THE Ipswich Jets will begin their title defence on Saturday against the North Devils at the Oval.

It's an intriguing game and season for the Jets with lots of questions to be answered.

How will they defend their premiership? How will their style change? How will teams combat the Jets this year? How will teams handle the interchange?

The Devils will be Broncos heavy with Jack Reed, Brett Greinke, Francis Molo, Todd Murphy, Jayden Berrell and Jai Arrow all calling the Devils home in 2016.

The Jets will need to overcome a not too flattering record against Norths as well. Norths have won 11 and the Jets seven at the North Ipswich Reserve. The teams have shared in one draw.

Norths have also won three of the past four games at the Jets' home.

One of the most intriguing battles will be the use of the interchange.

The interchange has been reduced to eight for teams this year.

How coaches handle it and play their bench will be interesting - do you go with four forwards or a utility?

Will mobile forwards who play in the backs be the new kings?

The Jets, with more mobile forwards, seem well suited to the change.

Hopefully it sees the return of the natural footballer, that little guy that can wait and wait until he spots the chance.

I love the change. I would even reduce it again to six and let fitness and skill decide games, not big bodies wrestling heads off.

 

Broncos connection

THE Jets will have Broncos winger Elijah Alick, Salesi Funaki and Marion Seve.

Alick missed the whole of 2015 with an ACL injury.

Funaki has joined the Broncos from the Tigers under 20's.

Brothers junior Seve has also moved to the Broncos from the Tigers.

The Jets will also welcome back Nat Neale (Jet 517).

Neale last played for the Jets in 2013.

Named to make their debut for the Jets will be Jesse Roberts, Rory Humphreys, Sebastian Pandia, Michael Purcell, Kyle McConnell, Abraham Atalla, Funaki, Alick and Seve.

 

Round 1 hoodoo

THE Jets will be hoping to kick 2016 off better than they have previously. They haven't won a round one game since 2010.

The last time the Jets won a season opener was against Easts in 2010 with William Zillman starring for the Jets in a 32-16 win.

The lights went out at the start of the game and not long after that the lights went out for a star-studded Tigers' outfit.

Premiership captain Kieron Lander made his debut as did Callum Waldrum replacing an injured Ian Lacey. William Zillman became a second generation Jet with his father Mark Zillman (Jet 110).

The score that day was: Ipswich Jets 32 (Will Zillman 2, Callum Waldrum, Michael Fisher, Paul Stephenson, Smith Samau tries; Brendon Marshall 4 goals) d Easts Tigers 16 (Kevin Stephensen, Ben Vaeau, Leon Panapa tries; Tim Smith 2 goals).

 

Cooper's stat of the week

BEN and Shane Walker will be eyeing their 75th win as Intrust Super Cup coaches against Norths.

They've won 74 games coaching the Jets in the Intrust Super Cup and one victory in last year's NRL State Championship.

Ben and Shane have coached the Jets in 125 games and 126 games in total.

 

Footy flashback

JETS played their first game in the Queensland Cup in 1996.

The Jets didn't win a game that year.

 

Triple century

CARLIN Anderson has played 45 games for the Jets including 44 Intrust Super Cup games and one State Championship match.

He's scored 31 tries and 87 goals for 298 points for the Jets. He will be looking for two points to bring up his 300.

Anderson has 288 Intrust Super Cup points from 44 games - 31 tries and 82 goals.

Carlin will need 304 points to go past Ricky Bird (303 points) and be the seventh highest scorer for the Jets.

It will be great to see how Anderson comes back from an off-season with the Broncos. He was sensational last year, a player capable of scoring unbelievable tries.

Anderson got safer at the back as the season progressed but still held onto his ability to change games.



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