Ipswich’s ‘Male Model’ eager to ‘lock’ up finals spot
HE might be nicknamed "Male Model'' by his teammates but try stopping Ipswich State High School footballer Riley Morris getting stuck in.
When it comes to taking on the opposition, the aspiring carpenter is the first to put his body on the line or make a fearless run from dummy half.
Although he has played other sports like cricket and volleyball, he favours rugby league.
"Just the contact aspect of it,'' Morris said.
"You have to work hard and be physical. I love being in the midde.''
As one of the senior Ipswich players in this year's Langer Cup series, Morris returns to his preferred lock position for Wednesday's showdown with competition leaders Wavell State High.
An Ipswich victory will all but assure last year's runners-up a spot in the top four playoffs.
Ipswich State High has it all to play for in the match being livestreamed on this QT website.
"All the boys are pumped about it, to get a chance to compete for the finals,'' Morris said.
He said the team last week executed a lot better in the do-or-die 30-12 away win over Marsden.
That victory bolstered Ipswich's all-important points difference (-8) with Marsden (-42) and St Mary's (-44) also making a last-ditch effort to qualify for the playoffs.
Ipswich born and bred Morris also plays for Norths Tigers in club footy and has been part of the Jets Colts Mal Meninga side in recent seasons.
However, his primary focus this week is helping Ipswich State High lock up a final spot after some gritty efforts without early rewards in the hotly-contested schoolboy competition.
"It's a really good feeling. It gets the morale up,'' Morris said of still being in the finals' hunt.
"The team is loving training now.''
Morris had just enjoyed this morning's training session where Ipswich State High bonds were strengthened through some spirited speed agility competitions where players ran forwards and backwards through a course.
"It's nice to compete with the boys at training. Have a bit of fun with it,'' Morris said.
In his second year playing in the Ipswich State High Firsts, Morris has thrived during his time in the school's highly regarded Academy.
"I've been in the program for four years,'' he said, having worked closely with current teammates like co-captains Lachlan Williamson and Deijion Leugaimafa, as well as Waylon Fiaii.
"It was very good last year (finishing second). It was good to see when you come up with some of the boys and get the results.
"The coaches put in a lot of hours and the least we can do for them is put in a lot of hours for them and compete and show up for them.''
The year 12 student thanked Ipswich State High head of strength and conditioning Jonathan Dore for his extra support in the footy program.
"He's very good in the gym,'' the teenager said.
"I was pretty small back then but when he got me into the gym work, I fell in love with it.''
The well physiqued Morris then received his nickname.
"They call me Male Model. I don't know why,'' Morris said, smiling at his teammates having some fun.
The former Raceview State School student has played in all four Langer Cup matches this season, rotating at hooker with rising talent Tommy Luhrman.
After Luhrman's sensational three-try effort finishing off some outstanding team attack last week, Morris will line up at lock against Wavell.
"So it's good in that aspect. I've played lock my whole life,'' he said.
Morris was delighted for Luhrman.
"He's a good young player coming up,'' Morris said, enjoying the healthy rivalry.
"We get along really well and competitive.''
Morris said his footy highlights included premierships with Norths, sharing in Ipswich State High's successful 2019 season and with the Jets Colts.
After school, he wants to pursue his carpentry with a family business while assessing what he can achieve in footy.
"I'd like to try and make Intrust (state league open competition) in the next four years or so,'' he said, already being in the Jets Mal Meninga program.
"Set a realistic goal and see what happens from there.''
But at this stage, modelling is not on the agenda.
Wednesday at the North Ipswich Reserve
Walters Cup (3pm) - Ipswich State High v Wavell
Langer Cup (4pm) - Ipswich State High v Wavell
Both matches being livestreamed at: qt.com.au