St Patrick’s College upset Aaron Payne Cup rivals St Brendan’s College in Yeppoon today. Photo: Callum Dick
St Patrick’s College upset Aaron Payne Cup rivals St Brendan’s College in Yeppoon today. Photo: Callum Dick

Finally! St Pat’s defy history in big Payne Cup win

FIRST win, first points and finally a reason to smile for St Patrick's College.

On the road against a team they had failed to beat in coach Chad Buckby's five-year tenure, the Mackay side ground out an impressive 14-10 result to keep their Aaron Payne Cup finals hopes alive.

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St Brendan's had long held the wood over St Pat's and, despite being winless themselves, went into the contest as favourites. But it was the visitors with all the early running.

Hugh Arthur put St Pat's first points of the match - and season - on the board when he ran outside five-eight Bailey Black and crashed his way over the line inside the opening 10 minutes.

Not five minutes later the visitors were over again - and when Black converted a penalty from directly in front late in the half, St Pat's went into the break up 14-0.

It was nice, Buckby said, to finally get some scoreboard reward for effort after a tough opening two weeks.

But the proud coach was more impressed with his side's defensive display.

Despite leaking two tries in the second half, St Pat's goal line defence was a feature in the big win.

Both teams took turns losing the ball near their tryline, but St Pat's in-their-face pressure at the point of attack was often the catalyst for a St Brendan's error.

"We wanted to play up-tempo football. We thought if we could get a roll on and score some points early - which we did - it would set us up well to win the game," Buckby said.

"We spoke a lot about having the defence win the game. We've leaked nearly 60 points in two games so defence was our major focus today.

"I told the boys I didn't care if we didn't score another point (in the second half) so long as we finished the game on top."

Perhaps lost in the overarching narrative of a big St Pat's win was the incredible individual effort which proved the catalyst for the visitors' big first half.

At 0-0, St Brendan's centre Coby Williamson made a break through the line and looked destined to cross under the posts for first points.

Instead, Corey Shepherd bolted from his position at left-centre to make a fantastic covering tackle which stripped the ball from Williamson's grasp and forced a changeover.

In the ensuing set, St Pat's marched up the field for McKie's opening try.

"It was massive," Buckby said of Shepherd's tackle.

"If they score there … that could have definitely changed the game and pushed (momentum) in their favour. It was a great scramble from our boys."

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