Ipswich High repels plucky Claver College
IPSWICH State High School's firsts rugby league team confirmed their regional dominance in the Gee Shield grand final.
But they got the fright of their life along the way, coming from behind to beat St Peter Claver College's firsts 22-18 at Briggs Road Sporting Complex on Wednesday.
"I was very worried," ISHS head coach Lee Addison said.
"People who know me said it was the most animated they'd seen me on the sideline."
The reason was the way SPCC were playing, frustrating their opposition into error and using the ball well to lead 12-6 at half-time.
"Claver showed the spirit they've got," Addison said.
"Hats off to Riggsy (head coach Todd Riggs) and all their coaches.
"They were totally up for it."
Addison also had nothing but praise for SPCC captain and halfback Adrian (AJ) Elder and centre Liam Pakau.
"AJ Elder and Liam were outstanding," Addison said.
"AJ ran the show for them."
Addison suspects his team underestimated the difference between a grand final and any other encounter.
"We had everything to lose and they had everything to gain," he said.
"In the first half, we didn't respond very well to the pressure. In the second half, we switched on.
"My boys have so much belief, we're never beaten.
"At halftime, they knew they were going to be okay.
"That comes from what we've done together and the bond they've developed.
"They were calm in the face of adversity."
ISHS still had to go out and win the game in the second half against a tenacious opponent with its confidence up.
Addison praised his lock, former New Zealand under-18 representative Faitatoa Faitatoa, for dragging his team back into the contest.
Five-eighth Elgin Petersen, who started from the bench, having recently returned form injury, also showed his class.
For SPCC it was a final chance to prove they could beat this ISHS team, having lost to them earlier in the season.
A long injury list didn't help but Riggs was elated with the effort from his team.
"It was a very brave performance given the injuries and massive size difference between the two teams," Riggs said. "All those at the game were incredibly proud of the way the boys competed and nearly caused a massive upset.
"It has been a great year for the boys.
"They have left their legacy on our program once again."
Capping the day for ISHS was the success of its year 10 team in winning the De Vere Cup, beating Redbank Plains State High 36-12.
"They were the stars of the show," Addison said.
Metro Cup results
- Opens (Gee Shield): Ipswich High 22 def St Peter Claver College 18.
- Year 10 (De Vere Cup): Ipswich High 36 def Redbank Plains High 12.
- Year 9 (Metro Cup quarter-final): St Peter Claver College 44 def Centenary High 12.