FINALS IN SIGHT: Darcy Hancock for The Cathedral College runs away with the ball.
FINALS IN SIGHT: Darcy Hancock for The Cathedral College runs away with the ball. Brian Cassidy

Aaron Payne Cup semi-final showdown

RUGBY LEAGUE: St Brendan's College and The Cathedral College are both one win away from the Aaron Payne Cup grand final.

But standing in their way are two powerhouse outfits - Ignatius Park and Kirwan, teams synonymous with success in the premier schoolboys competition.

The semi-finals will be played in Townsville tomorrow morning, with TCC taking on Kirwan at 10am and St Brendan's up against Ignatius Park at 11.15am.

TCC coach Mick Busby is hoping history repeats after his side got the better of Kirwan in the Cup semi-final several years ago.

"It will be tough but we've got nothing to lose,” he said.

"No one is expecting us to beat Kirwan but we've done it before. We went up there and beat them in the semi against all odds two years ago.

The Cathedral College player Jackson Warde in the Aaron Payne Cup game against Mackay State High School.
The Cathedral College player Jackson Warde in the Aaron Payne Cup game against Mackay State High School. Zizi Averill

"I've said to my players that if they come off that field and they've put in 100 per cent then win, lose or draw it doesn't matter.

"If they've given everything they could that's all we can ask.”

TCC will look to replicate the form that got them to the grand final of the Confraternity Shield earlier this month.

Busby said Kirwan was a big, strong side and TCC could not play the game in the middle.

"If you play it in the middle they will crush you, they're just too big,” he said.

READ: TCC captain back for today's vital Aaron Payne Cup clash

READ: St Brendan's eye top spot in Aaron Payne Cup

READ: 'Our defence was really good and that was the difference'

READ: St Brendan's steeling for tough contest against TCC

"You have to play a bit of an expansive game, play on the edges.

"We've got to try to play fast, that's how we've beaten them in the past.”

Kirwan also has some fast backs in their line-up, including the North Queensland Cowboys contracted Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow.

Busby said TCC would need to make as few mistakes as possible and keep the pressure on.

"Darcy Hancock and Riley Boaza in the middle have got to try to take us forward,” he said.

"If our halves Brodie Gill and Thallon Peters can get their kicking game off the back of that anything's possible.”

St Brendan's captain Bill Gunning will be looking for a big game in today's semi-final.
St Brendan's captain Bill Gunning will be looking for a big game in today's semi-final. Allan Reinikka ROK070619apaynecu

St Brendan's coach Terry Hansen said his side was ready to give it their best shot.

They go in to the game knowing they can beat Ignatius Park - they did it in the round games of the Cup - but Hansen knows it will be a different story tomorrow.

"I think we might have ambushed them a bit that day, I don't think it will be the same this time,” he said.

"They're a good team but if we can play to the best of our ability we'll be right in it - but we're going to have to do that.

St Brendan's playing against St Patrick's College in the Aaron Payne Cup game in Mackay.
St Brendan's playing against St Patrick's College in the Aaron Payne Cup game in Mackay. Zizi Averill

"They've got some really big forwards so we'll certainly be looking to move them around a bit. That might be with a good kicking game or getting to the edges pretty quickly.”

Hansen said Blake Laherty would wear the number six tomorrow, and his back three of Bill Gunning, Chaise Demaine-Beale and Sam Strohfeldt would need to lead the way.

He said the forward pack, which includes hard-working front rower Liam Kenny, would need to stand up.

"We're certainly giving ourselves a chance,” Hansen said.

"We're not going up there thinking we can't win. We think we can give it a good shake.”



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