St John's Woodlawn College teacher Simon Andrews, left, and student Chris Binge Jnr, form a vital component in the Marist Brothers senior rugby team.
St John's Woodlawn College teacher Simon Andrews, left, and student Chris Binge Jnr, form a vital component in the Marist Brothers senior rugby team. The Northern Star

Lessons in league

IT just slipped out – the S-word.

They had finished their school day at St John's College Woodlawn and were training with the Marist Brothers senior rugby league team when Chris Binge accidentally called Simon Andrews 'Sir'.

“During the week he calls me Sir and on the weekend we defend next to each other,” Andrews said ahead of the preliminary final against Grafton Ghosts on Sunday.

“The other boys loved it.

“Scott Gibson and the other small guys in the team gave me heaps about it.”

Binge, a Year 11 student, sees Andrews, his year co-ordinator and fellow Brothers first-grade player, as more of a team-mate than a teacher.

But sometimes the relationship gets blurred.

“He's a pretty good teacher, easygoing,” Binge said.

“He tries to make me call him Mr Andrews but sometimes I accidentally call him Simon at school.”

“Sometimes I call him Sir at training.”

Because of their teacher/student relationship and Andrews' eight years experience in local first grade, Brothers coach David Krause nominated the big second-rower to look after the 16-year-old Binge on his first-grade debut.

“I remember his first game,” Andrews said.

“David put me next to him and told me to look after him.

“By half-time, I had told five or six blokes that they'd just been belted by a 16-year-old.

“He didn't need to be looked after.”

Binge's rise through the ranks has actually helped Andrews rekindle his love of rugby league.

“It's one of the reasons I continued to play,” Andrews said.

“I was becoming jaded with the sport but seeing these young guys come up through the game is refreshing.

“There's a few Woodlawn kids coming through and to see the skills like they have...I don't claim to have taught Chris very much, but to see him come through and play alongside him is satisfying.”

On Sunday the pair will face perhaps their toughest test of the season when they challenge Ghosts at Grafton for the right to play Byron Bay in the grand final.

“Ghosts are a good side and a good bunch of kids,” Andrews said.

“It will be all their enthusiasm against our experience.”

This will be Binge's last season in the Retravision Northern League before joining the Brisbane Broncos next year, but Andrews is planning to play on to see fellow Woodlawn students Paul O'Neil and Paul Carter break into Brothers' first-grade team.

But Binge isn't ready to finish his local career just yet.

“I'm looking for a big one,” he said of the big game on Sunday.



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