ONES TO WATCH: St Pat’s guns on show against Grammar
ST PAT'S coach Chad Buckby says his squad's greatest strength this year is its depth - but that is not to say there aren't a few hidden gems.
If Buckby's boys are to prevail over rivals Rockhampton Grammar School in today's Aaron Payne Cup qualifier, it will take a consistent effort over 80 minutes from players 1-19.
But there are always a handful of players who - due to their talent, position, determination, or a combination of the three - shoulder a greater load.
Here are four St Pat's guns to watch for via the Daily Mercury livestream, when the match kicks off at noon today.
Toby Thorburn (Hooker)
Thorburn told the Canberra Raiders he wanted to stay in Mackay for another season to play out his school footy at St Pat's. That's leadership material. Buckby saw that from that jump and it's why he named Thorburn his captain.
As hooker, Thorburn will handle the ball more than any other player in the St Pat's side and thus, likely have the most influence on the outcome.
Look for Thorburn to be the playmaker near the line but also the one doing the dirty in-and-under stuff in defence against a big Grammar pack.
Henry Vella (Halfback)
Vella starred for St Pat's as a 16 year old at the Confraternity Shield two years ago. His Year 11 season was cut short through injury, but now the ballplayer is fit and ready to prove himself in the halves on Wednesday. Coach Buckby can't wait to see what the silky-skilled Vella produces against Grammar.
Ethan Sweet (Second Row)
Sweet by name, not by nature.When Buckby wants a player to set the edge and make his presence felt, he turns to Sweet.
"I'm really looking forward to seeing how he performs on this stage," Buckby said of Sweet.
"He's a workhorse out on the edge and does all of the little things you want done - and he does them well."
Paul Bryan (Front Row)
Bryan lit it up for the young Cutters in pre-season trials with a handful of tries, and he extended that good form into the opening game of the season. His Cutters duties are on hold for now, but St Pat's are ready to rely on the big front rower's prowess against Grammar.
"He'll lay a good platform for us and be outstanding with his defence," Buckby said.