Adopting AFL styles revive Ipswich’s playoff hopes
A REVISED training plan, more attacking approach and rise of an exciting young gun provided the boost the Ipswich Eagles desperately needed.
Ipswich's latest 75-61 victory keeps the Eagles hopes alive of making this year's QFA Division 2 North final series.
After receiving a valuable lesson from Moreton Bay a week earlier, the Eagles returned to their Limestone Park home base with renewed enthusiasm.
Beating Moorooka was only Ipswich's second win from five matches.
However, head coach Kym Mansell was confident his team could still qualify for the top six playoffs in this season's shortened format.
"If we play like we did yesterday and improve that little bit, another two wins will get us there I reckon,'' Mansell said.
"It was a much needed win. It keeps us in the finals hunt.''
Mansell said his team had adjusted better in their latest clash after a 10 goal second quarter lapse against Moreton Bay.
"I've had to restructure our training sessions,'' Mansell said.
"Our skill levels have been way down this year compared to previous years.
"As individuals, we're not touching the ball enough at training.''
So the focus has been on breaking down the team's drills with smaller numbers in regular rotations.
Mansell also modified Ipswich's game plan, based on what he called the style of AFL team North Melbourne in the late 1990s, with some methods of current champions Richmond.
The goal is opening up space in the forward line, creating better attack.
Eagles teenager Jaiden Fidge delivered exactly what Mansell wanted, booting seven goals in the latest win.
Playing in the midfield, the Toowoomba recruit was able to push forward and be more effective in front of the posts. It was his best game since joining the Eagles.
"He just had to adjust to the pace of the game,'' Mansell said.
"He's young, he's fast, he has got good skills so we put him in the middle and he just carved them up.
"Our run was there yesterday. I can't fault the effort.''
Although the Eagles players tired in the final quarter after building a 70-41 advantage, Mansell said the signs were looking better after some recent inconsistent performances.
Other valuable contributors against Moorooka include backliners Jacob Huisman and Brendan Blythe.
Huisman returned from recent hamstring injuries and Blythe has been improving with each game.
Forward Zac Lawrence also worked hard in his 50th game for the club.
The Ipswich Eagles women remained unbeaten after their latest Saturday night victory at Limestone Park.
The second-placed Eagles women secured their fourth win of the QFAW Division 2 North season 10.5-65 to 2.0-12 over Moorooka.
Jessica Miles booted four goals with regular scorer Tamita Balanco kicking two along with Natalie Mcinnes.
The Ipswich Eagles Reserve men earlier lost 57-27 to Moorooka.
All three Eagles teams play Pine Rivers away in their next contests.
STATE OF PLAY
QFA Division 2 North: Ipswich Eagles 10.15-75 def Moorooka 9.7-61. Reserves: Moorooka 8.9-57 def Ipswich 4.3-27.
QFAW Division 2 North: Ipswich Eagles 10.5-65 def Moorooka 2.0-12.