Woodlawn league of champions
By STEVE SPINKS
WHEN the St John's College Woodlawn Under-14 rugby league team takes the field today in the semi-final of the Cochrane Cup against John Thierry College, Campbelltown, at Woodlawn Oval they do so with a heavy burden of history.
Woodlawn is a rugby league stronghold.
The Under-14 team is the defending champions in the Cochrane Cup which is the Catholic and Independent Schools' Statewide knockout.
Woodlawn progressed to the semi-finals with victories over Xavier Catholic College, Skennars Head, St Mary's Casino, Trinity Lismore, St Joseph's Banora Point, Port Macquarie and St Mary's Gateshead.
The side is coached by former Canterbury Bulldogs player Brian Battese who has helped install a Bulldogs-style defence in his young team.
That defensive skill was on show in Woodlawn's quarter-final showdown with St Mary's Gateshead.
The Newcastle school had won the Knights Knockout two years running but they were held to a nil-all half-time scoreline after being held up over the line three times by Woodlawn.
One try in it
The Lismore school secured their 4-0 victory with an early second-half try to Doug Pepper.
Others to shine included Peter Flannery and Patrick Dawson.
But it's not just the history of winning last year's Cochrane Cup weighing on Woodlawn's mind.
After all, the College has produced many champion teams and players.
The current crop of National Rugby League stars include Amos Roberts (Roosters), Albert Torrens (Dragons) and Ian Donnelly and Matt King (Storm).
Perhaps the next batch of NRL stars to come from Woodlawn will be on show today at 9.30am.
n THE Woodlawn Under-13 team were runners-up in the Country Rugby League Cup.
Coached by another former Canterbury Bulldogs player, Bernie MacDonald, the Under-13s progressed to the final after defeating Casino High, Trinity, Xavier, Kyogle High and Tuggerah Lakes High.
Unfortunately, Woodlawn couldn't keep their winning run going as they went down to Wade High School, Griffith, 24-16 in the final.