Townsville’s greatest schoolboys rivalry takes centre stage in Aaron Payne Cup final
Author : MICHAEL THOMPSON, Townsville Bulletin
IT just had to be a Kirwan High and Ignatius Park College grand final.
Five rounds of regular season footy threw up its share of surprises and challenges as both schools worked to reach full service, but the cream has finally risen to the top in the Aaron Payne Cup.
Townsville’s two footy nurseries will battle it out for North Queensland supremacy as Ignatius Park take on Kirwan at Townsville Junior Rugby League.
This afternoon’s clash will be closed to the general public, but all the action can be watched on the livestream at townsvillebulletin.com.au
Kirwan State High School halfback Clay George is expecting Ignatius Park to throw everything at the Bears today, but the talented playmaker has made the ominous warning that Kirwan will do likewise.
The Kirwan juggernaut, which rolled through last year’s schoolboys competition to win the national title, suffered its first loss in more than a year when Ignatius Park launched an ambush to score a 26-8 victory a fortnight ago.
“That loss was a learning curve; it really started to motivate us again,” George said.
“It’s almost what we needed and I think we responded well to it.
“We looked a bit flat on the edges, but we’re confident out outsides men will step for us.
“You live to play these type of games; it’s Kirwan versus Iggy, and it gives you goosebumps every time you think about it.
“They’ll be throwing everything they’ve got us, and we’ll go at them with everything we’ve got.”
The Cowboys contracted No. 7 will play alongside Harley Taylor in the halves, while Ragsy Wavik starts at fullback in place of Tyreece Woods, who misses today’s game through injury.
Ignatius Park hooker Maverick Pegoraro, the man who helped lay the platform for Iggy’s recent win over Kirwan, said the groundbreaking result has turned Iggy’s schoolboys season around.
The blue and whites had been thumped by The Cathedral College 28-8 early in the competition and were struggling to find their rhythm despite their obvious firepower.
It led to last week’s payback 18-10 win over TCC, and has put Iggy Park on a solid footing for today’s decider.
“That win helped us because our motivation hadn’t really been there,” Pegoraro said.
“The last couple of games we’ve just been building, and it’s where our fast football has been coming from.
“In our first couple of games it was about really trying to find out where our key areas were and where we can improve.
“Our edges have really been building and working with the defence.”
Pegoraro has been one of the revelations of the tournament, with his speed around the ruck and vision proving a menace for opposition defences.
Another big game from Pegoraro will be key in Ignatius Park’s ability to rattle the Kirwan steamroller.
“It’s a big thing for me to step up, I know I haven’t been playing my best football in the first couple of rounds,” he said.
“But the last couple of rounds have been a step up for me, and I have to take all the opportunities for the team.
“It’s a big thing for all of us to step up for our school.”
Today’s livestream action starts with the under-15 Cowboys Challenge final between Mercy College and Ignatius Park at 1.30pm, followed by the Aaron Payne Cup final between Kirwan and Ignatius Park from 3.45pm.
HOW THE TEAMS LINE UP IN THE AARON PAYNE CUP FINAL
1. Ragsy Wavik
2. Jesse Yallop
3. Dudley Dotoi
4. Max Hayley
5. Ethan Andrews
6. Harley Taylor
7. Clay George
8. Abai Chatfield
9. Ty Ty Baira-Gela
10. Cruz Smith
11. Mia Pua’avase
12. Jeremiah Nanai
13. Jacob Taia
14. Ethan Roberts
15. William Latu
16. Manihi Maurangi
17. Tyrone Strickland
COACH: Todd Wilson
IGNATIUS PARK COLLEGE
1 Cathane Hill
2 Raheem Rolfe
3 Jake McAulliffe-Fickling
4 Eddie Hampson
5 Andrew Brunello
6 Braithen Knox
7 Thomas Duffy
8 Trey Valentine
9 Maverick Pegoraro
10 Isaiah Vailalo
11 Adam Mitchell
12 Wade Jonsson
13 Luke Jack
14 Lachlan Lerch
15 Jakeb Vailalo
16 Sean Bourke
17 Damon Marshall
COACH: Steve Lansley
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