Former Jets grand final teammates become rivals
FORMER Ipswich Jets speedster Scott Ireland rated his 2008 season with the club "probably perfect'' except for his team's Queensland Cup grand final loss.
Having won the minor premiership and the club's first major title, the Jets went down 24-18 to Souths Logan at the North Ipswich Reserve.
With 16 wins and only four lead-up losses, the Jets fielded one of the best combinations in club history.
The team was coached by current Broncos and former Queensland State of Origin mentor Kevin Walters.
"In 2008, we had an awesome side and an outstanding year, a good bunch of blokes,'' Ireland said.
Ireland played on the wing in the grand final, in a unit including fearless captain Danny Coburn, centres Donald Malone and Brendon Marshall, hooker Michael Ryan and halfback Ian Lacey.
So it's fitting Ipswich Diggers coach Ireland will on March 6 receive another opportunity to share a footy field and some banter with former teammate Lacey.
"He's certainly a pest to play with, that's for sure,'' Ireland joked after Lacey earlier declared: "I carried Scottie at the Jets when he first played there.''
Ireland played fullback or wing for the Jets, with Lacey at halfback or hooker.
"We were definitely good mates,'' Ireland said.
They'll reunite in different roles when Ireland coaches the Ipswich All-Stars side and Lacey oversees the Ipswich Indigenous All-Stars in a highly anticipated pre-season match at the North Ipswich Reserve.
"These type of carnivals, or one-off games are great because you can really enjoy some free-flowing play,'' Ireland said.
The 5.45pm match is being organised by Rugby League Ipswich chairman Gary Parker and event instigators like local footy stalwart Corey Kirk.
The game is part of the Ipswich Jets, Indigenous and All Stars Gala Day, providing an entertaining afternoon and evening of pre-season footy.
The Jets will play the PNG Hunters is an Intrust Super Cup trial at 4pm.
The Jets under 21 outfit will tackle Western Mustangs in a 7.30pm encounter, also serving as a valuable trial.
"The PNG following is quite big as well,'' Ireland said.
"For them to be playing a game here, it should be a good day out.''
Like Lacey, Ireland has a long association with Ipswich rugby league, mainly through the Jets, Diggers and Fassifern. He was an A-Grade player/coach that guided the Bombers to a grand final.
Ireland hopes to field a number of his Diggers players and some exciting youth in the Ipswich All-Stars line-up.
"It's still early days for us but I'll start to look at it and I'm sure we are going to have a good young side,'' Ireland said.
"I've been around Ipswich rugby league for a while now.
"I popped into the Diggers games for the last few years as well so for me, I see it as a good opportunity to fill out an additional rep game in the lead-up to the Diggers (this year).
"I haven't been spoken to this year about it but I can put my hand up again if it was available.''
The plumber made his Jets debut in 2008, playing 29 games for the club before his last season in 2014.
In between, he ventured to Easts and Gladstone to work for a couple of years.
Ireland scored 24 tries and kicked 41 goals for the Jets, providing a valuable additional skill during his footy career.
Available to coach the Diggers again this year, Ireland shared a hope next month's Indigenous game can become an annual event.
"It's a great concept and hopefully we're starting something that we will be talking about in 20 years time,'' he said.
Gates will open at 3pm on March 6, with $10 entry to watch all three games at the Reserve.
An Indigenous jersey will be auctioned off on the day after a Friday night function at the North Ipswich Corporate Centre.
Tickets for the dinner, being hosted by Chris Bombalas, cost $50.
Bookings with Jo at Rugby League Ipswich on 3202 4137.