Footy boost: Jets to enter team in 2021 Ipswich competition
RUGBY League Ipswich (RLI) chairman Gary Parker has welcomed the Ipswich Jets wanting to enter an eighth team in next year's A-Grade competition.
In an important development gaining approval, the Jets are planning to build a side from players outside the area.
Ipswich Jets development officer Steve Brown said the proposal was to bring in footballers not playing in the Ipswich competition.
"Getting an eighth team in the A-Grade comp is great growth,'' Brown said.
Parker agreed introducing new players would strengthen the Ipswich A-Grade competition.
The proposal was accepted at a specially convened meeting of Ipswich competition senior clubs last night.
"It will be ratified officially by the (RLI) board on Monday but the majority of clubs voted to include the Jets,'' Parker said.
Despite some uncertainty over what shape the Jets side would take, Parker was confident it could benefit the city.
"Hopefully it's a positive outcome for the game in Ipswich and keeps the interest, which I think it will,'' he said.
"It's hopefully to even the competition up to eight teams and the Jets will play in the draw as the A-Grade side for Rosewood.''
Brown said the approach was part of the Jets long-time culture of helping footballers, backed by head coach Keiron Lander.
"It's a lot of the guys that Keiron brings into the area to help them out with their lives,'' Brown said.
"They'll come in from where they are, whether it's Cherboug or Murgon or up the Gulf or Central Queensland, bring down them here because they want to play for the Jets.
"He gets them a job, somewhere to live.''
Parker said not drawing on existing players shouldn't hurt the Ipswich clubs.
"That's what you've got to do - go outside all the time and look,'' the RLI chairman said.
The second Jets team would be separate to the Ipswich club's side playing in the Queensland Intrust Super Cup competition.
The second Jets A-Grade side would allow the Rosewood club to field Reserve, under-19 and C-Grade teams in next year's RLI competition.
The other seven clubs expected to return to A-Grade in 2021 are Goodna, Norths, Swifts, Brothers, West End, Redbank Plains Bears and Fassifern.
Parker said plans were progressing well for an Ipswich Indigenous All-Stars v Ipswich All-Stars match on March 6 at the North Ipswich Reserve.
"It's still going strongly,'' he said.