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The Rumours Thread

blacksafake

First Grade
Messages
7,344
Ipswich State High School duo sign with St George Dragons

Two top teen rugby league prospects from Ipswich could be on their way to representing one of rugby league’s most storied clubs after signing NRL deal

Nick Tucker

Two Ipswich teens could be on track to play for one of rugby league’s most storied clubs after signing NRL deals on the back of leading their school to a history-making premiership.

Towering prop Loko Pasifika Tonga and speedster Joven Gyemore have been rewarded for helping Ipswich State High School to its first Langer Trophy with both being signed by the St George Illawarra Dragons.

The 17-year-old Tonga, who stands tall at 194cm and 122kg, has signed for three years while Murgon’s Gyemore, an electric wing or outside back, has signed for one year.

The Ipswich State High School rugby league boys come in pairs - at least that’s what it looks like if we take the Redcliffe Dolphins signing of Tommy Luhrman and Caleb Jackson, and now the Tonga and Gyemore signings into consideration.

For Tonga, the opportunity was not only unexpected, but a blessing in disguise.

The Year 11 was living in Melbourne in 2021, before moving to Brisbane without his family to expand his rugby league horizons in 2022 but it didn’t all go to plan with Keebra Park State High School opting not to select him in their Langer Trophy squad.

But champion school Ipswich SHS came to the rescue and the rest was history and funnily enough, in round one the two powerhouse teams met and Ipswich came away 24-16 winners. “Beating them in round one knowing they didn’t select me helped a lot with my confidence, knowing what I could be,” Tonga said.

“I was pretty shocked at first when I got the call from Craig, my agent, saying the Dragons want to have a meeting.

“I had a little cry at school with the boys.”

This was around October, after his Ipswich team had been crowned the best rugby league team in the nation, when Tonga and his teammates were still training.

“Mr. Dore (one of Tonga’s coaches at Ipswich) says only elite players train everyday...of course, we never stop. Two gym sessions and two field sessions a week,” Tonga said.

“I didn’t know I was going to be signed at all, never in my whole life.

“Realising my dream was coming true, well I was quiet for a few days, I thought it was a dream the whole time.

“I called my mum after and we had a little cry, then, I sat on the field, thanking Ipswich for what they’ve done for me to get this far.”

The Dragons have set the friendly giant up with a house and his parents are on their way to Sydney so that they can live together again.

“One of the reasons we took it (the contract) this year was so I can start living with my family again,” Tonga said.

After just three weeks training with the Dragons SG Ball squad, Tonga has been promoted into the leadership group.

“I was pretty stoked to hear another Ipswich boy (Gyemore) was coming with me, I didn’t want to go by myself so it’s sick having a mate go through it with me,” Tonga said.

Originally published as Ipswich State High School duo sign with St George Dragons

Ipswich State High School duo sign with St George Dragons | Herald Sun

Now the next few years will be important for them & others with their development with good coaching.
Do we have that?
 

Gareth67

First Grade
Messages
8,138
Agree blackfasake , they will require the right mentor to realize their full potential , not some bloke on the club’s payroll who has ‘ coach ‘ in front of his name .

Should the lads show promise , then I most sincerely hope that the club have the foresight to secure them before their contracts expire .

Tonga at 122 kgs and only 17 , the bloke will be a true big bopper and you can be sure that other clubs will be watching his progress with interest .
 

jak

Bench
Messages
2,506
Ben Wolfe one of our assistants coached the QLD u18s or something similar, hopefully he has a say in their development and knows how to treat them and coach them.
i think your on the right track mate, i think there may be more going on in the background than we know about, i also feel hook will be around longer than most on here want , just not as coach
 

The Word

Juniors
Messages
105
Looks increasingly like we can't sign a couple of high quality forwards for the right money. Will make it a tough season.
The strategy is clearly to focus on bringing top young talent to our club from out of area, particularly in the forwards, which is 100% the right thing to do.
As many have already commented, we need to be investing heavily in our coaching ranks for SG Ball, Harold Mathews and NSW Cup squads. This is where the work is done to produce players capable of playing NRL. It's equally important to get the off field stuff right to make sure the youngsters are settled, safe, and stay on the right track.
This Tonga story is fantastic. I can imagine the work that's been put in to make it happen.
 

since77

Juniors
Messages
1,360
I’ve put this together to highlight our signings in recruitment over the last 10 years

2013
- Gerard Beale
- Bronson Harrison
- Tyson Frizell
- Josh Dugan

2014
- Benji Marshall
- Mike Cooper
- Dylan Farrell
- Gareth Widdop
- Joel Thompson
- Sam Williams
- Peter Mata’utia
- Michael Witt

2015
- Dane Nielsen
- Eto Nabuli
- Kris Keating
- George Rose
- Beau Henry
- Heath L’Estrange
- Justin Hunt
- Mark Ioane

2016
- Mose Masoe
- Tyrone McCarthy
- Kurt Mann
- Dunamis Lui
- Kalifa FaiFai Loa
- Tim Lafai
- Tariq Sims

2017
- Paul Vaughan
- Nene MacDonald
- Cameron McInnes

2018
- Ben Hunt
- James Graham
- Mitchell Allgood
- Jeremy Latimore

2019
- Korbin Sims
- Corey Norman
- Lachlan Maranta
- Patrick Kaufusi

2020
- Billy Brittain
- Kaide Ellis
- Tyrell Fuimaono
- Issac Luke
- Trent Merrin
- Brayden Williame

2021
- Daniel Alvaro
- Gerard Beale
- Jack Bird
- Billy Burns
- Poasa Fa’amusili
- Andrew McCullough
- Josh McGuire

2022
- Aaron Woods
- George Burgess
- Moses Mbye
- Moses Suli
- Jaydn Su’a
- Francis Molo
- Tautau Moga
- Jack Gosiewski

2023
- Nick Lui - Toso
- Zane Musgrove
- Jacob Liddle

What are your overall thoughts on our recruitment ?

Personally I can only pick a handful of good recruits other than those absolutely diabolical
Wow out of that list I can find 9 players that were decent ——> good signings.
 

baggygreen man

Juniors
Messages
2,345
He is a young giant now. I tried to find some footage of the kid from the Langer Trophy which his school won. All I could find of his school was footage from the Broncos Schools Challenge and in it was a big tall islander lad which I took as Loko. He may have been big but boy was he a lumberer. LAZY.
Glad I was wrong as this is the real Loko (below left). The other kid with the hair cut extraordinaire is Joven Gyemore another new signing. Both played for the same school, Ipswich State High and both will turn out for our S G Ball side this season.
1670552110383.png
 

possm

Coach
Messages
14,874
Each season we always point to young guns with potential. Many times things don't work out for whatever reason. So what are we doing wrong?

I believe we need to buy the best 17 we can afford and then backfill with young guns with potential. To me this makes a lot of sense and many young guns require short stints in their initial NRL seasons.
 

twinkletoes

Juniors
Messages
716
Looks increasingly like we can't sign a couple of high quality forwards for the right money. Will make it a tough season.
The strategy is clearly to focus on bringing top young talent to our club from out of area, particularly in the forwards, which is 100% the right thing to do.
As many have already commented, we need to be investing heavily in our coaching ranks for SG Ball, Harold Mathews and NSW Cup squads. This is where the work is done to produce players capable of playing NRL. It's equally important to get the off field stuff right to make sure the youngsters are settled, safe, and stay on the right track.
This Tonga story is fantastic. I can imagine the work that's been put in to make it happen.
Have to respectfully disagree. Yes we do need to attract and bring on young talent in the forwards but you also need established talent to ensure winning becomes the culture in the club. The young forward talent we are assembling will not have any real impact in first grade for at least 2-3 years. In the meantime we cannot afford to be getting flogged every week which then becomes a deterrent for young talent staying with the club and also to attract more established first grade talent.

I feel our lack of recruitment in the forwards for next season will have a very detrimental effect on how we perform and where we finish on the ladder, which in turn will deter players wanting to come to the club and wanting to stay with the club....young people are very impatient these days on getting what they want, when they want it!!
 

Dragon David

First Grade
Messages
5,031
This Dragons tragic is getting rather excited by the pack that we may have in five years time provided we nurture them and stop them leaving. Loko, Josh Coric, the Couchman brothers, Jacob Webster, Jackson Sherab and the explosive Corey Ackers. There may be others I have missed.
I agree baggers.

The club is still after a couple of strong middlemen but they are certainly looking at the young ones and bringing them through the pathways and development stages to get them ready for the NRL.

Since the new communications and media guy has been appointed, he is providing more updates on the clubs website which is about time.

 

The Word

Juniors
Messages
105
Have to respectfully disagree. Yes we do need to attract and bring on young talent in the forwards but you also need established talent to ensure winning becomes the culture in the club. The young forward talent we are assembling will not have any real impact in first grade for at least 2-3 years. In the meantime we cannot afford to be getting flogged every week which then becomes a deterrent for young talent staying with the club and also to attract more established first grade talent.

I feel our lack of recruitment in the forwards for next season will have a very detrimental effect on how we perform and where we finish on the ladder, which in turn will deter players wanting to come to the club and wanting to stay with the club....young people are very impatient these days on getting what they want, when they want it!!
Understand what you're saying twinkletoes, you may have misunderstood me, I probably didn't make myself clear. I 100% want us to go hard to try and sign a couple of really strong forwards to give us a chance next season. I think we will have money under the cap and I hope we can make it happen.
However given we have struggled to bring in top level front rowers over the last few years, and given the fact that we don't seem to be producing enough of our own, it makes sense to go hard at bringing young talent in when we can so that at the very least we can hopefully be more competitive in a few years then we have been for the last 10+. I'm not saying we give up on signing players for the coming season, I'm just crediting the club for this part of the overall strategy.
We're probably both saying the same things.
 

baggygreen man

Juniors
Messages
2,345
I agree baggers.

The club is still after a couple of strong middlemen but they are certainly looking at the young ones and bringing them through the pathways and development stages to get them ready for the NRL.

Since the new communications and media guy has been appointed, he is providing more updates on the clubs website which is about time.

Haran seems the right man DD. Assistants Carr and Woolf too. Only odd one out is our much loved Anthony Griffin.
FO has not even filled our Top 30 yet.
 

Old Timer

Coach
Messages
15,477
Good backs and shit forwards, good halves no backs, good squad with no spine, good forwards no 9 or 7 all these situations have plagued us.

It would appear that the club is finally trying to ensure that we create a proper flow of various age groups and positions into the pathways so that we don't end up with any "air pockets" or "voids" which is exactly the problem we have had for many years.

This is not an easy task by any stretch and the notion that the Illawarra will provide us with our own is just fanciful as there are many clubs with many scouts and many dollars all over the eastern states casting there eye over our talent pool and luring many away.

So finally we have decided to cast our net over much broader waters and the club should be given credit for finally having foresight & determination.

Of course this will mean that securing a better future comes at a cost and that is "the present" and alas we didn't secure the present namely 2023 due to extremely poor decision making in the past.

So if we are to applaud the decisions that "potentially" make our future brighter then we have to accept that basically the bird has flown for now.

What we need to get out of 2023 / 2024 is trying to get Burns, Kerr and a few others of that age group up to full NRL standard as we need to have some mid - late 20's players to be the senior players as the youth we are now investing in come into the NRL and of course we must continue clearing out the remaining dead wood.

Focus on a quality prop and edge and make sure they are "proven" so if we need to be patient to the end of 2023 then so be it but no more aged warriors on the decline or journeymen that play 1 good game in each half of the season.

We can't have it all ways and certainly the method up to now has been a total failure so let's stop the highly critical / woe is me stuff and at least understand the direction is changing and that is a good thing..

So maybe we should get on board and turn up for the lower grade matches and show our future players we have belief in them and want them to be a part of the Big Red V.

Imagine the positive impact on young players having a few thousand people turn up to watch and cheer them rather than asking "George" what he knows about this one and that one.

As supporters we can play a positive role in how our future plays out, it just takes a bit of extra effort on our part or do we just want to sit back, wait and then bag them and the club if they don't make it?

I'm looking forward to seeing the draw for the lower grades and then going to have a look into the future.
 
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