Ipswich's next generation of footballers on show
THE next generation of Ipswich rugby league players will lead the way from this weekend.
Before the Ipswich Jets kick off their 2016 season, the Ipswich Cyril Connell and Mal Meninga Cup squads will begin their campaigns in opening round clashes with the Sunshine Coast Falcons.
Just like their older counterparts the under-16 and under-18 representatives will launch their season on Saturday at the North Ipswich Reserve.
This year the squads will be playing in a new pool-based program, which will see them compete with the Falcons, Toowoomba Clydesdales and Central Crows to book a spot in the April quarter finals.
The new system is designed to reduce the strain of travel and allow teams a home and away round against each opposition in their pool group.
The 25-man junior squads will be presented their new jerseys at the season launch on Wednesday night.
Ipswich program director Chris Fullarton said Saturday's opening round against the Falcons would be a good test for both squads.
"In the two trial games against the Gold Coast and Manly we were still trying a lot of combinations and we were very competitive," Fullarton said.
"We played with a good attitude and we could see the teams were heading in the direction we were aiming for.
"Sunshine Coast has a strong affiliation with the Melbourne Storm so they will be a good test for us to start the season."
The season launch begins at 6pm on Wednesday night at the North Ipswich Reserve Conference Centre.
Ipswich women's rugby league legend Ali Brigginshaw is guest speaker on the night.
Game day: Saturday - Ipswich v Sunshine Coast Falcons at North Ipswich Reserve. Cyril Connell match at 10.30am with Mal Meninga gme at noon.