Primary School Championships launch local footy season

The Holy Family and Forbes Public School girls teams after their Regional Final

AFL Season has arrived in the Central West with four local gala days for the 2022 Primary School Championships.

Local finals were held in Dubbo (Tuesday February 22), Forbes (February 24), and Bathurst (February 25). Winners from these carnivals later qualified for the Central West Regional Final held in Orange on March 2.

Across the gala days, 16 schools, 37 teams, and upwards of 480 Stage 3 (Year 5/6) students competed.

Dubbo Local Final

With 20 teams, the Dubbo carnival permitted the top teams to qualify for the Regional Final. Orana Heights Public School the dominant force in the boys’ competition, winning all four pool games before winning their qualifier against St John’s Catholic Primary School. On the fixture’s opposite side, St Pius X Primary also won their four matches. They were however upset in their qualifier against St Mary’s Primary. St Pius X didn’t handle the St Mary’s fast star. Despite a late charge, the favourites fell ever so close.

The girls competition was evenly matched. St John’s Catholic Primary topping their pool with two wins and a draw, ahead of St Mary’s Catholic Primary School. Newcomers Wellington Public School, having learned how to kick and handpass only a week prior, were the surprise of their pool. WPS won all three of their matches, taking the #1 seed into the qualifiers. The combined St John’s and Narromine Christian School played excellent football, winning two of their matches to set up a qualifier with their classmates.

The qualifiers were relatively one-sided Wellington Public and St John’s Primary comfortably accounting for their opponents.

St John’s were one of the two girls winners at the Dubbo Local Final

South West Local Final

Held in Forbes as part of the Gaggin Oval grand opening, the South-West Local Final was the first hosting of a schools’ competition outside the major Central West cities in several years.

Both competitions came down to the final matches, Forbes Public defeating Canowindra Public in the day’s final girls match to secure qualification. In the boys, the competition was a two-horse race between Forbes Public and Cowra Public. Of the two, Forbes completed the day unbeaten, with Cowra losing just one match. In the end, a 9-goal to 0 contest, Forbes’ best performance of the day, sealed their qualification.

Forbes Public won all five matches upon route to winning the South-West Local Final

Bathurst Local Final

A smaller competition than usual, with four boys and four girls teams allowed for all teams to play each other twice. Across the day, the dominant Holy Family, Kelso sides went unbeaten, with their only blemish a 15-15 draw with Assumption girls. Both competitions finished with near identical ladders. Holy Family, Assumption, St Philomena’s and Cathedral rounding out the results.

St Phil’s and Assumption played out two thrilling contests in the boys whilst in the girls, many games were close.

Holy Family were too strong in the Bathurst Local Final, winning all six matches

READ: Football in Forbes back in the fray

Primary School Championships Central West Regional Final – Boys

The boys competition got underway with the Bathurst and Dubbo champions winning their opening matches. Holy Family won a close contest against Forbes Public after making the most of the favourable conditions. Orana Heights, were also too strong for their neighbours St Mary’s, a 25-20 victory starting their day with a positive.

Forbes picked up their first win of he day in Round 2. a 27-13 victory over St Mary’s as Orana continued their perfect run across the two carnivals, also scoring a 27-13 win over Holy Family. Those results ensured that two of Orana, Forbes and Holy Family could qualify for the final pending last round results.

Holy Family had the edge, but a dominant 21-7 display from St Mary’s which included one of very few goals against the breeze put the Bathurst side’s spot in the final in jeopardy. Forbes made them pay, holding on to defeat Orana Heights 10-8, sealing second place and a rematch in the final.

The final was a fantastic display of football, Orana used the wind effectively, to get out to an early lead. Forbes fought back, and managed to get a telling late goal closing the margin to within 10 at the break. Forbes midfield started to take control of the match, moving the ball forward with regularity, and the front four were getting shots, but closing the margin with only behinds. Down by one point, Forbes finally found a major, and in the lead, with the wind were strong favourites. The ball rarely left the Forbes’ forward half once they hit the lead, eventually running out 3.4-22 to 2.4-16 winners.

Orana Heights and Forbes Public School boys teams following their Regional Final

Central West Regional Final – Girls

After comprehensively winning the Bathurst day, Holy Family started well winning their opening match 15-3 against Forbes Public. The two Dubbo sides, having not versed one-another at the local final, faced off with St John’s taking a strong half-time lead into a 26-12 victory.

Yet again Holy Family were clinical in their second round match, not conceding a goal for the second consecutive game. Their 11-0 victory over St John’s confirmed their position in the final, with Forbes defeating Wellington 16-7. This win set up a thrilling contest between Forbes and St John’s, the winner earning their place in the final.

Holy Family yet again held their opponents goalless, a 20-2 victory over Wellington ensuring they remained unbeaten across their two competition matchdays. Meanwhile, in the winner-takes-all match, Forbes Public held on to win 21-20, the single-point margin enough to earn a spot alongside their boys team in the final.

The final went a similar way as of the earlier contest. Holy Family kicking four goals to one, conceding their first major of the day, to win 25-7. Holy Family have now won all ten of their matches against Central West teams, and will now progress to the GWS Regional Final full of confidence.

Congratulations to both Holy Family Primary’s girls and Forbes Public’s boys teams for qualifying through to the Primary School Championships GWS Regional Final in late-Term 2.

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