Jets U16 coach confident quality gap closing

THE Ipswich Jets under 16s are getting closer.

But they remain some way off the big guns of south-east Queensland in the Cyril Connell Cup with three wins and three losses.

“We had a disappointing loss against Easts,” coach Todd Riggs said.

“But in reality it was probably a fair indication of where we were at in the end.

“Gold Coast White and Souths had our measure.”

That may be, but Riggs was delighted with the way his team committed itself to the cause.

“The most pleasing thing was the way the group came together,” he said. “And the way they competed in games.

“The commitment and effort they showed week-in, week-out at training and in communicating with me showed the beginning elements of professionalism.”

The professionalism of the 16s was typified by their attitude to training, with “almost every bloke at every session”.

However Riggs admitted Ipswich teams still had a way to go if they were to start making finals in the Cyril Connell Cup.

Yet again they paid the price for allowing themselves to be dominated at the ruck.

“We got dealt a harsh lesson against the Coast about winning the ruck,” he said.

“It has been an issue for Ipswich sides since I was playing.

“We weren’t able to sustain long periods of getting in the wrestle.”

While the Ipswich team conceded size to many rivals, including Gold Coast White, Riggs said that was not the only reason they lost the ruck battle.

“On the Gold Coast their system from an early age has them really focussed on winning the ruck,” Riggs said.

“But in the three years I’ve been involved, we’re getting better, thanks to the work the Ipswich Junior Rugby League is doing with the kids coming through.

“We’re closing the gap.”