DOMINANT FORCE: Ipswich Jets skipper Nat Neale provided some much-needed go forward in the club's final trial match against Easts Tigers at the weekend.
DOMINANT FORCE: Ipswich Jets skipper Nat Neale provided some much-needed go forward in the club's final trial match against Easts Tigers at the weekend. David Nielsen

Jets players enjoying final weekend of 'freedom'

THE JETS' pre-season has ended with their last trial game against the Tigers at Langlands Park on Saturday night.

Ipswich coach Ben Walker was optimistic about what the Jets gained from the game against Easts.

"We had some things in defence that we wanted to try and we tinkered with our pattern. The positive from that was that the players picked it up quickly and understood the change," Ben said.

"Our attack was very good, Denzel Burns was excellent for us and having Nat Neale and Ben Shea just gave us a good start to our sets which then meant our attack would not be so clunky."

The Jets trials may have stopped but the training will not leading up until round one and Townsville. Shane Walker pondered the week ahead.

"We will train hard for three sessions this coming week then taper a bit for round one but we won't be changing too much," he said.

Jets in the wild

THE JETS will be having this weekend off to make sure they are ready for training next week and the Blackhawks next Sunday. I caught up with a few Jets to find out how they would be spending their weekend.

Ipswich captain Nat Neale is going wilderness and camping.

"Few of the boys and I are going to North Straddie camping for a few days; it should be good," he said.

Sam Caslick leads a more creative life.

"I'll be filming a wedding on Saturday then just resting as I'm going under the knife on that Tuesday getting my shoulder reconstruction," he said.

Big Ben Shea will be looking in the mirror wondering why a lot.

"Laying low. I lost a bet and have to dye my hair blonde unfortunately, so I might have a bit of a different look for the start of the season," Shea said.

"It will be the last family time and footy free for a while so I will enjoy that."

The simple, hard-working life of Rowen Winterfield will be on show.

"I'll just be going up to Blackbutt and working on the farm," was Winterfield's response.

Front rower Tyson Lofipo will be taking his happy feet to the beach.

"If the weather is good we will go up to Caloundra for the weekend," he said.

Winger Peter Gubb is the voice of an experienced campaigner.

"It's a long season so I will be staying home and cleaning up, spending time with the family. Got to build up all your credit now," was his mature response.

Jets on the silver screen

THE JETS have two games live on Nine in the first nine weeks of the Intrust Super Cup.

The round one game against Townsville will be live next week.

In round six, viewers will be watching the Jets v Norths Devils on the silver screen.

The TV game on Nine has been moved back to Sunday after being on Saturday for 2018.

Jets half Chris Ash loves the atmosphere and the action on Nine and provided his insight into round one against the Blackhawks.

"I love playing in TV games because family and friends that don't normally get to watch can support the boys," Ash said.

"The students at school enjoy letting me know what I did well and more importantly what mistakes I made. It always adds extra to the game because everyone wants to perform well on TV.

A big concern for the red-headed Ash might be the noon start.

"That will make it tough in the first month and a bit (playing in those) super-hot games," he joked.

Season launch

THE JETS' season launch is tonight. It is a chance to start the season with sponsors, players, staff and fans coming together to celebrate the beginning of another year.

The players will be presented with their jumpers and meet with sponsors.

Jets chairman Steve Johnson was emphatic in the importance of a launch.

"The launch is a chance to meet and start the season by publicly stating what will happen on and off the field in 2019. It's important for new players, staff and sponsors to hear what the coming season is all about and why we do what we do," he said.


WHICH former Jet that retired last year is helping by putting his hand up to train the Brothers under-14 girls team? It could result in a whole team doing whatever they want.

Jet on Jet

WHAT do former Jets greats think of the current Jets? This was my thought when I decided to get former players to watch current players and offer their own insight on the current generation.

I sat down with Jet number 463 Chris Walker to talk Sam Caslick. Walker played 29 games for the Jets and scored 10 tries.

"The thing I like about Sam Caslick is that he has time. Good players always have time," Chris said as we watched Sam's game-winning field goal against the Falcons last year.

"He goes to dummy half and he knows what he's going to do and just does it. That's as casual as you can be and he just knew he had the skill to do it."

The second play we watched is Caslick's pass against Norths, which led to a try.

From the short kick-off Caslick gets the ball down the Jets' left-hand side and drifts to the right.

"I love this play. He is looking for options, he knows where the support is and he just has to use the appropriate skill which in this case is a long pass to find Julian Christian," Chris said.

"Vision and a pass at speed, all while making his own time."

SCC speaks

TOM Parsons is the fan in the front row that is brought up to drum for the band on his favourite song.

Tom is a Switch City Committee member and gets to ply his skills for the Jets. Parsons was a trainer at Ipswich Brothers before he got the call this pre-season to come to the Jets.

"I mostly work with the Mal Meninga side and the Colts doing the strapping and then running during games," he said. "I am really enjoying it.

"I came to the SCC through Kurt Ison and Sean Henry; we got introduced to each other."

Tom was sure about who is favourite Jet was.

"Tyson Lofipo without a doubt - great off the field and on the field. That footwork and size just leaves guys grabbing at air."

Tom might be the SCC and Jets' Dave Grohl, keeping the beat in 2019.

Cooper's stat

THE JETS began their Woolies pre-season competition in 1986; 33 years ago this week.

The Jets lost to Brothers, Valleys, Souths and Wynnum before their first BRL game against Easts on March 30, 1986.

A cold beer with...

In the 1970s the top referee in Brisbane was Bernie Pramberg. He was only 26 when he took on the 1973 grand final between Valleys and Redcliffe in front of a record Lang Park crowd of 42,000. We took out the whistle and had a chat about a glorious time for rugby league.

Do you have a favourite Ipswich player?

Mick Scully was a second rower in Ipswich and Bulimba Cup captain, he just epitomised Ipswich for me. Ipswich always played above its weight and even without any rep players, you knew what Ipswich would produce.

Any great Jets memories from your 40 years as a journalist?

I loved watching Allan Langer and Gordon Langton, those kicks for each other were great.

You refereed three grand finals in Brisbane - 1973, 1974 and 1976. Those must be great memories?

It was a terrific time in Brisbane, so tribal and league just dominated the paper and TV every day.

I do not think I have ever heard anything more beautiful but is it true you sent off four Dolphins in a game?

Yeah Woolies pre-season competition in 1976 and John Barber, Bob Jones, Steve Bullow plus Tony Obst all were sent. It was not a fight, they had played in the grand final the year before so there was a bit of lingering resentment and it was just on-going all game so I had to take control. Redcliffe played 24 minutes with nine men.

How was that received?

It was front page the next day in Brisbane.

I have run into those players since plenty of times around the place and no issues. However, I came out of judiciary at 2am with my touch judge and all my tyres had been let down on my VW Beetle.

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