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St Mary’s claims Confraternity shield with inspiration from Johnathan Thurston

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Rugged clash: St Mary’s College, Toowoomba player Samuel Elara on the attack against St Patrick’s College, Mackay in a game at the Confraternity Carnival 2018. Photo: Academy Photography.

ST Mary’s College, Toowoomba, matched the precision of its best-known modern rugby league graduate when it stormed to victory in the Confraternity Shield final in Charters Towers last week.

St Mary’s 42-6 win over St Peter Claver College, Riverview, delivered south-east Queensland its first Confraternity Shield in 13 years and highlighted another strong batch of young players from the Darling Downs region.

Confraternity veterans still recall the brilliance of Johnathan Thurston when he wore St Mary’s butcher stripes at the Confraternity Carnival, following the likes of the Walker brothers who helped deliver three shield titles to St Mary’s in the 1990s.

Thurston’s inspiration and advice had been a key motivation for St Mary’s last week.

Hooker Jake Simpkin, halfback Jordan Lipp and backrower Tate McCormick were among St Mary’s best as the Toowoomba team surged past a St Peter Claver College team that never gave in.

“This means a lot to the school and to the wider community,” St Mary’s coach Rob Anderson said.

“We’ve been working towards this in recent years.

“We had about seven players who were backing up from last year’s carnival.

“They learned a lot about it then because we play six games in four days.

“It’s a really tough carnival and our learnings from last year were a huge help this week.”

St Mary’s were the only unbeaten Division 1 team, edging Townsville powerhouse Ignatius Park College in the semi-final.

Ignatius Park claimed third place with a 24-6 win over The Cathedral College, Rockhampton.

The carnival brought together 48 teams – almost all Catholic schools – from across Queensland and northern New South Wales for the 39th annual event.

  After the qualifying matches, the teams were sorted into pools of eight to play for the Confraternity Shield, Trophy, Plate, Bowl, Cup and Challenge.

St Brendan’s, Yeppoon, claimed the second-tier Bob Lindner Trophy with a 38-12 win over Marist College, Ashgrove while the Confraternity Plate went to Iona College, Lindum with a 46-0 win over St Michael’s College, Merrimac.

Iona College’s trophy was its first in rugby league since 1978 and added another notch to the growing rugby league participation of Brisbane’s Associated Independent Colleges.

The traditional rugby union schools announced in May that rugby league would become a full-term sport in 2019.

Six of the eight AIC schools contested this Confraternity Carnival.

The locals celebrated when host college Columba Catholic College edged Charters Towers’ rivals Blackheath and Thornburgh College in the Confraternity Bowl final.

An honorary team of the carnival’s best players was named, featuring six players from the Shield final.

Broncos-contracted hooker Simpkin was named the player of the carnival and the player of the grand final.

The Confraternity Carnival is staged by the Queensland Independent Secondary Schools’ Rugby League with this year’s matches hosted by Columba Catholic College. The fields were turned out in superb order.

QISSRL president Peter Elmore rated the carnival as a success.

“This carnival is always about spirit, fair play, fellowship and all of the good qualities of sportsmanship,” Mr Elmore said.

“We saw that throughout the week. I congratulate all players and team officials for the outstanding way in which they played.

“We look forward to the 40th Confraternity Carnival next year to be hosted by Shalom College, Bundaberg.”

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