HARD WORK: Ipswich State High School rugby league players during training at the school.
HARD WORK: Ipswich State High School rugby league players during training at the school. David Nielsen

Sharing the leadership burden at Ipswich State High

RUGBY LEAGUE: Three outstanding individuals are leading Ipswich State High School's Firsts into battle this season.

Taking charge are nuggety backrower Paea Feao, tactically astute halfback Lachlan Williamson and clever fullback Deijion Leugaimafa.

Coach Joshua Bretherton said candidates for the captaincy had been assessed according to merit throughout the pre-season and the three leaders could not be split.

He said the trio were exceptional talents who had risen to the task so far.

"All three have been performing,” Bretherton said.

"Leadership has not become a burden or a distraction.”

It has been a long road back to elite football for Feao, who suffered a severely broken leg in a club game about two years ago.

But through sheer hard work and determination, he is playing better than ever, and all involved with the rugby league excellence program could not be prouder of him.

Diminutive halfback Williamson punches well above his weight and is one of the smartest players Bretherton has encountered while at Ipswich High.

Meanwhile, fullback Leugaimafa is also a very cunning footballer.

Bretherton said Leugaimafa was previously a quiet kid who had emerged from the shadows to take control of the group and the direction it was heading.

"It has been super-impressive,” he said.

Ipswich recorded a thrilling triumph over Wavell High in round one of the Langer Cup before sinking to Keebra Park in round two.

On June 4, the team will confront juggernaut defending national champions Palm Beach Currumbin at home with the outcome critical to their hopes of lifting the cup.

The result will also impact on the school's all-important ranking for the national knockout competition, to which the super six automatically qualify.

"We just want to compete much better than last time,” Bretherton said.

"We need to get our standards for the way we compete and defend back to where they should be.

"We had a very honest conversation about how we haven't reached the standards that we set for ourselves.

"We have two weeks of work reminding ourselves of those standards.

"And we need to train with absolute intensity because second best is not good enough.”

Tom Bushnell



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