NEW DIRECTION: After participating in the Confraternity Shield carnival for years, St Edmund's students will have the chance to battle rival schools in the newly formed AIC rugby league competition. Jake Turpin presents the St Edmund's Confraternity Shield players with their jerseys earlier this year. Logan Spark, Mark Hennelly, Tom Chandler, Ethan Bauer, Tom Hall and principal Diarmuid O'Riordan.
NEW DIRECTION: After participating in the Confraternity Shield carnival for years, St Edmund's students will have the chance to battle rival schools in the newly formed AIC rugby league competition. Jake Turpin presents the St Edmund's Confraternity Shield players with their jerseys earlier this year. Logan Spark, Mark Hennelly, Tom Chandler, Ethan Bauer, Tom Hall and principal Diarmuid O'Riordan. Rob Williams

St Edmund's joins exciting new rugby league era

RUGBY LEAGUE: St Edmund's College heralds a new sporting era on Saturday when the maiden AIC Rugby League competition gets underway at Sandgate.

The Ipswich college is rich in football tradition, with notable old boys including Brisbane Broncos Jake Turpin and Joe Ofahengaue, and it is thrilled to be able to offer a chance to enjoy the code to more students than ever before.

Previously, St Edmund's participation in rugby league was limited to Confraternity Shield and only year 11 and 12 students had access.

AIC Rugby League Program co-ordinator David Mills said the group of south-east independent colleges had been prompted to introduce rugby league and Aussie rules as a result of recommendations suggested by a review conducted by the University of Queensland.

He said the survey of students, parents and staff determined that the two popular sports should be added to the co-curricular offering.

"There was a feeling that people wanted rugby league included," he said.

Mills said given St Edmund's was entrenched in rugby league heartland, the school was excited to be involved in the fledgling competition.

He said the addition of rugby league allowed the school to offer greater opportunity to more boys to take part in the co-curricular program for a longer period of time across the year.

No sports have been axed. Eddies will still enter the typical rugby union, basketball and tennis competitions, with students expected to benefit from cross training and the acquisition of transferrable skills.

Mills said there had been much interest among students, eager to represent their school in their preferred code or try their hand at the 13-man game.

He said as well as year 7,8,9,10 and Open outfits, the school would also enter a team comprising 22 year six students from local primary schools, who have committed to attending St Edmund's in 2020 and shown interest in pursuing rugby league.

Mills said St Edmund's teams would be ready to hit the ground running with many pupils already playing locally in the Rugby League Ipswich Competition but he expected them to face stiff opposition.

He said a trial against St Laurences College had filled everyone involved with the confidence that St Edmund's would secure more wins than losses throughout the round robin.

The Firsts performed admirably at the Confraternity Shield at Bundaberg, recording three wins from six matches.

Mills said the squad gained confidence from strong wins in its last two matches of the carnival and many of the same players would return for the AIC tilt.

GREAT VIEWING

Inaugural Associated Independent Colleges Rugby League competition Rd 1, from 8.30am Saturday: St Edmund's College v Villanova College at Curlew Park, Sandgate.

St Edmund's College is among the seven schools involved in the inaugural competition. QT readers will get a chance to catch the action with one Open's clash livestreamed on our website each weekend.

Each of the seven participating schools will field one team from Year 5 to Year 10 inclusive, before the prized First XIII matches get underway at 2.40pm. Live and exclusive livestreaming will be featured each Saturday.

Visit www.qt.com.au on the morning of each match to check out the exciting livestreaming opportunities.