HOLY Family Catholic School has continued its recent run of success in the Paul Kelly Cup, after the girls team booked its spot in the regional finals of the state-wide competition with a grand final win at Orange on Wednesday.
And the Kelso school could've made it a double but ultimately the boys team fell short in their decider at Waratahs.
The girls team won their grand final in a battle with St Mary's Primary School Dubbo, winning 1-1-7 to 1-0-6 in extra-time, with the scores locked at a goal a piece at the end of regulation time.
The boys, however, had a much harder time out in the decider, with St John's College on top in a dominant display 4-1-25 to 0-0-0.
The result was a surprise, considering none of the girls or boys had played Australian rules before according to coach Joel Hartmann - who coached the teams alongside Brent Dennis.
"It was a bit of a surprise because not one player in year 5 or 6 have played before, so it was great for them to take it out," he said.
"We'd only been training for four days in the lead up and we won at Bathurst last Friday and then we won at Orange."
Even after the girls won and the boys just missed out in their grand final, Hartmann said he's unsure whether the boys or girls will pick up the sport.
"We've got a lot of passionate rugby league and soccer players in our boys and you never know about the girls," he said.
"It's an academic culture at Holy Family but we also have a big sport culture, which is supported from the parents that back anything."
AFL Central West development coordinator Casey White said it was an awesome result for Holy Family.
"Another year and another Holy Family team through to the next round. It's awesome for them," he said.
"It's great to see certain schools continue to perform really well in this competition and with the year 5s coming through, they see the success of their year 6s and they want to get involved and play.
"It's really exciting for Holy Family. It's also exciting for the St Mary's boys from Dubbo. We wish them luck as they go through the next round."
White said there was a good turnout from schools across the region through all the previous carnivals in the lead up to Wednesday's regional qualifier.
"It was a really good day. It was great to see the kids get involved as always, but also seeing the wide range of schools and communities participating this year," he said.
"It's been a successful Paul Kelly Cup for our region this year. We ended up with 19 schools and 42 teams across the region.
"The day was really well supported by the Orange Tigers. It's great that these days are supported by our local clubs.
"They know the significance of these year 5 and year 6 players participating in Paul Kelly Cup. Being able to be a positive face in the community and end up with kids playing AFL, it's a great thing."
Holy Family's girls has featured twice in the Paul Kelly Cup finals in Sydney, having won in 2015 and 2017.
Holy Family will travel to Blacktown in May to compete in the Greater Western Sydney regional finals.
The winners of the tournament will have the chance to play at either Giants Stadium or the SCG.
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