It’s been three years but rugby league’s Confraternity Carnival and netball’s QISSN competition are ready to go again.
Both competitions have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic since they were last completed in Bundaberg in 2019.
Confraternity Carnival, or “Confro” as it’s known, had been played every year from 1980 until the pandemic prevented play in 2020.
And last year’s carnival was about to start its finals matches when a snap lockdown sent all players and coaching staff home early from Brisbane.
This year, the carnivals are on track with 58 rugby league teams and 64 netball teams heading for Mackay with play starting on 26 June ahead of finals on 1 July.
Mackay’s St Patrick’s College and Mercy College are the joint hosts of the events, which will be spread across the city’s main rugby league precinct and the Mackay Multisport Centre.
Brisbane Catholic Education schools will again be well-represented in tournaments that attract teams from Cairns in the north to Mount Isa in the west and south to the likes of Warwick.
Burleigh’s Marymount College will attempt to repeat its historic Confro semi-final berth in 2019 when it qualified for the last four for the first time. Former NRL star Matt Geyer, now a teacher at Marymount, will coach a team that continues to rise as a rugby league school.
Marymount Old Boy Xavier Coates was again named in the Queensland State of Origin team last week. He made his NRL debut just 12 months after representing Marymount in Confro 2018.
Coates was one of eight former Confro players among the 17 men who represented Queensland last Wednesday night.
Aquinas College at Ashmore were Confro originals in 1980 and will again contest the Division 1 competition while the likes of Clairvaux MacKillop College, St Thomas More College, St Columban’s College, Xavier Catholic College, Emmaus College Jimboomba, Trinity College and Mt Maria College will represent Brisbane Catholic Education in Divisions 2 and 3.
The girls’ competition returns for a second year with Marymount trying to extend its undefeated effort from last year’s inaugural event. Marymount will return with a few familiar faces from last year’s team.
The QISSN competition will include a boys’ division this year along with the girls’ competition renowned for its high skill levels and its quality relationships between teams.
Both events begin with a Mass celebrated ahead of the opening day of play.