The final countdown has begun in a huge week for the Rugby League Program of Excellence at Redcliffe State High School.
Despite disruptions caused by COVID-19, the program has junior teams battling for finals places and its Opens (Years11-12) are on the cusp of reaching the Gee Shield final.
The Opens travel to Easts Carina on Wednesday to face Coombabah, from the Gold Coast, in the semi-final of the Gee Shield, kick-off 4pm.
That follows Tuesday’s Struddys Cup matches against Stretton College on the Redcliffe SHS oval – Year 8 at 2pm, Year 7 at 3pm and Year 9 at 4pm.
It’s quite an achievement after the program of excellence had to stop and then restart in Term 3 following the lockdown.
“When you think about it, this has been a very pleasing year for the school,” Program Director Scott Murray says.
“The hardest thing was not knowing if the competition was going ahead. Then, within a couple of weeks, we were and thankfully we always work to being ready.
“Tuesdays and Wednesdays tend to be footy days and this week is big for us.”
The Opens reached their semi-final after finishing second in a shortened pool program. They only lost once, “right on the bell”, Scott says.
The Struddys Cup is a new competition to give those outside the top schools’ competition, competitive fixtures.
Entering tomorrow’s fixtures, Redcliffe SHS Year 7s are undefeated, the Year 8s are mid-table and the Year 9s could finish in top two and make the finals if they beat Stretton.
The Program of Excellence is celebrating its 20th year and has produced NRL stars such as Queensland and Australia half-back Daly Cherry-Evans, Queensland and Broncos forward Josh Maguire and Josh Kerr, a forward at St George Dragons.
The course covers six semesters in Years 7-9 on skills and physical development with three lessons per week, plus competitions and camps.
This leads into the Senior School Program of Excellence for Years 10-12, with three lessons each week, a three-day camp, refereeing certificate and fitness qualification.
Endorsed by the Redcliffe Leagues Club, the program provides the only route on the peninsula into Broncos-sponsored competitions the Gee Shield, DeVere Cup and Renouf Shield.
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Photography supplied by: Herdo Photography