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Australian Schoolboys - The Redcliffe Connection Since the inception of the Australian Schoolboys in 1972, ten Redcliffe Dolphins have had the honour of being chosen to represent their country at this level. They are Curtis Powell, Adam Chapman, Grant Cleal, David Simpson, Clinton O'Brien, Dane Carlaw, Craig Frawley, Trent Clayton, Brent Tate and Daniel Jones.
Powell became Redcliffe's first Australian Schoolboy in 1981, when he was chosen at halfback for both tests against the visiting Junior Kiwis. This in itself was an exceptional feat, as he had to beat the very talented Phil Blake for the position and Powell had only converted to halfback from the hooker position a few weeks earlier. Powell was a clever player, with courageous defence and scheming attack his main assets. Powell signed with Redcliffe after school and made an immediate impact as a 17-year-old debutant being hailed in the media as a possible State of Origin candidate. Severe knee injuries plagued Powell's career and he found it hard to dislodge Colin Part and then Mark Murray as the club's number one halfback. Powell became a club stalwart, playing mainly lower grades until his retirement in1992.
Adam Chapman is still held in awe by many Schoolboy officials. The Clontarf five-eighth / centre was a spectacular attacking player, possessing running and handling skills rarely seen at any level of the game. Chapman was chosen as Andrew Ettingshausen's centre partner in the 1983 Schoolboys merit side, with Chapman being regarded a better natural talent at that stage of their careers. Chapman signed with Wests after school and, after an impressive first season, his career faded due to injury and work commitments. After years of retirement Chapman made a comeback with the Dolphins in 1993. Although he had lost his blistering acceleration, Chapman retained enough skill to be a key figure in the C grade's premiership win, as well as figuring prominently as an impact player in the Reserve grade finals series.
The 1988 Australian Schoolboys touring team to New Zealand included two players from the Redcliffe district; Pine Rivers High's Grant Cleal and Caboolture High's David Simpson. Both Cleal, a strongly built prop with good ball skills, and Simpson a utility player best suited at five-eighth, excelled on tour, with Simpson winning a man of the match award in one test. After school, their careers followed almost identical paths. Both signed with the Broncos, but were unable to force their way into the star -studded club. In 1993, they both returned to the Dolphins, but were plagued with injuries. Simpson left the club in 1994 for Easts. Cleal after missing all of 1993 with a knee reconstruction, re-established himself in the A grade in 1994 but his season was again effected by injury and suspension. Cleal went on to be in the dual premiership side in 1997 collecting the Man of the Match award in the BRL final. In the year 2001 Simpson returned to the club to coach the Colts to a premiership with Cleal as his right hand man.
Clinton O'Brien toured England in 1991 with the Schoolboys. The rugged prop is a devastating "hitman" in a similar mould to David Gillespie and has developed a fearsome reputation for his uncompromising approach to the game. O'Brien, a Redcliffe junior, signed with Sydney Easts on his return from England. He stablished himself in 1994 in a disappointing Easts outfit. He was named in the Rugby League Week Rookie team of the year. The following year he returned to Queensland to play for the Crushers and when they folded at the end of the 1997 season he joined the Gold Coast Chargers and then on to Newcastle when the Chargers folded. In 1997 O'Brien became the first Redcliffe junior to be selected for the Queensland State of Origin side. And in 2001 was a part of the premiership winning Newcastle Knights team. Playing a vital role coming off the bench.
The 1997 Australian Schoolboys side had two Dolphin juniors Dane Carlaw and Craig Frawley. The boys were both members of the Cash's Carpets development squad . Frawley who can play fullback, wing and centre signed with the Broncos after school and unfortunatley for Redcliffe got placed with Brothers club in the colts competition and played against Redcliffe. Frawley has had a horrific run with injury having 3 knee reconstructions since he left school, but looks certain to be rewarded for his determination and courage next season with a spot in the Broncos top 25. Carlaw also signed with the Broncos when he left school and like Frawley was placed with the Brothers club and was one of their stars when they knocked Redcliffe out of the finals in colts in 1998. Carlaw mad his first grade debut for the Broncos in the year 2000 and starred in their grand final victory against the Roosters. And in 2001 he continued where he left off starring in Qld's 2-1 State of Origin series victory and also made his Australian test debut against the Kiwis and has been selected on the 2001 Kangaroo tour.
The 1999 Australian Schoolboys side also contained two players from the Dolphins ranks. They were winger / centre Trent Clayton and centre / five-eighth Brent Tate. Both of the players had tasted first grade with Pepsi Dolphins in 1999 with Clayton playing Clayton playing 13 games and Tate 2 games. Both players missed out on first grade selection for finals but won Colts premierships that season with Tate being the outstanding player on the field. In 2000 Clayton signed with the Roosters and played mostly lower grades. He made his first grade debut in 2001 and has been signed by the Roosters for another 2 years. Tate signed with the Broncos in 2000 and played for their feeder club the Toowoomba Clydesdales once again one of our top juniors has been forced to play against us. Tate was a member of the Toowoomba side that lost the Grand Final to Redcliffe in 2000 but was also in the side that turned the tables in 2001 and beat Redcliffe in the Dolphin Oval decider. Tate made his first grade debut for the Broncos in 2001 and re-signed with the club for another 2 years.
In the year 2000 Daniel Jones the son of Redcliffe life member Bob Jones was called into the side for the test match at Kougari Oval. Jones a strong back rower with a high work rate was signed by the Broncos at the end of 2000. He was sent to Brisbane club Wests to play in their Colts team and had to play against his former team-mates on a number of occasions. Jones was unlucky not be called into the Clydesdales team late in the season when injury struck the Broncos and Toowoomba squads. After being released by the Broncos during 2003 Daniel returned to the Dolphins.