Rugby league at Sacred Heart is enjoying a golden era with both under 13s and under 16s set for the small schools state finals in Dubbo.
The under 16s will defend their state title and notched three big wins at the Southern Regional carnival, while the under 13s will join them in pursuit of their own state title.
UNDER 16s V BOOROWA CENTRAL
The day begin with a strong result, defeating the local Boorowa side 26-0.
From the opening kick-off, Owen Battye set the standard with some outstanding defence and forcing the error enabling Joe Ward to cross over after three minutes of play and Nick Holt successfully converting the try for an early 6-0 lead.
From the insuring kick off Sacred Heart let the ball go dead, but were however able to regain possession enabling Lachlan Wilson to take the play back into opposition’s half.
Another try to Joe Ward and the score was now 10-0.
Strong performances were also had from Bailey Sawyer and Lachlan Sedgwick.
Joe Ward went on to score again and with Nick Holt kicking goals from all over the ground the score was 22-0.
During the later stages of the game, a clever switch of play from Cootamundra school saw Liam Bourne dash down the blindside and the try from Cootamundra completed a 26-0 victory.
UNDER 16s V BOMBALA HIGH
Our second game was against an unknown Bombala side.
The game began with the kick off going out on the full and Sacred Heart were awarded a penalty.
From the restart some strong lead up work from Aaron Mugridge and Jim Hogan enabled Joe Ward to score under the posts and the successful conversion saw an early lead of 6-0.
The Bombala side were then applying pressure on the Cootamundra line with an unfortunate bad pass being regathering by Sacred Heart enabling Ward to increase the lead to 12-0.
Ben Rumble consistently displayed outstanding skills and his general play and was strongly supported by Isaac Tregear.
An early try in the second half with excellent kicking from Nick Holt resulted in the lead increasing to 18-0.
Sterling Cooper-Duck supported play very well and his unassuming contributions were greatly appreciated by the team.
The speed of Liam Bourne combined with lead up work from Ted Caldwell enabled the score to finish up at 22-0 in favour of the Sacred Heart team.
UNDER 16s V ST ANNE’S CENTRAL, TEMORA
The final game of the day was against the always competitive St. Anne's side from Temora. An early try in the corner to Bailey Sawyer was just the start the team needed and a 4-0 lead.
Following a penalty against the Temora side, Liam Bourne was able to cross over in the corner to increase the lead to 8-0.
Defense became crucial for the Sacred Heart side and Jack Ruskin rose to the occasion displaying an incredible ability to stop anyone that ran at him. He was supported by Charlie Howse who carried on his improved form from earlier games.
Strong attack was displayed by Lachlan Sedgwick who was able to burst through the Temora defense to score under the posts and increase the lead to 14-0.
Supporting each other in all aspects of the game was the message from coach John Hogan during his halftime talk. Lachlan Wilson responded to the coach and displayed a strong attacking style of play.
A late try to Isaac Tregear, who was under immense pressure, sealed the day for Sacred Heart and booked their ticket to Dubbo.
THE UNDER 16s SQUAD
Jim Hogan, Aaron Mugridge, Owen Battye, Joe Ward, Lachlan Wilson, Nick Holt, Liam Bourne, Jack Ruskin, Isaac Tregear, Charlie Howse, Lachlan Sedgwick, Ben Rumble, Sterling Cooper-Duck, Bailey Sawyer, Ted Caldwell, Malachi Murray and Jay Mugridge.
UNDER 13s V NARRANDERA
The Sacred Heart Under 13s Rugby League side will also be competing for the title of Small Schools State Champions following their convincing win against Narrandera.
The game began just as the Sacred Heart team wanted to with Jake Blackney’s barnstorming attack setting up the first try for Toby Rumble and an early 6-0 lead.
From the kick-off Blackney made valuable metres enabling James Paterson to show his skills with a great offload to Rumble who was pulled down short of the try line. Jed Guthrie displayed excellent defense during the early stages of the game.
The Cootamundra backline then swung into action with each player being involved before the ball came back to Sam Sharman who was able to increase the lead to 10-0. Jake Blackney was again soon in the action with a strong run to score under the posts and Sharman was able to add the extras for a 16-0 lead.
Darcy O’Toole came into the game with an incredible display of skill to weave his way through the opposition and score under the posts. Cootamundra now had a comfortable 22-0 half-time lead.
The second half began with a penalty awarded to Sacred Heart due to a dangerous tackle on Joseph Hutchinson. From the penalty, Rumble was able to score to increase the lead to 28-0. Ethan Sheppard and Ryan Bourne were excellent in the support play and Ryley Kennedy’s defensive efforts were again outstanding.
Narrandera were still keen to try new tactics and a short kick-off was brilliantly covered by Corey Gale. A strong run from Ned Murray set up James Paterson to score under the posts for a commanding 34-0 lead. Sam Nasser was consistently working hard and unlucky not to break through the oppositions line.
A late try to Jake Blackney increased the lead to 40-0 and the Sacred Heart team were well on their way to Dubbo.
THE UNDER 13s SQUAD
Ethan Sheppard, Sam Sharman, James Paterson, Jake Blackney, Jed Guthrie, Toby Rumble, Ryan Bourne, Joseph Hutchinson, Ryley Kennedy, Sam Nasser, Darcey O’Toole, Ned Murray and Corey Gale.