St Edmund's Open rugby league player Ethan Bauer delivers a pass.
St Edmund's Open rugby league player Ethan Bauer delivers a pass. Cordell Richardson

Future bright as rookies fly colours in AIC

RUGBY LEAGUE: A St Edmund's College year 6 team drawn from local primary schools has dominated the maiden AIC season.

After romping to comprehensive victories in the opening three matches, the outfit comprising students who intend to attend the Ipswich college next year, enters a round four rendezvous with sporting powerhouse Marist Ashgrove.

Coach Chris Purcell said it had been a brilliant season and the success had been fantastic for staff and students involved in the fledgling program but the challenge was to build on that platform and ensure players with the most potential remained at St Edmund's.

He said players had been learning how to play every position rather than specialising and this had resulted in them displaying an attacking brand of football which ensured each team member felt included and was enjoying themselves.

He said developing total play would benefit the kids in the long-term, equipping them with a variety of skills and keeping them involved in the game into the future.

"They are learning a lot about the game from a different perspective,” he said.

"There is also an element of fun because there is always something new to test their skills.”

Many in the year six team already play club league, union or touch football. They have taken to the entertaining style of play like ducks to water and are excelling. The Rookie outfit joins the year 9s as the school's only undefeated teams.

The talent-rich unit will be hoping it can continue its winning form against Marist Ashgrove at Iona College tomorrow.

The rugby league offering is part of the St Edmund's Rookie program, which allows prospective students and parents to visit the campus roughly two days each term and sample what the college has to offer in terms of its sporting and cultural programs, and curriculum.

Some 50 hopefuls attended a trial and a squad of 22 was selected. Only 17 can take the field each week, so players sit out on a rotational basis.

Purcell said families often struggled to adjust to sport being held on Saturdays and it was hoped introducing them to the AIC competition in advance would make for a smooth transition.

"It introduces them to that experience early and allows us to provide support around the programs on offer,” he said.

"It also gives us a chance to showcase that you are no longer in the Ipswich fish bowl and you can extend outside of the local area and face some of the premier Brisbane schools.”

Game Day

AIC Rugby League Competition Rd 4: Tomorrow - St Edmund's College v Marist Ashgrove.

Games start hourly from 9.30am with 1st XIII kicking off at 2.40pm.

Tomorrow's livestreamed games feature Iona College and St Patrick's Shornecliffe from 12.30pm.

Visit www.qt.com.au to check out how to view the latest AIC matches live.

Tom Bushnell