Casual Ipswich co-captain knows how to switch on for school
WHEN you are utility footballer like Ipswich State High School co-captain Deijion Leugaimafa, you have plenty of options in the Langer Cup schoolboy competition.
While Leugaimafa, nicknamed DJ, can play fullback, centre or wing, he has a preferred position in an Ipswich side rich in talent.
"I like fullback,'' he said, appreciative of the extra encouragement he has received from coaches at Ipswich State High.
"I've been playing fullback for two years now and when I first started, I wasn't as confident but they all helped me out a lot.''
With a distinctive hairstyle he was threatening to chop off, DJ was a late starter to rugby league.
He was born in New Zealand, before moving to Australia as a youngster and decided to try rugby league.
"I was 11. I didn't play club when I was like a little kid,'' he said.
"I've come a long way.
"I love leading the boys.''
He now shares the co-captaincy role with Lachlan Williamson, who provides a terrific balance in style.
DJ said he was happy to assist his teammates off the field while "when it comes to talking, it's all Lachy''.
"It's good to have that leadership, just to concentrate on and help each other,'' DJ said.
He was thrilled to have come through the Ipswich State High School program with players like Williamson, Riley Morris, Waylon Fialii.
"It's good to see where we are now,'' he said.
Ipswich State High opens its 2020 Langer Cup match in an away match against Palm Beach Currumbin on Wednesday afternoon.
The Ipswich State High match is being livestreamed on this Queensland Times website, along with all matches each round.
Come to the top of the QT page at game time (5pm) on Wednesday and you'll be able to watch with a subscription.
Right now, a subscription costs just $1 a week for the first 12 weeks - watch the entire season for $12.
DJ is excited to have some footy to play after the recent COVID restrictions.
He's keen to build on what Ipswich State High achieved in coming so close to winning the competitive series last year.
"Always looking to build on my game,'' the humble footballer said, eager to learn from the Ipswich State High coaches and other players.
"They just keep feeding me and I'll take it in all the time.''
At the team's latest more relaxed training session, he worked on catching preparing for the trip to Palm Beach Currumbin.
"It's the last year this year and I'm just trying to fit everything in,'' he said, having played every game in last year's Langer Cup series.
"You don't want to leave the place, especially when you've been since like 13.
"It's a good program mate.''
Apart from playing for his coaches and the school, he also thinks about his family every time he trains and runs onto a footy field.
"I want to be better not just for me but for everyone as well,'' he said.
DJ said he was a calm person before a game but enjoyed clicking up a gear on the field.
"I'm casual and open but when it comes to a game, it's switch on,'' he said.
He said his favourite game in last year's Langer Cup was tackling Marsden.
They are set to clash again on August 19 at Marsden's home field.
"We had good rivalry against us and especially the venue that we had as well. It was a good venue and heaps of people.
"It was good to go there.''
DJ was selected in the Ipswich Jets Mal Meninga squad and made the Met West side this year before being unable to play earlier this year due to the coronavirus restrictions.
"That was a bit of a letdown but we're just happy for the school - the school season (Langer Cup) not to get cancelled,'' he said.
As for his future, DJ was looking for a contract out of rugby league or work after he finishes trade training at Ipswich State High School.
"I'll stick with construction or engineering,'' he said.