Home Ground: North Ipswich Reserve, North Ipswich
Coach: Ben and Shane Walker
Last Year: 3rd – Premiers – State Championship winners – 16 wins – 7 losses
The Jets has a sensational 2015, breaking through for a first Premiership, and then capturing the coveted State Championship on NRL Grand Final day.
They also did it in a style which captured the attention of many rugby league fans, with the short kick offs, electric outside backs, seemingly continuous ball movement. It was something different, and refreshing, and best of all it won trophies. An enjoyable alternative from the tedious one out rugby league often (too often) seen in the NRL. Not all teams can be like the Jets, but thankfully there is at least one.
But that success has come at a price with the vultures swooping for a lot of the Jets including forwards Matt Parcell, Rod Griffin, Billy McConachie, Kurt Capewell and five eighth Josh Cleeland, and Carlin Anderson by the Broncos, but given the pile of talent there they may get him back during the season. Keiron Lander’s retirement also depletes the experience on hand.
Speedstar Marmin Barba, who has scored 52 tries in 2 season at Ipswich, had originally left the Jets in the off season to chase Olympic dreams with the rugby sevens teams, but had announced a welcome U-Turn for the Jets in February. The Jets also clawed back some of that lost experience in the forward with the signing of former NRL and international player David Fa’alogo in a sensational signing for the Ipswich side and the Intrust Super Cup.
The big test awaits the Walker brothers in 2016 to do the same for the same kind of achievement with a new bunch of players. The question will remain if it was the players or the coaches that was the main ingredient for success, and if they can do it again with the changed squad then the next NRL coaching position may end up theirs.
The Grand Final replay at Ipswich in Round 2 against Townsville.
The visit of the Hunters in July. If it is half the game of last year it will be unmissable.