Coach excited as Jets step up for Cup opener
ROUND one of the Intrust Super Cup is in the air. You can smell the hot chips and feel the random 38-degree day that always seems to come with football in March.
The pre-season is over and the Jets wait for Townsville to arrive at the North Ipswich Reserve on Saturday week.
The Jets played the Magpies in Greenbank last Saturday to conclude the pre-season.
Jets coach Keiron Lander was excited for the looming ISC season kick-off.
"The most pleasing thing is I can see us getting better at the things we have worked on," Lander said.
"We exposed really strong depth. Some guys have really stepped up to the mark this pre-season that's a good thing for the club.
"Now it's about still working hard and round one."
The new head coach quickly terminated any round one hints about his Jets side.
"Never pick your side before you have to, anything could happen,'' he said.
The Jets Mal Meninga side coach Michael Armstrong was impressed with the Jets tenacity.
"We got away to a bad start and then had to hang in there to find a way. That's what pleased me," Armstrong said.
"The next week presents a chance for guys that maybe I am a bit unsure of yet to really have a big week and say pick me. I want to play Townsville."
Colts coach Brendon Marshall is not keen to burden his young charges with too much too soon.
"We won't think about Townsville too much yet,'' Marshall said. "The last thing I want is these guys having a two-week preparation for a game.
"It is business as usual this week, just worrying about us at the moment."
THE last weekend off before the Blackhawks come to town for round one is a chance to spend time with the family and rest up for a big 2020 ahead.
A few Jets were asked how they would be spending their time off this weekend.
Jets half Julian Christian was taking it easy before it gets serious.
"Just going to be resting those little niggling injuries from training and spending time with my daughter,'' he said.
Big Jets forward Mitch Carpenter is going home to Pittsworth to support his friends.
"A few of my mates are doing Shave for a Cure back home on the Saturday so I'll attend that,'' he said.
Uncle Shar Waldren is thinking family.
"Just taking it easy and visiting my sister, she just had a baby,'' he said.
Blake Lenehan loves his dog.
"I am spending time with my girlfriend and aunty, take the puppy to the beach and river for a play,'' he said.
Tyson Lofipo is taking his front row mate to some music.
"Nat Neale loves country music so we are trying to find a music festival to go to this weekend,'' Lofipo said.
Remember that Jet
IN 2008, Matt Srama was training with the Jets ISC squad and awarded the Jets Colts best and fairest.
The future looked bright; 2009 rolls around and Srama started in Colts before the call every player wants came from big Lazo.
"I played colts in 2008 and got some training sessions with the Cup when I was in grade 12 and Titans cut me so I came back to Jets in 2009 and I was playing Colts when we had a few injuries and I got the call up by Glenn Lazarus," Srama remembered.
"It was against Tweed and of course that meant Brad Davis was in the halves for Tweed.
"I work with Brad now at the Titans and remind him of this all the time. I shanked a kick off the side of the boot and it has gone nowhere.
"Davis has come up to me and told me to go back to Colts and stop wasting time.
"It was a real self-esteem builder by Brad."
Srama played eight games and won the Jets rookie of the year before the Titans resigned him at the end of 2009.
The next year he was off to the Titans NYC team where he played 35 games and then made his NRL debut in 2011 against the Bulldogs and played 65 NRL games before retiring in 2017.
"It was great for my development to play ISC,'' he said.
"I am really grateful. I was only small so running into Tweed forwards made me resilient.''
Now Srama is living the dream and his ideal vocation.
"I am now in junior development with the Titans, trying to build up that grassroots level of coast footballers,'' he said.
"It's something I am passionate about I wake up every morning and think how blessed am I.
"We want Coast kids playing for the Titans and I am trying to contribute to that."
When Srama reflects on his time at the Jets, the Forest Lake kid has nothing but fond memories.
"The Jets were great for me. To play for the Jets and all the emotion of my local team in front of family was special."
CHECK this out: 4171 players have played in the ISC and18 players have lined up in 200 games.
Tyson Lofipo is eight games away from being number 19 and the second Jet to ever reach 200.