In one Brisbane northside school, a teacher and his students don’t see eye to eye.
The teacher is Nick Fogarty – Assistant Principal at St Agatha’s, Clayfield and coach of Norths in the Queensland Rugby Union’s top-level Premier Grade.
The students are a collection of St Agatha’s rugby-playing cohort. They all play for Norths’ arch rivals Brothers, based down the hill at Crosby Park.
So, when Norths and Brothers clash on Sunday week May 22 at Wooloowin, the coach and the students will cheer for different teams.
Mr Fogarty will call the shots for Norths while his students will line the fence and roar for the Brethren.
“It’s not going to be an easy game for us so you won’t find me saying too much to the students before the game,” Mr Fogarty said with a smile.
“When I coached at GPS, we had a few good wins over Brothers so I let them know about that.
“But, if we can manage to win this one, I’ll be talking it up in the playground.”
Brothers will start favourites but they’ll be worried about Norths.
The Eagles are no longer easybeats – their three consecutive wins earlier in the season sent a tremor through the competition.
The team that had often just hoped to avoid a drubbing was suddenly a threat.
The Eagles have four regulars in the Queensland Reds squad including Karmichael Hunt and backrow wrecking ball Hendrik Tui.
The Reds aren’t often available to play for their clubs so Mr Fogarty is hoping their consistent input at training can help mould the Eagles into a consistent 80-minute force.
Mr Fogarty said there were similarities between his day job and his weekend rugby passion.
“The best thing in my role as an assistant principal is putting correct policy and procedure in place. That’s the same as being a coach,” Mr Fogarty said.
“You need a clear outline of what you’re trying to achieve as a group. What are the strengths and weaknesses and how can you improve both?
“And relationships are also really important.”
And that includes the banter with the students in the playground.
There will be plenty for the teacher or the students on Monday week.
The Norths vs Brothers Premier Grade match kicks off at 3.20pm at Shaw Rd, Wooloowin on Sunday May 22. The day includes jumping castles and face painting as well as food vans and usual refreshments.