Complete guide to the 2021 GPS Rugby Season
The 2021 GPS Rugby season kicks off in Brisbane on Saturday with Brisbane Boys’ College looking to defend their title after winning the school’s first outright premiership in 2020.
To kick start our comprehensive coverage of the competition, Rugby News spoke to all nine first XV coaches to get the inside word on the season ahead.
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Brisbane Boys’ College
BBC won the school’s first ever outright GPS premiership in 2020, beating Brisbane State High in the final game of the season.
Coach Steve Kefu said he knows it’ll be harder again this season though, but seems confident his side can be in the mix again at the pointy end of the season.
Overview with Steve Kefu:
“We’re just getting over a few injuries that we picked up earlier in the trial period, but those guys are slowly coming back,” Kefu told Rugby News.
“Overall though, we’re tracking pretty well. We played a tough game on the weekend and lost to Churchie but we learn a lot from that match. The loss came at the right time of the season and I’m hoping it turns out to be a bit of a wake up call for the boys.”
Brisbane Grammar coach Phil Mooney said he’s hopeful a squad mixed with youth and experience will have what it takes to challenge the big guns of GPS Rugby this season.
Grammar travel to Southport to face TSS on Saturday and will look to build on some promising form through the trials.
Overview with Phil Mooney:
“We’re reasonably happy with where we’re at ahead of round one this weekend, we play Southport at Southport and that’s a great way to start the year,” Mooney told Rugby News.
“We had our rugby camp last week and that was really positive. From a wider program perspective, it was great to see the young under 11 boys get their first taste of things. Our first XV also had a really productive few days.
Brisbane State High
Brisbane State High head into the 2021 season full on confidence on the back of a strong preseason and their Centenary celebrations earlier this year.
Pat Byron’s side want to emulate the efforts of the undefeated 2016 State High side but begin their campaign on Saturday against a competition heavyweight.
Overview with Pat Byron:
“It’s looking pretty good at the moment and the boys are feeling confident heading into the start of the season on the back of a good preseason,” Byron told Rugby News.
“We just got back from a camp at Alex Headlands last week and had a win over Ipswich Grammar on Saturday.”
Churchie will have to wait a few more days to kick start their 2021 GPS campaign after a bye in round one but head in to the season full of confidence.
New coach Ryan Schultz watched his team upset BBC in a trial last weekend but still thinks his side has plenty of room for improvement in the weeks ahead.
Overview with Ryan Schultz:
“We’ve got the bye in round one, so that gives us a little bit of extra time to refine our critical skills and structures before finalising preparations for the start of the season,” Schultz told Rugby News.
“Being new to the school this year, I cannot fault the squads application so far. They’ve trained together with determination throughout the preseason and have all been committed to growing and developing themselves both on and off the field.”
Ipswich Grammar were one of the form teams throughout last year’s trial period but couldn’t quite replicate that form when the competition eventually kicked off in 2020.
A number of exciting players return from last year’s campaign though and coach Kieran Moffat seems optimistic about the season ahead.
Overview with Kieran Moffat:
“The boys have progressed really well as we have moved through pre-season. There has been a big focus on the fundamental skills of the game and developing a strong culture within the group,” Moffat told Rugby News.
“There have been some promising signs throughout our trials. Developing consistency is a priority as we move towards the season though.
Toowoomba Grammar head in to the 2021 GPS season with an experienced squad featuring a number of players with first XV experience.
They face defending premiers BBC in their opening clash this weekend.
Overview with David Enfantie:
“Everything is looking pretty good at the moment and I know all the boys are really excited to get stuck in to the start of the season,” Enfantie told Rugby News.
“I think everyone is just really grateful that we’re getting to play rugby this year. A lot of people are doing it pretty tough at the moment, particularly down in Sydney so we’re all very fortunate to be in this position.”
A number of former old boys have returned to take the reins at Gregory Terrace ahead of the 2021 GPS season.
Following a mid table finish in 2020, Gregory Terrace travel to Ipswich to kick start their campaign this weekend.
Overview with Michael Broad:
“It’s been a bit of an interesting preseason for us. We had the original coach resign at Easter to coach elsewhere and they were looking for someone to step in,” Broad told Rugby News.
“I’ve been involved with the school for a long time so I was really excited about the opportunity to work with a really good group of coaches around me. We’ve got Nick Stiles, Mark Chisholm and Michael Tunny coaching as well.”
Nudgee came within one win of another GPS premiership in 2020 but couldn’t match it with BBC in the biggest game of the season last year.
Andrew Scotney welcomes back a handful of exciting players from that campaign though and will unleash the next generation of Nudgee stars when round one begins this weekend.
Overview with Andrew Scotney:
“We’re pretty happy with where we are at at this point. We’ve been pretty solid through the trials and we had a great camp,” Scotney said.
“We do have four or five boys who are looking to be ready for round one who are coming back from injuries, but we’re hoping they’ll be right to go.”
The Southport School
One bad afternoon that led to a loss to eventual premiers Brisbane Boys College was all that stood between The Southport School and another GPS premiership.
TSS coach Mike Wallace admitted it’s been hard to gauge exactly where his team is at ahead of round one, but welcomes back several key players from last year’s campaign as his side looks to go one better.
Overview with Mike Wallace:
“We haven’t seen the kids for the past two weeks so hopefully they’ve been behaving themselves and doing some training,” Wallace told Rugby News.
“We’ve got a really good bunch of kids this year that have been working hard on the core fundamentals of our game. We’ve been trying to upskill the players right across the team and we’ve been focussing hard on that. We focus more on skill and team work than we do on structure and that’s continued this preseason.”