The Ipswich Jets defence work hard to halt the progress of Western Mustangs player Reily Land in their first Mal Meninga Cup trial of the new season. Picture: Nev Madsen
The Ipswich Jets defence work hard to halt the progress of Western Mustangs player Reily Land in their first Mal Meninga Cup trial of the new season. Picture: Nev Madsen

Jets pass first test: Fitness up for footy return


Michael Nunn

THE Ipswich Jets season is about to take off and it will start with a trial against the Sunshine Coast Falcons at the Coast on February 20.

The Jets Intrust Super Cup side then play Souths Logan in Ipswich before ending the pre-season with the PNG Hunters at the North Ipswich Reserve on March 6.

Jets head strength and conditioning coach Jonathan Dore was adamant the work has been done in the pre-season.

"Our testing shows we are ahead of this time last year and that's testament to the players who worked hard last year," Dore said.

"What is going to be interesting is the new rules this year that have filtered down from the NRL.

"I think the six again rule will really suit the Jets.

"Teams are going to have to adapt quickly and I think the Jets can do that."

Head coach Keiron Lander is ready for 2021, eager to add to his one game as Jets coach played last year.

"We have just completed our fitness day last week, it really tested the players and just confirmed what the last eight weeks of training have shown me," Lander said.

"We just keep preparing for round one. We have trials coming up, which is a chance for some players.

"A lot of unknowns this year, 12 months off football and new rules but we will be ready for round one."

EXCITING PROSPECTS: Jets young guns to watch

The Jets defence chase the Western Mustangs runner in their Mal Meninga Cup trial in Toowoomba last weekend. Picture: Nev Madsen
The Jets defence chase the Western Mustangs runner in their Mal Meninga Cup trial in Toowoomba last weekend. Picture: Nev Madsen

Boost for young Jets

THE Jets Mal Meninga coach Mick Armstrong assembled two Jets teams to head to Toowoomba last Saturday and play their first trial for the year against the Western Mustangs.

The Jets returned home with two wins from their drive to Toowoomba, 20-8 and 24-16.

Armstrong reflected on the day.

"We took a squad of 40 up there and tried to get everyone an even amount of time," Armstrong said. "So now we need to start getting that number down for the start of the Mal Meninga season on the 6th of March.

"I was happy with the wins but it's not really about the wins it's just another step forward towards round one.

"It's such a short sharp competition that you can't afford any slip ups and you need to start the season with momentum.

"This week we will trial again against Easts Tigers, so that's a good hit out for the Jets to see where we are headed."

Action from the Mal Meninga Cup trial between the Ipswich Jets and Western Mustangs in Toowoomba last weekend. Picture: Nev Madsen
Action from the Mal Meninga Cup trial between the Ipswich Jets and Western Mustangs in Toowoomba last weekend. Picture: Nev Madsen

Coburn, Lenehan savour Newcastle experience

THE Newcastle airport to McDonald Jones Stadium is about 26 minutes.

For Tyler Coburn and Blake Lenehan, it might have been the longest 26 minutes of their life as they touched down in Newcastle for four weeks and did some pre-season work with the Newcastle Knights before Christmas.

Coburn played round one last season sneaking in his debut before the shutdown of the Intrust Super Cup.

The Jets 2019 Rookie of the Year Lenehan has played 18 games debuting against the Hunters in 2019.

Both Jets have been able to sample the life of an NRL player for four weeks and it was the perfect present for two young Jets.

Coburn took away a lot of learning from his days as a Knight.

"I learnt a lot about being professional and what goes on behind the scenes at NRL level," Coburn stated.

"It's so important to get your body right for every session and it was a great experience and we now know the standard of NRL training."

Lenehan learnt the value of the little things.

"For me it was a big learning curve, the first week was tough trying to get used to the full day,'' Lenehan said.

"Biggest thing was probably recovery and getting the little things right so we were ready to go for training.

"The Knights boys were really good.

"They got around us and helped us pick up on things we were getting wrong.

"I wish it didn't have to end at Christmas."

Keeping his eye on the two Jets was former Dragons and Rabbits half Willie Peters.

Peters is now the assistant coach at the Newcastle Knights under Adam O'Brien. He worked closely with the two Jets.

"I worked with Blake and Tyler and it was a very positive experience," Peters said.

"Their effort, application and dedication was great.

"For some guys that come down into a full time system a whole day of football can be massive but Tyler and Blake handled the loading and did everything they were asked.

"It was a great experience from the Knights and Jets perspective."

Old Boys rich in quality

EIGHT hundred and 53 games, 157 tries, 17 goals, 662 points, and four premiership winners for the Ipswich Jets.

That's the combined on-field contribution of the Jets coaching staff for 2021, centred on Keiron Lander, Danny Coburn, Dane Phillips, Sam Martin, Chris Ash, Josh Seage and Ramon Filipine.

The Jets have assembled a team of coaches from the Colts to the Intrust Super Cup that know the Jets because they have lived it.


Keiron Lander. Picture: Josh Woning
Keiron Lander. Picture: Josh Woning


Head coach Keiron Lander, who played 115 games for the Jets, explained his choices.

"First you have to be a good man,'' Lander said.

"Just playing for the Jets in the past isn't enough but all these men are both good men and played football to a high level for the Jets.

"That's a massive advantage in a football club. They understand the Jets.

"In our Colts, Chris Ash and Josh Seage are both organised men, very explicit in their teaching.

"They will be terrific for our Under 21 players, helping them become Intrust Super Cup players."


Ipswich Jets Colts coach Chris Ash.
Ipswich Jets Colts coach Chris Ash.

"Then helping our halves we have Dane Phillips, a great half and big match winner for the Jets.''

Ash played 45 games for the Jets after making his debut in 2015. He now finds himself guiding a young group of Jets.

"It's important you give these players a sense of belonging, they need to understand that the Jets and Ipswich are not a recent thing,'' Ashe said.

"You now have a place in a long line of footballers for a city.

"Seagey and I have both done it; we have played for Ipswich and taken great pride in that achievement.

"We both think the same about football and about the Jets.''


Former Ipswich Jets player Josh Seage.
Former Ipswich Jets player Josh Seage.

Seage has travelled to France and played football at the Broncos NYC team, but he came home to Ipswich the city where he played 75 games for the Jets.

"We have Sam Martin and Danny Coburn as our trainers and it's important that our players understand that those two men are great Jets," Seage said.

"They are too humble to say it so it is up to Chris and me to educate them.

"A few weeks ago a player asked Sam if he played football. Marto said he played Intrust Super Cup for the Jets."


Danny Coburn at Ipswich Jets
Danny Coburn at Ipswich Jets

Coburn has played a record 258 games for the Jets and Martin 139 games. Both have contributed greatly to the green and white of Ipswich and its famous league heritage.

"I was originally just going to the run the water for the Colts but now I am at training every week too," Martin said.

"It doesn't take long to creep back.

"I just want to contribute. If you are playing Colts you obviously have the ability but it's about the little thing and mentally being ready that I think I can help the young Jets."

While Dan Coburn will be carrying the water and giving out Ash's instructions in 2021.

"The place has such a good feel to it, I really sense that the players are keen for football and having us older blokes around has been really good,'' Coburn said.

"I am excited for the Jets future and the season.

"I love being involved and passing on a bit of knowledge and just what this place means to me."

Jets halves coach Phillips continues to help the Jets after his 138 games for the club has ended. Imparting his knowledge on the dark arts of wearing the seven in 194 Intrust Super Cup games, Phillips is at training every week.

"I love it, it says something to players at the club," Phillips said.

"If you come to the Jets and look around and see all these old players it says this place must be worthwhile.

"People don't give up time and not get paid if they're not enjoying it and want the club to get better.

"I want the Jets to win football games and I want young players to want to be here and I think I can help them.''

For 83 games for the Jets, the sight of Filipe coming in off his wing was enough to send smaller backs ducking for cover.

The big winger called Monster was exactly that - scoring 42 tries for the Jets, which places him in the Jets top 10 for tries, scored for the club.

The Goodna premiership-winning captain is back at the North Ipswich Reserve and leading.

"Keiron asked me last season to come back and mentor some younger players but I just couldn't commit,'' Filipine said.

"I think I can help guide the younger players and I have been doing some training too.

"I love it. It is great to be back and helping out. Old boys enhance your club and give a great feel to the place.''

Cooper's stat

TWO Jets are on their way to 100 points.

Tyson Lofipo needs four points. He has 24 tries.

Jayden Connors needs six points. He has 16 tries and 15 goals.