Jets legend returns in coaching role
IPSWICH Jets legend Brendon Marshall will officially hang up the boots prior to season 2018, but he will not be too far away from the action next year.
The 37 year-old, who laced them up for the BRL team in 2017, will return to the club as the Under-20s coach next season.
With more than 150 Intrust Super Cup matches to his name, Marshall brings a wealth of on-field knowledge to the role vacated by Adam Boettcher. Marshall last played for the Jets' Queensland Cup side in 2014.
Forced away from his playing career on the advice of doctors, Marshall admitted it was a bitter-sweet decision to retire the boots but is relishing the next chapter in his rugby league journey.
"I had no choice to hang them up, when I got the CT scans and x-rays on my back it didn't look good," Marshall said.
"I was looking for a full-time coaching gig, and so when Jason rang me and offered me the job I jumped at the chance.
"I was going to do it anyway alongside Adam Boettcher, but he stepped up to be the strength and conditioning coach and so that opened the door for me to come in."
As the third-most capped Jets player, Marshall said it was a privilege to continue his affiliation with the club into a 13th year.
"It's a great honour to be able to coach these boys, at a club which has given me so much over the years," he said.
"They brought me down from Mt Isa way back in 2005, and I've been involved with the club since I got here.
"From all the past players and coaching staff who have helped me over the years, it's great to be on the other side of things with the club now."
The U20s role will not be Marshall's first foray into coaching. He has previously assisted with juniors and last year headed the Norths Tigers senior women's team.
Marshall believes the difference in coaching styles between men's and women's rugby league will help, not hinder his transition.
"With ladies football it is a very challenging coaching job, particularly with the squad I had this year," Marshall said.
"We had maybe four girls who had played league before, so it was about going back to the basics.
"Every time you spoke, you had 14, 15 sets of eyes just staring at you and taking everything on board, so you had to make sure you got your words right."
Marshall now steps into a program of young men eager to impress and potentially push for a senior debut.
The incoming coach said his role would be to help guide the young crop of future stars toward securing their dreams, and imparting the knowledge he gained during his extensive playing career.
"I'm hoping to take charge of these boys in the same way Ben and Shane (Walker) do in the Queensland Cup team," Marshall said.
"These will be young men who are highly strung, so it will be up to me to promote a relaxed environment.
"It doesn't have to all be played with flair, but I think it is important to stick to 'Jets football'.
"We need to promote a mix of structure and flair, and the players probably won't pick up that style of footy straight away but it will come."
Marshall labelled Ben and Shane Walker as great tacticians, and he hopes to mix their coaching acumen with his own when the Jets return for pre-season on November 29.
"Ben and Shane are very smart coaches, they look at the full width of the game whereas a lot of other guys don't," Marshall said.
"When we did video sessions, they would pick up little things and opportunities that on the field you don't realise.
"That's something I hope to bring, to have your eyes up and always looking across the field."