GPS school rugby: Churchie on a roll
IT'S a rare thing in GPS schools rugby to rebound from a round-one defeat to raise the GPS trophy eight weeks later.
Nudgee College was the last team to accomplish the feat, falling to Churchie at Ross Oval in 2011 before sweeping the rest of the competition in a Stephen Bradbury-esque tale for the ages.
Mirroring that journey is the mission at hand for Churchie in 2018.
Churchie were a consensus "dark horse" selection during the pre-season but a resounding 40-5 season-opening loss at The Southport School led many to write off the Vikings' premiership aspirations.
Since then Churchie (5-1) have run the table and, if they can unseat visitors Nudgee on Saturday, are in with a chance to share in a rare three-way tie for premiership glory.
It would be the first triple since Nudgee, Southport and State High split honours in 2010.
The number-crunching required for 2015's premiership-winning coach Michael Lucas, now in his fourth and final season at Churchie, is simple.
Nudgee (6-0) and Southport (7-0) are undefeated and will meet in the final round of the season on September 15.
Churchie sit one place behind with one loss, while Brisbane Boys' College (4-2) are out of the running with two losses but will play a key role in dictating who ends up with a hand on the trophy.
Churchie must inflict the first loss of the season upon Nudgee College, then hope that Nudgee can rebound to defeat a TSS outfit fresh off the round-eight bye.
The Vikings must then defeat a BBC First XV gunning for a podium finish in their own round-nine fixture.
If that scenario unfolds, Nudgee, Southport and Churchie will all end the season with seven wins, one loss, and a hand on the trophy.
If it doesn't, Nudgee or Southport will end the season with the first true grand final climax since 2012 to decide the premiership.
Churchie's discipline and well-worked pick-and-drive plays to convert territory into points have been a feature.
Neat-moving fullback Wayne Bilston and lock Fred Fewtrell, recently added to the Australian Schoolboys Barbarians side to face the Tongan and New Zealand Schools next month in Brisbane, have been among the standouts.
Churchie has been uncompromising on the defensive front, conceding just 12.4 points per match in the five games since round-one's blowout, though Saturday will be their toughest challenge to date.
Nudgee is the only side in the competition with a starchier defensive record but can also lay claim to the competition's second-best attack, scoring 47.0 and conceding 12.7 points per game.
Churchie will be sweating on the fitness of second-year flyhalf Charlie Howard, whose availability will be determined by a surgeon on Thursday.
GPS Match of the Round will be live-streamed for free on "DoubleTake Sports" facebook page on Saturday from 2.05pm.