Producing the likes of current Australian captain Cameron Smith and dual International Israel Folau, it is no wonder the popularity of Marsden State High School’s ‘Excellence in Rugby League’ program.
While Marsden is yet to get past the South East Queensland semi-final stage of the competition before, head coach Joe O’Callaghan believes that the current crop of players have the ability to go at least one better this season.
“The playing group have set themselves the goal of making the final four in Queensland, something that program has yet to achieve,” said Marsden State High head coach, Joe O’Callaghan.
“From the work the boys have put in to this point of the year, this goal is achievable in 2017, if not definitely a big chance in 2018 with so many Year 11’s getting valuable experience this year.”
With only six players in the current squad of 22 entering this season with GIO Cup experience, Marsden kicks off the 2017 competition with quite a young side in comparison to other schools.
Despite this, O’Callaghan says that he is pleased with the progress his side has shown so far this year.
“The preparation has been really good,” said O’Callaghan.
“There was a pretty massive shake up to our program in all aspects, including on the field, in the classroom, as well as our strength and conditioning and recovery practices.
“This has seen a really positive Term 1 from the squad, and has really seen some great short term results in Term 2 with our opening games to the Broncos’ Langer Cup.”
O’Callaghan talks proudly of the fact that such a large number of the top squad has spent the majority of their secondary schooling at Marsden, speaking of the school’s success both on and off the field.
“We are extremely proud to note that all of our current Top 22 squad have been enrolled at our school since the start of Year 10, with 75% being with us since Year 8.
“All members of our top squad live in the Logan area, which shows how proud they are to represent the community when they play for the school.”
While O’Callaghan is pleased of his squad’s on field accomplishments, it is what they, and the school, are doing in the classroom he is most proud of.
““A large component of our Top 22 squad are leaders of the school’s ‘Mates Talk Change’ program, which aims to target the stigmas with male mental health.
“Another big change with our program in 2017 has been the accountability off the field.
“At school attendance rate is at 96%, there has been a decrease in behaviour issues of 88% since last year, and all players are on track to graduate with a Queensland Certificate of Education.”