Redemption a key for journeyman
DESPITE wearing a full-length black wetsuit with a hood drawn tight, Brendon Lindsay’s fingers were turning the colour of the ocean he was surfing in off England’s west coast.
It was perhaps in this moment, referred to as a good day out by English locals, that the former Ipswich Jets five-eighth realised that while off the beaten track experiences are great, cliches exist for a reason and there is no place like home.
Lindsay, 33, has returned to North Ipswich Reserve with redemption on his mind after five years in the working class northern England city of Sheffield.
The affable character, whose accent now has a slight whiff of cockney, played in the Jets 2002 team that lost the grand final to the Redcliffe Dolphins.
Atoning for that loss was one reason he returned to Ipswich, the other was to further a career that many would consider to be the height of lunacy – rugby league administration.
Lindsay is working as a development officer for the Ipswich Jets while also employed by Ipswich City Council as a physical activity officer.
Back in England he was in a management role for the Sheffield Eagles, performing similar duties to current Jets CEO Brad Wolens.
The pair now have offices across the hall from each other, subterfuge, however, is not on the horizon.
“I haven’t quite decided if I want to pursue coaching or administration,” Lindsay said.
“I love the game of rugby league and I want to stay involved any way I can.
“My work for the council is not just about rugby league, it’s about getting kids involved in an active lifestyle and creating good eating habits.”
Lindsay said England was an amazing experience, but the challenge of helping a Jets wooden spoon outfit become finals contenders was too enticing.
“I wanted to see if I could still match it in the Queensland Cup so I decided to come home,” Lindsay said.
“That grand final loss in 2002 still hurts and it was one of the reasons I came back.
“I went over to England for the experience mainly. It was something different and that’s exactly what I got out of it.
“I travelled to Spain, France, Italy, Norway, everywhere I could.
“It was fantastic.
“But you can’t go surfing and things like that.
“Sheffield was a working-class city and similar to Ipswich. But league was not that big there. We got about two or three thousand to our games.
“There are two soccer teams in the city that are about Goodna to North Ipswich apart and they both sell out every game.”
Lindsay, who played Tests for Scotland, is locked in a four-way battle for a place in the Jets halves.
The other contenders are Ian Lacey, Todd Riggs and Matt Duggan while Gold Coast Titans recruit Luke Capewell would be the first person picked if available.
“To be honest, I’m not sure if I will even make the squad at the moment, let alone prove I can play at that level,” Lindsay said.
“This Jets team will make the finals.”
Lindsay will have a chance to prove he belongs when the Queensland Cup kicks off on March 17 when the Jets play the Easts Tigers away.