Northern exposure to test teens
THE Ipswich Mal Meninga Cup (under-18) team suffered its first loss of the season with a 36-32 round three loss to Sunshine Coast at the North Ipswich Reserve on the weekend.
Ipswich remains top of the North Western conference ladder despite the loss.
It was better news for Ipswich's Cyril Connell Cup team which beat Sunshine Coast 22-14.
The win has Ipswich sitting second behind Townsville on the North Western conference ladder.
But Ipswich under-16 coach Mick Newton was not entirely happy. "We let them back into the game when we had it under control and had to play catch up," he said.
Ipswich led 12-0 at halftime but trailed 14-12 with 15 minutes remaining.
"After we score a few tries, we get a little bit lazy and our ball control gets a bit loose," Newton said.
"Our completion rate is atrocious but our defence is compensating.
"If we could hold the ball for 70 percent of the time, it would be fantastic.
"We're way below 50 percent (completion rate).
"We can't afford that in Townsville this weekend."
There both Ipswich teams will play the Central Queensland Capras on Saturday and Townsville Stingers on Sunday.
"It's just a bit of concentration," Newton said of what was required to compete this weekend.
"What happens with 15 and 16-year-olds with a lot of flair is they want to throw the ball around when they should control it.
"But they have improved every week.
"We just want them to compete all the year through."
Newton praised the efforts of captain and five-eighth Ritchie Lowe and lock Andrew Tully for their efforts last weekend.
"Ritchie went very well," Newton said.
"Andrew is just back from injury and played a very high standard game for us.
"He stiffened our defence in the middle."
The Stingers and Capras will provide a serious test of Ipswich's credentials.
"In the last couple of years, they've been the benchmark," Newton said.
"They've obviously got a good program for both sides."