Fit for success: Meet Ipswich’s incredible teaching team
BEHIND a successful sporting team you can usually find another group of dedicated people who inject hours of commitment into their common goal.
Ipswich State High School's Rugby League Academy is a classic example.
Preparing for Wednesday's Langer Cup semi-final, Ipswich State High has one of the best organised and most professional back-up teams in the elite schoolboy competition.
Headed by Josh Bretherton with seven years experience, the support network of coaches, fitness gurus, teachers and former students devote countless time and energy to their footy squad.
"Josh has been a pleasure to work with,'' said head of strength and conditioning Jonathan Dore.
"He's really focused on the students achieving outside of football first and then football being the thing they do as well as being a student.
"The results are speaking for themselves off the back of it.
"We've got kids here playing good football and finishing here with jobs.
"As teachers that what we should be here for. It's fantastic.''
After finishing runners-up in last year's prestigious Langer Cup competition, Ipswich State High has another shot at final glory against Palm Beach Currumbin this afternoon.
Joining Bretherton and Dore in the program are Shane Harris, Steve Brown, Josh Seage, Peter Poole, Setefano Talavave and Daniel Hobden.
"It's a great place to work and be a part of,'' Dore said. "We've got a good mix of knowledge, enthusiasm and the boys are a pleasure to work with.''
Each person has specific roles in the highly regarded Ipswich Academy.
Dore has been a teacher at Ipswich State High since 2016. He oversees the strength and conditioning needs.
"We run GPS tracking and gym sessions,'' he said. "I'm checking that we've got benchmarks how far we can travel and we're fit enough for the games . . . along with coaching the Seconds team.''
Dore was also working with the Ipswich Jets Intrust Super Cup, under-20 and under-18 teams before the sporting shutdown earlier in the year.
He was assistant national coach for Poland in 2018 and had a strength and conditioning association with the Ipswich Force state league basketball team in 2018/19.
"Jack of all trades'' Harris works across the entire program, having been a teacher and coach at Ipswich State High since 2014.
He's the year 10 coach and assistant to Bretherton with the Langer Cup Open side.
Harris is also the Mal Meninga assistant coach this season.
"Shane is someone who is just excellent at his job,'' Dore said.
"His ability to break down opposition teams is better than anything I've ever seen.
"He knows more about the other team than I think they know about themselves.
"It really helps the boys to go out on to the field and be well and truly prepared for what they are coming up against.''
Brown is the newcomer to the program.
"Brownie was working with the Jets and has come on board this year and done a couple of days a week with us,'' Dore said.
"He's here in a development role. He's also helping with the girls program at the school, trying to get it on track to becoming on par with the boys.
"He's just kind of helping to smooth the pathway towards the seniors so he's been really valuable for us.''
Former Jets Queensland Cup stalwart Seage is another vital cog in developing the Ipswich State High football nursery.
"Seagie's role is to the coach the year 7 team so it's really good having someone who has been around the Ipswich area his whole life,'' Dore said.
"He played for the Jets. Working with the younger kids, he can really inspire them to be better humans first and then be good footballers as well.
"It's good to have a role model like Seagie working with those junior boys.''
Poole was looking after the school's strength and conditioning before Dore.
"His role now is with the year 8 team,'' Dore said.
"He also helps me on the side organising sponsorship for the program.''
Dore said Poole's fitness ideas were also invaluable "because he had a career in powerlifting before he was at school and a teacher here.''
Talavave is the Polynesian liaison officer at the school.
"Essentially his role is to ensure that the Polynesian kids are achieving to the best of their ability,'' Dore said. "So in a rugby league setting, it's a massive asset for us, especially with the high number of Polynesian kids we have at this school.
"He understands from a cultural perspective, the challenges that they can have at times and he can help bridge the gap between us, who don't fully understand, to make sure we get the best outcomes for the kids.''
Hobden is the year 9 coach who helps the Open and Thirds sides.
"He's down there from a development perspective,'' Dore said.
Hobden has been teaching and coaching at the school since 2015, having also been a Queensland Samoa assistant coach in 2018/19 and worked with West End Bulldogs junior sides.
"He was actually an Ipswich High kid himself so to come back and be a teacher here adds a different perspective to the role,'' Dore said. "He can speak from experience.''
Wednesday's Langer Cup semi-final between Ipswich State High and Palm Beach Currumbin is being livestreamed on this QT website.
Tune in at 5.15pm to watch the game live if you have a QT digital subscription.
Invite your Ipswich State High friends and supporters to organise a subscription before the game. Simply click on this story and follow the prompts to purchase an inexpensive package.
Having a QT subscription also gives you access to the School Footy Show that screens each Monday night around 7pm.
Wednesday Langer Cup semi-finals at Langlands Park
4pm (2 v 3): Wavell SHS v Keebra Park SHS
5.15pm (1 v 4): Palm Beach Currumbin SHS v Ipswich SHS
The matches are being livestreamed on this website.