LAMBTON High School coach Steve Bland says his side’s breakthrough win in the state cup knockout has been a great advertisement for Newcastle soccer.
Lambton defeated Liverpool Boys High 5-4 on penalties after a goalless regulation and extra time in the cup final at Seymour Shaw Stadium in Miranda last Wednesday night.
Lambton and Broadmeadow Magic midfielder Michael Kantarovski was named player of the series but the hero of the final was goalkeeper Brad Mackenzie.
‘‘Brad did particularly well,’’ Bland said.
‘‘We were actually quite confident because he’s an excellent shot-stopper. He saved two, but one rolled back in.
‘‘And our penalties were five of the cleanest penalties you’d ever see in your life. They struck them really well.’’
George Bland hit the final goal to secure the school’s first knockout cup and give the Newcastle region its first success in the tournament since Merewether in 1992.
Lambton, who had been beaten in three cup finals, defeated Colo High 2-1, Cecil Hills 1-0 and Cootamundra 1-1 (5-4 penalties) en route to this year’s decider.
Bland said Lambton players showed superior technique to their rivals through the competition and had gained the backing of the Newcastle soccer community.
‘‘It was a great advertisement for Newcastle football and the quality coaching here,’’ he said. ‘‘All the senior clubs have been very supportive, the Jets have really taken an interest and Gary van Egmond is always coming and talking to the boys.’’
The school’s cup defence appears in great shape because only Mackenzie, Tim Watts and Jake Bell will not return next year.
■ All Saints College, St Mary’s Campus, Maitland sports co-ordinator, team manager and former coach Colin Love has praised the fighting spirit of his school’s rugby league side after their maiden NSWRL Schoolboys Cup victory.
St Mary’s came from 22-12 down to defeat Eagle Vale High 32-28 in the knockout final last Tuesday at Bishop Park at Nundah in Brisbane.
St Mary’s became the first Hunter school to win the competition, which was first held in 1976. It was also the first time St Mary’s had been in the final despite the school’s rich rugby league history, which includes having Australian Schoolboys representatives Trent Estatheo, Brad Wallace, Daniel Quinn and Luke Dorn.
‘‘We’ve had more skilful teams but not with the same attitude this team has,’’ Love said.
‘‘They do what they’re told to do and they never give in.’’
■ Hunter Sports High School’s girls soccer side will contest the semi-finals of the Bill Turner Cup at Jack McLaughlan Oval today.
The Gateshead school play Westfields Sports High at 3.30pm, after the first semi between Queensland’s Palm Beach, Currumbin and The Hills Sports.
The boys’ Bill Turner Cup matches are between The Hills Sports and Westfields Sports at 5pm and Queensland’s John Paul College and Victorians Maribyrnong College at 6.30pm.
The winners progress to tomorrow’s grand finals at Jack McLaughlan from noon.
■ Newcastle hockey players Kendall Steel and Rory Walker have been named in the NSW under-13 teams for the national titles.
Striker Steel, a Souths junior, will travel to Perth from September 29 to October 6 for the girls’ tournament.
Halfback Walker, a Norths junior, will represent at Nowra with the boys’ team at the same time.
Both players are playing in the Newcastle junior final series which started last weekend.
Souths have qualified for the A- and B-grade boys’ deciders while Norths have gained the same honours in C and D grades.
In the girls, Souths have won their way into the A-grade grand final.
Tigers are through to the B-grade decider.
Regals are in the D-grade game.
All preliminary finals will be played this weekend.