School of NRL success

Well trained: St Gregory's first grade rugby league coach Lee Addison with current St Gregory's player Harry Grove in front of the school's full trophy cabinet. Picture: Jonathan Ng
Well trained: St Gregory's first grade rugby league coach Lee Addison with current St Gregory's player Harry Grove in front of the school's full trophy cabinet. Picture: Jonathan Ng

THERE are so many NRL players who sharpened their skills at St Gregory's College, Campbelltown, that Lee Addison hopes he hasn't left anyone out.

The St Greg's first grade rugby league coach came up with Wests Tigers' James Tedesco, Matt Groat and Chris Lawrence, St George Illawarra's Beau Scott and Jack De Belin, Melbourne's Ryan Hoffman, Newcastle's Alex McKinnon and Penrith's Sandor Earl.

"I think that's all the current ones," he said.

So why is the Catholic college that sits looking over Campbelltown producing so many quality rugby league players?

"We got a good reputation in the '70s and '80s for having a heavy focus on sport and it has built up from there," Addison said.

"The school is right up there now with the top notch schools in producing rugby league talent to the NRL."

Addison moved to Australia from England five years ago, and has been at the school for three years.

He's been involved in junior teams with many NRL clubs and is the assistant coach of the USA rugby league team.

He says the St Gregs' students attitude to succeed is up there with any teams he's coached.

"The kids here have such a good work ethic," he said.

"I'm an educator who educates via the vehicle of rugby league."

The team has up to seven training sessions a week, with an optional Wednesday morning session.

"Most of the boys turn up to the optional one too, we want to make the most of it," first grade fullback Harry Grove said.

Grove is from Tumut and is now a boarder at St Greg's.

He's currently a member of Wests SG Ball (under 18s) team.

"The school is good, I've developed so much as a player," Grove said.

"Two years ago, I got to watch Tedesco and Groat train all the time and now two years later they're in the NRL.

"It shows us that anyone can do it.

"It gives you something to strive for."

Addison said Grove — and many of his teammates — have the potential to emulate former students and make it to the big stage.

"He's an elegant runner," Mr Addison said of Grove.

"He's a classy fullback, a bit of a David Peachey type.

"There's real potential for NRL players in this squad."

The squad is a blend of Macarthur locals and students boarding from across NSW.

"We're only a small team, we usually are, I don't know why, there's nothing wrong with the food here," Addison said.

"Only six of them are playing junior reps with NRL clubs, so we're the great unknowns."

St Greg's have won the past two Metropolitan Catholic Schools (MCS) titles and if Addison's team win this year it will be the first time St Greg's have won three titles in a row since the early '80s.