ERC Opens Oztag
After a great campaign in the Oztag Regional Tournament earlier this year, the Opens team were full of confidence to defend their Champion of Champions title with the Tournament being played at Gannon’s Park, Peakhurst. The boys had a mixed bag in the group stage with a few close wins, a blow out win and a few close losses. Unfortunately going down to the eventual champions, St Dominics in a close game resulted in the boys missing out on a quarter finals spot through points differential. The stand out performers on the day were Chase Grant’s blistering pace and scoring prowess, Chad O’brien’s stellar defence and Beau Devlin’s crafty plays. Well done to the team for their solid game play with minimal preparation as well as the level of sportsmanship and respect they displayed both on and off the field. Hopefully we can challenge for the title again next year.
Teamlist: Tom Kirk, Chase Grant, Anthony Stefanou, Kascha Cervoni, Aidan Testa, Jye Barnes, Callum McEnearney, Callum Milsom, Jack Atkins, Chad O’brien, Beau Devlin, Daniel Meafou, Alec Rochaix, Jack Simmonds, Nahni Meafou, Zach Wilson.
ERC Junior OzTag
The Edmund Rice College Year 7 and 8 Oztag team comprised 16 talented young men who shared a passion for the game and demonstrated exceptional skills. The Oztag Secondary Schools carnival took place at Thomas Dalton Park, Fairy Meadow, on May 9th. As the boys arrived, they were eager and ready to compete. Their reputation as strong contenders in their age group was evident, as other schools couldn’t help but notice them as they walked by.
Under the Edmund Rice tent, everyone gathered, with Coach Mr. Sunderland providing a motivating pep talk to kick off the day. Our first opponent was Figtree High. They held their ground well until halftime, with the score at a close 2-0 in favor of Edmund Rice. However, the boys’ prowess became evident in the second half, resulting in a final score of 7-1 in our favor.
Buoyed by their confidence after the initial victory, the boys faced Corpus Christi, a high-quality team. Once again, the experience and skill of the Edmund boys prevailed, securing a 4-2 victory. Our next opponent was Warilla High, considered our toughest challenge. They started strong, scoring the first try and leaving us in awe. The halftime talk by Mr. Sunderland proved pivotal, and we came back to win 5-3.
In our final round, we faced The Illawarra Christian School and achieved a resounding victory with a final score of 16-3. This solidified our presence at the carnival, and we finished first in our pool. In the semi-finals against Kiama High, a tough match ensued. We scored first, and although the final score ended at 4-4, the rule of the first scorer in the event of a draw favored us, allowing us to advance to the finals.
The Grand Final saw us competing against Illawarra Sports High, and although we lost 5-3, it was a spirited and well-played game. Nonetheless, we advanced to the next level, scheduled for Term 3 in Sydney.
We were immensely proud of the boys’ performance.
Advancing to the Champions of Champions Oztag carnival, the Year 7 and 8 boys boarded a bus from school headed to Gannons Park in Peakhurst. Upon arrival, as we walked to the venue, we assessed our opponents. After setting up our gazebo, it was time for our first game against Warners Bay High School. We approached the game with humility and a focus on starting strong. The final score was 6-3, with some remarkable tries, particularly from winger Jett Micevski. We returned to camp with our heads held high, knowing there was more work ahead.
Our next match was against Wadalba High School, a talented and fast team well-versed in Oztag. The game started with great intensity, with Brodee Green leading our team with skill and exemplary leadership. At halftime, the score was tied at 2-2. Both teams regrouped, recognizing that the game would be decided in the final minutes. Unfortunately, Wadalba won 5-4 in a hard-fought battle.
By the end of day one, we had secured two wins, suffered one loss, and had one draw, leaving us proud of our efforts.
After a restful night and some recovery, we embarked on day two with determination. Upon arrival, we set up our gazebo and engaged in a warm-up session before our first game against Endeavour Sports High. As a sports-focused school, they presented a formidable challenge, requiring us to be at our best. At halftime, we held a 3-2 lead, but Endeavour Sports High fought back to a 4-3 lead with just five minutes remaining. Then, Isaac Oldfield and Fletcher Couchman executed a brilliant full-field try, bringing the score to 4-4 with two minutes left. With guidance from Mr. Sunderland on the sideline, the boys executed a game-winning play, resulting in a thrilling 5-4 victory for Edmund Rice. After the game, we shook hands with our opponents and referees, acknowledging their efforts.
In the semi-finals, we faced East Hills Boys High School, our toughest challenge yet. Despite a valiant effort, we lost 3-4, with all the boys giving their best, playing the “Edmund Rice” style of footy.
These two days created lasting memories, and we extend our heartfelt thanks to Coach Mr. Sunderland. Full credit goes to the boys, and we look forward to returning to the paddock next year.
Callum Cooney & Charles Edwards