Former Jet tells why he quit club
ON the day the Ipswich Jets officially decided not to re-sign Glenn Lazarus as coach, former Jets forward AJ Gilbert has revealed why he walked out on the club.
The Jets board will hire a new coach for next season, after Lazarus served four years as assistant and then head coach.
However, the Jets board will give Lazarus the option of seeing out the season with the Jets if he wants.
The State of Origin great will likely inform the club of his decision at Jets training tonight.
Gilbert said the poor relation- ship he had with Lazarus caused him to hate playing football.
Gilbert quit the Jets late last month because of Lazarus’s coaching methods. He moved south to play rugby union with North Sydney in the Shute Shield.
Gilbert said he felt bad leaving the club because they had treated him well. However, he had to do what was right for himself and his family.
“I’ve found there are two types of good coaches in footy, one really breaks the game down technically for you and the other instils confidence in the player to get more out of them. Lazarus was neither,” Gilbert said.
“I loved the club and the team. I made some really good friends there, but I really didn’t get along with Lazarus and I couldn’t work out why.
“It’s never a good thing for anyone to be fired so in a way I feel for him.
“He just didn’t talk to me and it was the same with some of the other guys.
“The younger players there especially were affected by it.”
Gilbert has attracted interest from the NSW Waratahs Super 15 team and professional clubs in Japan, where his former coach at the Queensland Reds Eddie Jones is based.
Gilbert said he would like to return to rugby league.
“People always ask me which I like more, union or league, but for me I just like playing footy and at the Jets I wasn’t enjoying playing footy,” Gilbert said.
“It got to the point where I wasn’t happy anymore and something had to change.”
Ipswich Jets CEO Brad Wolens sympathised with Gilbert but felt the back rower could have handled the situation better.
“He didn’t come and talk to me or anyone about wanting to leave. He just left which was disappointing,” Wolens said.
“I have spoken to him since and I understand why he felt the way he did, but it would have been good to know beforehand.
“We had big plans for him next year. We hoped he would develop into our number one forward once his fitness improved.
“When the rugby union players come to league they lack fitness and AJ would only last 12 or 13 minutes before he started tiring and Lazarus simply felt he needed match fitness in the lower grades.
“AJ is a good guy and I wish him the best.”
Several Jets players are waiting to see who will be coaching the club next year before they re-sign.
Gilbert said in his final weeks at the club there were whispers throughout the dressing room that several players were intent on moving on.
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