St Patricks Primary School open rugby league team wins NSW All-Schools Carnival

St Patrick's Primary School has a proud history of rugby league success stories.

But nothing compares to what they've achieved this year.

After a huge All-Schools campaign our opens boys headed to last Wednesday's grand finals in Penrith to take on Nurrawa Public - a side full of kids that would make grown men quake.

"They were man-mountains," coach Ben Lawler said.

Photo courtesy of NSWRL and NRL Photos

Photo courtesy of NSWRL and NRL Photos

But, David was not ready to start being beaten down by Goliath now.

In front of a packed and very enthusiastic crowd - including a huge contingent from home - the boys put on an almost faultless game of footy.

After the first half, the score was locked at six all.

But the second half proved what champions they grow in Macksville.

With two more tries to the St Pat's boys, they cemented their place in history (16-6).

For the first time in the school's history, and that of Group 2, the Nambucca Valley can boast the champion rugby league team of NSW.

But that's not the whole shebang...not by a long shot.

What made this victory all the more remarkable was that due to a player shortage, the side almost didn't compete at all.

Four of the winning team had stepped up two age brackets to help; fill-ins from the Under 10s.

And for one player, the finals match was only his second game of rugby league in his life.

Not to mention, the team's talented halfback - Toby Batten - was away playing for NSW on state representative duties.

But the St Pat's team surmounted all those obstacles and still came out best on the day.



"Foremost in our minds is the reality that each year's successes, especially this year's are built on the back of previous years' achievements and disappointments," coach Ben Lawler said.

"To borrow a phrase from one of our parents - 'the school teams have been knocking on the door of the title for years now', and the dream is now a reality."

NRL Development Officer for the North Coast Garry Stevenson attended a special school assembly yesterday to present medals to our state champions.

"To succeed against such big schools and players down in Sydney is such a huge achievement," he said.

To do what they've done is such a big win for the area because it'll inspire others to participate.

The Under 10s side - Group 2 champions - played valiantly down in Sydney too, but drew an impossible pool which contained a former state champion team as well as the eventual winning side.

But that team too hit a milestone, with Poppi Flanders being the first girl to score a try for the school in a finals match.

"I think we'll be seeing big things from Poppi in future - I've got a gut feeling about it," Mr Lawler said.

"The Under 10s should be proud of their efforts and their experience will no doubt bolster future efforts by St Pat's for another shot at the title."

With this amount of talent in the younger grades, St Pat's is looking very good indeed to successfully defend their state title in 2020.

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