The Kyogle High School Under-14 rugby league team, which is through to the final 16 in the State knockout.
The Kyogle High School Under-14 rugby league team, which is through to the final 16 in the State knockout.

Kyogle through to final 16

A BUNCH of Kyogle High School footballers are on the verge of conquering the State after winning through to the final 16 of the Statewide Buckley Shield.

Six months ago the players thought they were the Emus but they now know they are Brolgas and will be sticking with it after reeling off five straight victories.

Team manager Jason McKee had to correct his charges after they composed a team song on the bus home from their first win.

“They had their song made up ‘We are the Emus’,” McKee said.

“But they had to change it.

“Most of the boys are in their first year at the school and the logo on the jumper is a fairly ambiguous bird with long legs – they assumed it was an emu.”

But as long as they have reason to sing the team song, the Brolgas won’t mind which native bird gets a mention.

So far the squad of Under-14s has rolled through the competition largely unchallenged – their latest triumph a 26-18 win over Coonamble High.

McKee knows his team is now venturing into ‘David and Goliath’ territory.

“It’s a fair effort for a school of 420-odd kids to come this far,” he said. “And now it gets serious against strong football schools with player pools upwards of 1000 students.”

Next on the hit-list for Kyogle is the winner of this week’s clash between Singleton High and Strathfield High.

The result is crucial to Kyogle High, which could be forced to travel to mining country should Singleton triumph.

McKee has started to make logistical inquiries should that be the case, but it’s fingers crossed for the opposite.

“It’s a bit of a nightmare – a home game would mean everything to us,” he said.

“All I have to do is make two phone calls – one to the Kyogle Turkeys to organise the facility and one to a local referee – and I’m all organised.”

Conversely, travelling to Singleton means buses, motels, 700km on the road, a three-day round trip and no local support.

But McKee, who has the expert help of Kyogle Turkeys Under-14s coach Tony Pratt, is confident his Brolgas can perform under any circumstances.

“Most of these kids have been playing together for the Turkeys since they were Under-7s,” he said.

Regardless of how other results fall, these Brolgas are only four wins from being the best in the State.



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