Ipswich Jets discover price of success
NOT since the Brisbane Rugby League premiers of 1987 were decimated by the arrival of the Brisbane Broncos, has a Queensland state league team had so many players leave for the NRL.
The Brothers club lost eight players to the Broncos and St George for the 1988 season.
Now the Jets have lost six with the announcement Kurt Capewell will join Josh Cleeland at the Cronulla Sharks next year.
It is seven if you include retired captain Keiron Lander and eight if you count trainer Matt Barradeen, who has been recruited by the Melbourne Storm.
For Jets chairman Steven Johnson it has been like watching his children leave home with honours degrees.
But it means the Jets have to start again to ensure the success continues.
It is not as daunting a task as it may at first seem however, with Johnson putting faith in the methods that took the Jets to the top over a five-year period.
"When we sat down in 2010 (after collecting the Queensland Cup wooden spoon) and deciding what we had to do, we weren't focussed on success," Johnson said.
"We were focussed on making better people and better players and we knew success would surely come."
It is why the Jets will not be opening their doors to all those who show up wanting a chance when pre-season training begins.
They are likely to come from far and wide in the hope of catching some of the magic leftover from the Jets' phenomenal 2015 season.
What aspiring young player, with the NRL in his sights, would not now want to be coached by Ben and Shane Walker?
But Johnson knows the club needs to be selective in the sort of player it welcomes, to remain true to the philosophies that delivered the 2015 success.
"With our captain (Keiron Lander) retiring, he was the driver of our culture," Johnson said.
"We need to be very careful of people coming into the club, so we don't change that culture.
"If we have to suffer a poor year of results we will, because our focus is on what is best for Ipswich."
Don't bet on the Jets struggling in 2015, even if following up their Queensland Cup and State Championship success will be hard after such a high player turnover.
But the Walkers have proven they can turn promising park footballers into NRL standard players and Johnson backs them to do it again.
It is further evidence the region can sustain its own NRL team.
"They'll model the team around the players they've got, not the players they want," said Johnson, who is also chairman of the Western Corridor NRL bid.
"Some have suggested there's not enough talent outside the NRL to sustain another team.
"We've shown that's nonsense.
"It's not a question of lack of talent. It's a question of lack of opportunity and development. We've always believed with good coaching we can produce NRL players. Now we've got the proof."