All Stars coach hopes to see major threat in gala game
WITH players like inspirational five-eight Ricky Bird to contend with, Ipswich All Stars coach Scott Ireland knows experience will be crucial in Saturday's showcase match at the North Ipswich Reserve.
However, the former Ipswich Jet is keen for his players to turn on an entertaining show in the 5.50pm encounter against the Ipswich Indigenous All Stars, coached by ex-Bronco Ian Lacey.
"It would be good to see the Bird get a run,'' Ireland said.
"He's pretty much one of the biggest icons in Ipswich rugby league so it would be awesome to see Ricky.''
Ireland's initial squad has undergone some recent changes with Huskie Teutau and Anthony Itiri unable to play.
"I've got no shortage of experience in there,'' Ireland said.
"Probably a 1000 plus Q (Queensland Cup) games.''
Ireland's squad includes a host of seasoned Ipswich competition players like premiership-winning captains Zac Lemberg and Ramone Filipine, former Brothers and Swifts leader Jake O'Doherty, Norths on-field leader Steven West and Norths stalwart Tonga Mo'unga.
Lemberg is captaining the side in Saturday's encounter.
Former Ipswich Jet Ireland was eager to see what shape the competition stars from the past five years were in.
He has planned training runs on Tuesday and Thursday, as has his rival coach Ian Lacey.
"We just want to get on the same page realistically,'' Ireland said.
"You're not trying to do too much. They should know how to play footy.
"It's just getting together to understand each other.
"At the end of the day, you want to make it a good spectacle.
"I've touched base with everybody. Everyone is ready to go.
"It will be good to get the team together and catch up with everyone in person.''
The latest squads for Saturday's game.
Ipswich All Stars: 1. Ratu Vatuinaruku, 2. Anava Fesolai, 3. Nemani Velekapa, 4. Tonga Mo'unga, 5. Sam Langbien, 6. Traveindra Naidu, 7. Isi Hafoka, 8. Jake O'Doherty, 9. Michael Hayes, 10. Zac Lemberg, 11. Ramon Filipine, 12. Jacob Lindsey, 13. John Schawlger, 14. Jack Wallace, 15. Jake Casey, 16. Dylan Martin, 17. Elijah Umu, 18. Alby Talipeau, 19. David Faamita, 20. Michael Rasmussen, 21. Regan Wilde.
Indigenous All Stars: 1. Wes Conlon, 2. Bernard Mosby, 3. Harold Mosby, 4. Donald Malone, 5. Rendy Mam, 6. Cameron Picker, 7. Ricky Bird, 8. Billy McConnachie, 9. Jerome Green, 10. Lee Coghill, 11. Kurtis Lingwoodock, 12. Nathan Gaulton, 13. Phil Dennis, 14. Steven West, 15. Willie Tonga, 16. Kyle Blackman, 17. Ritchie Lowe, 18. Brando Grogan, 19. Lamiki Wraight, 20. Daniel West-Pes.
The Indigenous-Ipswich All Stars match will follow an under-21 trial at 4pm between the Ipswich Jets and Western Mustangs.
The Indigenous jerseys will be auctioned off after the All Stars game.
Tickets are available for Friday night's Indigenous All Stars Dinner, featuring international representative Willie Tonga and Jets coach Keiron Lander as guest speakers.
Contact Jo at Rugby League Ipswich on 3202 4137.
Chris Bombolas is MC for the night with a special player jersey presentation planned.
GALA DAY PROGRAM
Game times for Saturday
4pm: Under 21 trial - Ipswich Jets v Western Mustangs
5.35pm: Welcome to the country, smoking ceremony and tribal dances
5.50pm: Ipswich Indigenous All-Stars v Ipswich All-Stars
7.30pm: Players jerseys auctioned in front of grandstand
Gates open at 3.45pm (admission $10).