Setting talent on the NRL path
A MUTUALLY beneficial relationship has formed between Ipswich's two elite rugby league pathways that should result in more players rising to the NRL.
Ipswich State High School and the Ipswich Jets have joined forces to harvest the rich pool of talent that exists within the school's ranks.
This year that bond is stronger than ever with seven of Ipswich High's Langer Cup stars featuring in the Jets Mal Meninga Cup side.
That number is expected to grow in years to come, which can only be auspicious for both the Jets, the school and the players themselves.
Long-term Ipswich Jet Josh Seage teaches at Ipswich High. He also coaches the junior year seven team and assists the Langer Cup outfit.
Seage said the Jets and Ipswich SHS had been working closely together for several seasons and talent was starting to filter through to the higher grades.
He said the key benefit of the relationship was that it showed the students that opportunities to progress existed and they did not have to leave Ipswich to seize them.
"They can stay in Ipswich and go on to play in the NRL or they can play Queensland Cup and make some money that way," he said.
Seage, who also had a stint playing top flight rugby league in Europe, said it had been a rewarding experience working with players that possessed so much potential as part of the rugby league excellence program.
He said it was important not to overload the juniors with information and allow them to learn for themselves.
"They are so professional for kids," he said.
"There are a fair few that will go onto play for the Jets. The amount of ability that they have is really exciting."
Preparing for tomorrow night's final Langer Cup match, Ipswich State High School physical education teacher and Langer Cup coach Josh Bretherton said communication between the two organisations was well established. He said the collaboration was beneficial in a number of ways.
"For the players that are involved in both, it assists us to plan and adjust workloads and manage injuries," he said.
"Away from us (school), we would like the boys to play as much elite football as possible, and it is great for us that the kids have access to development opportunities.
"Several of the boys have also played in the under-20s, which is exciting for those boys and gave them experience facing bigger bodies."
Bretherton said it was also beneficial for the developing players to learn from experienced Jets mentors Ben and Shane Walker and be exposed to their unique style of play.
"The Jets play a slightly different style, so it is good for the boys to learn different tactics and get used to different coaches because they won't always have the same coaches," he said.
"With the two elite pathways working together, hopefully we will see more players developed to the highest level."
Bretherton said opportunities for the school's staff to learn from the Jets coaching team and build their knowledge also existed.