GPS Rugby Team of the Year 2019 unveiled
After nine short weeks of competition, the 2019 GPS rugby season is in the books and the time to reflect is upon us.
The Southport School's ruthless attacking game carried them to the title with the third-most points scored of any First XV in competition history.
10 players from that champion side have been voted in to the 2019 Team of the Season by voters, who submitted more than 44,000 votes to The Courier-Mail's survey.
Brisbane Boys' College was the next best represented school with eight players selected.
Two Nudgee College standouts and one Ipswich Grammar player were also voted in.
15. DION SAMUELA, TSS (46.04%)
Southport's resident hot-stepper shredded defences all year, scoring six tries and creating another seven over eight games. Samuela accrued the most votes of any single player in 2019's competition.
14. JACK BOWEN-BOWYER, BBC (29.42%)
The Melbourne Storm signing battled injuries to start the year and that rust showed in a vital match against TSS. Bowen-Bowyer was below his best that game but rebounded to help his side close out the year undefeated, including a watershed victory over Nudgee College at Ross Oval.
13. JOJO FIFITA, TSS (38.79%)
The 16-year-old centre scored eight tries in eight matches through a combination of power, speed and game sense. As impressive was Fifita's lockdown defence, ending the season with the second-most tackles of any back at 92% accuracy.
12. LUKAS RIPLEY, BBC (34.07%)
Ripley's four try, 34-point performance in Round Nine was a clear reminder of the strike power the Samoan-born, Mackay-raised inside back brought to his team. Ripley's disciplined straight running stressed defences and created the space for impressive centre partner Jack Howarth to run roughshod over opposition teams.
11. HAMISH ROBERTS, TSS (45.7%)
Few players, if any, have reached the highs of winger Hamish Roberts on the scoreboard in 2019. Roberts led all tryscorers with 11 on the season while adding 95 points from the boot, ending the year with 149 points. Roberts broke the line on 13 occasions and added six try assists.
10. SYRIS SCHMIDT, TSS (31.34%)
Southport's rookie flyhalf filled the boots of 2018 ace Campbell Parata capably, learning the ropes of First XV football and bringing out the best in the backline around him. Schmidt broke 12 tackles, assisted on four tries and tackled above 90% accuracy.
9. KALANI THOMAS, IGS (23.38%)
One half of Ipswich Grammar's electric playmaking combination, Kalani Thomas produced as fine a season performance as any scrumhalf in competition history. Read that again - as fine a performance as any scrumhalf in GPS history. His mouth-watering statline; seven tries, 13 try assists, 25 defenders beaten and 12 linebreaks from just 52 carries.
He lead his position in practically every metric and was top five across all positions, bar tackle and carry volume.
8. GEORGE GIBSON, BBC (29.71%)
BBC No.8 George Gibson's work over the off-season paid off, adding 15 kilograms of mass to a previously wiry frame to ensure he could mix it with the big boys of First XV rugby. Gibson was a workhorse on which BBC built their best season in 20 years, finishing second.
7. NGIYAANI WATERS, TSS (30.06%)
How many openside flankers have created so much in attack as Ngiyaani Waters in 2019? The wide-running machine scored five tries and set up a further four with more chip-and-chase kicks than you could poke a stick at. Waters didn't shirk his traditional duties either, nabbing six pilfers.
6. MICHAEL VAN DER SCHYFF, TSS (33.05%)
The Southport School's blindside flanker played his role perfectly in 2019, tackling at above 90% while establishing himself as a ball-hawking lineout jumper. Opposition set piece was constantly under threat when van der Schyff was on the hunt.
5. MARLON JONES, TSS (31.3%)
A key workhorse in the TSS pack, Marlon Jones trucked the ball up and tackled unceasingly, racking up 64 carries and 80 tackles at 95 per cent accuracy. He was also one of the competition's most effective lineout jumpers.
4. WILSON BLYTH, TSS (47.5%)
TSS vice-captain Wilson Blyth was consistently a top performer for his side, providing leadership and strong play on the field. With Michael van der Schyff, Blyth was at the heart of a TSS lineout corps that ruled the skies above the Shark Tank and around the GPS.
3. ZANE NONGGORR, TSS (31.93%)
The slimmed-down figure of Zane Nonggorr was a lightning rod for his team, able to change the momentum in a match with a rumbling charge or dainty offload. Nonggorr was the cornerstone of the competition's most dominant scrum.
2. JAMES DURHEIM, BBC (35.78%)
The Lismore product provided a hard edge to a BBC forward pack that struggled in that department last year. With physicality from Durheim and co up front, BBC fought fire with fire throughout the season, toppling Nudgee and coming close to beating TSS.
1. GEORGE BLAKE, TSS (30.21%)
Prop George Blake lacked the representative credentials of many of the opposition props he faced off against each week but clearly he must have forgotten. Blake was a sledgehammer in general play and an anchor that put his fancied opposites on rollerskates in the scrum.
16. Harry Vousty, TSS (24.77%)
17. Andrew Romano, BBC (21.5%)
18. Jake Tierney, BBC (27.15%)
19. Jacob Blyton, BBC (13.85%)
20. Titi Nofoagatota, NC (19.88%)
21. Hudson Meyer, TSS (22.42%)
22. Reesjan Pasitoa, NC (19.96%)
23. Jack Howarth, BBC (34.56%)
Flyhalf Sam Walker (IGS), Flanker Jock Thompson (NC), centre Lastus Auakai (NC), prop Harry Vella (NC), centre Glen Vaihu (GT), flanker Dougal Grey (TGS), prop Linston Tafa-Tuimavave (BSHS)