Familiar faces to haunt Blackhawks in QCup opener
WHATEVER odds the Jets are to defeat the Blackhawks tomorrow, coach Ben Walker says jump on.
"We expect to win every week. You can ask me now or in round 10 - every game we'll expect to win," Walker said
Preparing for another season at the helm of the Ipswich club, Walker is "particularly excited" to get the 2019 campaign underway after a fruitful pre-season.
"Typically this week you get excited because the guys have put in a lot of work, and now you get to go out there and show it off," he said.
"I'm particularly excited this week, because I think we've got a cracking squad and everyone is in really good shape. There is a really nice feel around the club."
In a rematch of the 2015 Intrust Super Cup grand final, the Jets have recalled some familiar names from that season ahead of tomorrow's clash.
Josh Cleeland will start alongside Chris Ash in the halves, while Josh Seage takes his place on the bench.
"Josh (Cleeland) is a big in for us. He's been a part of the club since 2009-10, and it's great to have him back after his stint at Canterbury," Walker said.
"He knows how we play; our style is his style.
"(Seage) is a super talented, really awkward and unorthodox type of player but he suits our style down to the ground. He had success with us in '15.
"It's great to have him back. He's been really good for us in the trials."
Against a Blackhawks outfit considered favourites to take out the competition by most bookies, the Jets have enjoyed the winning edge.
In their most recent meeting, last season's elimination final in Townsville, Ipswich romped to a 32-12 win.
"We've really enjoyed playing against them since 2015, and we've had a lot of success against them," Walker said.
"But they're a different team this year, with a different coach. In saying that, we're a different team every week."
Walker sent a warning to the rest of the competition, by suggesting reigning Queensland Cup best and fairest Nat Neale could be even better this season.
"He's learned a lot about how to be a captain, and he'll continue to learn, but he'll be better prepared this year than he was round one last year no doubt," Walker said.
"He's really starting to take on that responsibility like a good captain does."