GIO Schoolboys Cup quarter finals preview
The GIO Schoolboys Cup is heating up with the competition's quarter finals pitting the heavyweights of schoolboy rugby league against each other on Tuesday.
Out at Penrith's Sportingbet Stadium Endeavour Sports High takes on Tamworth's Farrer MAHS in the first match kicking off at 11am.
The Carringbah-based Endeavour school has produced current NRL young guns Alex Johnston and Fa'amanu Brown in recent years, and will enter the clash heavy favourites having won their two preliminary matches against Hunter Sports 38-6 and Matraville 48-10.
Last year's runner's up and 2012 champions Patrician Brothers Blacktown host Canberra's Erindale College in the second match of the afternoon, with Erindale out to avenge a 28-0 loss to the Sydneysiders earlier in the competition.
Patrician Brothers head coach, Greg Beacroft, is expecting a much-improved Erindale side, which will feature the return of a number of key players that did not play in that loss.
“They [Erindale College] have good players all over the field,” Beacroft said. “They’re the improvers in the competition who are playing with a lot of confidence. They’re going to be hard to beat.”
Up north of the border, Wynnum Manly's Kougari Oval plays host to Wavell State High, who finished on top of the Queensland schools competition and Sydney's Matraville Sports High.
South Sydney stars Adam Reynolds and Dylan Walker are both recent graduates of the Matraville nursery in recent years, and coach Scott Murray has identified Liam Coleman, the son of former Rabbitohs legend Craig as one to watch.
“Injuries have hurt us this year, taking out some of the bite in our forward pack but other players have stood up and really impressed," Murray said.
"Grant Garvey our hooker has had a break-out season finding himself in the Sydney Roosters under 20’s side and our halfback Liam Coleman has been really strong as well.”
Traditional Queensland powerhouse Palm Beach Currumbin do battle with 2011 titleholders Hills Sports High in the second match. Hills are undefeated thus far in 2014, though PBC coach Geoff Bagnell says his side possesses the firepower up front to match the Hills outfit.
“I think it’s going to come down to a battle between the forwards," said Bagnell.
If our forwards can get on top early we can take the game away from them. We have a good pack and they know the job that they have to do. If all goes to plan in the middle we can get the ball to some of our outside backs who know how to get the ball over the line.”
The winners of each quarter final will progress through to the competition's semi-finals, set to played on Tuesday 26th and Wednesday 27th August at venues to be confirmed.