Star teens relish rep duties
TWO of Ipswich's most promising teenage footballers had played together before in their junior careers.
However, they agreed reuniting for an Ipswich Invitational under-19 side on Saturday was something they'd welcome again.
Ipswich Knights midfielder Aaron Christensen and Western Spirit talent Jay Kitching hoped more representative games could be organised in future through Ipswich's Centre of Excellence.
"I loved it," Christensen, 18, said after helping Ipswich beat a Tasmanian Institute of Sport line-up 2-1 at Brassall.
"It was just a one-off but they are talking about getting a team together."
Kitching, who played a number of games for Western Spirit's Division 1 side this season, was equally pleased.
"I thought we played pretty good considering we'd only been training together for a few weeks," said Kitching, 18.
Kitching's Spirit teammate Jacob Wegener was also selected for the Ipswich under-19 side.
But apart from Wegener and Christensen, Kitching didn't know many of the Ipswich-bred players from clubs like Brisbane Strikers, Brisbane Force and Lions.
Kitching said having the city's best juniors joining forces was a positive for Ipswich football.
"There was a lot of talent," Kitching said.
"Definitely, I'd love to be involved in more of them (rep games)."
Christensen, who is keen to play for the Knights again next season, said the Tasmanian side was "pretty solid, well structured".
"It was a good experience," he said.
Ipswich's goal scorers were Force centre back Michael Ward and Lions winger Jarrod Clark.
Football Queensland coach Paul Lonton was delighted how the Ipswich invitational team played, given their limited time to train.
"It was very, very hot and tough conditions but they did very well," Lonton said.
"It was to showcase Ipswich football . . . we achieved that."
Lonton was heartened to see his players adapt well.
"Whilst the boys knew each other, they'd never played together before and I asked them to play a system (4-3-3) that not all of them were used to," Lonton said.
"Their commitment, their composure, the way the played the game, the way they handled themselves was all very, very pleasing."
Lonton thanked Ipswich councillor David Morrison for assisting with the game and Ipswich Grammar for making their football fields available at this time of the year.
"The under-19 Ipswich football team did what the QAS and the Gold Coast under-19 teams could not and that was to beat the Tasmanian Institute of Sport," Cr Morrison said.
"This demonstrated the quality of players that we have in Ipswich city and reinforces the vision of the IFA to have a highest level team possible based in Ipswich."
The Ipswich Football Association's Centre of Excellence resumes at the end of January with under-11, under-12, under-13 and under-14 boys teams preparing for next season's Football Brisbane competition.