Kirwan State High School have secured back-to-back Aaron Payne schoolboys titles with a hard-fought 12-6 win over Ignatius Park College at 1300SMILES Stadium tonight.

Leading 12-0 at the half-time break thanks to tries to Julian Christian and Caleb Souter, Kirwan leaked a second-half try to Iggy Park’s Jonte Kennedy but showed great defensive resolve to keep their tryline intact for the final nine minutes against a desperate opposition.

The Townsville league nurseries finished on top of this year’s Aaron Payne Cup regular competition, which is North Queensland’s premier secondary schools rugby league tournament.

That success booked their spots in the decider at 1300SMILES Stadium as the curtain raiser to the Round 20 Cowboys-Bulldogs NRL game.

Kirwan nabbed the silverware and also earned a top NQ seeding for the nationwide GIO Schoolboys Cup, which they won last year in a history-making campaign that started with last year’s six-point Aaron Payne Cup final win over Ignatius Park.

There is never much separating the two schools, however, and the same was the case this year.

Kirwan beat Ignatius Park earlier this year but Ignatius Park improved steadily to eventually win the prestigious Confraternity Shield in Rockhampton a fortnight ago.

But Kirwan stood tall tonight, with stoic defence the highlight of a gritty win.

KIRWAN STATE HIGH SCHOOL 12 (Julian Christian, Caleb Souter tries; Christian 2 goals) def IGNATIUS PARK COLLEGE 6 (Jonte Kennedy try; Oscar Carter goal) at 1300SMILES Stadium.