Illawarra’s best high school rugby league players have played through atrocious weather conditions on a fiercely-contested final day of the Southern NSW Secondary Schools Championships at Albion Park.
With schools in southern NSW taking part in five gala days throughout the term, last Wednesday's finals day saw 23 teams filled with students aged from under 13s up to opens compete for overall southern NSW crowns.
“The region has a strong history and tradition of school rugby league, with all the local Dragons legends playing in the respective competitions when they were at school,” NRL Game Development Officer Jonathon Dallas said.
“This day, along with our local days could not have been possible without the joint effort and support of the Country Rugby League and St George Illawarra Dragons demonstrating that grassroots and school Rugby League is extremely healthy in our area.
“It is also the fourth year that our women’s league tag divisions have been running alongside the boys tackle division which highlights the strength of the female participation of our game throughout the region.”
The marquee event, the Ben Hornby Opens Shield, was taken out by Narooma High School who edged Edmund Rice College 12 points to 8 in a tight affair.
That match was not as tight as the Dean Young Under 16s Shield final, however, with Kiama High School claiming a one-point victory over Corpus Christi.
Kiama featured in five of the six finals contested, winning the under 16s final as well as the Shaun TImmins Under 13s Shield with a victory over Figtree High. The under 14s also came out victorious, claiming the Illawarra Steelers Shield in a round robin competition.
Holy Spirit College and Warilla High School were victorious in the two girls league tag divisions, with Holy Spirit claiming the under 16s title and Warilla taking out the under 14s competition.
The winning schools will go on to represent southern NSW at the Country Cup semi-finals and NSW All Schools in term three.