SECONDARY students from across western Victoria converged on Warrnambool yesterday for Greater Western Region football and soccer finals.
Mack Oval, Walter Oval and Harris Street Reserve came to life as the year 7 and 8 students put school pride on the line.
Warrnambool College emerged as the big winner and will have strong representation in both sports at School Sport Victoria (SSV) quarter-finals.
The school claimed year 7 boys’ football honours, defeating Colac’s Trinity College, Horsham’s St Bridget’s College and Ballarat High School.
Football coach Adam Dowie said Jay Rantall, Harry Boyd, Tate Porter and ruckman Connor Hinkley led the way.
“The other sides we played, they had some really good movers and pretty big players. We were more even across the board,” he said.
“We definitely used the ball better than the other sides. That was one thing we were pretty big on.
“Most of the boys who played are in our academy, they’ve been training together for a while now.”
Two soccer sides also progressed. The year 7 boys defeated Ballarat’s Phoenix Community College 4-1, thanks to a hat-trick from Darcy Johnstone.
The year 8 girls beat Ballarat High School 5-2, with Isabel Wilkinson scoring four goals. The year 7 girls progressed by default.
Soccer coach Luke Howlett said the defences held up well in both matches, welcome signs from such young players.
“The boys played that really well compared to the other teams, they did a good job stopping them,” he said.
“They have a couple of good players who can get around the others further up the field, like Darcy Johnstone and Ollie King.
“The girls were the same. Isabel Wilkinson kicked four goals but the rest of the girls played outstanding, they’ve improved out of sight within a year.”
Emmanuel College was also celebrating after upstaging Trinity College, Horsham College and Ballarat High School in the year 8 boys’ football competition.
Coach Sean Fitzgibbon said the side failed to progress past regional level last year but made amends in convincing fashion.
“The message was playing with your mates from school is a rare honour so make the most of it, enjoy it, have fun and the rest will take care of itself,” he said.
SSV football quarter-finals are in the second week of August, while the soccer quarter-finals are not until early September.