Roosters chairman Nick Politis celebrates winning the 2019 NRL Grand Final between the Sydney Roosters and Canberra Raiders at ANZ Stadium. Picture: Brett Costello
Roosters chairman Nick Politis celebrates winning the 2019 NRL Grand Final between the Sydney Roosters and Canberra Raiders at ANZ Stadium. Picture: Brett Costello

Check out promising signs for Jets after Esk trials


THE Ipswich Jets have dried off and found some shade after playing their first trial game in the wet and heat last week in Esk.

Next, they take on the Sunshine Coast Falcons in Ipswich on Saturday.

Jets coach Keiron Lander liked what he saw last Saturday. He is positive about the Falcons game.

"I was impressed by a few guys that I was unsure of,'' Lander said.

"Sometimes training can show you one thing but playing shows you a different side of players. It was good to get them a run and see how they go.

"Samukie Gaidan showed us plenty. Some guys just need the footy in their hands.''

Lander said Josh Johnson at fullback "did some very good things''.

"Regan Wilde, our little hooker, made some great efforts and Sione Foueti was great

"Now it's about rewarding those guys again but just adding in some more guys this week for the Falcons.

"We aren't aiming to shoot the lights out in the trials. It's just building, adding and working on things.

"I saw things we have worked on done really well."

The Falcons will be playing their first trial game and first game under the guidance of new coach Sam Mawhinney. That match is at 3.20pm after the Mal Meninga trial at noon and the colts at 1.40pm.

Mawhinney won the Colts premiership last year with the Falcons. He has replaced Eric Smith who has departed to the Newcastle Knights.

"This is our first hit out so it will just be about things like first contact and where we finish our sets," Mawhinney said.

"We have come together really well, and I am really happy with our off-season it will be good to get a game."

The Jets Colts and Mal Meninga teams played against the Mustangs last Saturday. They will be looking to consolidate and gather momentum against the Falcons.

Mal Meninga Cup coach Michael Armstrong has made some tough calls this week.

"I had to get my squad down to 30 and making those phone calls has been tough but those phone calls mean you're in a good position," Armstrong said.

"I was impressed by how our two teams were able to play two totally different styles of footy and do it successfully despite the trying conditions. It was very hot then rain and then back to sticky and hot but they kept to the task."

Colts assistant coach Morris Kemp was in charge of the Colts. He was optimistic about this weekend and what the Jets could produce against the Falcons.

"We probably started slowly and it took us a half to realize that it's the simple things that you do well that win football games," Kemp said. "We will just be looking for that again, do our little things right from the start."

Influential league boss

WHEN you talk league and influence, you would struggle to find an Ipswich man that has had more impact on the game

off the field than Nicholas George Politis.

Politis moved to Ipswich to live with relatives and attended Ipswich Grammar for four years. Politis then moved to Sydney and found a love of selling cars and the Roosters.

"My family was in Central Queensland and I came to Ipswich to go to school,'' he said.

"It was four years but an enjoyable four years of my life."

At 29 years of age, he became the youngest state manager ever appointed by Ford.

It was in 1976 that he collaborated with the Roosters and turned them into the City Ford Eastern Suburbs Roosters for the next three years.

Even though he was only after one year with the Roosters, Ron Jones convinced him to commit to three. It might be the best decision the Roosters ever made.

The Roosters became the first club to put a sponsorship on the front of their jumper in Australian sport. Now everyone does it.

That first sponsorship deal was for $150,000 for three years and a gear van for game day.

"I thought it was a good idea to get the name of my business out there, the Roosters had won the last two competitions and I wanted City Ford on the jumper," he said.

"$50,000 a year was a lot of money in 1976.

"Soon enough everyone was doing it, within a few months St. George had Penfolds on the front of their jumper.

"The first game we had City Ford on the front was against St. Helens for the World Club Challenge in 1976 at the SCG."

Those three years have now turned into 44 years of involvement at the Roosters for Politis and roles with sponsorship turned into chairman in 1993.

"The Leagues Club was going backwards, so we changed things like the board and the structure of the place that's how I became chairman. It's been enjoyable but we had some things to fix."

With Politis has come success the Roosters have played in nine grand finals since he signed on in 1976 and won four premierships.

The last two were back-to-back.

The Roosters have dominated the 00's with eight grand finals and four wins.

"The last 20 years has been good but we have had some rough times in there too and been blessed with good coaches and good systems,'' he said.

Politis was asked who was his favourite Rooster.

"They are all my favorites,'' he said. "They all contribute something and we have had some great people, from Arthur Beetson to Sonny Bill and Cooper Cronk it's hard to pick a favourite."

The Roosters are currently home to two Ipswich halves Sam Walker and Luke Keary.

Politis has bonded over his time in Ipswich.

"I have spoken to Sam Walker about Ipswich, we both went to IGS and I have said that to him,'' he said

The Roosters are in Barcelona preparing for the World Club Challenge against St. Helens and Nick Politis will be sitting and watching the Roosters. Beside him might be the other third of the Roosters' Ipswich connection Sam Walker who is tagging along for some experience as part of the squad.

"We have just been to see Barcelona FC play Getafe CF at Camp Nou, Barcelona won 2-1 and I've seen Messi play so I am happy," Walker said.

"I can't wait for the St. Helens game and get over to England to watch the boys play."

Chalk's green impact

THERE'S always been a lot of green in Marshall Chalk's life - green grass on the farm, green of the Jets and the Raiders and now he's off to a new challenge as a 'green' politician in the Scenic Rim.

However, what Chalk lacks in experience he is going to make up for in local knowledge and passion for the local area.

The fourth generation farmer has decided to be the change he wants to see in his area and like a Jet. He is putting up his hand and bringing the ball back just like, he did from fullback as a candidate in Division five.

Chalk played 84 games for the Jets in two stints in 2000-2002 before leaving for the Canberra Raiders and then in 2010-2011 at the end of his career.

"I think I can make a difference and really want to represent the area and the agricultural aspect of our community,'' he said.

"It's important to me, if you do nothing and then complain for the next four years then you're not really helping too much.

"I can run the farm and help the area and both roles complement each other. I am looking forward to getting out there and talking to people and making a difference.

"It's pretty exciting time and I can't wait for March."

Cooper's stat

THE Jets need six wins for 250 wins in the Intrust Super Cup.

The Jets are currently on 244 wins from 536 games.

A cold beer with . . .

If I were going to have a beer with Valleys' 1979 premiership winner Peter Falvey, I would have to stop by the Cecil Hotel at Goodna and bring a Diehard attitude to life and a beer. I sat down with the centre and talked Valleys, pubs and football.

How did you end up playing for Ipswich? I was at Brisbane Brothers and Wayne Bennett was coaching Ipswich in 1976. He got me to sign with Goodna and I played so I could qualify to play for Ipswich. I broke my ribs in the last game for Ipswich and had already signed for Valleys so that was it, my short Ipswich career.

How did you find Wayne Bennett? He was a pretty young man in 1976, would have been barely out of his 20's but I think there can't be too many people that have played with him, against him, coached by him and had him coach against them. He was a very good player. People sort of gloss over that part of his life but he was hard to tackle. All arms and legs.

In 1979, you won the prelim final against Easts 27-2, then a premiership with Valleys over Bennett's Magpies 26-0. That is a pretty good two weeks of football. Great day and great year. We are still the best of mates. We just had our 40-year reunion late last year and all the players came. We are still very tight. We sadly lost our vice-captain Ian Sommer just last week. We had won our last eight games against Souths and they had all the support, West End and Brisbane were all hoping Souths could win their first since 1953.

Who stands out from that side? Chris Close was just dynamic and of course, Wally Lewis was obvious from the first day he walked into the place. Close scored first in the grand final and Wally did that chip and chase for McWhirter to score. Two special tries.

How did you get into the pub owning? At the end of 1980 I got a chance to buy the Charleville pub, and of course football made me no money so a chance came and I took it. Sometimes I wish I had kept playing but then of course I do not own pubs and that probably changes my life more.

If you could choose a playing career now in 2020 or 1979 at Valleys, what do you pick? I would pick 1979 easily. It was tough football, great football with great mates and I would not change that. Brisbane football was something special in the 1970's. I made great mates but it was not my whole life and I think that is healthy.

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