Coach hopes second Jets team creates ‘ripple’ benefits
IPSWICH Jets head coach Keiron Lander hopes a second team from the Queensland Cup club will provide a welcome ripple effect next year.
Lander is confident fielding a Jets side in an eight-team 2021 Rugby League Ipswich (RLI) competition can provide multiple benefits for the city.
Apart from giving more players regular game time, Lander hopes it boosts Jets ties with RLI clubs and builds a new pathway to the Intrust Super Cup.
"It will strengthen the competition, more people coming through the gate creating more revenue,'' Lander said.
"So there is a whole heap of positives with a ripple effect if we give it a go.
"We're not going to get everything right. However, let's have a go. Let's review what works and what didn't.''
He said helping to progress the RLI competition was a major goal.
While he concedes the Jets squad depth may be tested at times with some players already aligned to local clubs, Lander was focused on improving the player pool.
"And that's what we want to do,'' he said.
"It's not about doing anything other than enhancing the local competition. Hopefully it attracts some more players but also keep some younger fellas local.''
The Jets can specifically forge stronger ties with the Rosewood club, which doesn't have an A-Grade side but fields teams in lower RLI competitions.
"At the end of the day, we play rugby league for enjoyment towards a pathway to play at a higher duties,'' he said.
He said having a pathway competition that is well integrated, well supported and with a clear vision and direction, would achieve more for the region than having "silos working against each other''.
Lander said the Jets missed have a Reserve Grade side after the Queensland Rugby League changed its competition structure three years ago.
The Jets team competing in former Brisbane Rugby League (BRL) competitions won the 2015 grand final and made the final a year later before it was shut down.
Lander said that boosted the Jets club depth and improved standards. It also provided another opportunity to keep good players in Ipswich, rather than being lost to Brisbane clubs.
"I know our Jets Intrust Super Cup team was doing really well while we had a BRL team,'' he said.
With a strong club culture, former premiership-winning captain Lander is keen to look after players who want to play for the Jets.
The Jets completed the first stage of their 2021 Intrust Super Cup pre-season this week.
The players are due back on January 11 to step up preparations for their opening Intrust Super Cup match against the Townsville Blackhawks on March 20.
That Saturday game is at the North Ipswich Reserve.
Lander was happy his squad of up to 40 players had reunited after the lengthy break from matches due to the COVID-19 state league competition shutdown.
He was preparing to spend his Christmas break with family in Western Queensland, excited about everything but the heat.
"It was 47 the other day out there,'' he said.