After four years out of the Paul Kelly Cup, St Mary's Catholic Primary School have surged back into the competition in a big way, with the school's girls' side winning their way through to regional finals and coming runners-up in the final.
The state-wide primary school Australian Rules Football competition sees students from all over the state compete against each other, with finals held at Blacktown International Sportspark later this year.
The format is a nine-a-side competition with shorter games.
Cathedral School Bathurst and St Mary’s played off in the grand final of the gala day at Waratahs, with Cathedral winning 8-6.
Meanwhile, Assumption and Cowra Public made the Regional Finals in the boys competition, with the Cowra Public side winning in a 16-15 nail-biter.
The win showed the strength of Cowra's juniors in the Central West AFL over recent years, which will be a promising sign for the re-formed senior men's side.
Greater Western Sydney Giants rookie Jack Buckley, who was visiting Orange alongside teammate Nick Shipley for the event, said the Kelly Cup was a fantastic way for students to give the game a try.
"It's great to see all the kids getting around the Paul Kelly Cup," he said.
"I remember year 5 or 6 playing the cup and there were a lot of other kids who learning to play the game who'd never played AFL before who loved it and it's great to get everyone involved for all sports and see what AFL's about."
Buckley, who didn't debut for the Giants in his first season, said it was nice coming full circle, from being a participant while growing up in Sydney to now coming along and mentoring the next generation.
"It's weird thinking about it now, I don't remember if any players were there but it's funny to think I was one of these kids 10 or 12 years ago," he said.
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