Former Jets Mal Meninga Cup coach Chris Doyle (pictured at a 2012 training session) will coach the Diggers U19 side in the Chairman's Challenge this weekend.
Former Jets Mal Meninga Cup coach Chris Doyle (pictured at a 2012 training session) will coach the Diggers U19 side in the Chairman's Challenge this weekend. Claudia Baxter

'Lucky' Doyle confident in young Diggers

CHRIS Doyle considers himself a lucky man.

The Ipswich Diggers Under-19s coach has "a pretty easy job” moving the magnets for the representative side, ahead of their SEQ division opener against Gold Coast tomorrow.

"I'm over the moon with my squad. We've been lucky enough to pick the very best players in each position,” the former NRL coaching mentor and Mal Meninga Cup coach said.

"The clubs have all bought into it, the players have all bought into it - everyone has been outstanding.

"They understand what they're there for.”

What they are there for is winning the U19s Chariman's Challenge, and sending as much Ipswich talent as possible into the SEQ representative ranks.

"I'm really looking forward to seeing how these boys go, knowing there's a rep spot up for grabs,” Doyle said.

"These boys are there because they want to do well. I was surprised at how quickly they came together. Sometimes blokes want to see themselves in the jersey, but none of these boys are like that. There's no egos.

"We've only had four training sessions. I can't give them a gameplan that will rattle (Brisbane and Gold Coast).

"But if they compete, they'll be in a good position to win games of footy. It's up to the players now.”

Leading the young Diggers will be Brothers five-eighth Luke Peel. The coach could not speak highly enough of Peel, who will move from his favoured five-eighth position to lock for Doyle's Diggers.

"He's rock solid,” Doyle said. "I watched 10 minutes of his club form this year, and got back in the car. I'd seen enough.

"(Making him captain) was a no-brainer. He presents himself unbelievably. The boys respect him a lot.

"Luke has probably been the centre of each of his rep sides since he was a young fella; the number one boy in his age group, and that's why he's captain.”

West End boast a significant contingent of the Diggers squad - a nod to the club's ability to promote young talent, headlined by last season's U19 grand final-winning side.

"They're all playing A-Grade football as well, which is what we were looking for,” Doyle said. "And they're obviously the best player in each of their positions too.”

Doyle took a similar approach to the senior Diggers side, and went with players who can fill a variety of roles if called upon.

"I've got centres and wingers that all weigh 100kg-plus, who can also play back row if they need to,” he said.

"I've got halves that are comfortable out of dummy half as well. The selectors have done a great job, we've got depth across the park. We won't have to play fellas out of position to fill spots.”



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