(Thanks to QT and Jay Buchan)
LIFE is getting harder for Ipswich Jets Colts coach Mark Bishop… and it’s made him a happy man.
“We’re looking alright at the moment,” Bishop said as his Colts prepare to tackle the 2012 season.
“I’ve got a selection headache over who to leave out.”
With four players to return who have been training with the Jets’ top squad (Chris Ash, Merv Walker, Saunda Seumanutafa and Matt Parcell), Bishop estimated he still has seven or eight spots undecided.
All four are versatile, adding to the selection possibilities.
Ash is a halfback/hooker, Walker and Parcell are hooker/backrowers and Seumanutafa is a centre Bishop is considering moving into five-eighth or lock.
It makes for a pleasant dilemma to have but that doesn’t make it easier.
“Last year we struggled to figure out who we would put in,” Bishop said.
“This year we’re struggling with who to leave out.
“We’ve got a lot more depth, that’s for sure.”
The Jets Colts have drawn the first round bye so Bishop doesn’t have to make the call just yet, though that might just be prolonging the agony.
Whether Parcell is part of the Jets’ Queensland Cup plans will also have a bearing on who Bishop chooses as captain.
Parcell and Ash are the leading contenders.
Bishop has noticed the benefits of having Ash, Walker, Parcell and Seumanutafa training with the Jets’ top squad and the rest of his Colts mixing it with the seniors in pre-season.
“When we get those players back on Thursday at training, it really ups the ante,” Bishop said.
“What all the Colts are doing is a lot closer to what the (Queensland) Cup squad have been doing.
“We’ve probably pushed them a bit harder physically than last year.”
It has been a shock to some but those who have handled it best are those with the brightest futures.
“We’ve got a lot of guys out of the local comp and it’s hot the best grounding,” Bishop said.
“In the local comp you can put your hands on your hips for a little while.
“Here you can’t put your hands on your hips or you’ll just get dusted.”
Last year the Jets Colts finished seventh but Bishop is cautious about making any bold predictions this season.
“We let a few too many games go we should have won,” he said of the 2011 campaign.
“This year we’ve just got to be consistent and just compete until the end.
“That’s something (Jets head coaches) Ben and Shane Walker are big on.
“If we compete in every tackle and every set, we should be able to finish on the right side of the ledger.”