Region's emerging footy talent play on 'big stage'
AS the region's emerging young footballers prepare to play on "the big stage,'' former Ipswich Jet Brendon Lindsay has reasons to be pleased.
A major boost, under Rugby League Ipswich (RLI)'s new junior grand final structure, is the diverse mix of Ipswich and country teams involved.
RLI manager Lindsay was also heartened to see strong support for the young players during qualifying matches at Karalee and Brothers on Wednesday night.
As someone who was played an international level and supports grassroots rugby league, Lindsay also appreciates the Ipswich Jets Leagues Club's involvement.
Eight clubs have teams lining up in under 12 to under 17 Development Competition grand finals at the North Ipswich Reserve on Sunday. They are Redbank Plains, Lowood, Karalee, Swifts, West End, Norths, Springfield and Fassifern.
"It's a testament that we've got eight different clubs and what was very surprising as well was the size of the crowds at both venues last night for a Wednesday night,'' Lindsay said.
"They really turned out and enjoyed themselves.''
Lindsay was happy to see the Development Competition footballers now given an opportunity to play at Ipswich's rugby league headquarters.
"I'm looking forward to seeing the kids go around on a decent field on the big stage at what should hopefully be a good day,'' Lindsay said.
While the RLI's junior Premier Competition finals are coming up on September 9, Lindsay said the development series was introduced as a stepping stone to higher level rugby league.
"It's just giving the guys an opportunity to continue to play rugby league,'' he said. "It's for guys or clubs that feel that they are not quite at that premier status.''
Former Scottish international player Lindsay was impressed with the promise displayed in this week's qualifying finals.
"There was very good football played last night and there's some good kids running around in that competition,'' he said.
The Development Competition grand finals kick off at 9.30am with the under 12 decider between Redbank Plains and Lowood Stags.
The final game is an under 17 clash between the Fassifern Bombers and Norths Gold, scheduled for 1.45pm.
Lindsay said it was terrific for junior grassroots rugby league to have the Jets Leagues Club "come on board'' as major sponsor of the competition.
Premier shields and medallions will be presented to the kids after Sunday's matches.
Lindsay said a discussion paper would go out on Monday for clubs to offer feedback on next year's Development Competition.
"We look forward to the clubs' input,'' he said.
State of play
2017 Jets Leagues Club Development Competition grand finals on Sunday at North Ipswich Reserve.
9.30am: Under 12 - Redbank Plains Blue v Lowood Stags.
10.30am : Under 13 - Karalee Tornadoes v Swifts/West End.
11.30am: Under 14 - Fassifern Bombers v Springfield White.
12.30pm: Under 15 - Redbank Plains Bears v West End Bulldogs.
1.45pm: Under 17 - Fassifern Bombers v Norths Gold.
Wednesday night's qualifying results
Under 12: Redbank Plains Blue def Laidley Lions 20-16, Lowood Stags def Fassifern Bombers 10-6.
Under 13: Karalee Tornadoes def Fasssifern Bombers 16-4, Swifts/West End def Springfield White 18-16.
Under 14: Fassifern Bombers def Norths Gold 34-8, Springfield White def Laidley Lions 30-26.
Under 15: Redbank Plains Bears def Laidley Lions 30-16, West End Bulldogs def Karalee/Lowood 24-0.
Under 17: Fassifern Bombers def Redbank Plains Blue 42-6, Norths Gold def Laidley Lions 22-8.
Full results review in Friday's QT.