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We are the Champions

The Rutherford College 15th Grade team completed a successful season by beating Westlake Boys High School on finals day at Bill McKinley Park in Mt Wellington on Saturday, 15 September.

On the journey to this victory the team scored 22 goals and conceded just 5. At the quarter-final stage the team had to play current national Champions Sacred Heart at Sacred Heart and recorded a comprehensive 3-0 victory.

The semi-final did not get any easier with another away fixture versus Auckland Grammar the biggest boys school in the country. After taking a 2-0 lead concentration was lost and Grammar took full advantage scoring three times to take the lead.

To the teams credit they responded positively and got a well-deserved equaliser and the game went to extra time. At this point we took complete control to score three goals without response and book a place in the final with a 6-3 victory.

The first half of the final against Westlake was all Rutherford but a solitary Luka Vlasic strike was all that was to show for that dominance. Westlake were awarded a penalty fairly early in the second half which they put away successfully and the pressure went on both teams to take dominance. There were chances at both ends but the balance of play still favoured Rutherford and when a chance fell to Mohammed Mohebbie he headed in for a 2-1 lead.

We were now able to play from in front and this is where the defensive resilience which had been developed throughout the season got to take centre stage. Dylan Hall, Mitchell Callaghan, man of the match Leo Brodersen and captain Matt Darrah defended as if their lives depended on it. On the one occasion when Westlake got a clear sight of goal Goalkeeper Liam Gilbert pulled out an absolutely stunning save to deny Westlake an equaliser and ultimately guarantee the victory.

This is the first time in 25 years plus that one of the 5-6 usual schools has won something of this significance in Auckland Secondary School Football. Six of this starting eleven were part of the 2017 European Football tour that included visits to Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City, Manchester United amongst others. What was learned by the core group during this experience and the early morning training and tactical sessions throughout the year have made the difference.

Of course, this result would not be possible without our committed coaches (Coach: Gary Moore, Assistant Coach: Giuseppe Martegani and manager Drew Dunn) who turned up week in, week out assisting the boys through fitness and on field skills. And we are delighted to see the fruits of your efforts pay off.

The full squad for the final is listed below;
Matt Darrah Captain
Liam Gilbert
Luka Vlasic
Dylan Hall
Jason Clarke
Ryan Verney
Mitchell Callaghan
Luke Hewitt
Lucas Webster
Ryan Frost
Mohammed Mohebbie
Osdeep Singh
Leo Brodersen
Nirav Kumar
Diviam Tailor
Joshua Shakoor
Arian Chaudhary

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