TOP HONOUR: The form and leadership of Ipswich Jets BRL captain Chris Ash has been rewarded with captaincy of the Ipswich Diggers representative side.
TOP HONOUR: The form and leadership of Ipswich Jets BRL captain Chris Ash has been rewarded with captaincy of the Ipswich Diggers representative side. Inga Williams

Ipswich Jets form key to Diggers plan

IPSWICH Diggers coach Lee Addison has praised the Ipswich Jets for allowing him to name his strongest representative side to date.

Ten of the Jets Brisbane Rugby League players have been named alongside an equal number of IRL stars to take part in the Chairman’s Challenge this weekend.

Addison wasn’t concerned with having just two training sessions to prepare his Diggers side against Brisbane and Gold Coast in the annual tournament.

“Absolutely not,” he said.

“When you are coaching a representative side you have to remember everyone else is in the same boat.

“You want to empower (the players) not over coach them so sometimes less is more.”

The even spread of players from both competitions is a testament to the strong form the Jets have shown in the BRL competition this year.

The defending premiers are undefeated after four rounds despite a number of changes to the team that did so well in 2015.

“I have to thank (Ipswich Jets Chairman) Steve Johnson and (BRL coach) Mark Bishop who have been excellent,” he said.

“They’ve seen the bigger picture for Ipswich rugby league and have worked with me in my team selections.

“We learnt a big lesson last year when we had a full IRL team and got touched up by Brisbane and the Gold Coast. The Jets have already brought enthusiasm and professionalism to training.”

A combination of the Jets razzle dazzle in attack, and the strong running of the IRL forwards, will form the groundwork of the Diggers game plan.

Addison will be spoiled for choice at kicker with Fassifern’s Harold Mosby and Jet sharpshooter Mikaere Beattie in fantastic form with the boot.

“We’ll have a chat during the week about who will take on the kicking duties,” Addison said. “Traditionally in the IRL they play with a more lateral style, and our forwards that reflects the more lateral style. The Jets style of play is fast and always looking up to find space so that’s an easy good fit between us.”

IRL front row, traditional play in the IRL with a more lateral style, that reflects the more lateral style.

Jets BRL captain Chris Ash will take on the role of Diggers captain with his vice to be named during the week.

After representing Ipswich in the Brisbane competition, Ash was honoured to be given a higher role.

“I knew I was playing but I didn’t know I was going to be captain,” Ash said. “I’ve grown up in Ipswich my whole life and any chance to represent Ipswich is something special.

“So I’m pretty happy with that and hopefully we can knock off Brisbane and the Gold Coast this weekend.”

With a number of players from the IRL having previously trained or played with the Jets, Ash was confident the team would be able to gel quickly.

“I think that combination will be massive,” he said.

“How quickly you can combine as a team will definitely help.

“A lot of those IRL boys have played with us in the past so that will help. I think we have a really solid team there.”

Addison declined to comment on how he thought the Diggers would fare against the competition.

“We have never beaten Brisbane, and we beat Gold Coast by two points only to lose by 60 last year so I’d be silly to call them anything but a danger,’’ he said.

The open Diggers side will be joined by an under-20 team to compete before the start of each game on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Brother Seery Oval.

Ipswich Diggers open team for this weekend’s Chairman’s Challenge:

1. Ono So’Olia (Jets)

2. Maxwell Fesolai (Jets)

3. Brendon Marshall (Norths)

4. Raymond Baira (Fassifern)

5. Harold Mosby (Fassifern)

6. Mikaere Beattie (Jets)

7. Chris Ash (Jets)

8. Lui Afele (Norths)

9. Dale McDonald (Norths)

10. Denman Ah You (Brothers)

11. Lachlan Roe (Jets)

12. Matt Brown (Jets)

13. Max Seumenatafa (Goodna)

14. Jackson Tynnan (Jets)

15. Jacob Sinn (Jets)

16. Elijah Umu (Brothers)

17. Ben Sullivan (Jets)

18. Francis Leger (Jets)

19. Samson Hookey (West End)

20. Ricky O’Connell (Norths)

Game day

Friday: Ipswich v Gold Coast from 6.45pm.

Saturday: Brisbane v Gold Coast from 4pm.

Sunday: Ipswich v Brisbane from 1.30pm

All games are played at Brothers Ipswich Rugby League Football Club.



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