Ipswich girls learn to handle nerves, improve in Titans Cup
ELITE encouragement, a new gym and plenty of promise.
The Ipswich State High School girls rugby league program is set to boom in this year's Titans Cup competition.
With former Jillaroo Veronica White and Ipswich Jets coach Steve Brown driving the program, three girls teams made their Division 1 debuts last Wednesday.
Ipswich State High had a win and two losses from the opening round of games where the teams play five matches leading into semi-finals.
Ipswich State High's year 7/8 team lost their opening game 24-0 to Mabel Park at the North Ipswich Reserve.
Against one of the competition's benchmark teams, the young ISH footballers gained a valuable early lesson.
"They trained for six or seven weeks last term and unfortunately we got washed out and the COVID thing so we didn't get to play a game of footy,'' Brown said.
"The 7s/8s, by not having that trial game, they were just a little bit star stuck, a little big nervous with it all.
"They just made some real fundamental errors so we can fix that.
"They'll be better for that.''
ISH's year 9/10s won 20-8 in a pleasing Titans Cup debut. The school's open girls only lost 22-16 against Mabel Park.
"It was really good for the 9/10s to have that win,'' Brown said.
"They'll be worrying a few other schools, which is great.
"And just looking for some improvement in those 7/8 girls - getting rid of some of the nerves and understand what it is all about.''
The Ipswich girls 7/8s and open teams play Beenleigh at Cribb Park (Norths rugby league ground) in their next matches on Wednesday.
State High's year 9/10s tackle Streeton away.
"The whole program has come along really well,'' said Brown, who works closely with the Ipswich Jets in addition to his Ipswich State High coaching role.
"We finished off a new gym for the girls so they have got their own gym area.
"We've got some new equipment, put the flooring down.
"It's looking really good . . . getting some signs and that sort of stuff made up there for all their challenges. The top three people that win a challenge go up on the board.''
Brown was excited about the expansion of girls football in Ipswich.
"The numbers have grown to 100-odd girls,'' he said.
"We'll just concentrate on those great seven-eight girls - just developing their footy, their skills, bringing them into the nines/10s.
"By the time they get into that opens, they know what it's all about. They are playing some good footy.''
He and Ipswich State High's Girls Football Program Coordinator White oversaw some positive development last year.
He said the year 9/10 group was the school's flagship team "because they are a good bunch of girls and they've had that couple of years in the program now.''
Brown praised the dedicated efforts of White.
"She's great, great to work with,'' Brown said.
"She does that much in the background you don't even know she's doing.
"She's that quiet. She just goes about her business and gets it done.''
Look out for the next Titans Cup livestreaming details on this website.