HOLDING HOPE: Queensland State of Origin coach Kevin Walters and his NSW counterpart Brad Fittler can only keep communicating with their players while waiting for a decision on this year’s series. Picture: AAP Image/David Mariuz
HOLDING HOPE: Queensland State of Origin coach Kevin Walters and his NSW counterpart Brad Fittler can only keep communicating with their players while waiting for a decision on this year’s series. Picture: AAP Image/David Mariuz

Footy mentors ready for sudden kickoff


COACHING a rugby league side in 2020 is a peak challenge, especially in these unprecedented times.

I spoke to three key former Jets players about what it's like to be waiting for the season to start and what can be done to be ready when the green light comes.

Origin time: Queensland coach Kevvie Walters has been plotting the demise of the Blues in 2020. He just doesn't know when he will get to implement his plan.

"All I can do is keep the lines of communication open between our players and our staff,'' Walters said.

"We don't know when Origin will take place.

"We don't even know the venue so we are limited at this stage.

"We judge players on six weeks of play so we think we will still get that. The first two weeks and then hopefully four before Origin so players will still have a chance.

"They're fit and healthy and that's all we are checking at the moment."


Queensland coach Kevin Walters. Picture: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images
Queensland coach Kevin Walters. Picture: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images


Broncos ready: A date has been set and the NRL is expected to return May 28.

Former 26 game Jet and Broncos' head coach Anthony Seibold is ready for whatever unfolds.

"We planned for every date situation with our high performance team so if May 28 is the date then we have a plan for that date," Seibold said.

"It's like putting a puzzle together that no one has ever done before. We don't have the box to look at or the picture on the side.

"What we have done is make players accountable, so our head of high performance did a program up for each player based on running and if they have a home gym.

"We got given 15 watches from Telstra that monitor the player's heart rate and workload and then the information is downloaded to Paul Devlin and then he can monitor the players.

"The players have to send video of what they're doing too, so if they do a running session they send it in our Whatsapp group and the players get to see how their team mates are going and of course provide plenty of banter."

Women's Origin thoughts: Former Jet and Queensland women's coach Jason Hetherington is gearing up to take the Origin to the Sunshine Coast on June 19 and right the wrongs of the past two years against the Blues.

"We don't know yet what is going to happen with the Origin," Hetherington said.

"I have planned out for every situation so when we get the date we can go ahead we pull out that plan and get going.

"I think what will have to happen this year is we will have to be loyal to the players from last year, it might be hard to fight your way in but I keep a close eye on the NRLW and a few girls impressed.

"The big disappointment is the lack of QRLW that would have really hardened up the girls for the Origin and mentally and physically got them ready."

Remember this?

IT'S 1987 and most people are doing the Locomotion with Kylie. It's also the Jets' second year in the Brisbane Rugby League competition, which brought a tight end to the season.

The Jets were still in finals contention but needed a win.

Standing in their way was a trip to Lang Park against the premiers Wynnum. Led by Gene Miles and Colin Scott, the Seagulls were not ready to concede that the empire had crumbled.

"We had a few guys in this team that weren't regular first graders but they performed very well on the day,'' Miles said.


Gene Miles
Gene Miles


The Jets are fuelled by Tommy Raudonikis stirring the "rich QRL backed" Wynnum against the Ipswich battlers pot in the lead up to the game.

Wally Lewis is high in the stands on the walkie talkie.

The game starts with both teams going set for set. Allan Langer kicks out on the full which isn't a positive end to the set.

Mark Zillman, playing against his old side, is making plenty of metres for the Jets.

The Seagulls get off to a great start with Scott going through on the left and putting Scott Lewis over. He runs it around and Wynnum take a lead.

The Jets counter it with a great interchange of play with Steve Parcell finding Kerrod Walters who links with Andrew Walters who throws a ball back in field to Kerrod who puts it down.

Kerrod Walters laughed at the footage of him dropping his brother's pass. "Bad pass clearly."

Ipswich are attacking with plenty of enterprise just lack the polish and class to finish it.

Things don't get too much better for the Jets when Miles decides to involve himself from dummy half. He throws it the short side but doubles around and comes up down the wing and powers over the top of Gavin Payne to score in the corner.

It's that man Miles again on the other side this time, a nice one-handed pass to Brian Naylor and then when the Jets cover got there they found Brad Samuelson who scored. It's 14-0.

Penalties are 5-1 to Ipswich but we haven't done too much with that extra ball being down at half time.

With Wynnum up 20-0, Kerrod Walters goes for a scoot with that trademark head tilted backwards as he runs away. Jets are now in attacking territory on the last.

Langer juggles the pass but offloads to Andrew Walters who throws in back inside to Langer. Errol Hunter scores in the right hand corner.

It's a Walters again to Zillman who plays to Norm Kena who scores his second try in 1987. Jets are coming back at 20-12.

But that was short lived. Wynnum receive a penalty for Jets holding a Seagull back and Wynnum go straight to Miles who powers through and scores with five Jets hanging off him.

Miles has been outstanding and to good for the Jets with two tries. He ends the Jets season with an 80 metre run fending off Jets and then that one-handed pass to Scott who scores his second try.

The Jets fight back to 30-16 when Andrew Walters offloads to Kerrod and the Jets keep fighting.

The Jets would finish the year on 20 points.

Wynnum make the finals but crash out to the Dolphins 30-7 in week one.

Cooper's stat

THE Ipswich Jets won eight games in 1987, doubling their four wins from their first year in the Brisbane Rugby League in 1986.