MOULDING PROFESSIONALS: Josh Bretherton and the Ipswich High School coaching team watch on during a game this season.
MOULDING PROFESSIONALS: Josh Bretherton and the Ipswich High School coaching team watch on during a game this season. Rob Williams

Ipswich State High optimistic of future on-field success

WITH three year 10 students signed to NRL clubs there is an air of excitement surrounding Ipswich State High School's Rugby League Excellence program.

Head coach Josh Bretherton said in addition to the three contracted stars, the school was fortunate to have a glut of talent in its ranks.

"We're lucky enough to have other footballers in year 10 who haven't quite made it that far but are also very talented,” he said.

"It is certainly very exciting for us over the next two years as they move into year 11.”

Bretherton said students in year 11 and 12 took part in the first grade program and would compete in the Langer Cup against more mature bodies.

"They might be ready to go or they might be reserve graders for a year but certainly we're expecting those three (contracted players) to feature very heavily over the next two years,” he said.

"Having three boys that will be able to go and spend time at NRL clubs and get those experiences, and be able to bring back that experience, that will also help the playing group around them and fill them with confidence.”

Bretherton said the priority for Luhrman, Fufinefeuiaki and Pahulu was to ensure that securing a development contract was the first step towards an NRL career.

He said it was a massive achievement and they should be proud of the hard work they had done but it was now their job to capitalise, and ensure the clubs wanted to renew the contracts.

"That will be the point that they actually truly take the step into the NRL,” he said.

Bretherton said while players agents negotiated the contracts on behalf of students, ISHS staff liaised with the clubs, providing information and video footage upon request which helped to secure the deals.

He said teachers and the clubs also communicated to ensure injuries and rehabilitation were properly managed and specific technical and physical "gaps” in skill sets of individuals were addressed.

"Our role is to keep developing them as footballers and helping them push towards that pathway of being the best footballer they can to sign the next contract,” he said.

"The clubs are wanting to see what gaps there are technically or physically.

"Obviously the clubs are working on them but we're lucky enough to be working with the boys day in, day out and we can play a role in filling those gaps.”

Bretherton said several NRL clubs had shown interest in the 1st XIII's gun centre pairing of Bill Gaze and Elone Taufa.

"Now it is just a waiting game to see if anything comes through,” he said.