MILESTONE: Co-coaches Shane and Ben Walker will bring up game 200 as Ipswich Jets coaches in round three this season.
MILESTONE: Co-coaches Shane and Ben Walker will bring up game 200 as Ipswich Jets coaches in round three this season. Franca Tigani

Falcons, Jets trial all about improving

THE JETS will take to the field for the first time in 2019 heading up the Bruce Highway to the Sunshine Coast.

Both the Falcons and Jets will play their first Intrust Super Cup trial on Saturday. I caught up with new Falcons coach Eric Smith to find out what we can expect.

"We have our things to work on and we will really just be worried about those things. We will come away with a few things we did well and we will have some things to work on too. That's what trial games are about,” he said.

"I am really enjoying being immersed in the Intrust Super Cup. Previously I would come up with the Storm feeder guys to watch the Falcons or Tigers and be an extra set of eyes on the ground for the Storm.”

Smith has been impressed by two new acquisitions for the Falcons in former Cutters half Nico Hynes who has played 42 Intrust Super Cup games, and former Norths half Todd Murphy who is closing in on 100 with 96 games.

The Jets and Falcons will play in all three grades on Saturday.

Preparing for pre-season pain

I SAT down with Ben Walker to get an insight into how he organised the hard slog from November to March.

"Once we would have planned out every day and session. Similar to what you would do in your classroom going from a whole year plan, to term to week to day. We have got much better now and we don't need to do that anymore,” Walker said.

"We start with our philosophy which is work hard, compete hard and show off your skills. Everything we do is about bringing that to life.

"The games we play all have a reason. We will explain that to a new player. Alternatively, even get an older player who has been at the Jets for a while to explain that we are not just playing soccer here, the goal is to go up and back. Will you defend and get back?”

'How often does a player have an epiphany in round five and realise why you were doing something in November?' I asked.

"All the time, happens every year. A player will come to us after a game and say did you see that 'soccer situation' in the second half?

"A lot of our 'games' are fun so players forget they're being seriously, physically tested.”

Bishop runs rule over 18s

JETS Mal Meninga Auswinde competition team played trials last week against the Western Mustangs. I spoke to Mark Bishop to find out how pre-season and trials were shaping up in 2019.

Bishop said after the Mal Meninga U18 game: "Our attack was positive. For all these guys it is their first exposure to Jets football so they've adapted really well and understood the process.”

As to what they will need to work on against the Falcons, Bishop said it was discipline in defence.

"Our defence off our line - if you're going to go up one or two paces and stop you're going to get scored on,” he said. "We need work on getting up quickly and staying square. That will be a focus against the Falcons.”

Ikin picks Walker

WHEN the Queensland PGA kicks off on February 21 in Toowoomba, NRL 360 host Ben Ikin will tee-off with his caddy and good mate Ben Walker alongside him.

Ikin received an invitation to play in his first ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia tournament and turned to his mate Ben Walker to caddy for him.

I spoke to Ikin about why Walker was his caddy.

"Friend, coach, and local knowledge. A good caddy takes the blame for losses and credits his player for wins. That will be Ben's role,” he said.

Ikin promised there would be some Jets flare incorporated into he and Walker's time on the greens.

"Absolutely. We plan to go to places on the course no other player will venture,” he said.

Walker said he and Ikin were a perfect player-caddy fit.

"We are both golf nuts and I know Ben's game and the course so we should be a good fit,” he said.

Remember that Jet?

I WAS meeting with Broncos coach Anthony Seibold when a Jets shirt jogged past on their way to the gym. James Furiminger is a former Jet and about to become coffee shop owner.

Jet number 507 Furminger played for the Jets before leaving to play U20s with the Broncos. He returned to the Jets in 2013.

James and his wife are contributing to their community like true Jets.

James is a teacher at Marist Brothers Ashgrove and is excited to be opening a coffee shop at Red Hill just near the Brisbane Broncos training base and on the grounds of the Red Hill Bowls Club.

"The Bula Vinaka Café is the name which means welcome in Fijian,” James said.

"My wife Shika and I were going for a walk one Saturday morning and wanted to play a game of bowls. We asked where the previous coffee shop went and after being told they were closed for nine months and were looking for someone to fill it, we were very interested and met the president five minutes later to discuss the opportunity.

"It had been something my wife and I had discussed for quite a while, and the passion and skill she has for cooking was too good an opportunity to pass up. Shika will be using all of her home recipes that she learned from cooking with her mother growing up in Fiji.”

SCC Speaks

ZAC Pedler may have been born in Bendigo but somehow he has found himself with the one quality needed to be a member of the Switch City Committee - he loves the Jets.

"I work with Lincoln Ison, who is sort of the chief organiser of the Switch City Committee. I moved to Ipswich because of my parents they worked in the defence force,” he said.

Zac was emphatic when asked who his favourite Jet was now.

"Michael Purcell, just the way he scores tries and plays,” he said.

"I think the Jets will have a great year this year, adding Josh Cleeland and building on last year.”

Zac reflected on his goal for the SCC supporter group in 2019.

"Just want a great atmosphere at home games,” he said.

Cooper's Stat

BEN and Shane Walker will bring up game 200 coaching the Jets in round three. Ben and Shane currently have 112 wins from 197 games.

A cold beer with . . .

The Jets v Blackhawks is nearly here. I sat down with North Queensland's greatest winger Kerry Boustead to talk Ipswich v Townsville and a year in football that can never be repeated.

In 1978, you start the year playing in Innisfail; you end the year playing for Australia and become the second youngest Kangaroo of all time at 18 years old. That is a hell of a year.

Yeah we do not have the same pathways now so it will not be repeated again. You just kept going, you were picked for the next team and if you went all right, you were selected again. Far North Queensland would play and from there North Queensland, Queensland Country, Queensland and then you are selected for Australia.

Three tries for Queensland in three games in 1978 so you make your Test debut against New Zealand and score another four tries in your first three Tests.

I never even played on the wing until that year. I was a half and they thought being so little they would move me to the wing, which did not bother me. Playing wing for Australia is not too bad.

You were involved for a long while in real estate at Forest Lake and Springfield- that makes you a Jet doesn't it?

We moved here and loved the area. When we moved back from Townsville in 1995 this is where we settled and we will stay here now. I still have family in Innisfail and get home three or four times a year.

You are on the board at the North Queensland Cowboys, how do you enjoy that role?

Yeah I really enjoy being involved. I was involved with the Cowboys originally in 1995 and then walked away during the Super League but to be back involved with league is enjoyable.



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