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Melbourne school to fly flag for Victoria in schoolboys final

Mount Ridley College student, Dean Ieremia, who will take part in the NSW Trophy Final on Tuesday, is hoping to follow in the footsteps of hundreds of others players that have emerged from the NRL Schoolboys competition.

The 17-year-old joined the school in the northern suburbs of Melbourne at the start of this year and is in the first of a two-year contract with Melbourne Storm.

Ieremia has also been selected in the Victorian under-18's side, the Combined Affiliated States team in the under 18's National Championships, along with the Victorian Thunderbolts during a hectic 2018.

The school's rugby league coach and PE teacher, Hamish Pearce, said his fullback will be one to keep an eye on when they take on Patrician Brothers Fairfield at Campbelltown Stadium on Tuesday.

"Since transferring schools, he's [Ieremia] been a great addition to our rugby league program this year," Pearce said.

"He is extremely talented for a 17-year-old - he's a natural leader on the field, he's fast, he's a very hard worker and his ability to read the play is exceptional.

"One player in the NRL that I would compare him to is probably Roger Tuivasa-Sheck – he just has that same ability to turn a game in an instant."

The rugby league program was introduced to the school in 2017 with just 12 students participating. Pearce said being one of just three schools in Melbourne that run an academy has provided yet another pathway for their young talented players.

"There was a demand for rugby league down here," Pearce said.

"In an AFL strong-hold, it was very important to create another pathway, especially through school, for our young footballers.

"It's an opportunity that the school gives in the northern suburbs of Melbourne that other schools don't offer."

With 30 students actively now involved in the school's league program and this being their third year in the NRL's Schoolboys Cup, Pearce said the side is continuing to get stronger each year.

"All the boys are proud to be representing the school and the state of Victoria in a NSW dominated competition," Pearce said.

"The boys made a goal for themselves at the start of the competition that they wanted to be the first Victorian team to make it this far and they've achieved it.

"If you look at the team from last year to this year, they have a completely different attitude and we've developed a different style of play.

"Most of the boys play in the same team on weekends so we have that cohesion already so it's just been about fine-tuning a few things.

"Our defence would have to be the strong point of our game - across the eight games that we've played I think we have only conceded five tries."

Their opponents in Patrician Brothers Fairfield made it to the NSW Trophy Final last year but were upset by Saint John's College, Woodlawn.

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