jayden Shepherd

​Our custodian at the back. Jayden’s excellent positional play in attacking opposition kicks enabled the side to turn defence into attack. Always talking and encouraging form the back, the spirit in which Jayden plays the game was rewarded with the ‘Spirit of Confro’ award for 2016.

 

​2 Vincent ‘Vinnie’ McGregor

​Following in the footsteps of big brother Frank McGregor, Vinnie set the crown alight on a number of occasions when getting clear on the wing. Personified extra effort when chasing through a kick and toeing ahead to score. Was only getting warmed up by the end of the week so looking forward to bigger things in 2017.

 

​3 Lucas Chambers

Lucas joined us from Shalom Townsville and added further speed to our backline. Strong defensively, it was a big ask for a student to join us at the last minute and slot in and we thank Lucas for playing for us through the week.

 

​4 ​Cam Russell

Cam became only the 2nd player to attend 3 Confro carnivals for Xavier. Never afraid to roll the sleeves up and take some pressure off the forwards, and is near unstoppable from close to the line. When Cam is fired up he is a match turner as was seen during our Thursday match. A true team man.

 

​5 Dom McMahon

​Dom sent a scare through camp on Tuesday with what looked like a serious injury, although some physio work saw him back on the paddock. Played nearly every minute of every match ran on for, and every one of those minutes at 100%. His trademark scoots brought the forward time and he was rewarded with a try in our final game. Every side needs players like Dom to succeed.

 

​6 Travin Baumann

​Trav was our on field general. As with any general, you need to lead your troops by example, and when the going got tough, Trav got tougher. He was endlessly putting his body on the line tackling bigger forwards, only to turn around and guide the side in attack. Played big minutes in the middle of the park and ran himself to a standstill. His try in the final game was one to remember.

 

​7 Sam Ballini

​Sam was the epitome of toughness throughout the week. From head knocks to bloodied ears to knee and shin issues, Sam refused to be held out and wanted only to be on the filed with his mates. Sam’s ability to drive the team with his encouragement was clearly on show in the wins towards the end of the week. A player whose courage can’t be questioned.

 

​8 ​Zac Pronk

Pronky is a no-nonsense prop who is immensely respected by his teammates for the way he plays the game. Has never ever taken a backward step and charged into the opposition with no concern for himself, only what is best for the team. Was always on hand to help out those around him off the field as well which only added to his value to the team.

 

​9 Hayden Boney

Hayden joined us from St Mary’s Kingaroy and filled the role of utility for the week. Played in positions from prop to wing and really soaked up the environment that is Confro. Always ready to charge into the action in any position, he is a player any coach would love to have. A young tyro that we look forward to welcoming back in coming years.

 

​10 ​Jayden McCloskey

​Jayden’s continues to be a powerhouse for Xavier, inspiring our other forwards. With every charge he guaranteed a 10m gain, even when playing through injuries in a number of games. With his bash brother Lachie was leader of the forward pack, he played hard and hit hard every minute he was on the field.

 

​11 ​Bryce Gardner

Bryce slotted in to hooker and immediately had an impact on the go forward of the side. His vision and ability to catch lazy opposition defence was crucial in getting us on the front foot, especially when looking to close down a deficit.

 

​12 Ty Lindsay

Ty is a hard and uncompromising forward who wears his heart on his sleeve. Hard runs up the middle and stinging defence making him the linchpin of the side’s engine room, and there is a visible lift when he is on the park. With the ability to lift the entire side with one run or big hit, Ty’s attitude and commitment to his mates can never be questioned.

 

​13 Lachlan Jackson

​Lachie was Xavier’s ‘go to man’ on many occasions throughout the week. His ability to break tackles and make match winning plays is unchallenged. As captain of the side he led by example, rolling the sleeves up when the going got tough. Played huge minutes without question or complaint and ran himself into the ground for his mates. Deserved leading his sides to wins later in the week.

 

​15 Tom Kidd

​One of the finds of the tournament, Tom belied his age and size in taking down much bigger opponents. As tenacious as a junkyard dog, Tom’s budding leadership skills impressed throughout the week and he really put his hand up as a star of the future. Showed some glimpses of much better things to come when he suits up for Confro 2017.

 

​16 ​Jake Lund

Lundy was initially pencilled in as a back but was used primarily in the pack. Another one of our Yr 10’s to really impress, Lundy goes about his business with no fuss but opponents certainly take notice. Is a tough, durable player who is very well suited to the ‘Confro’ style carnival. Only better things to come from this damaging ball runner in the next 2 years.

 

​17 ​Isaac Mielczarek

​Melky is in grade 10, looks like he is grade 12 and plays like he is 21. For a young man to take on the workload he shouldered left everyone shaking their heads. Charged with looking after ‘Dickie’, our tour mascot (as youngest on tour), he rewarded with the XCC Best and Fairest award for 2016. Scary to think what Isaac will be capable of in the coming years.

 

18​ ​Ivan Jelcic

​Ivan came into the side earlier in the year as a ‘greenhorn’, but made huge improvements in a short space of time. Showed plenty of ticker to put his name down for the tour, even more so when inserted into physical matches with the result on the line. Never once let his teammates or his coach down, a great asset to the side.

 

​20 Ethan Hamilton

​Ethan was another player stamped with the ‘watch me’ tag for coming years. A raw talent early in the season, Ethan has taken on board any advice he has been given. This culminated in an outstanding performance in the final match, a testament to Ethan’s persistence and dedication. This tour will give him the confidence he needs to go on to bigger and better things next year.