SPCC test for Ipswich State in Gee Shield final
THE Ipswich State High School firsts have exceeded hopes and expectation this season.
Just one more test remains - arch rivals St Peter Claver College in the Gee Shield grand final at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex this afternoon.
A win today will seal Ipswich's rise to top dog in the region for rugby league, a position SPCC will give up only with a fight.
The Ippy firsts have outstripped any previous achievements by Ipswich school teams in reaching the final four in south Queensland for the first time.
A win today is the final objective on head coach Lee Addison's list from the start of the season.
"We wanted to give the Gee Shield a crack this season as we won the Metro Cup last year for the first time," Addison said.
"I said then 'we've got to get the Gee Shield now'."
It has come sooner than expected, in just the second year of Addison's charge.
But the coach would still be disappointed to see his team lose to rivals SPCC.
"I didn't think we were shoe-ins at all to get to the grand final," Addison said.
Reinforcing the success of the ISHS Rugby League Academy program is the school's grade 10 team reaching today's De Vere Cup grand final against Redbank Plains High.
"The year 10s and opens show how far we've come," Addison said.
"Two years ago we were third in CISSSA (Combined Ipswich Secondary Schools Sports Association).
"You could argue we're now third in south east Queensland."
For St Peter Claver, which does not offer scholarships like ISHS, the expectations remain high.
Consistent improvement over the past five years in the opens may have plateaued, but its impressive production line continues to churn out quality.
The presence of the school's grade nine team in today's grand final against Centenary High is proof there is plenty of talent to draw on.
"The reality is we know where we sit in the region," SPCC coach Todd Riggs said.
"We'll continue to offer an option for players to play at a high level."
It obviously works, with the likes of Tautau Moga and Anthony Milford progressing to NRL level soon after leaving the school.
The school continues to reach new heights at Confraternity level and its presence in the final stages of the Gee Shield is now expected.
To win it would turn a good season into a great one.
Metro CUP Grand Finals
- Grade 9: SPCC v Centenary - 2.40pm
- Grade 10 (De Vere Cup): Ipswich v Redbank - 4pm
- Opens (Gee Shield): Ipswich v SPCC - 5pm