Jets Meninga Cup quartet returned

THE tug-of-war between the Gold Coast and Ipswich over four Springfield rugby league stars has been resolved – in Ipswich’s favour.

Ipswich’s under-18 rugby league team was desperate to restore pride to the jersey this season but its Mal Meninga Cup campaign had started on a sour note when four of its best players were set to be poached by the Gold Coast.

But Ipswich Rugby League operations manager Brendan Rose said after weeks of behind-the-scenes talks, the four teenagers would now play for Ipswich in the prestigious tournament, which pits the best 18-year-olds in south-east Queensland against each other.

Because Goodna’s Michael Kai and Springfield Panthers stars Nofoa Leapai, Bradley Soe and Andrew Vella played for Keebra Park State High this year, they were told to play for the Gold Coast’s Mal Meninga Cup team.

“They should be playing for Ipswich because their club footy is played here and thankfully that was the decision made by the division,” Rose said.

“Keebra Park really wanted them to play in the Gold Coast team alongside their school mates.

“But this competition should not be about NRL clubs and high schools telling teenagers where they should play.”

The four are all Ipswich-raised and played in the Ipswich Junior Rugby League competition this season.

Last season was disastrous for both the Ipswich Mal Meninga Cup and the under-16 Cyril Connell Cup teams.

They finished last and second last in their respective competitions – which pit the best young talent in Queensland against each other.

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