FARRER Memorial Agricultural High School might have started with an error but the side regrouped, realigned and repelled St Gregory’s Campbelltown to register a 26-10 win and earn a quarter-final berth in the GIO Schoolboy Cup at Farrer’s John Simpson Oval yesterday.
Talented young fullback Hayden Loughrey and tall winger Matt Thompson combined to spill St Greg’s first kick from their own half to place the home side under early pressure.
However, the Chris Oxford-coached Farrer side overcame that early fumble to repel the opening raids from their Sydney opponents and posted the first two tries of the game.
Inspirational prop Zac Faulkner, just back from a tour of Queensland with the NSW Country Under 18s, crashed over early and then Thompson made up for his early error to snatch an intercept and race 60m to score for a 12-nil lead.
St Greg’s fought back though, scoring twice in a matter of minutes as they marched up the paddock after some more Farrer errors.
Trailing 12-10, the visitors made one error they regretted, allowing young five-eighth Josh Bermingham to scoop up the ball and send centre Tye Barry across for the first of his two tries.
Behind 16-10 at halftime , St Greg’s went close to scoring from the first set of six in the second half but the scrambling Farrer defence kept the visitors at bay.
Farrer could have easily added a couple more tries too early in the second half when second-rower Matt Merrick was ruled to have made a double movement in scoring and then winger Cameron Howard was pulled back from a forward pass fired to him by Bermingham.
They weren’t denied however when a Bermingham bomb was dropped by tall St Greg’s fullback Toa Mata’Fa.
Loughrey swooped to race over and score.
Barry’s second try came from another Bermingham chip kick that rolled past Mata’Fa for the centre to pounce.
Just to emphasise the tremendous, defensive desperation, Farrer scrambled in defence to stop big St Greg’s centre Jesse Jackson from scoring after the bell.
“We defended really well,” Oxford said.
“We won that game on the back of our defence.
“Coming into the game we’d allowed 10 points a game and to allow just 10 again was outstanding.
“I’m proud of the effort.
“We scrambled well.
“ We had a good start, got a couple of lucky turnovers and an intercept and had a good wind at our backs in the second half.”
Props Faulkner and Brad Johnston led the way for Farrer, halves Bermingham and skipper Tom Say also played strongly and steered the side well, with 15-year-old Loughrey a spark at the back.
Backrowers Merrick, Jack Ticehurst and Ryan Horton were also strong, hooker Corey Manicaros controlled the ruck well but red-headed lock, Angus McTavish, was probably Farrer’s best.
He won plaudits from his coach and skipper for his heavy workload in attack and defence, the small number 13 bringing down his bigger St Greg’s opponents with regularity and zest.
Farrer plays its GIO Schoolboy quarter-final in mid-August but goes to Grafton next week to play South Grafton High in the University Shield.
FARRER 26 (Tye Barry 2, Hayden Loughrey, Matt Thompson, Zac Faulkner tries, Tom Say 3gls) d ST GREGS 10 (Toa Mata’Fa, Jayden Siewkiewicz tries, Mata’Fa gl).