A school once famous for breeding some of the greatest football stars has put the focus back on excelling in rugby league.

After a slow start at the turn of the century Andrew Neaves and Steve Nikolovski, two teachers at Patrician Brothers’ College Fairfield, decided it was time to wind the clock back.

“Six years ago Steve and I made an effort to bring back the pride in that ‘blue and blue’ jersey and we’ve had some massive success in doing so,” said Mr Neaves.

“The boys that have come through this period have been outstanding young men and they’ve really helped with the (Patrician Brothers’ rugby league) program.”

Mr Neaves says the program has become a big drawcard for parents.

“There’s no two ways about it, the amount of boys that are here for sport and the success that has come off that is definitely a draw card,” he said.

“There’s boys all over the place that want to come in – not just (for) rugby league, but soccer and basketball also.

“Sport really brings the community and college together.”

School snags big name in coaching

The school’s latest coaching acquisition is Australian-born Samoan former NRL star Frank Pritchard, also known by the nicknames of Cranky and Frank the Tank.

“With the addition of Frank Pritchard at the college, we’ve brought in that NRL expertise and it’s doing wonders for the boys not only on the field but also off it, giving them some good life lessons,” said Mr Neaves.

“The work Frank is doing, not just on the field but also the work he’s doing with learning support and the indigenous population here, really adds something to the program that has probably lacked in the last few years.”

Stars of tomorrow

Currently contracted to the Parramatta Eels S.G. Ball team, Year 12 student Larry Muagututia prop explained why he chose Fairfield Patrician Brothers’ College.

“Some friends were coming, so I thought I’d come here and enjoy playing footy and try and get a good education,” Mr Muagututia said.

“From the facilities to the equipment, it offers you everything to improve yourself as a player and as a person and ground you with religion.”

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