Jets young brigade boost season hopes

THE Ipswich Jets under 16s and 18s are closing the gaps on their rivals.

Ipswich’s Cyril Connell (U16) and Mal Meninga (U18) cup campaigns had boosts with opening trial wins over Norths Devils last weekend.

The Jets 16s bettered Norths six tries to four.

Todd Riggs coached the team last year but believes the current crop is further advanced in their preparation, particularly in skills and defence.

“The boys had been training really well,” Riggs said. “They did well in the hard stuff before Christmas.

“Since then we have been focussing on some of the more technical stuff, like defence.

“On Saturday they got up and belted them.

“They’re probably a touch ahead of 12 months ago. Particularly in their skills level.

“The best thing about last year’s group was their team culture. They hung tough and worked for each other.

“This group has the same hallmarks, but with a higher skill set.”

That was on display with the team’s six tries.

But they could not have come about without the defensive pressure the Jets applied.

“We played all 25 guys, so it’s hard to get a gauge on where everyone is at,” Riggs said. “But I was pleased with their aggression – their line speed and defence.

“They really got off the line well.

“We have done a lot of work on initial contact and worry about everything else after that.”

With former Ipswich Jets players Riggs and Brendon Lindsay (under 18s) coaching the young Jets the plan to get them playing to the same patterns as the senior Jets.

“Jets teams for the past five years have been known for their great line speed and defence,” Riggs said.

This weekend the two teams take on Gold Coast teams at Mudgeeraba.

Confident his team’s defence is in good health Riggs is looking for improvement in attack.

“Our ball control,” he said of where he hoped to see improvement.

“The big thing in attack is just being patient.

“At club level these kids can get away with being flashy. But at this level you’ve got to be patient, kick early and put the pressure back in the opposition. They’re going to make errors because they’re an under 16 side.

“But if we can complete up to 75 or 80 percent we’re in with a show.”

Thanks to the QT for the article.