Spotlight on Under 12s
The Under 12s are a side to watch this year, with 23 players and a dedicated coaching team. The boys have recently returned from their pre-season tour to The Armidale School rugby carnival.
The Armidale School have been running an under 12’s rugby carnival every Easter since 2005, and it has grown into the most significant under age tournament in the country. The Mighty Maroochydore Swans entered for the first time this year, and were seeded 7th out of 45 teams from QLD and NSW. Thanks to some excellent sponsorship, and sterling organisation by Becs, we were able to get 17 kids together in a mini bus and set off nice and early Friday morning for our 10 hour trip – yes, it’s a long way, but it’s a really well organised trip and was well worth the effort. The bus was probably the best place to be, as our army of supporters also made the trip down and camped together at the local show grounds. As the thermometer dropped rapidly down to single figures we had the comparatively warm luxury of the TAS Gymnasium to stay in, which proved ideal, there’s not many other places which could fit 20 beds and still have enough room for morning NFL games!
The rugby was a big step up from our pre-season warm up games and the tournament format also took some getting used to. We headed up to our first game Saturday morning to find ourselves playing Scots Prep first XV on a postage stamp sized field. Our pacey back line were struggling to adapt to the lack of space, but soon forgot about that as we lost our centre and fullback to injury in the first 2 minutes, and we cleared our bench. We started to find our shape in the second half and were well on attack 15 metres out from there line when the final whistle blue and the ref called the game over with the score 7-5 to Scots.
Thankfully Mason’s mate, Aryton arrived from Brisbane, via Sydney to shore up our numbers, (and is now signed up and will be a Swannie for the season) but we spent the rest of the tournament scraping together 15, and often dropping to 14 players. On a positive note, a lot of kids played out of position, and learnt a fair bit about what it takes to get the job done. We had 3 games in the following 2.5 hours, starting with our sunny coast neighbours from St Andrews. We started strongly and had much of the possession and territory, but were a little indecisive around the breakdown and narrowly failed to cross the try line on several occasions, taking a 5 -0 lead into the break. Unfortunately that was not enough as Saints were able to unleash Hagrid, their strike weapon out wide and we went down 12-5.
With only a 1 game break we were back on against St Patrick’s College Strathfield first XV, and with some tired bodies and down to 14 players we went down 17-5 in another hard fought loss. With some fun and games from the coaches lifting the boys up we headed into the final game of the day against Bond Pirates, and in another closely fought contest we finally came out on top with a well deserved 24-17 win, leaving us in 4th place in our pool and heading into another game against St Patricks first XV in the finals on Sunday. We took the field Sunday morning with a patched up and slightly different 15 but couldn’t match St Pat’s in the early stages, with all the possession and territory they took a 3 tries to nil lead into the half-time break. However, our boys got it together in the second half, and put together some great play to finish strongly in the second half and we went down 5 tries to 2 in a tough match.
So, after 5 close games we finished the carnival ranked 10th, which given our injury list and the calibre of the opposition, many of whom were fielding 2 teams and were able to keep the subs rolling, the boys did themselves proud! Importantly for our season, we also learnt a few things , and we had a great time, which combined with the earlier pre-season camp to Harry’s Hut has really brought the boys together as a team, and got them all working together and enjoying their rugby!
Match report from Round 1
The season-proper began on Saturday in perfect conditions, the sky was clear, the grounds were wet but firm and the temperature was in the low 20’s, not 30’s! The u12’s kick-started their season with a convincing 15 try display against Flinders, but more pleasing than the scoreboard was the manner in which they went about it. Our boys didn’t get carried away, but stuck to the plan of our forwards working together to make in-roads into the opposition and then providing clean ball to our backs to finish off. The finishing was excellent, with good ball movement and plenty of support play in the backline. While there’s still a lot more to work on it’s great to see the boys gelling together and working well as a team as we move forward and put into place a few lessons learned in Armidale. Final score, Swans 99: Flinders 0.
Make sure to check these boys out on the field Saturday mornings.