A GAME eve speech by former NRL referee Tim Mander has been hailed as the inspiration behind Ipswich State High School's triumph in the Gee Shield schoolboy grand final.
Ipswich High beat St Peter Claver College 22-18 on Wednesday night but the day before Mander, now the Minister for Housing and Public Works in the LNP State Government, spoke to the players about his own experiences refereeing grand finals in 2004 and 2005 and the need to be prepared.
Ipswich High coach Lee Addison said his talk was just the message his players needed to hear.
"We were red hot favourites and the opposition had some injury problems," Addison said.
"Being red hot favourites can be a massive problem sometimes because grand finals do funny things to people.
"I think the boys occasionally forget what they need to do to get to where they are at, because it is just habit.
"To have somebody like Tim come in and talk about the value of preparation and the need to focus was massive.
"He didn't talk about his ministerial role. He came to talk as one of the boys and he made a connection with them straight away."
"It meant a lot to all the boys."
Addison said Mander's visit also gave the players a greater appreciation for referees and the pressures they are under.