Diggers take up 'Jets-type' brand for SEQ carnival
DIGGERS coach Mark Bishop will employ a "Jets-type” brand of football when the Ipswich representative outfit begin their Chairman's Challenge campaign tomorrow.
The former Jets BRL coach said his "eyes opened” to the benefits of a free-flowing brand of rugby league a few years ago.
Bishop believes it will best serve the Ipswich outfit in their quest for the SEQ division title.
"We've got good speed, and a really good skill level,” Bishop said.
"I expect there to be few mistakes. It'll be about showing their natural skill.
"We're confident we'll be good enough for anything (Brisbane or Gold Coast) throw at us.”
The Diggers coach said the carnival was all about giving players an opportunity to prove their ability to SEQ selectors.
"It's the best way for players to display their skills in a carnival like this,” Bishop said.
"When you start playing the game at under-7s, you run sideways, backwards, and then throw a pass back and score. You grow up loving the game that way.
"Whether we play hit-ups and kick it, or throw the ball around a bit (it doesn't matter). If we drop it on the second pass or tackle, we've stuffed the movement anyway.
"It's not as high-risk (as people may think). It's just about giving it to someone in a better position.
"The guys understand it. They're all excited about it.”
Bishop said there was a real buzz at training on Wednesday night, as the group prepares for the challenge of conquering the more-fancied Gold Coast outfit tomorrow.
He suggested winning the trophy came second to Ipswich players gaining selection in the SEQ side; however the two feats are usually linked.
"The winning team usually gets the most spots. If we win, the boys give themselves the best opportunity to step up,” Bishop said.
"Everyone has that competitive streak.
"For some blokes it goes back to former glories, while younger blokes it's a chance to test themselves to see if they're up to the next level.
"We're looking for the guys to have pride in their performance and their jersey, and play for that trophy.”
In a boost for the Diggers, both Javarn White and Corey Kirk have been cleared to play after overcoming minor injuries sustained last weekend.
Chris Ash is the only out from Bishop's preferred 18-man squad. Tu'u Maori will captain the Diggers in Ash's absence.
An SEQ side will be named following the carnival, to play against NQ, CQ and SEQ Poinsettias sides on June 1-3.
SEQ Chairman's Challenge: Tomorrow (2.30pm) - Ipswich Diggers U19s v Gold Coast U19s.
4pm - Ipswich Diggers v Gold Coast at Brandon Park Reserve, Acacia Ridge.
Sunday (12.15pm) - Ipswich Diggers U19s v Brisbane U19s.
2.30pm - Ipswich Diggers v Brisbane at Brandon Park Reserve, Acacia Ridge.