From Pittsworth premiership to Ipswich debutant
PITTSWORTH powerhouse Mitchell Carpenter will make his first grade debut for the Ipswich Jets this weekend.
As Ipswich launch their Intrust Super Cup campaign against Tweed Heads on Sunday, the hulking second rower has been named to come off the bench for the Jets.
Generally a no-frills type player, Carpenter has enjoyed the transition into the Jets more firebrand style of play.
"I've dropped a fair few kilos since I've been down here and probably slimmed up a bit,” he said. "The boys are all pretty good down here and I've fit in pretty easily.
"It's a different kind of footy over here. I don't mind playing like that with offloads in the game. We tried to play pretty structured football last year (at Pittsworth) but it could be unstructured at times.”
He'll be a welcome addition to the Jets forward stocks after co-coaches Ben and Shane Walker this week learned of former Ipswich junior Joe Ofahengaue's decision to join Souths Logan.
The Brisbane Broncos bench forward was expected to rejoin Ipswich, until coach Wayne Bennett informed the Jets of Ofahengaue's wish to join his teammates at the Magpies.
After winning a historic TRL premiership with the Pittsworth Danes last year, Carpenter has grown with the experience.
"It was a special moment to get that,” he said. "I was born and bred in Pittsworth so it was always something that you always wanted to do being a rugby league player in the town.
"It doesn't come along too often. We're not the big spending team so we probably go off home ground talent a bit more.”
While their styles may vary, Carpenter can make a lot of comparisons between the Danes and the Jets.
Both smaller clubs in their respective competitions, the absence of big money players has left Carpenter confident that his teammates are there for the right reasons.
"I think it's always a good thing,” he said. "It creates stronger bonds if players aren't on big money and those sorts of things.
"I didn't come in with too many expectations but after talking to a few Toowoomba players who had been here before I had some idea about the culture I was coming into.
"It's a good culture when everyone is vying for spots and there's definitely a healthy rivalry there, when everyone is doing that it makes everyone better for it.”
On the cusp of making his first appearance in the Jets green and white jersey, the former Dane is keeping to his modest goals.
Grateful for the opportunity to showcase his wares for Ipswich, Carpenter just wants to put in a good performance for his co-coaches and teammates.
"I want to test myself,” he said. "I've played in the Brisbane rugby union competition and then went back to the TRL.
"After winning a premiership up there I was after a different test so I decided to come to Ipswich. To start with I just want to get a spot in Cup and hold it, what happens from there happens.”
Despite Ipswich only having won 11 of 30 games against Tweed Heads, Carpenter said his focus was on making a positive start to the season.
"It's a new year, anything can happen,” he said. "I just want to do my role in the team and hopefully get the win.”
The return of Marion Seve from the Brisbane Broncos, and former Redcliffe captain Luke Capewell will be welcome additions for Ipswich.
Tweed Heads Seagulls v Ipswich Jets at Piggabeen Sports Complex from 2pm, Sunday:
1. Wesley Conlon
2. Michael Purcell
3. Marion Seve
4. Nemani Valekapa
5. Richard Pandia
6. Luke Capewell
7. Dane Phillips (c)
8. William McConnachie
9. Christopher Ash
10. Nathaniel Neale
22. Tyson Lofipo
21. Jesse Roberts
13. Ben White
12. Fakahoko Teutau
14. Mikaere Beattie
15. Sebastian Pandia
17. Mitchell Carpenter
Co-coaches: Ben and Shane Walker