We thought it appropriate to add some special awards to the main AAGPS Season Review.

Although all players were concerned most about contributing to the performance of their team, we thought there were lads who deserved special mention.


Player of the Year: Charlie Rorke (Riverview)
Most Valuable Player: Angus Bell (Newington)
Rising Star: Johnny Connolly (Kings)
Match of the Year: Joeys vs Riverview – Round 5 (12/8/2017)
Try of the Year: We’ve two – both finished by Ben Houston (Joeys #4) in Rounds 4 and 5


Here is the team of the year based on play for their school in the 2017 AAGPS competition, paying no regard for who was picked for rep games or even national teams.

No thought was given to balancing the side for a fictitious rep game; nor was any regard given to how many players were chosen from any school.

Selectors were: “Armchair Selector”, “Crackerjack”, “Quick Hands”, “Short Ball” and Rich_E”,

Matt Minogue (TotY 10) scores for Kings Photo by "JuanBarn"

Matt Minogue (TotY 10) scores for Kings
Photo by “JuanBarn”


1. Angus Bell (Newington)
2. Ciaran Loh (Kings)
3. Darcy Breen (Scots)
4. Jeremy Williams (Scots)
5. Mac Williams (Kings)
6. Charlie Rorke* (C) (Riverview)
7. Brett Wellington# (Scots)
8. Will Harris (Scots)
9. Dylan Dowling (Joeys)
10. Matt Minogue (Kings)
11. Liam Scolari (Joeys)
12. Ed Poolman (Kings)
13. Angus Bell (Riverview)
14. Tom Yassmin* (Scots)
15. Triston Reilly^ (Joeys)

* Chosen in GAGRs 2016 Team of the Year
# Although he played all season with a 6 on his back, he was determined by selectors as the lad who played the best #7 game in most matches. Honourable mention goes to Joeys 7, Paddy Dalton and Kings 7, Charlie Brown.
^ GAGRs 2016 ‘Rising Star’

Dylan Dowling (TotY 9) fires a bullet for Joeys Photo by "JuanBarn"

Dylan Dowling (TotY 9) fires a bullet for Joeys
Photo by “JuanBarn”


By “Armchair Selector”

Charlie Rorke finished the 2016 season in the opinion of Green and Gold as Riverview’s most valuable player.

Rewarded with selection in the Australian Barbarians teams and Waratahs U20 development squad, there was much anticipation of a dominant performance in the 2017 season from the young back rower.

This anticipation was well founded as the 2017 season unfolded. Charlie quickly gained a reputation as the most dominant and dangerous forward in the GPS. Whether he played at 6, 7 or 8 he made his presence felt.

Leading by example both in defense and attack, he had an uncanny ability to play a mobile game, but was always on the spot doing the hard work in the tight when Riverview needed him most.

Charlie Rorke - Player of the Year Photo by Eddie Moore

Charlie Rorke – Player of the Year
Photo by Eddie Moore

Charlie’s defence was brutal and uncompromising as many a highlights reel will attest.

In attack he had deceptive line speed and the ability to break a tackle. His solo try against Joeys in the trial match was a classic example.

A natural leader, Charlie was rewarded with Captaincy of Riverview and the GPS Firsts.

Following a strong performance at the NSW schools trials, he was selected in the NSW 1s and rewarded with selection in the 2017 Australian Schoolboys.

This young man has a big future in the sport.


By “Quick Hands”

The criteria for this selection focussed on value. To this end we thought about who would be missed most by his team if he were not available. We didn’t mean his team would win if he were there, or lose if he wasn’t: just who would be missed the most if he were absent.

With that in mind, we judged Newington’s loose head prop, Angus Bell, to be the Most Valuable Player for 2017.

He was a clear stand-out performer in every game in which he played.

He was the inspirational leader of the Newington forward pack and it must be said that he lead from the front.

Angus Bell - Newington #1 and 2017 GaGR MVP

Angus Bell – Newington #1 and 2017 GaGR MVP

He was the keystone of the scrums and lineouts which were the strengths of his team.

He also led the way at the ruck and maul; leading driving mauls, pick and go from rucks and always making plenty of metres.

He was no less impressive in the open, frequently emerging from the pack and storming downfield with defenders in his wake and at other times playing wider and showing catch and pass skills which one doesn’t normally expect from a front-rower.

He carried these performances on for both GPS and NSW and has been rewarded with higher honours.

Certainly a season which this young man will look back on with pride.


By “Rich_E”

It’s not too often that a lad makes his school’s 1st XV in year 10.

Kings 15, Johnny Connolly, not only did that, he was also picked for GPS 1sts.

He has all the skills you’d expect from a quality custodian. He’s got plenty of pace, a great boot and is a strong defender.

He can distribute well, regularly dropping into the pivot role. And he is accurate from the kicking tee, nailing seven conversions in the round 1 comp game against Shore.

Johnny Connolly - Kings 15 and GaGR 2017 "Rising Star" Award winner Photo by Paul Seiser/SPA Images

Johnny Connolly – Kings 15 and GaGR 2017 “Rising Star” Award winner
Photo by Paul Seiser/SPA Images

His ability to read a game and play what is in front of him defies his years and sets him apart from plenty of other GPS 1sts backs with far more experience.

He’s not the biggest 15 in the comp, but with a solid off-season, he should gain some bulk and only get better from here.

Expect to hear lots more about this lad in the 2018 and 2019 seasons – he’s a star of the future.


By “Armchair Selector”

Three games were nominated for match of the year; Round 2 Kings V Joeys (Kings victors by 4 points with the lead changing on 4 occasions). Round 4 Scots V Kings (Scots holding on to secure a win by 3 against a strong finishing Kings). But the unanimous winner of match of the year was the Round 5 clash between Joeys and Riverview.

This match was a highly anticipated clash between the local rivals. The largest GPS crowd of the season who gathered in anticipation was not to be disappointed by the match that unfolded.

In the first half, Joey’s defensive lapses and penalties were proving costly as Riverview stretched to a 19 nil lead.

Joeys - never say die Photo by Rich_E

Joeys – never say die
Photo by Rich_E

Riverview had the majority of territory and possession. The game changer could have been the one on one tackle by Joey’s Captain #7 Paddy Dalton on Riverview’s Captain #8 Charlie Rorke in first half injury time.

Preventing Rorke from grounding the ball in goal for what appeared to be an inevitable try.

Half time score: Riverview 19 Joeys 7.

Riverview scored first in the second half. However, possession and momentum shifted Joey’s way. Riverview were losing composure and persistent infringements proved costly.

Joeys increased the pace and intensity of the game. With 15 minutes to go in the match, the gap had closed to 5.

Defensive lapses were sorely testing the belief of the Joeys faithful. With nine minutes remaining, Riverview scored to the delight of the View old boys, believing a 12 point margin was now beyond the Cerise and Blue.

Beatty about to score what many thought would be winning try Photo by Rich_E

Beatty about to score what many thought would be winning try
Photo by Rich_E

Joeys were running out of time, but never gave up. In five minutes, Joeys crossed the Riverview line three times to seal a memorable victory.

Joeys won the match through outstanding support play and their trademark fitness across the paddock.

Hard to find a supporter from either team that was left unsatisfied with the match they had observed.

Full-time score: Joeys 42 – Riverview 33

For a complete account see the Round 5 match reviews, which includes a report on the Match of the Year game.

Courtesy of ‘sidesteppa”


By “Rich_E”

We have two worthy winners for Try of the Year in 2017.

TRY 1 – BEN HOUSTON (JOEYS #4) ROUND 4 (5/8/2017)

This effort all started with a kick return from #15 Triston Reilly.

Reilly sent a wide centre pass to #14 Kandalaft who collected the ball on the tips of his fingers. (It’s at this point that video of the try can be viewed – cue to 1:22 in the clip below.)

Kandalaft then runs into traffic before passing back to Reilly in support who turns inside. (It’s at this point in the video – at 1:30 that they switch to a camera with a wider angle of Reilly.)

Reilly then offloads to #13 Xavier Ryan who still has plenty of work to do and sucks in all but the last line of defence before finding #4 Ben Houston who scored in the corner.

Video courtesy of Joeys Media

TRY 2 – BEN HOUSTON (JOEYS #4) ROUND 5 (12/8/2017)

The second try of the year was scored in the final moments of the epic Round 5 clash between Joeys and Riverview at Hunters Hill.

This try, a classic in its own right, tied the score up 33-all, with kick to come.

It started with hands out the Joeys backline finding Liam Scolari on the left flank.

Scolari then burned his opposite (#14 Ignacio Bosembiante) and flung #9 Will Grant out of the way before setting sail up the left touch line.

With one to beat (#15 Ed Rennie) he drew his man perfectly and passed inside to #4 Houston who sprinted the last 22 metres before dotting down near the posts.

Extras were added. Joeys took the lead for the first time in the match and the crowd stood stunned realising they had just witnessed one of those golden schoolboy rugby moments that will be talked about for years.

Video courtesy of “sidesteppa”


As editor, I have taken the liberty of choosing a candidate of my own. Not because the try is particularly spectacular. Far from it. Its because of the skillful way in which the Scots forwards combine with the backs to create a try for Max Robson in the corner. This try can be found be cuing the video below to 3:10.

I also refer you to the try that starts from 1:37 in same clip below. It starts with a Savala chip over the top from on the Scots goal-line. Unfortunately this effort doesn’t qualify for consideration in the TotY category, as it was scored in a trial game.

Video courtesy of Scots Media


By “Crackerjack”

A very special GaGR Award – The “Above and Beyond” Award – is a completely made up, un-sponsored thing, without any prize or booty.

It’s intended to recognise outstanding service to enriching the enjoyment of countless others who love following Schoolboy Rugby – from the players to their families, from the coaches to the spectators, but especially for those who are up country or even out of country, and can’t actually make it to the games, but do so love reading about it, chatting about it, and generally following the ups and downs of the seasons.

While Lee Grant is GaGR’s undisputed ‘Lord Protector’ and guardian of all things Australian Schoolboys Rugby, and really, therefore ‘owns’ this Award in perpetuity – and a big shout-out to you Lee, to be back on the sidelines soon, to which end, the whole Schoolboy Rugby community wishes you well, mate! – there are others out there who, by their own magnificent contributions, out themselves as being passionate and respectful guardians of the game.

They shine a light in on exactly why the game should be played and enjoyed by the thousands of schoolboys who do.

And equally, they make a marvellous wider contribution by sharing their contributions with like-minded enthusiasts and spectators!

The GPS Season Reviewers happily announce the inaugural GaGR “Above and Beyond” Award, (drumroll please…) goes to the one, the only, “sidesteppa”!

sidesteppa epitomises the “joy shared, joy doubled” principle by his tireless work behind the lens; up at all hours editing, tidying, and posting video records for everyone’s enjoyment, with some of the best schoolboy rugby that you’ll see, and especially if you weren’t even on the sidelines!

Goodonya sidesteppa. Your contribution is superb. Well done, and thank you!

By “Armchair Selector”

Best playing surface: Joeys
Best spectator viewing: Shore
Best tucker: Shore
Best parking: Kings
Best supporters: Joeys
Best post-match afternoon tea: Scots

By “Rich_E”

While LESS posts were made in the 2017 GPS Rugby forum than the CAS equivalent, over LESS pages, MORE people viewed the GPS thread. Sorry CAS guys. But clearly the GAGR readers find the GPS content more interesting.

Statistics as at 16/8/2017 (at 9.38am)

Total posts 2619 2855
Total pages 131 143
Total views 353,777 338,919


An ex-piggy who once played with lots of passion and not much panache, with the bravehearts, beasts and blue giants.

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