Storm brewing

THE Ipswich Junior Rugby League has created a storm amongst three of its junior clubs.

Such is the strength of the Springfield, Norths and Goodna under-13 A teams, the IJRL has ordered the clubs to mix their A and B teams together to even up the competition and "develop" the lower graded players.

"There are three standout teams well out in front of the rest of the pack," IJRL chairman David Nugent said. "That leaves 13 other sides that simply can't compete on a week to week basis. Rather than them being beaten by 80 points each week, we said to the clubs why don't we mix the two teams so we have a strong competition."

But parents and administrators from the three clubs are up in arms. They claim the move is likely to push kids away from the game.

Nugent showed up at Norths training on Tuesday to address parents but his arguments fell on deaf ears. As did the arguments of the parents, with Nugent refusing to consider overturning the order.

"Some are obviously not interested in developing players at their own club," Nugent told the QT. "I'm about development first, trophies second."

Nugent didn't accept it was in the lower graded players' interest to keep teams divided on merit.

"We're trying to make a competition where everybody can compete," he said.

"In each A team there are some big forwards and little halves. As long as they're taught to tackle properly, it shouldn't be an issue.

"I think some coaches are taking the easy option, rather than developing their players."

Nugent said the results of a lop-sided competition were there to see at the South East Queensland under-13 and under-14 carnivals last weekend.

North Brisbane, where Nugent said two or three clubs dominate, were running last and winless.

"If we spread our talent, we believe in a couple of years' time all the players will be developed," he said.

Norths players' parents denied they cared about trophies and were happy to sacrifice them to keep the kids in the grades they were suited to. They feel the club is being punished and discriminated against for its success developing such a strong A team.

Norths held grading trials earlier in the season to determine which players were suitable to contest the Green (A) competition, and which were better suited to the White (B) competition.

"We copped floggings in under-8s, 9s and 10s," one Norths player's father said to Nugent.

"Now all of a sudden it seems to me Norths are set for a successful year and you're punishing them.

"Now we've got 12-year-old kids saying 'we won't play'."

Nugent pointed to the performance of the Ipswich teams at the SEQ carnival where he said they "punched above their weight". But the parents disputed it was the IJRL that got the players to that level, saying it was the clubs that developed them.

Norths under-13 B team coach Cody McQueen said 12 of his 15-man squad indicated they did not wish to play in the higher division.

The reason is many are not comfortable competing with the biggest and best footballers.

"Do they not want to get challenged?" Nugent asked.

"They don't want to get killed," a Norths parent responded.



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