Ipswich High backs our NRL bid
POWERHOUSE league stronghold Ipswich State High School is backing the Western Corridor NRL bid with its students getting right behind the QT's campaign to secure an elite league team for the city.
The school has seen an extraordinary growth in is rugby league academy program, and its success on and off the field in the past two seasons provides the NRL with proof of the talent that proliferates in the region.
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Lee Addison heads up the rugby league program at Ipswich High after moving from St Gregory's in Sydney two years ago.
He knew Western Corridor bid boss Steve Johnson's plans for an NRL team, which is one of the reasons he moved states.
"When the opportunity came to come and work in Ipswich it was very much part of my thinking that a future NRL side could be based in the area," Addison said.
"I think it is a no-brainer. What everybody tells me is that demographically this area is very similar to what Campbelltown, Parramatta and Penrith was 20 years ago, in terms of growth and potential growth. I think the NRL needs to have a good look at."
Star Ipswich High prop Se'e Kali said his school mates "love the idea" of a homegrown NRL side.
"It would be a dream come true," he said.
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"I grew up in New Zealand and having the Warriors there was a key thing, but you want to have a team that you can look up to that is just around the block.
"Ipswich is a big area with a lot of kids, so it would be awesome to have an NRL team here to inspire the young fellas coming up.
"There are a lot of kids not getting opportunities with the Broncos, and if we have a team here the youth wouldn't have to move away to Sydney. I'd love to have an NRL team that I can play with that is in the Ipswich area."
As he watched the lads sign a petition for a team, Ipswich High principal Simon Riley said it was "not surprising to see so many students commit to wanting a team".
"A lot of these boys want to play professional rugby league," Mr Riley said.
"We know only half of 1% will make it, but that is not the point.
"If we had a team in the corridor the boys would go to the games, aspiring to meet (the players) and seeing them on a regular basis walking through town.
"We have a bunch of students here who are hugely interested in rugby league, and the school has become quite successful in a reasonably short period of time.
"But for them to go any further they have either got to go to the Broncos or leave town."