Bears working hard for cup glory
REDBANK Plains, in their first season back playing senior Ipswich rugby league, sit second on the Challenge Cup ladder with a win, a loss and a draw from their three games.
The draw came last Friday, 22-all with Rosewood at the Redbank Plains Recreational Reserve.
“It was pretty much a game lost,” Bears coach John Leota said.
“We could have won it.”
The coach blamed his team’s lack of fitness but was not concerned by it.
“It is early in the season and with more game time, we can only get better,” he said.
“I’m happy with the performance. Rosewood are a fit, young pack.”
Which is not to say Redbank Plains were without their merits, with second rower Mata Tonga a standout.
“Just the yards he made up the middle,” Leota said.
“He went all day.”
Leota is pleased with the progression the Bears are making, knowing they are far from their peak.
“I’m pretty happy so far,” he said.
“I’m really liking the Challenge Cup.
“It’s really good for clubs like Redbank Plains and Springfield.”
Leota missed his team’s only loss, to undefeated leaders Springfield, but thinks the competition is wide open, with Redbank Plains as much a chance as anyone of succeeding.
“Every team has the opportunity of winning this comp,” he said.
“We just hope to be competitive.
“Winning it would be nice.
“Top two would be good for the club, given it is our first year back in the competition.
“I’ve been trying for the past three years to get them back in.
“We’ve got the team to do it, with the potential and the right attitude.”
While the Bears’ fitness will get better, so will the playing roster in the coming weeks.
“I’m getting heaps of players coming back from injuries,” Leota said.
The most crucial of those is centre/second rower Terry Iese.
“He’ll make a big difference,” Leota said.
“He was one of the biggest hitters in the competition when he was playing A grade.”
When Iese and the other players return, the Bears will be closer to showing what they are really capable of.
“We just need more game time,” Leota said.
“We only played one trial before the season kicked off.
“Our structures in defence will come along with that.”
As will their attack, as the players get used to the former Goodna and Redbank Plains A grader’s requirements.
“I’m a structured kind of coach,” he said.
“I work hard on it every training session.”