Ipswich State High School coach Lee Addison with captain Joel Hughes before tonight's 26-all draw with Wavell.
Ipswich State High School coach Lee Addison with captain Joel Hughes before tonight's 26-all draw with Wavell. Inga Williams

Ipswich High's courage in Langer Trophy thriller

RUGBY LEAGUE: A stunning comeback by a gallant Ipswich High has secured a 26-all draw against Wavell High, to fall heartbreakingly short of winning the Langer Trophy.

The Lee Addison-coached side needed to win the game by three points to go ahead of Keebra Park on the ladder and be crowned the best rugby league school side in south-east Queensland.

"The boys have had a very tough week,” the coach said after the hard-fought match.

"Emotionally a few things happened in and around the team that affected them.''

At half-time tonight, Ipswich High trailed 20-nil at Bishop Park and their Langer Trophy dreams seemed gone.

But Ipswich High hit back in the first set after half-time with winger Lorenzo Mulitalo going over.

Mulitalo was in again minutes later and the comeback was well and truly on.

After conceding four penalties in a row Wavell was close to having someone sin-binned when Mulitalo made another incisive run and set up Brian Burton for a try.

Captain Joel Hughes converted and Wavell's lead had been cut to just six.

Classy centre Tremaine Spry then went over to level the scores and Ipswich took the lead with four minutes remaining when bench prop Ben Mataia, who had an outstanding match, scored and Hughes converted for Ipswich to lead 26-20.

But Wavell scored again late to secure a draw against a brave Ipswich.

"I think we were probably overanalysing the first half,'' Addison said.

"But at half-time we just spoke really basically about what we needed to do and in the second half we were fantastic.

"Basically, if we had played the second half twice we would have the Langer Trophy but we didn't . . . and we don't.

"The good thing is that regardless, we finish second in the Super Six again.

"For a school that has only been in the competition three years and to not finish below second is something I am very proud of.

"Apart from not having some silverware in the cabinet just yet we go into the GIO National Knockout in a very good position.''

Addison said Ipswich High still had a home semi-final to get through.

"At the start of the year if we had been offered first or second we'd have smashed people's hands off,'' he said.

"The other thing is that we didn't lose (against Wavell). To come back the way we did says a lot about how the team really believe in each other.”

In the first half Wavell made Ipswich pay for each mistake.

Ipswich High started strongly and had a player held up over the line in the first set of six.

But then the hosts scored four first half tries to lead 20-nil at the break before the Ipswich lads rallied.

Addison said Mataia was a powerhouse off the bench with fullback Leevai Sutton dangerous.



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