A CHANCE to continue building a legacy is on the line for St Patrick’s College today.
St Pat’s will play for a spot in its fourth consecutive Sun Shield final and vie for a third-straight title.
Herald Sun Shield newcomer Salesian College, Sunbury, is out to create its own history by claiming one of the state’s biggest schoolboy scalps at Craigieburn.
Salesian College qualified via the Sports Association Catholic Co-educational Secondary Schools competition and sports a strong line-up.
Jonathan O’Rourke (Calder Cannons) will be one particular player St Pats must contain.
Touted as a top draft prospect this year, the talented outside midfielder was all-Australian at this year’s AFL national under-18 championship.
Salesian College will feature about seven Calder Cannons’ TAC Cup players and potentially three Vic Metro representatives.
St Pat’s coach Howard Clark said they are very worthy opponents. His players must be focused and ready with so much up for grabs.
“It’s really important to focus on the now, we can’t get ahead of ourselves,” Clark said.
“Ultimately our goal is to create our own history and make a fourth grand final in a row, which is unprecedented.
“First we must focus on the task at hand and win (today).”
St Pats won the Ballarat Associated Schools premiership a fortnight ago after obliterating its rivals through the school season.
They were also convincing winners against Assumption College and St Joseph’s College, Geelong, in friendlies earlier this year.
Clark said their form suggests his team was very competitive but he was wary about reading too much into form until they had played a Shield semi.
The bulk of St Pats line-up plays with North Ballarat Rebels in the TAC Cup and those who did not, played quality junior football in the region.
Thirteen players tasted victory in last year’s Shield final at the MCG.
St Pats will feature three year 10 boys today in a near-full strength squad.
Centre half-forward Michael Close will miss the semi-final with soreness but Clark was confident his squad had the depth to cover him.
Clark said St Pats was determined to do the Ballarat community proud, just as Ballarat Clarendon College had done last week in winning its sixth AFL Victoria Country Shield in seven years.
St Bernard’s College, Essendon and Essendon Keilor College will play in the first Shield final at Cragieburn this morning.