'Get them to the Jets'
IPSWICH Diggers Under-19s coach Chris Doyle believes Ipswich clubs should be proud of the development of their junior talent after five players were selected in the SEQ side following the Chairman's Challenge.
Sione Foueti, Lisite Hafoka, Peter Nokise (West End), Soane Fua (Goodna) and Fiohiva Siale-Faingaa (Swifts) were named in the 19-player SEQ squad following standout performances for the Diggers against Gold Coast and Brisbane.
"The standard of 18-year-olds at the moment in Ipswich is at a pretty good level. The clubs should be commended, it's at a really good standard,” Doyle said.
"The standard is getting better and better every year, which is good for senior football in Ipswich.”
The Colts premiership-winning Bulldogs provided three players to SEQ.
Doyle was quick to praise the efforts of his two props, and outside back Foueti.
"All three of them were very good for me, I couldn't fault those three boys,” Doyle said.
"PJ (Nokise) especially. He's still in grade 12 at Ipswich High - I think he was the youngest in the group. Still being in school and playing front row in that competition is a fair effort in itself.
"He could have been the best player at the carnival. He outplayed both sets of props from Gold Coast and Brisbane.”
"Sooka (Hafoka) is one of those front rowers who, if I give him a job to do he does it,” Doyle added.
"I told him every time we had the football he had to make one hit-up, and every time they have the football to make one tackle.
"His numbers were excellent, he had a very good weekend.”
"Sione was just rock-solid. No one went through us down that side of the field, he's such a strong kid,” Doyle said of Foueti.
"He's going to have a really good frame on him by the time he plays senior footy.”
Doyle said the onus was not on West End to provide the best possible opportunities for the trio to succeed in their football endeavours.
"West End has done all the hard work of getting them to this level,” he said.
"They're on the radar of the Jets, definitely. They'd be mad not to get three young fellas like these in their system. They love training, and they work hard. They would suit that system really well.”
Doyle had to stop short of labelling Goodna's Fua a swiss army knife, but that is exactly what he was for the Diggers.
"He got stuck in about six different positions over the weekend. He covered from centre to back row, to lock forward and front row,” Doyle said.
"I'm very happy for him. He's a really good kid too, he's like a sponge, he just listens to everything you tell him.”
Swifts A-Grade winger Siale-Faingaa was difficult to miss.
"He was just very strong, Fio,” Doyle said.
"It was like a man playing in a child's comp. He has a massive body and just runs like the wind.
"And he's very safe for a big fella. His hands are outstanding. He deserves to be in that rep side, he was very powerful for us.”
And perhaps the most exciting thing for Ipswich fans, is Doyle's belief this is only just the beginning for the young Diggers.
The majority of the side will be available for selection again next year.
"I picked the squad with two years in mind,” Doyle said, adding he hopes to again oversee the team in 2019.
"The whole spine are all first-year boys. So we're looking forward to seeing how those boys all go next year.
"You'll find probably 85% of that squad will stay together, and that spine will all go around again next year if their form stays where it is.”
U19 SEQ Representative side:
Sione Foueti (West End Bulldogs), Soane Fua (Goodna & Districts Eagles), Shallin Fuller (Beaudesert Kingfishers), Carey Gerrard (Southport Tigers), Lisite Hafoka (West End Bulldogs), Liam Hori-Clark (Ormeau Shearers), Laithan Joseph (Waterford), Jackson Lio (Pine Central Holy Spirit), William Malone (Bilambil Jets), James Munckton (Currumbin Eagles), Peter Nokise (West End Bulldogs), Blaid Pakura (Valleys Diehards), Caleb Pirini (Ormeau Shearers), Ignatius Sefo (Southport Tigers), Joshua Sexton (Currumbin Eagles), Fiohiva Siale Faingaa (Swifts Bluebirds), Joshua Somerville (Burleigh Heads). Coach: Darren Ferricks; Assistant Coach: Peri Creamer; Manager: Simon Riggs.