STRONG FOUNDATIONS: New Ipswich Jets coaches Mark Bishop and Keiron Lander will look to enhance what the Walkers built and stamp their own personalities on the club.
STRONG FOUNDATIONS: New Ipswich Jets coaches Mark Bishop and Keiron Lander will look to enhance what the Walkers built and stamp their own personalities on the club. Rob Williams

Valuable lessons

THE newly-appointed Ipswich Jets coaches will look to preserve and build on the successful culture established by the Walker brothers.

Head coach Keiron Lander said the club had been tracking in a clear and positive direction for the past 11 years and it was his job to ensure continuity.

Lander said he was forever grateful for the many life lessons he had learned in his years under the Walkers and those experiences would shape his management of players on and off the field but there would be minor tweaks.

"I think the players expect there to be a couple of points of difference,” he said.

"My personality will be different. I can't be Ben and Shane.

"They have done a wonderful job. But hearing from a different voice can be a positive.”

Lander has a wealth of experience and knowledge. While undertaking his level two senior coaching certification two years ago, the Jets' 2015 premiership-winning captain helped other participants to understand the curriculum.

The course teaches the basics of the game but it does not prepare a coach for everything he or she may encounter away off the field when managing a player such as personal, family and financial issues.

Lander loves working with the Indigenous community throughout Queensland to deliver the Deadly Choices program. In the role, he tackles social issues, facilitates access to services, educates and spreads awareness to encourage prevention.

He sees coaching as no different to managing and building relationships with people for his job.

"You have to plan, foresee, upskill, manage staff, communicate effectively, foster relationships and deal with people,” he said.

Lander said his ultimate goal was to develop and prepare the next Ipswich Jet to progress to the NRL but it was also his responsibility to ensure his charges had their lives on track, were looking after themselves and acting as role models within their communities.

"The day you stop coaching those basic skills on and off the field, I guarantee the player commitment will dwindle,” he said. "Eighty per cent of it is what they're doing at home.”

On the field the Jets' 2015 premiership-winning captain was an inspirational hard man who led through his actions and disregard for his own safety.

Lander said his coaching leadership style would have to differ from his playing days because he could not be out on the field beside his troops.

He said emphasising the need to train relentlessly and articulating ideas clearly in a way his players were able to easily understand would be key pillars of his regime.

"I wouldn't ask anyone to do anything that I wouldn't do myself,” he said.

Lander's first act as head coach was to anoint Jets BRL 2015 premiership coach Mark Bishop to the role of assistant.

He said it was an easy decision to appoint Bishop as he had been involved in the club for many years, was familiar with the way it operated and the playing group, and had a vast bank of footballing knowledge.

Bishop said coaching state league was something he had always hoped for but he was never going to leave Ipswich in search of an opportunity, and he and his family and friends were excited about what could be achieved.

He said Lander was a smart footballer and he expected the duo to form a slick combination with their approach similar to the previous coaching team.

"Keiron is a man's man,” he said.

"He is straight up and down, and sees it how he sees it.

"We're both on the same page.

"We're more than happy to keep the Jets' style going. I think that is the way you should play footy and the best way to get the most out of your players.”

Bishop said his role would predominantly be man management and supporting Lander as he steps into the furnace of the Intrust Super Cup.

"We'll bounce off each other well,” he said.

"Tear it back to basics and make sure everyone knows why we play the way we do.”

Lander said in terms of footballing knowledge, his coaching mentors had instilled him with composure, and taught him to view rugby league differently and take the time to look at the game as a whole rather than through specific statistics.

"I enjoyed playing the Jets' style and working under Ben and Shane, and it would by hypocritical if we went away from what works,” he said.

"I don't want to be a generic coach

The former front rower said the Jets faded towards the end of matches across the last 10 weeks this season and his focus would be rectifying the lapses.

He identified defensive work ethic and having the confidence, ability and skills to repel attacking raids as areas requiring improvement moving forward.

"It is about working out what I can implement that will give us that edge,” Lander said.

On the recruitment front the Ipswich Jets can not compete with cashed up Intrust Super Cup rivals. Throughout the Walker's tenure, the club got maximum value for money by recruiting from regional areas.

Lander, who joined from the bush, said the Jets had become a pathway for all players that could not see an avenue elsewhere and he did not want that to change.

He said he was also looking to strengthen the Rugby League Ipswich pathway and offer more opportunities to local talents, so they did not have to leave the city to further their careers.

"Staying at home, they will have longer to mature and develop,” he said/

"As long as they come with a strong work ethic and good manners there will be an opportunity for them.

"If they don't have them, don't come.”



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