Super Six chance for Zampech thanks to Ipswich return
JESSE Zampech left Ipswich State High School at the end of year eight because it didn't fulfil his rugby league ambitions.
As he lines up against Keebra Park High tomorrow to decide which school lays claim to the title as best school team in Queensland, he will be glad he came back.
The winger returned to the school this year, for footy reasons but also for family.
His mum works at the school and, living in Blackstone it made sense, particularly since the school invested heavily in its rugby league program.
The fruits of that investment are there for all to see, both in the team's success and Zampech's own.
Keebra Park remains undefeated heading into the final round of the Super Six competition, while Ipswich has lost just the once, against Wavell High.
Today's clash at the Gold Coast will determine the Queensland champion and the number one ranking heading into the National Schoolboys knock-out competition.
"It was a good decision," Zampech said of his return to Ipswich High.
"We're in the top comp this year and play a lot of tough games, which is fun.
"It's definitely the biggest game I would have played.
"I played a grand final for club footy last year and this is a lot different.
"To go to Keebra's home and win would be huge."
The 16-year-old was only called into the top grade side two starts back but has since made the left wing position his own.
The Super Six presents a level of footy and physical test Zampech has not faced before.
"Last week in my first run I got a bloody nose," he said
It was a badge of honour for the sacrifices he's made to get into the top side, something he didn't think likely.
"I've really pushed it this year," he said.
"I thought I'd probably be playing in the bottom comp, especially with all the new players.
"I wasn't sure if I'd make the top two teams, so I'm pretty proud."
Zampech admits he had a mid-season loss of motivation and stopped going to training.
But with coach Lee Addison on his back he re-discovered his desire and is enjoying the rewards.
"He can yell a bit but I like that," Zampech said.
"He gets you motivated and wanting to be there."
While Zampech would love nothing more than to score the match winning try, he has backed his team's forward pack to lay the platform for victory.
"Especially our forwards in the middle," he said.
"They're big and tough and can hold them out.
"My job is don't let anyone inside me.
"Use the sideline and force them outside and defend."
It is a long way from where the school's rugby league teams were heading when he left after year eight.
"In year eight it wasn't really serious," Zampech said of the school's then rugby league standards.
"You could not train and still be put in the team.
"Now everyone is fighting for a position."
- Pre-match breakfast: A bowl of Coco Pops
- Last music downloaded: Life Goes On, by Tupac
- Best thing about playing under coach Lee Addison: The yelling. It pushes me further.
- I don't like a coach who takes it too easy.
- Teammate you'd least like to sit next to on a long bus trip: Bailey Payne (hooker). He's talkative and likes to stir you up.