Crisis calls out of line claims Lindsay
RUGBY League Ipswich manager Brendon Lindsay has refuted suggestions the competition is lacking quality in comparison to its sister competitions in Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
Following the Ipswich Diggers' poor showing at last month's SEQ Chairman's Challenge representative carnival, A-Grade coach Mark Bishop questioned how the Ipswich competition stacked up when compared to their conquerors Brisbane and Gold Coast.
"The local, week-to-week game for them isn't as intense as the other two comps, and that really showed in the carnival,” Bishop told the QT on May 25. "The other teams were too fit; too good for us. That's something we have to try and rectify.”
Lindsay honed in on Bishop's points regarding player fitness, admitting that while fitness was certainly a factor in the Diggers' two heavy defeats in the SEQ carnival, the coach should shoulder some of the blame.
Bishop, who was coach of the Ipswich Jets' BRL side last season before their removal from the competition in 2018, decided to utilise the same high-tempo, passing game the Jets have become famous for.
Lindsay suggested the game style could only best be employed when players have the fitness base to make it work. With a majority of the team not having played in a Jets side previously, the unfamiliar nature of the system only compounded the problem.
"To base a whole competition's fitness and standard on two performances of a representative team who trained three times together, playing what was a foreign style to the majority of the squad is a little harsh in my opinion,” Lindsay said.
"There were obviously some players within the team that have spent time within the Jets system, but the final hooker, halves and fullback who control the game had not, and this showed.
"Compounding this was the inability to get to the back end of sets while playing this style, which is based around holding the ball for longer than your opponent.
"If you do not complete you defend, and if you are defending more than the opposition you get fatigued.
"We selected one of the best sides I have seen on paper for an Ipswich Diggers A-Grade side. I just do not believe we played to our strengths.”
Bishop also raised a concern regarding the lack of a noticeable pathway from the RLI competition into the Jets system. He believed the removal of the Jets from the BRL competition only made matters worse.
Lindsay said RLI was continuing to look at ways of better integrating the Ipswich competition with the Jets.
"We know they are the pinnacle of our region's pathway, and this being year one of the Jets' integration (into the RLI competition) we have some things to work on,” he said.
If the Jets and local Ipswich clubs are to better support each other, Lindsay suggested a "hybrid model” of play - incorporating traditional rugby league philosophies with the Jets' free-flowing style - to be a step in the right direction.
"The key for me is to cement this pathway by developing a hybrid model of the Jets style,” Lindsay said. "Something that covers the basics in our juniordevelopment sides while increasing the Jets' philosophies as the players age.
"This will assist in keeping our players in Ipswich for longer as they develop their basic skills, while also being introduced to the Jets at a younger age which prepares them for the (Mal Meninga Cup) and U20 age groups.”