Talented Colts aiming to soar
THEY are the only Colts in the Ipswich Jets' 35-man Queensland Cup squad and refreshingly they are all products of Ipswich's rugby league development systems.
The group of talented Ipswich Junior Rugby League products is set to dispel the myth that locally-trained boys can't make it at the Jets.
Goodna Eagles centre Saunda Seumanutafa, Swifts backrower Josh Seage and Norths/Fassifern halfback Matt Parcell are all tipped to feature in the Jets' Queensland Cup team at some stage this year.
All three tasted Colts action last year, with both Seage and Parcell still eligible for the grade, being just 19 years of age.
But if predictions become gospel, they will mix with the veterans of the Queensland Cup this season.
Colts coach Mark Bishop has watched the youngsters for the past 12 months and said the trio was a step above its competition.
“Seage has everything you would want for a young back-rower and he can make the step up this year,” he said.
“What's good for him and Matt Parcell is that they are both 19 so time is on their side.
“Parcell has really come on a lot in the last six months. He keeps improving every week.”
Seage's former coach at Swifts Wayne Finch said last year that the mobile forward was NRL-bound.
But Seage had been the centre of controversy earlier this month when confusion over whether he had left the Jets to return to Swifts caused Jets chief executive Brad Wolens to deride the mentality of IRL coaches.
Wolens said Swifts coach Alby Talipeau cared more for the win-loss column than the development of Ipswich's best youngsters.
Wolens, who has since spoken with Talipeau regarding his comments, said developing a production line of Ipswich junior league stars was important to the Jets.
“We have been criticised in the past for not promoting the local guys from the IRL, but we now have a good crop of youngsters from the Ipswich competition playing for us,” Wolens said.
“Seage, Parcell and Saunda are great prospects for us and we want to get more IRL players in the team.”
Jets Queensland Cup co-coach Ben Walker said he had been impressed with the trio throughout the pre-season. “They have been training really well and putting in, which is what you want from young guys who have been given a great opportunity.”
Seumanutafa played in the Jets' Queensland Cup team's loss against the Melbourne Storm last Friday night.
He is a lightning-fast former rugby union prospect.
After starring for Nudgee College's first XV in the GPS competition, he was contracted to the ACT Brumbies Super Rugby team.
While his stint in the nation's capital did not work out, the Brumbies' loss is the Jets' gain.
“He was close to making the Cup team last year but injuries came at the wrong time for him,” Wolens said.
Parcell, who played for Ipswich Grammar's first XV alongside Sydney Roosters youngster Tom Guymer, said he would be ecstatic if given a chance in the Queensland Cup. “That would be awesome if it happened and that's definitely my aim for this year,” the lanky halfback said.
Parcell had never attracted interest from NRL scouts despite his talent.
“I lost a lot of interest in the game and sport in general when I was 15 and 16,” he said.
“I was doing something rugby league related seven days a week and I got sick of it and stopped playing for a while.
“But when I made the Grammar first XV, I remember how much I enjoyed footy.
“I'm probably a bit behind everyone because of that but its starting to come together again for me and being in the Q-Cup squad helped me develop heaps.
“Both the Walker brothers have been great to learn from.
“They get into the drills at training and really show you how it's supposed to be done.”
Parcell and Seage will play in the Colts match against the Tweed Heads Seagulls at North Ipswich Reserve on Saturday.