Jets to take on Sydney Roosters
A LEGION of NRL superstars will descend on Ipswich in February when Braith Anasta’s Sydney Roosters team plays a trial match against the Ipswich Jets.
Todd Carney and Anthony Minichello will be among several representative players from the Roosters to call Ipswich home for four days as they prepare to face the Jets on Saturday, February 5, at North Ipswich Reserve.
The Roosters will send a squad of 25 to Ipswich, with most of the team’s losing grand final side included.
Norths Tigers product Martin Kennedy, who has just been included in Queensland’s Emerging State of Origin Squad, will return to Ipswich for the first time since becoming a NRL regular.
Recently graduated St Peter Claver College student and Roosters rookie Tau Tau Moga, as well as Goodna Eagles junior Lama Tasi, are also tipped to make the trip north to play in front of friends and family at a packed Reserve.
“The squad will have a mixture of players from the grand final team and some younger guys like Tasi,” Roosters football operations manager Luke Ellis said.
“The team will become part of the community for the four days they are here, visiting junior clubs and schools.
“This will be our first run of the pre-season so we will use the match to work on combinations and match fitness.
“The Roosters and the Ipswich Junior Rugby League (IJRL) have built a good relationship in just one year and I think this event will further cement those ties.”
The Roosters club will also hold a business lunch on February 4 and tour Wulkuraka’s Steggles factory, the largest in the country. Steggles is a major sponsor of the Bondi-based club.
IJRL chairman Brendan Bowers said the visit would boost rugby league participation in Ipswich with the Roosters team to help junior clubs run their sign-on days on the morning of the trial match.
“We could not be happier with the efforts, professionalism and willingness of the Roosters to be involved in grass roots rugby league,” he said.
“This will be a massive event for Ipswich.”
The Roosters are one year into a three-year deal as the official NRL partner for the IJRL after taking over from the Gold Coast Titans this year.
A condition of the partnership was a guarantee that the Rooster would play a trial match in Ipswich.
The deal expires the same year the Jets hope they will begin hosting their own NRL club.
Jets chief executive Brad Wolens said his club would field a near full-strength side for the game, which will be played over four 20-minute quarters.
“We will use the match to test new combinations because there are a few new faces in the team,” Wolens said.
“Ian Lacey just had an MRI scan which showed everything was fine with the quad muscle that plagued him last year and he should be ready to play in this match.”
Wolens said the match would be used by the Jets to prove to David Gallop they can handle organising a large event as the region’s quest for its own NRL team gains momentum.
The Ipswich Mal Meninga and Cyril Connell Cup teenage teams play their Sunshine Coast counterparts in curtain-raisers to the main event.