Jets chief fires shot at coaches
FURIOUS Ipswich Jets chief executive Brad Wolens says he is fed up with IRL club coaches steering their best players away from the Jets, preventing them from becoming better players.
Wolens was irate after learning rookie Josh Seage, who starred for Swifts in the IRL last year, was back training with Swifts instead of the Jets – where he had shown immense promise during pre-season training.
Wolens accused Swifts coach Alby Talipeau of directing young players away from the Jets.
The harsh words come after Wes Conlon, arguably the IRL's best player in 2010, was signed by the Souths Logan Magpies this season despite interest from the Jets.
Souths Logan are Talipeau's former club.
“The IRL is filled with coaches who only care about the performance of their club, not the player's best interests,” Wolens said.
“We would have loved to sign Wes but with a coach like Alby in his ear, he was always going to go to Souths Logan. He has that link to Souths Logan so he will always want them there, but that doesn't help the city of Ipswich.
“We should be trying to get the young guys to stay in Ipswich if we can, not sending them to Souths Logan. The IRL, the Jets and juniors should be working together as best we can to create a pathway for local players.
“We want to bring more guys from the IRL into the Jets but I find the players have coaches in their ears saying ‘stay in the IRL' which is not right.”
Seage, touted as an NRL prospect by former Swifts coach Wayne Finch, has not quit the Jets but has been absent from training despite being selected in the club's Queensland Cup squad.
“Even if he is just doing extras with Swifts, that's not helpful for him, you don't want him burning out,” Wolens said.
Talipeau cruelled the Jets' dreams in 2008 when he was man of the match in Souths Logan's grand final victory over Ipswich.
The former Samoan international admitted he had connections with Souths Logan, but said he was happy for his players to go to any Queensland Cup club.
“I just want my guys to progress beyond local league. I don't care what club it is, just that they are going on with their footy,” Talipeau said.
“Brad can say what he wants but anyone who knows me knows that I want the best for my players.
“Wes simply didn't want to go to the Jets so I helped him get to Souths Logan.
“I know guys at both Souths Logan and Easts so I can help players get there, but if they want to go to the Jets, that's fine too.”
Last year, the IRL, IJRL and the Jets formed a committee entrusted with ensuring all parties work together for the best interests of the sport in the region.