Met West ready to rumble
MET West heads to the state under-18 rugby league championships starting tomorrow with its best chance of success in years.
The carnival at Maroochydore finishes on Sunday and assistant coach Todd Riggs believes it is the best team Met West has fielded in the five years he has been involved.
Day one tomorrow is qualifying and Met West has drawn South West, presenting a good opportunity to progress to the top pool.
Met West has managed it in the past two years but failed to win a game from there on, finishing eighth on each occasion.
However, Riggs believes this team is equipped to go much further.
"In my five years this is definitely the strongest side we've put on the park," Riggs said.
"It's just the quality of players.
"There are a number of guys playing SG Ball with the Roosters.
"The rest are playing Cyril Connell or Mal Meninga Cup."
Riggs cites the continued improvement of the Ipswich sides in those two competitions as a big reason for the strength of this year's team.
It has coincided with the growing strength of the St Peter Claver College (SPCC) rugby program, led by firsts coach Riggs and rugby league co-ordinator Geoff Skippington, which supplied five players to the squad.
"There is also a particularly strong group from Sunnybank and last year's Met West under-15s finished second at the state titles," Riggs said.
The team is coached by Paul Lowe, who also coaches the Ipswich Rugby League's senior representative side, the Diggers, and is a junior talent scout for the Brisbane Broncos.
"With Lowey coaching, it will be a similar structure to the Diggers and Broncos," Riggs said.
"We want to play up on the advantage line.
"Playing upbeat and constantly trying to turn the pressure back on to the opposition."
Also giving Riggs confidence is the ability of the team's playmakers - hooker Dale McDonald, halfback Adrian Aidan and five-eighth Landon Hayes.
"They're the strongest three we've had," Riggs said of the key decision-makers on-field.
"They're the blokes that are going to get us around the park.
"With each half only 25 minutes, if you go two tries down you're in trouble."
The team also boasts muscle up front with Sydney Roosters SG Ball representatives and SPCC products Perry Ioane and Jo Ofahengaue.
However, Riggs believes the team's strength is there are no superstars, with everyone capable of pulling their weight, and a strong team spirit.
"The best indicator of the side is that they are not the standouts," he said of Ioane and Ofahengaue.
"They've all been training very well.
"We've only had five sessions with them.
"In the past we would not have been able to do that but we can with this group because they're far more talented."
Met West u18s
Lorenzo Vogel, Douglas Fa'aiu (Redbank Plains SHS); Tevita Folau, Wilson Bennett, Lachlan Roe (St Edmund's College); Willhelm Lauenstein, Landon Hayes, Carlin Anderson (Ipswich Grammar School); Maxwell Fesolai, Perry Iaone, Oshae Tuiasau, Joe Ofahengaue, Sam Seau (St Peter Claver College); Brad Wilson (Rosewood SHS); Dale McDonald (Laidley SHS); Adrian Aidan (St Peters Lutheran College); Junior Taefu, Thomas Sili (Sunnybank SHS); Tye Gray (Park Ridge SHS).