BREAK: Jets second rower Sam Martin will step away from the game for season 2018.
BREAK: Jets second rower Sam Martin will step away from the game for season 2018. Rob Williams

Jets 'building' toward round one

THE JETS blow out the cobwebs this week against the Souths Logan Magpies in Rosewood. It is only four weeks until round one.

Jets coach Ben Walker talked me through what he's after from Saturday night.

"The score in trials is irrelevant,'' Walker said.

"In the time Shane and I have coached we have a terrible winning percentage in these games. We just want to see effort up and back and off the ball. The focus is playing what we have practised since November.

"We definitely can't worry about Souths. Everyone is the same in February, just watching and finding out about their own players.

"It gives us a standard to work on then for the next trial and you just keep building.”

Excitement building

ROOSTERS coach Michael Armstrong shared his thoughts on the Jets coming to Rosewood.

"What a great chance, when Jason suggested it, I couldn't answer yes quick enough,'' the former Jet said.

"It's a great chance for our community and for your players.

"A few of our guys will get a chance to play for the Jets in the earlier game and that's a terrific chance for them to take and learn from Intrust Super Cup players.

"It's a great opportunity for our community to support the Jets and the Roosters.”

Broncos allocation

JACK Bird, James Roberts and Corey Oates have been allocated to the Jets for the 2018 season.

I wouldn't think we are going to see too many games out of that trio of Broncos.

Rugby convert keen

SAM Caslick has crossed the globe plying his trade of Rugby 7s for Australia. Caslick went four years without a winter as he blazed a trail across Europe and Australia.

Now he finds himself home in Australia ready to take on the challenge of an Intrust Super Cup spot with the Jets.

"I played in the halves but in Hawaii I tried centre and loved it. I'd like to play out there and get plenty of ball,” Caslick said.

I asked Caslick how much the style of the Jets complemented his Rugby 7's background.

"It played a part, I saw the Jets in 2015 and thought if I ever get back to league then that's who I would play for,” he said.

"I played in England when I was 17 and it was five rucks for a kick-type football, then I went to Rugby 7s so I could never go back to that type of football.”

Veteran's tough call

WHEN the Jets run out against the PNG Hunters for round one, there will be a face missing. Second rower Sam Martin has played 139 games for the Jets and is the club's fourth-most capped player.

But in 2018, Martin will be taking the year off and he had some pretty good reasons as to why.

"I have started a new role at work which involves longer hours and I am doing my cert four in plumbing so I go to TAFE at night,” Martin said.

"It was just going to be hard to commit to playing.”

Martin also became a dad for the first time in 2017, with daughter Aleeia's birth in November bringing about an off-field change which translated to his on-field decision.

"I won't miss training, but will definitely miss games with the boys,” Martin said.

Martin did say he looks forward to much more golf now that he has no football.

Cooper's stat

BEN and Shane Walker need two wins to raise their bat in a casual Steve Waugh-type way, while chewing gum like Viv Richards for 100 wins for the Jets.

Ben and Shane currently sit on 98 wins from 172 games.

Remember that Jet?

AS the date March 19, 1982 approached and the Jets' first game was getting closer, Jet number 15 Brett Walters was getting ready to represent Ipswich and his family.

Brett was the first Walters to play for the Jets.

I sat down with the oldest Walters brother to talk Jets.

"I was so excited to play for Ipswich, I was still living at home and to play for the local area was a big deal,” he said.

"I hadn't played that much A grade for Swifts, but I just wanted that chance for the Jets.”

Walters left to play for Norths before the Jets' admission into the BRL, but would return in 1986 when the Jets were starting their BRL journey.

"I came back to play for the Jets and to play under Tommy,” he said.

"Tommy was great to play under, he was Kevin's hero and we all loved him.”

Walters currently works as a builder doing residential renovations, and custom designing new homes.

A cold beer with...

I sat down for an ale with Jets chairman Steven Johnson. Steven talks with such passion for our club you can't help but buy-in.

How did you come to be involved with the Jets?

I started giving the Jets some advice back in the 1990s when I was managing elite players, but I had been a fan since the 80s when I went to university with Col Wilson - grandson of Joe Wilson who played for Australia - from Brothers who used to take me to games. I was a country kid and loved the passion of the fans and the commitment of the players to the jersey, they punched above their weight against the money clubs and I always thought if I connected to a club it would the Jets. In 1998 I suggested to the board they needed a full-time CEO if the club was going to live to its potential. Craig Teevan became the game's first player/CEO and an outstanding one util he left to pursue other business interests. The first thing Craig did was reach inside my wallet as the Jets increased their sponsorship drive, and in 2006 the club had hit tough times so we split the club and separated the licenced premises from football and created two clubs. Club legend Sandy Savige chaired the Leagues Club and I came on board due to my game relationships as chair of the football club and have been blessed to have had that role since.

What's your role?

I chair the best rugby league club in the world and get to games and learn more about football from the Jets' fans who know more about the game than I will ever know.

What are you most excited about in 2018? The same as each year since 2011 - the chance to see the Walker brothers work new magic and the players giving their everything for the famous jersey with smiles on their faces.

Finish this sentence; every Jets' side needs a...

Ranga

What do you most love about the Jets?

Our heart and soul. It separates us from the others. When we rebuilt the club at the end of 2010 we set out to create an environment where we developed good people, knowing the footy would take care of itself. From there, we could give back to Ipswich not just as an exciting "no wrestle” footy team but as a good citizen of our great city. We became the best side outside of the NRL off the back of our heart and soul.



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