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Struddy’s Cup grand finals

2022 Struddys Cup Grand Finals (Photo's - NewsCorp Sport)

Struddy’s Cup grand finals

Author : Andrew Dawson NewsCorp Sport

Struddy’s Cup grand finals – three bumper deciders here

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Studdy’s Cup grand final match day coverage, best players from a gala day of finals involving St Mary’s, Alex Hills, Caloundra SHS and Stretton State College.

St Mary's College's winning year 7 side.

St Mary’s College’s winning year 7 side.

Caloundra SHS, St Mary’s College and Stretton State College claimed premiership on a gala day of Struddy’s Cup schoolboy grand finals played at Bishop Park.

Alexandra Hills SHS were brave in losing two of the finals, pushing Caloundra to the last second in the Year 9 encounter.

The Struddy’s Cup is named after former Australian halfback and two-time Brisbane Rugby League premiership winning coach Ross Strudwick who has been a long-time supporter and sponsor of schoolboy rugby league.

Stretton State College claimed the Year 8 premiership

Stretton State College claimed the Year 8 premiership

The players of the day were: Year 7: Darius Brive (Caloundra SHS), Kade Kraut (Caloundra SHS), Hunter Tate-Roche (St Mary’s), Safin Elara (St Mary’s);

Year 8: Lexin Hill (Stretton State College), Nathan Phelps (Alexandra Hills), Sire Drinnan (Alexandra Hills), Zac Lotaki ((Stretton), Onyx Poimafiti (Stretton);

Year 9: Ellyjah Birve (Caloundra SHS), Cooper Benvenuti (Alexandra Hills SHS), Jaxon Benvenuti (Caloundra SHS)

Year 7-8 Old Boys, Renouf Shield Report

The Matches

Year 7 Caloundra SHS v St Mary’s College Toowoomba

St Mary’s College prop Safin Elara scored a crucial late try as the boys from the Darling Downs edged out Caloundra SHS 18-10 in a tremendous decider this afternoon.

After the scores were 10-all at halftime, St Mary’s produced second half tries to Elara and Nate Goulding after star centre Hunter Tate-Roche had set up the four-pointer.

St Mary's College's winning year 7 side

St Mary’s College’s winning year 7 side

But it was a beautiful piece of play from prop Elara which enabled St Mary’s to raise their lead to 18-10, five minutes from the end.

After putting his edge forward Temanu Taahi into a gap, Elara then followed on the play to storm over from a ruck run.

It was a golden piece of play by the mobile prop to give St Mary’s a down payment in the premiership.

The St Mary's captain Andrew Leach enjoys the moment

The St Mary’s captain Andrew Leach enjoys the moment

Earlier St Mary’s hit the front 16 minutes from fulltime when five-eight Cayleb O’Neil stayed alive with the ball, passing to danger man Hunter Tate-Roche who put his mobile edge forward Nate Goulding over in the corner. It was 14-10.

Caloundra almost struck back three minutes later, but defiant defence contributed to Cooper Bretherton unsuccessfully reaching out to score.

The teams were locked 10-all at halftime after a two-try half from St Mary’s centre Hunter Tate-Roche and Caloundra SHS five-eight Darius Birve.

Birve’s two tries were outstanding, powerful individual efforts while Tate-Roche was expertly feed possession by his halves, Cayleb O’Neil and Huey Geran.

St Mary's claimed the Year 7 premiership

St Mary’s claimed the Year 7 premiership

St Mary’s would have scored again late in the half, if not for an amazing effort on the goal line from Caloundra’s Kade Kraut, forcing the ball to be lost.

Respective props Oliver Harrison (Caloundra) and Safin Elara (St Mary’s) were strong in the middle, with Elara’s agility before the defensive line eye-catching.

Struddy’s Cup grand finals Scores:

St Mary’s 18

TRIES : H. Tait-Roche 2, S Elara, N Goulding
GOALS : N Scott 3

Caloundra 10

TRIES : D Birve 2
GOALS : D Birve

Player of the Year was Mountain Creek SHS’s Cayden Jennings.

The winning Caloundra SHS Year 9 side

The winning Caloundra SHS Year 9 side

Struddy’s Cup grand finals

Year 8 (Alexandra Hills SHS v Stretton State College)

Two late tries by Stretton State College elevated the side to a cherished premiership, 28-12 over Alexandra Hills SHS.

Classy centre Amon Tu’aefe and barrelling prop Aydon Barney did the damage late as Stretton pulled away from their rivals after the scores had been level at halftime.

Stretton State College fullback Hills was player of the year

Stretton State College fullback Hills was player of the year

A dummy half diving try from Dakoda Yung just after the break took Stretton State College to 16-12 after the team’s fullback Lexin Hill had again made inroads.

Two brave tackles in a row from Alex Hills’ Dayle Salut was not enough to prevent Yung from taking advantage of a retreating Alex Hill defence to score.

The score was 12-all at halftime, with a tremendous late try by Alex Hills halfback Nathan Phelps drawing his side level.

This was after Stretton State College fullback Lexin Hill had shone like a beacon as his team rebounded from an early Alexandra Hills SHS try to lead 12-6.

Stretton State College claimed the Year 8 premiership

Stretton State College claimed the Year 8 premiership

Lexin scored one try and looked a class act before his edge forward Zac Lotaki sent his centre Amon Tu’aefe racing away to score a second try.

Alex Hills had started like a house on fire, with prop Reihana Kelly’s rampaging run a great effort in a grand final. Kai Thomas’ conversion then gave Alex Hills a 6-nil break.

Alexandra Hills State High School were brave in the decider

Alexandra Hills State High School were brave in the decider

Stretton State College’s Onyx Poimafiti made a difference with his big runs and one huge tackle.

Hill was named Player of the Competition.

Scores:

Stretton State College 28
TRIES : ATu’aefe 2, L Hills, D Yung, A Barney
GOALS : L Hills 3 conv

Alexandra Hills SHS 12
TRIES : R Kelly, N Phelps
GOALS: K Thomas 2

Alex Hills players listen to coach Kevin Neighbour

Alex Hills players listen to coach Kevin Neighbour

Struddy’s Cup grand finals

Year 9 (Alexandra Hills SHS v Caloundra SHS)

Calroundra SHS held on to beat a fast finishing Alexandra Hills SHS 24-22 in the match of the day.

Caloundra SHS looked home but an inspired performance from the Alex Hills forwards dragged their side back into the match.

Alex Hills prop Cooper Benvenuti, the Player of the Competition, was enormous, scoring a try and charging to give depth to an attacking movement which saw his winger Jail Fels cross with one minute remaining. But the kick from the sideline missed and Caloundra SHS held on.

Alexandra Hills SHS prop Cooper Benvenuti was named man of the competition

Alexandra Hills SHS prop Cooper Benvenuti was named man of the competition

Two first half tries to Queensland schoolboys five-eighth Ellyjah Birve sent Caloundra SHS flying out of the blocks to lead 12-nil. And it proved the difference.

Birve ran in a beautiful early try, then forced his way over from close range with a show and go that sent his side hurtling to 12-nil.

But as halftime loomed Alexandra Hills, which had to be the next side to score, burrowed over after winger Jailan Fels crossed.

The winning Year 9 Caloundra SHS side

The winning Year 9 Caloundra SHS side

Then Alexandra Hills bookends, props Benvenuti and Jaxon Benvenuti breathed fire into their teams’ campaign after the break, storming their side into field position for edge forward Thomas Croker to slice over.

However, for the second time in the match, Alex Hills failed to secure possession after scoring and the resulting pressure saw Caloundra’s hooker Will Joyner break from the lock position in the scrum and score.

No.13 Keagan Zanchetta then backed it up with another try and at 24-12 with 12 minutes remaining, momentum was the Caloundra SHS.

But there was drama when Caloundra hooker Joyner was sent to the sin bin, leaving his side a player short for five minutes.

The Alex Hills Year 9s were beaten by a nose

The Alex Hills Year 9s were beaten by a nose

Cooper Benvenuti’s rampaging run at the Caloundra line continued with a try next to the posts and with six minutes remaining, it was 24-18 to the Coast side.

Struddy’s Cup grand finals Scores

Caloundra SHS 24

TRIES : E Birve 2, W Joyner, K Zanchetta
GOALS : E Birve 4

Alex Hills 22
TRIES : Fels 2, T Croker, C Benvenuti
GOALS : D Keenan 3

THE PREVIEW

Here we present the Players to Watch and the Unsung Heroes from their respective teams.

Former NRL coach and English Super League coach Shaun McRae addresses the young Alex Hills side

Former NRL coach and English Super League coach Shaun McRae addresses the young Alex Hills side

Alexandra Hills SHS, year 8s

Players to watch

Nathan Phelps and Kai Thomas

The halfback pairing both players very influential over the past two years. With a contrasting style of play, they complement each other well.

Unsung – Ted Black and Cooper Allen

Black, a prop, and Allen, a second rower or centre, have both progressed very well over last two years strong running resilient defenders.

Cody Harris lines up a winning semi-final kick for Alexandra Hills SHS

Cody Harris lines up a winning semi-final kick for Alexandra Hills SHS

Alexandra Hills SHS, year 9s

Alex Hills will rely on their middle unit players Cooper Benvenuti, Jaxon Peters- Falloon and Thomas Croker to lay a platform for the rest of the team to capitalise.

The side has been very well led by half back Cody Harris and backed up superbly by fullback Declan Keenan.

Stretton State College, Year 8s

Players to Watch.

Lexin Hill

The fullback and captain, Hill is the leading try scorer in the competition currently leads the Player of the Year points. He has great footwork and knowledge of the game and is the most competitive person you will meet.

Onyx Poimafiti

The prop is a hard worker on the field, the leader of the pack. He loves the challenge of big games.

Unsung

Connor Smith: A second rower in his second year og league, Smith is a great line runner, fast and great under the ball tackler.

Jai Hughes

A calm and creative half who steers the ship, Hughes is a smooth mover from a touch football player who always seems to take the right option in attack

Caloundra SHS, Year 7s

Players to watch

Oliver Smith

The young lock is his team’s forward leader who features strong running and defence. He sets a good example for the rest of the forwards.

Kade Kraut

The second rower is a tireless worker who made crucial game saving tackles in preliminary final.

Tao Chan

A hooker, Chan is a smaller forward but with a great tackle technique that keeps middle solid.

Kayan Davidson

The fullback is an exciting attacking player but also a great one-on-one defender.

Darius Birve

A five-eighth and captain, Birve features strong attacking and defensive play with leadership skills.

Caloundra SHS's Ellyjah Birve playing for Queensland Picture John Gass

Caloundra SHS’s Ellyjah Birve playing for Queensland Picture John Gass

Caloundra SHS, Year 9s

Players to watch:

Ellyjah Birve

The Queensland 15s year state representative is an obvious selection for players to watch. He is well known and every team we come up against knows him and works hard to stop him.

Birve has brought the intensity from the national carnival back to the team and has a hand in almost every try Caloundra SHS score. He is also an outstanding goal kicker who is Melbourne Storm contracted.

Keagan Zanchetta

Zanchetta is the Caloundra captain, a gifted half back with the frame of a lock forward and plays both positions well.

He represented the Sunshine Coast 15yrs side at the state titles this year in the centres. The youngster is a “follow me’’ kind of leader.

Caloundra SHS

Unsung Hero:

Xavier O’Brien

O’Brien is the kind of player every coach wants in his team. O’Brien does not have an off switch and could play every minute in the middle.

He is determined and pokes his nose through on almost every carry to get us on the front foot.

Has the ability to stop attackers in the place defensively and deserves a lot of credit for allowing our spine to strike on the back of his momentum.

Keagan Zanchetta as a junior

Keagan Zanchetta as a junior

Will Joyner

Joyner is a great defender for Caloundra SHS with a smart footy mind and a pass as accurate in the first minute and last minute.

Joyner has only been off the field for a total of 15 minutes all season and leads the team in his actions.

Without him putting the ball on a platter for our halves, Caloundra SHS wouldn’t be in the position they are.

Joyner has a habit of finding the try line this year and can transition between hooker and lock.

Caloundra SHS’s Ellyjah Birve scores for Queensland. Picture, John Gass

Caloundra SHS’s Ellyjah Birve scores for Queensland. Picture, John Gass

Caloundra SHS coaches Murray Finch (Year 9) and Andrew Gercken (Year 7) said they were both “extremely proud of the teams that have made it through to the grand final after the school’s year 8s and 10s played tier 1 Broncos competitions, while the opens fell just short of a final in the Gee Shield.

“We are the only school on the Sunshine Coast who have featured in the top tier competitions,’’ they said.

The St Mary's College Year 7 side were in the Struddy's Cup grand final

The St Mary’s College Year 7 side were in the Struddy’s Cup grand final

St Mary’s College, Year 7s

Hunter Tate-Roache and Temanu Taahi

Tate-Roache, a centre, and edge forward Taahi were both damaging ball runners. Every time they carry the ball they make an immediate impact and they show up in defence too.

St Mary's College were in the Struddy's Year 7 grand final.

St Mary’s College were in the Struddy’s Year 7 grand final.

Andrew Leach

Leach is a no nonsense type of player who cuts the legs of the opposition. He is the St Mary’s captain who leads by example

Cayleb O’Neil

A five-eight with deft ballplayer, he also doesn’t shy away from a contest. He is a player with heaps of confidence.

Safin Elara

The young prop loves hard work and often breaks the line with his tough carriers.

Unsung

Noah Davies

The St Mary’s prop has strong carries and never gets pushed back. He gives the backs all the room that they could wish for.

Oliver Nichol

One of St Mary’s impact bench players, he gives the team energy and an immediate lift when he comes on. Nichol has strong in defence and does the one per cent things well.

Studdy’s Cup Grand finals

2pm: Year 7: Caloundra SHS v St Mary’s College Toowoomba

3pm: Year 8: Alexandra Hills SHS v Stretton State College

4pm: Year 9: Alexandra Hills SHS v Caloundra SHS

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