Billy 'Braveheart' adds to deadly weaponry
BRAVEHEART has been an inspiration for the Jets in recent seasons.
But they may well be calling him 'Bravesmart' by the end of 2017.
Scottish international Billy McConnachie is regarded as the beating heart of the Ipswich Jets forward play.
His relentless and fearless charges into the opposition defence have inspired many a scoring spree and many a comeback, making him a crowd favourite with the fans.
But the true test of any footballer is whether they can grow and add strings to their bow as they progress through a career.
As anticipation reaches fever pitch ahead of the Jets showdown with the Broncos at North Ipswich Reserve on February 11, the QT can report that McConnachie is on the up and up.
After leaving the Wests Tigers last season he trained with the Broncos while playing his Intrust Super Cup football with the Jets for the rest of the season.
It was a disrupted year in many respects after McConnachie had been a key figure in the Jets' Intrust Super Cup and NRL State Championship titles in 2015.
The raging wildebeest of the Jets outfit was solid last year and he rumbled in the jungle with the best of them.
But Jets co-coach Shane Walker said that McConnachie had taken his game to another dimension this pre-season after working hard at becoming a more complete footballer.
The Jets hope that hard work will be on show against the Broncos. Early indications are that it will.
"Billy is going great,” Jets co-coach Shane Walker said.
"The experience he had at the Four Nations last year with Scotland has given him a lot of belief.
"At training we are seeing him trying new things with his fend, his pass and his offloads.
"Once upon a time he got the ball and ran hard, and that was it.
"That will still be the case because that is his natural game, but you can see him exploring different parts of his game.”
McConnachie was on the cusp of NRL action last year, but just missed out on his debut.
His experience for Scotland at the Four Nations showed his character. After being below his best against Australia he was outstanding in the clash with New Zealand.
"So the Broncos game could be a great opportunity for Billy,” Walker said.
"He did a lot of training with them last season and given that he has had the Four Nations experience last year, had an outstanding season and has been training well.
"In the case of someone like Billy it is just a case of opportunity. He is big enough and strong enough.
"In the NRL sphere there are those ugly words like 'the wrestle' and 'the contact' that I am sure he could improve on, but it is not something we do a lot of.
"But with the rest of it, he showed in that New Zealand game that he had it all.
"He loosened a few up, and with a couple of them I think they have only just got their teeth back in place.”