GREAT GAME: Ipswich Jets newcomer Sam Caslick.
GREAT GAME: Ipswich Jets newcomer Sam Caslick. Tom Gillespie

Jets welcome weekend off before kickoff

THE Ipswich Jets trial game against PNG Digicell Cup side Hela Wigman has been cancelled.

This means the Jets will have a weekend off before travelling to New Zealand for their final trial game before round one.

"Ideally you play three trials but it's not the end of the world to miss one and have a weekend off,'' Jets co-coach Ben Walker said.

"We have been training really well so a rest won't hurt.”

The cancelled trial comes after the Jets travelled to Rosewood to take on the Magpies last weekend.

The Jets lost 24-16.

"We know what we are going to get from guys like Dane Phillips and Nat Neale but it's the new guys you want to see,'' Walker said.

"Sam Caslick was really strong, Pio Seci was great for his first game. We wanted to see the things we have practised.

"Ben Shea off-loaded more than he has in his career so they're all positives for us moving on to the next trial game.”

Key recruit

FOR eight years, 135 games, 11 tries and two premierships, Wynnum player Ben Shea was a consistent presence in the Seagulls' pack.

In 2018, change is in the air and Shea has found his way to Ipswich.

"I always thought if I ever changed I would look to Ipswich,'' Shea said.

"I had a coffee with Shane (Walker) when I was trying to make up my mind and he convinced me that I had a role to play at the Jets.”

Shea said his perception of the Jets had changed from being the opposition to being in the inner sanctum.

"It's a huge difference,'' he said. "The outside perception is that it's just do whatever you want, when you want.

"But you get to training and find out that's not what it is at all.

"Every game is tailored to games, every exercise and activity is enhancing a skill or a game quality.”

Shea spoke about the similarities between his premiership-winning coach Paul Green and Ben and Shane Walker.

"Style wise very different but management and the thoroughness of their preparation not different at all,'' Shea said.

Early omen?

JETS co-coaches Ben and Shane Walker had a win at Ipswich last week. Their horse Pieridae won its maiden race over 1100m, beating a 17-year-old class record.

Cooper's stat

THE Jets had three of the top five off-loaders in the Intrust Super Cup.

Nat Neale led the way with 80, Sebastian Pandia third with 54 and Richard Pandia fourth with 43.

Remember that Jet?

IN 1982 the Jets were ready to enter the State League.

At the helm was the Jets' first coach and captain, Jet # 10 Greg Quinn.

The Jets would lose their first game to Greg's former team Brothers 13-7.

The Ipswich Brothers junior had been playing for Brothers in Brisbane under Wayne Bennett and saw an opportunity to come home.

"I wanted to keep playing and coaching and Ipswich provided the chance. It was pretty exciting.

"I was working as a builder at the time and to come home was a big deal.”

Quinn watches plenty of NRL as well as attending Broncos games and gets to a few Jets games a year. He was very happy for the Jets in 2015 and their Intrust Super Cup premiership.

"It seemed a long time coming from 1982 to 2015 but it was great to watch,'' he said.

Quinn is the Managing Director of Hutchinson Builders, and travels a lot for his role. He still lives in Ipswich.

A cold beer with . . .

QRL media man Michael Hillier is a local cricket and league identity. Hillier can always be found at the North Ipswich Reserve watching the Jets and supporting local sport.

What's your role at the QRL? Media Manager. I'm responsible for the organisation's communications. I work closely with the media and the QRL's digital team to help promote the great game of rugby league. I get to work on all levels of the game, from local footy to the Intrust Super Cup and State of Origin. It's challenging as no two days are ever the same and you never know what is going to come up.

You're an Ipswich local. What do you love about the Jets? It's always good to watch Ipswich teams go up against the more fancied Brisbane sides in any sport. The Jets have endured some tough times in their history so it has been enjoyable to watch their success in recent years and the way they have brought the fans and the community together with their attacking style of play. Ben and Shane Walker deserve a lot of credit for that. I've enjoyed seeing talented young players come through the IRL and school systems and into the Intrust Super Cup, especially guys like Josh Cleeland, Carlin Anderson and Matt Parcell.

Favourite Jet? Ricky Bird. I loved watching him play as he always punched well above his weight. Before he started having problems with his knees, he was simply dynamic and could cut a team to shreds. I remember watching him play for the Jets in one game that was in the balance against Logan. Every time Logan got in front, Ricky would just do something brilliant and score himself or set up a try. A few good judges say that he would have played a lot of top grade with the Broncos if there wasn't a guy called Allan Langer running around.

Ten years since the 2008 Grand Final, were you covering it for the QT? That was my first year at the QRL. While I was quietly cheering for the Jets to win, it was a brilliant spectacle and a great grand final. I was really happy for Souths Logan because they are one of our traditional clubs with some quality people involved. The atmosphere that day was amazing with Magpies and Jets fans bringing plenty of noise and colour to the can bar. And who can forget the "Aaron Sweeney for Mayor” sign in the crowd.

Do you ever get into Origin camp and get together with Alf, Jason Hetherington, Ben Hunt, Gavin Cooper, Trevor Gillmeister and Kevvie and have a Jets table? There is often a lot of Ipswich and Jets talk, especially with so many people having a connection to the city. I cop a fair bit of stick as well, but you just have to roll with it. The one you have to watch is Alfie. He's always up to something, but he brings a lot of fun to the group which is really important given the pressure everyone is under.



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