Kinross’ NSW trio on Australian Schools Championship grand final collision course

UNBEATEN START: Donny Freeman, NSW Schools' reigning player of the year, and his NSW I side is a chance of playing NSW II in this week's national championship decider. Photo: MATT FINDLAY
UNBEATEN START: Donny Freeman, NSW Schools' reigning player of the year, and his NSW I side is a chance of playing NSW II in this week's national championship decider. Photo: MATT FINDLAY

Kinross’ Donny Freeman is on a collision course with two blues teammates Aidan Kelso and Will Smith, after their respective NSW I and NSW II sides took control of the Australian Schools Championship on the tournament’s opening two days.

Freeman’s NSW I outfit and Kelso and Smith’s NSW II side both remain undefeated through the first two days and if both outfits win their final pool games on Thursday, they’ll meet in an epic all-NSW decider on Saturday afternoon.

The two NSW sides face-off against Queensland’s two outfits in the last preliminary round. Crucially NSW II faces Queensland I, the only other undefeated side in the tournament, with the latter holding a slight advantage on points difference.

Freeman’s side hammered Victoria 80-5 in its opening clash on the back of Lachlan Albert, Luca Moretti and Joey Walton doubles, before backing that up with a 41-19 victory over reigning champions ACT on day two.

Kelso and Smith’s outfit downed Combined States 45-22 in the tournament-opening clash on Sunday’s first day, before the former scored a vital double as NSW II thrashed Western Australia 34-7 on Tuesday’s second day.

St Stanislaus College Bathurst star Tom Hooper also scored in NSW II’s win over Western Australia, and said the outfit is excited to test itself against Queensland’s best, but knows his side will need to shift up another gear.

“We watched Queensland’s first game against Western Australia and they’re probably the favourites for the competition … them and our NSW ones. They’re looking very slick,” he said.

“Anything can happen but Queensland will definitely be our biggest test as far as pool games go.

“There’s massive boys running around in that Queensland team. There’s a couple of boys who are 130 kilos plus, so we’ll have to chop them down at the ankles.

“Hopefully from that game we can top our pool. Everyone goes through to play on Saturday but obviously we’d like to be up the top end of the competition and get ourselves preferably a spot in the top two.”

Anything can happen but Queensland will definitely be our biggest test as far as pool games go.

NSW II gun Tom Hooper

Hooper, Kelso and Smith are buoyed by the fact their side has easily been one of the most scintillating with ball in hand so far, something that needs to continue.

“We have some backs who are crazy in their skills and footwork. That’s really impressive, and our forwards are hard footballers who give the backs the space they need,” Hooper said.

“Our strength has been the way we’ve bonded as a team. Our communication has been excellent and our attack out wide has been great.

“It’s a great feeling to be a part of this team. There’s a great group of boys here,

Freeman’s NSW I side faces Queensland II from 2.30pm on Thursday, immediately after NSW II’s must-win clash with Queensland I, from 1pm.

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