Stars of the future shine in schoolboys' rugby competition
FULLBACK Caelan Maladay was named Player of the Final when St John's College Woodlawn won the inaugural Len Diett Shield open schoolboys' rugby union competition.
Maladay captained the side and was well supported by centre Ethan Mumford and No 8 Dylan Tulk in the 24-12 win against Xavier Catholic College at Quays Reserve, Ballina, on Monday.
The competition comprised 10 teams and has been running for the past few months, with the best schoolboy talent from across the Far North Coast taking part.
Xavier had already made the final of the NSW Waratah Cup last week while Woodlawn is better known for winning rugby league competitions.
"We're very happy with the boys' efforts, they've worked hard across the whole competition," Woodlawn coach Nick Jones said.
"There is some real stars of the future out there for the Far North Coast zone.
"Blake Davis has gone on to under-16s schoolboys representative games this year and they're a bunch of boys who just love their footy.
"Caelan has done well all season, too. He led well from the back and they're execution was pretty spot on.
"There is a few of us who have been plugging the cause for rugby over the last few years and we've had great support from our sports coordinator and school executives.
"We're very proud to win this one and it's nice for boys to get a trophy in the cabinet to go next to the rugby league ones."
The competition was set up with the support of NSW Rugby development officer Tom Davidson and local coaches Chris Hickey and Jeff Watt.
Hickey, a former NSW Waratahs coach, hopes it will help reignite a FNC Colts club competition for U18s next season.
"The standard of the final was outstanding and it was an important step to establish a schoolboy competition here," Hickey said.
"We always felt there was a demand there after talking to some of the teachers across the schools.
"Tom Davidson worked really hard to get everything in place and it all came together from there.
"Hopefully a lot of these boys will flow into the Colts competition because that's the future of rugby up here.
"We hope other schools will have a look at this and if we can get another couple of teams next year, we'll be really satisfied."