GIO Schoolboys Cup semi-final preview
It's crunch time in the GIO Schoolboys Cup, with Western Sydney powerhouse Patrician Brothers Blacktown hosting Queenslanders Palm Beach Currumbin at Penrith's Sportingbet Stadium on Tuesday.
Patrician Brothers, who have rolled the likes of Penrith's Bryce Cartwright and Parramatta's Pauli Pauli off their production line in recent years, head into the clash after a hard-fought 20-16 quarter final defeat of Canberra's Erindale College.
Palm Beach Currumbin meanwhile will make the trip south after downing Hills Sports High 27-20 and will field Jed Cartwright, the 17-year-old son of former Panthers back-rower and ex-coach John at five-eighth.
Patrician coach Greg Beacroft is mindful of the need to improve their defence, with captain and Australian Schoolboy Tyrell Fuimaono expected to lead from the front.
"Letting in three tries in the second half needs to be addressed," Beacroft said. "Hopefully we can learn off that and stay strong mentally throughout the game."
"It’s a bit hard when you don’t get to play consistent footy.
"We haven’t had the chance to play as a team for a while but we’re excited and focused for the semis."
For Palm Beach mentor Geoff Bagnall, shutting down Patrician's forward pack holds the key to a first grand final appearance since 2008.
"They [Patrician Brothers] are going to have some power through their big men, so it’s important that we’re disciplined in all areas," Bagnall said.
"I was happy with how our forwards went last week, but it’s very important we match it with theirs."
The match kicks off at 11.30 am, with the winner to take on the victor of the competition's other semi between Wavell Sports High and Endeavour College.
Western Sydney's famed rugby league nursery will again be on show in the GIO Schoolboy's Trophy Final between the Penrith area's St Dominic's College and Mackillop Catholic College Warnervale, which kicks off immediately after at 1 pm.