KILDARE Catholic College left little doubt they deserve favouritism to claim this year's Carroll Cup after they made an emphatic statement against The Riverina Anglican College on Wednesday night.
In difficult greasy conditions at Robertson Oval, Kildare ran rampant in an 8.5 (53) to 1.0 (6) win over the defending champions.
Both teams were unbeaten before the contest, with Kildare coming off a huge first up win over Wagga High despite missing several key players due to illness.
The return of their guns proved too difficult to handle for TRAC, who were outplayed and outmuscled by a bigger Kildare outfit, especially given TRAC were missing some of their more physical players like Tom Kerrisk and Tom Holden.
Ruck-forward Nick Madden was unstoppable for Kildare and kicked four goals, while Pat Ryan, Joe Morton and Coby Bourke were dominant in the midfield.
TRAC kicked the opening goal of the match through Shannon Spears, but couldn't fire a shot thereafter as Kildare took control.
Kildare coach Ryan Price was confident they wouldn't get complacent before they finish their pool campaign with clashes against Kooringal High and Mater Dei next week.
"It certainly doesn't go to their heads. We've talked about being confident without being cocky," Price said.
"We have confidence in our team without being arrogant, but we're fully aware other schools have good teams as well.
"It was a bit greasy so you just have to surge that ball forward, and they were pretty good at it today."
Price said Madden couldn't dominate if the supply from the on-ballers wasn't so efficient, despite the tough conditions.
"He's very handy to have in your side, you'd love to have a few of him," he said.
"He's got good overhead marking ability and good foot skills, but it also shows the talent of some of the other boys and their ability to put it where he wants it.
"He's a very good player but we're certainly not a one man band, that's for sure."
TRAC coach Patrick Harris said they're optimistic they'll be able to make the necessary adjustments should the two teams meet in the finals.
He was encouraged by the application they showed in the second half to limit Kildare to just two goals.
"We were a bit undermanned in particular with size tonight and we certainly saw that early, but the boys dug in during that second half and showed some resilience," Patrick said.
"In that second half the back line got Madden's measure a bit more. There was times when he got easy delivery, but the defenders played their role in the second half and in the finals we'll certainly get those match ups right."
In Wednesday's other clash, Kooringal High's go-to player Luke Lawrence injured his hip early in Mater Dei's 11.15 (81) to 1.1 (7) win, with Baxter Wallett kicking four goals.
KILDARE 3.1 6.4 7.4 8.5 (53) def TRAC 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 (6)
Goals: Kildare - Nick Madden 4, Will McDermott, Campbell Mattingly, Kye Wright, Jackson Connolly; TRAC - Shannon Spears
Best: Kildare - Pat Ryan, Ryley Watson, Nick Madden, Baxter Harmer, Coby Bourke, Hayden O'Connell; TRAC - Jack Glanvill, Seb Hamblin, Tom Howard, Harrison Brown, Geordie Charleson, Liam Burns
MATER DEI CATHOLIC COLLEGE 3.5 6.7 8.10 11.15 (81) def KOORINGAL HIGH 0.0 0.1 0.1 1.1 (7)
Best: Mater Dei - Beau Edmunds, Jake Hockley, Bailey Hilton, Henry Cook, Lewis Pulver, Baxter Wallett; Kooringal High - Seb Rodet, Luke McGowan, Jake Hinds, Shaun O'Donnell, Jonathan Mulhearn, Alec Schmetzer
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