Norths Tigers captain Josh Roberts is confident this year's trials could pave the way for next year's triumph.
Norths Tigers captain Josh Roberts is confident this year's trials could pave the way for next year's triumph. David Nielsen

Norths face off-season rebuild

CAPTAIN'S CALL

JUST like the Ipswich Jets, last year's Ipswich Rugby League premiers have suffered a disappointing fall from grace in 2016.

After clinching their second straight A Grade premiership, Norths Tigers have felt the effects of a long list of injuries, which has seen the proud club miss out on a finals berth.

With a chance to sit back and reflect on the season so far, Norths captain Josh Roberts looked at what the future holds for the Tigers camp.

Most valuable new addition?

"I think all of our young guys have really stepped up this year," Roberts said.

"We had eight forwards out from the team who played last year and a lot of the guys who came in weren't expecting to play.

"It was unfortunate but those guys didn't let anyone down and they will certainly be better for the experience. It was a tough learning curve but it will put them in good stead for the future."

Strength/weaknesses?

"Our strength this year was in the forwards," he said.

"As I said there were a lot of young blokes but we looked much better once we had Tim Newton and Chooky come back.

"A lot of the time we were missing their older heads and that experience really helped steady the ship.

"I think our consistency was our biggest weakness though. One week we were looking like premiers and then the next you couldn't tell what had happened.

" It was very up and down but that's what happens when you have a lot of young and inexperienced players. They'll improve on this year and be better for it."

Team to watch in the finals?

"I would say probably Brothers," Roberts said.

"Everyone says it every year but Jason Connors knows what to do in those important games and they look dangerous.

"If they can do what they did to us last time we played at Brothers, that was very impressive. We sort of expected it from the start of the year but they just needed some time under a new coach before they would click."

Quality of the IRL competition in 2016?

"It has been a very tough season," he said.

"It's been so even and there have been no easy games which just goes to show how close it has been.

"For me that's the quality of the competition and it is disappointing that we haven't made it through. It's hard to take but we'll be back next year.

"Everyone is keen to come back again next year and give it a real shake."

Club's biggest unsung hero of 2016?

"Anava Fesolai has been fantastic," he said.

"He played wing last year but got pushed into the second row this season and did really well.

"He killed it on the wing and would have preferred to stay there but since he made the move he loves it there.

"It'll be hard to get him out of there now I think."

Josh Roberts

Age: 30. Born: Ipswich.

Junior club: Norths Tigers.

Position: Five-eight.

Height: 180cm.

Weight: 90kg.

Rep honours: Queensland Schoolboys.

Occupation: Labourer.

Someone you admire: Alfie Langer.

Music like: Country.

Favourite food: Mexican.

Other sports: Baseball.

NRL club: Brisbane Broncos.