Elusive touch title proves worth the wait
HAVING represented Queensland and Australia at touch football, one of the few challenges left for Mark Leisemann was to coach an Ipswich junior team to a state title.
Last weekend at Hervey Bay he did just that with a group of talented under 14-year-olds about as good as any he's seen.
"I've been trying for seven or so years so to crack one was pretty good," Leisemann said.
The under-14 years Ipswich boys have contested four tournaments this season, winning all and losing just one match along the way.
They went through the state titles undefeated, beating Gold Coast 4-2 in the final.
Ipswich entered the final confident they had Gold Coast's measure, based on their previous encounter.
"We played Gold Coast a few weeks ago out there and beat them in extra time to win that carnival," the coach said.
"Across the board we've got some outstanding athletes in the side.
"They're very talented boys.
"Plus they've all been playing together for a few years now and won last year's under-12 title."
Leisemann said the entire squad contributed to the title win, but saved special praise for Liam Bauer, Corey Sherman and Clint Suthers.
Bauer and Sherman were the playmakers in the middle of the park while Suthers "stood out on the wing", Leisemann said.
"They didn't have any weak links and had a couple of exceptional athletes," the coach added.
Leisemann was delighted to see the boys succeed and more than a little proud to have been part of it.
"I'm really happy to coach such a good group of boys," he said.
"To win is something because it's not easy to do."
It could well have been two state titles for Ipswich with the under-18s leading their final against Coomera 4-1 at half time, before losing 5-4.
"They ran out of legs," Leisemann said.
While they proved their quality, Ipswich's under-18s paid the price for only taking a squad of 10 players, while opponents had up to 14.
It meant by the final half of footy at a long tournament there was nothing left to give.