How Jets building new club love for Valentine’s Day
VALENTINE'S Day is Friday but I will have the flowers and bow tie on Saturday night for a date with the Jets.
The Jets will kick their first ball in anger against Ipswich Brothers in Esk on Saturday night.
The first trial always brings heat and a bit of confusion with interchanges. Trials are a chance to blow out the cobwebs and get things ticking over.
Jets coach Keiron Lander has effort not romance on his mind.
"For me it's about effort, who chases the ball they can't get, who has solid front on defence,'' Lander said. "They're the things I will be looking for on Saturday.
"We will use the new guys so they can be rewarded for a lot of effort over the off-season.
"It's a hard game to read because we are having breaks every 20 minutes and that is the mark where I want to see who is tired and who keeps going.
"Players just want to get timing, match fitness and combinations.
"Brothers are a very proud local club so they will give us a good game."
The Jets Mal Meninga Cup side and Colts will also be taking on the Western Mustangs.
Jets Colts coach Brendon Marshall is looking for new players to impress.
"For me trials are about the new guys showing me they want to trial and impress, each week you want to be getting closer to that round one 17,'' Marshall said.
"We will be sorting out some combinations."
Jets Mal Meninga Cup coach Michael Armstrong will run two teams in their trial against the Mustangs.
"It's important with the short Mal Meninga season that these games are used for momentum,'' Armstrong said.
"Our season is only six games long so three games is half our season again.
"I will be looking for the things we have put in place over the pre-season and it's a chance for those borderline guys to really impress."
The afternoon at Esk will kick off with the first Mal Meninga game at 11.15am and ISC at 4pm.
JETS head coach Keiron Lander travelled to the Newcastle Knights last Monday and Tuesday on a mission to see how the NRL club go about their business and complete the Jets off-season with some professional development.
"It was good to see how they do things and they might be trying to achieve the same thing as the Jets but just go about it differently and I can take that back to the Jets," Lander reflected.
"Their staff was very helpful and honest with us. We spoke about systems and how to best keep young players in Ipswich near their family.''
The staff at the Knights impressed Lander
"Brian Canavan is a very smart man and their staff were very good at what they do,'' Lander said. "The trip was a positive one for me and Ipswich."
Canavan has filled a diverse cross section of roles and many clubs from trainer at Valleys and Broncos to the CEO of the Roosters and Head of Football at the NRL but now he is Head of Football at the Knights.
"Keiron integrated readily into our staff and player group and was physically engaged in all training activities," Canavan said.
"The Knights staff were very open with him and the reciprocal sharing of information set the partnership off to a resounding note.
"Keiron's visit, accompanied by Jets chair Steve Johnson, was the beginning of what will be a very productive relationship for both clubs."
Longest, most painful day
THE "Longest Day'' is exactly what it sounds like - exhausting and energy sapping.
Last week, the Jets 40 man squad headed off to the coast but there was no casual fish and chips on this trip. The day started out at Marymount College and then to Burleigh Beach.
The players met at the leagues club at 3am and divided in to four teams of 10 players, the bus was gone by 3.15pm, taking the boys down the Coast for 5am, and a 2pm finish.
The focus was mental toughness and leadership.
The Jets last did the longest day in 2012 and some players might be wishing it stayed in the past.
Rory Humphreys was there and meeting the challenge.
"The 15km stretcher carry, and trying to swim and not drown across Tallebudgera Creek near the end of it was hard," Humphreys said. "We know we can tough it out next to our teammates so that will help us on the field when it gets hard.''
Teammate and forward partner Mitch Carpenter shed some light in dark physical and mental places.
"The stretcher carry and the car push were both hard very mentally taxing," Carpenter said.
"It will definitely build resilience in our group.
"When it gets tough during the season we will be able to think back to the Longest Day because nothing will be as hard as that."
Running this torture day was a familiar voice to the Jets. Gary Walker, the father of Ben and Shane Walker, was with Kiwi international and foundation Newcastle Knight captain Sam Stewart.
Gary Walker saw plenty to like about the 2020 Jets.
"Keiron asked that we test them physically and mentally and take them out of their comfort zone, we have taken the Broncos and Titans through a day and the Jets handled more," Walker said.
Sam Stewart liked the leadership of the Jets.
"We really pushed them, took them out of their comfort zone, getting up at 2am and even the swimming can test a lot of guys," he said.
"It's all about building that culture of guys not accepting not finishing, we will get you over the line and no one gets left behind.
"The Jets showed some great qualities as far as leadership and encouraging each other."
Education and wellness
WHILE Jets bodies and minds were being broken down on the Longest Day, Jets Wellbeing and Education Officer Josh Chandler was working on how to build them back up.
The Ipswich Jets Player Well Being Day is a chance for the Jets players to educate themselves and be more aware of the facilities, expectations and resources available to the players.
"The day had 90 players and staff attend and it went really well, we had presenters and speakers regarding ASADA, and social media use and USQ who are a big supporter of the Jets they spoke about players completing degrees and further education," Chandler said.
"We presented to the players on concussion which is very topical for players and a wellness concern.
"The day is about making players aware and educating them, the Jets have been leaders in this field and we pride ourselves on making sure we are using the wellness space for the betterment of the club and the young men we are charged with.
"Our attendance was excellent and shows how seriously the Jets take the well-being of their players and in fact how seriously the players take responsibility for their own well-being and education."
JAYDEN Connors needs one game for 50 ISC games for the Jets and 10 points for 100.
Connors made his debut against the Pride in 2017. Scoring two tries on debut in a 32-22 win. He currently has 49 games, 15 tries, and 15 goals for 90 points.