Half a chance for Jets berth
AFTER leading the Canterbury Bulldogs to a Toyota Cup minor premiership, halfback Fred Robinson is looking to break into the Jets Queensland Cup side.
After beginning pre-season training in November, Robinson's off-season was tragically cut short when his mother passed away.
He flew back to New Zealand following her death before returning to Ipswich only two weeks ago.
Robinson did all he could last year to stamp himself as National Rugby League material but after graduating from under-20s at the Bulldogs, he found himself stuck behind young NRL stars Josh Reynolds, Trent Hodkinson and Kris Keating in the halves.
So he decided a move north of the border would give him a better chance to develop as a footballer.
Robinson saw the retirement of Jets veteran five-eighth Brendon Lindsay as an opportunity for him to claim a spot in a strong team in a tough competition.
"There wasn't much going on for me at the Bulldogs in the NSW Cup," he said. "My manager suggested I look to the Queensland Cup. I've always heard it's a better competition than the NSW Cup."
The New Zealand-born Robinson scored three tries for the under-20 Bulldogs and was the team's main goal kicker with a 73 percent success rate last season.
While he played in the halves with the Bulldogs, Robinson grew up as a rugby union fullback in his home town of Wellington.
It's a position he said he'd be happy to return to in league if given the opportunity.
"There are a lot of young guys trying to get a halves position with the Jets," he said. "I'd happily play fullback if I was asked. There's more room back there to really play with some freedom."
But with Javarn White safely ensconced at the back for the Jets, it seems the halves is Robinson's best bet at the moment.
Having only returned to the Jets' pre-season in recent weeks, Robinson said he's enjoying the culture of the club.
"It's a great place," he said.
"I'm really enjoying working with the coaches, they've been really nice to me and helped me settle in. I like the style of training we're doing at the Jets too.
"It's a lot different from how things were with the Bulldogs.
"There's a lot more games and playing football instead of a lot of running which is what happened in Canterbury."
Robinson said after playing rugby union as a schoolboy, he turned to league when his playing career stalled.
"I'd played union all my life, but only started with league when I was about 13," he said.
"I'd play union on a Saturday and league on a Sunday.
"When I was about 16, I picked union to play but I didn't really know what I wanted to do with myself. After school finished, I didn't really have any options in rugby, so I thought I'd give league another try."
He started playing league in New Zealand before soon finding himself with a position in the Canterbury under-20 team.
- Age: 21
- Position: Halfback
- Born: Wellington, New Zealand
- Rugby league role model: "JT. It's really hard to go past Johnathan Thurston as a player. The amount of time he has, he gets away with murder. I really like watching Benji (Marshall) too. He's so exciting."
- Best advice: "My friend TJ Perenara who plays for the (Super Rugby) Hurricanes probably gave it to me: Go hard or go home and leave no stone unturned."
Go hard or go home and leave no stone unturned.