More Than Just Football

Written by: Zac Piesse

Old Virgilian (2011) and current staff member at St Virgil's College.


The Gadomski Cup is an annual football game between The Hutchins School and St Virgil’s College. Now in its fourth year, the game recognises Old Virgilian Alex Gadomski. The two schools enjoy a rich history of playing football against each other, dating back to the College’s foundation year, 1911. There has always been a strong rivalry that exists on the sporting field, fuelled by the desire to be recognised as the leading boys’ school in Hobart. Hutchins’ games are simply unique and every Virgilian that pulls on the ‘V’ of St Virgil’s in a match against the magenta of Hutchins, instinctively knows this and the expectations that come with this honour.
 



Turning the Year 9 and 10 roster game into an event has been a fantastic move from both schools. By linking the game to such a worthy cause as the Alex Gadomski Fellowship, gives the boys representing each school an opportunity to raise money and awareness for such an important cause. Alex was an incredibly bright young man, who sadly died from Bone Marrow Failure Syndrome in 2017. Alex represented the College in many different sports. His brothers Jordan and Lachlan also attended the College, with Lachlan serving as the College Captain in 2016.
 

In 2021 the day was expanded with the addition of a Grade 5&6 game and a Year 7&8 game. The Grade 5&6 team commenced proceedings played the first game of the day kicking off the day in fine style for St Virgil’s with a gallant seven-point win. Grade 6 student, Henry Mansfield won the Courage Medal for the Best on Ground for SVC. He performed very consistently and exemplified the spirit of the day. We forward to watching him transition into the senior school in 2022, and hopefully progressing to the 1st XVIII as his father Damian did during his time at the College.

 

The day received plenty of media exposure with the Channel 7 News crew and The Mercury conducting interviews with Captain Riley Ferguson and Head of Sport Michael Moschogianis. These added to the authenticity of the event as well as promoting the quality of each school’s football programme. Riley, when asked about the importance of the game said, “It means a lot. There is a real rivalry between St Virgil’s and Hutchins, and even more for a game like this with the Alex Gadomski Cup. It means a lot to us all. It definitely has some benefit with tradition, keeping the greater traditions of the schools alive, and more importantly raising awareness for the Alex Gadomski Fellowship.”
 

The Year 7&8 game was a monumental tussle between two evenly matched teams. St Virgil’s started strongly against a Hutchins team who had been playing together for the entire SSATIS roster. In contrast the SVC team was drawn from three teams selected according to where students live, these being Eastern Shore, Northern Suburbs and Greater Hobart/Southern teams. Whilst this spreads our talent for the SSATIS roster it maximises participation opportunities for boys which is a fundamental premise of the College’s renowned sporting programme. The opportunity to select our best Year 7&8 team certainly evened the contest and subsequently we entered the half time break with an eleven point lead. Jye Millwall was an unstoppable force up forward, towering above the Hutchins defence, kicking a goal and creating a contest to allow our small forwards to also hit the scoreboard.  

 

As the second half progressed, Lachie Davey proved to be crucial in the midfield. He was strong overhead and provided our forward line with numerous opportunities to score. The team always knew that Hutchins would respond and when it did it was Anthony Volta who marshalled the backline, repelling attack after attack from Hutchins who were controlling the midfield. He also instigated many of our attacking moves with excellent ball use. His influence on the game was highlighted during one piece of play where he lost the ball at our forward 50 after overlapping from defence. He then chased 60 metres back into defence to run down a Hutchin’s player who was steaming in to what seemed a near certain goal. It was plays like this that ensured the victory for St Virgil’s and saw Anthony awarded with the Courage Medal. The game was on a knife’s edge right up the final siren with St Virgil’s holding on for a hard fought one point win. Hutchins were left to lament their inaccuracy having kicked one goal and four behinds in the final five minutes of the game.
 

It was now time for the main event, the start of which also heralded the arrival of rain which had threatened during the Year 9&10 game. This would require a commitment to be first to the ball and play old fashioned ‘wet weather footy’! The Hutchins Cheer Squad were loud, and all boys were pumped for the contest. The first quarter began with Hutchins dominating most of the play, showing a clean set of heels in the slippery conditions. St Virgil’s despite some good passages of play remained scoreless up until the final moments of the quarter, when midfielder and one the best St Virgil’s players for the day, Lachlan Dare, took a strong grab and went back and kicked truly. Our boys trailed by nine points heading into quarter time. The weather really began to deteriorate as the second quarter wore on, and the boys really struggled to adjust to the conditions. As the half-time siren sounded, the Saints remained on one goal, not registering a score for the entire quarter.
 

After a vintage ‘rev-up’ from the coaching team consisting of Mr Beck, Mr Webster and Mr ‘Kev’ Anders, the boys were fired up and ready to make amends for a poor first half. Vice-Captain Flynn Read and fellow defender Will Busch were leading by example in the backline, putting their body on the line to get to the contest first and were willing to put their fist to the ball to gain some valuable territory. The lack of scoring from both sides really took the ‘fizz’ out of the game, as the conditions made it incredibly tough to use skills with any surety.
Whilst both teams managed a goal in the last quarter the final score was St Virgil’s 2.5 (17) to Hutchins 6.10 (46). Hutchins’ midfielder Josh Curtis was chosen for the Courage Medal and was quite clearly the best player on the field.

 

A big thank you on behalf of the St Virgil’s College community to Hutchins for hosting the event. Thank you also to Paul and the Gadomski family for presenting the Alex Gadomski Cup to the winning teams throughout the day. It was fantastic to see such a strong showing from both Colleges, all teams displaying high level skills.
 

We eagerly look forward to the event in 2022 and seeing the Cup return to St Virgil’s!