Ipswich’s best schoolboy footy team driven by city pride
WITH "We Are Ipswich'' echoing in their ears, the city's leading schoolboy rugby league team is ready to go.
Preparing for their first 2020 Langer Cup match on Wednesday, the Ipswich State High players are relieved and focused after recent COVID-19 uncertainty.
The latest group of first grade footballers have been presented with their own numbered jerseys to share in the school's rapidly growing rugby league history.
Now it's time to build on finishing runners-up last year and see what the talent-rich team can achieve for themselves, the school and Ipswich.
Head coach Josh Bretherton is thrilled how his side carry the "We Are Ipswich'' motto, showcased through their professional rugby league program.
"It's something that the boys, particularly in the last few years, have really embraced,'' Bretherton said.
"We're really proud of the fact that we are Ipswich High and we've now got a growing elite history.
"We are from Ipswich and we carry the city's name.
"Hopefully we're a good positive representation of all the good parts of Ipswich.''
Bretherton was delighted with the open team he has been able to assemble this year after Ipswich High finished runners-up last season.
"We've basically got a blend of everything which is perfect for us,'' he said, on the eve of Ipswich State High's first game against Palm Beach Currumbin.
"We've got a mixture of experience from last year that played first grade and we had a very successful Reserve Grade team last year who were undefeated.''
Bretherton praised his coaching team including Jonathan Dore for his strength and conditioning preparation and work as Reserve Grade coach.
"There's plenty of them (Reserve graders) that have come through and filled spots as well and then we've got a couple of elite talented boys from our year 10 last year that have come in,'' the head coach said.
Other Ipswich State High support staff playing important roles this season are Shane Harris, Daniel Hobden, Peter Poole, Josh Seage, Setefano Talavave and Steve Brown.
Bretherton said having mature on-field guidance, through co-captains Lachlan Williamson and Deijion Leugaimafa, was another boost.
"It's awesome to have leaders in the group that have actually been leaders before,'' he said.
"It's certainly good for me and getting the message across because I know that they know this place inside and out and exactly what the expectations are.''
Ipswich State High centre Evander Tere-Rongotaua is contracted to the Sydney Roosters for next year.
Lock Josiah Pahulu and bench player Tommy Luhrman are also being watched closely by the Titans and Roosters.
Finalising preparations for Ipswich High's competition opener, Bretherton said that was one of the huge advantages of the Langer Cup competition.
"For us, it's not uncommon to start a season with a couple of contracted players and across the course of the season, those boys get the chance to show what they can do,'' he said.
"And we end up with more opportunities for them at the end of the year.''
With some opposition teams having multiple NRL contracted players, Bretherton said that was another reason Ipswich State High was proud when the footballers reach new heights.
Wednesday's match, being livestreamed at 5pm, is an away clash against Palm Beach Currumbin.
To watch the livestream, click on the section at top of this page on Wednesday afternoon and follow the prompts to enjoy the game.
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Ipswich State High School Langer Cup squad for Wednesday's opening match against Palm Beach Currumbin: Waylon Fiaii, Damien Burrows, Evander Tere-Rongotaua, Aiden Severns, Samuel Madden, Deijion Leugaimafa, Lachlan Williamson, Ilai Tuia, Fred Fangupo, Amazaiya Lepolo, Josiah Pahulu, Tommy Luhrman, Kulikefu Finefeuiaki, Riley Morris, Shane Tolova'A, Fonofili Logoileu, Elijuwhon Suavai, Mason Pintegne.