QLD GPS: The Southport School 2019 GPS Season Preview
TSS fell one match short of claiming the 2018 GPS Premiership, following a narrow loss to Nudgee in one of the best games of schoolboy rugby you’ll see.
A number of players from that side return in 2019, a fact that has a lot of opposition coaches worried ahead of round one on Saturday.
Overview with Mike Wallace:
“It’s been a hard preseason and the boys have focussed in on the things that make Australian rugby strong – core skills, decision making, a little bit of creativity,” Wallace said.
“Those are the key components of why Australian rugby has been good for so long and why we’re going to good again.
“I don’t like to look too much into trial form, I don’t think it means much.
“The focus at TSS for the last 10 years has been on growing people through rugby and using rugby as a tool to educate young men and make them good people. Part of that is hard work, attention to detail, discipline, they’re the key themes for us.
“We’re also pretty blessed to have some high end academic kids in our program, so we’ve also got to be mindful of that and make sure we manipulate our program so that we can accomodate their academic needs because that’s always the number one priority.
“Last year was a very successful season. The boys learnt a lot about rugby and a lot about themselves.
“The match against Nudgee really was a great game of rugby and everyone I’ve spoken to seemed to really enjoy themselves.
“We want boys playing our game because it’s fun and we want people watching our game for the same reason and I think anyone that was at that game last year would have left pretty satisfied, even if they weren’t happy with the end result.
“In saying that, last season was last season and it’s got no relevance to this year.”
“Like all TSS boys in general, they’re just really good human beings. They work hard for one another, they care deeply about their community. Playing first XV at TSS isn’t about playing rugby, it’s about being part of the school and having a positive role within the school and this year’s group has been exceptional in that regard.
“We’ve got a few guys returning. Zane Nonggorr at tighthead prop is our captain. Wilson Blyth is our vice captain. Jesse Grey at inside centre is our other vice captain so they’re all pretty critical to our performance along with Dion Samuela, who has a lot of experience.
“Then we’ve got a lot of new boys pushing through and that’s why last year has no relevance to this group. Last year was last year but this is a new group with a new challenge.”
Key areas of improvement:
“If you’ve been watching TSS rugby for the last 10 years, you’ll know that there’s only one way to play.
“We always focus on the same thing every year. We work with the boys to develop their core skills and if their core skills are good enough and they can adapt to different situations, then they’ll leave our program as better footballers than when they started.
Hopes and expectations for the season:
“I hope the boys enjoy it and I hope they want to continue to play rugby at the end of the season, that’s my one, single goal every year.
“We want the boys to graduate and continue to want to play rugby and we’ve traditionally had a high retention rate in that regard.”
Bold prediction for 2019:
“It’s going to be interesting. As always I think the boldest prediction you can make is to not try and predict anything.
“Like any first XV rugby, it’s really, really high quality rugby to watch and it’s kids enjoying themselves and that’s the main thing.
“My bold prediction is that anyone that comes along and watches a game will really enjoy themselves and want to come back again. Hopefully they’ll take that enjoyment and also go and support the Reds and the Wallabies because we need to get behind our teams.”