Jets thrive under fresh leadership
RUGBY LEAGUE: There was an air of excitement surrounding the Ipswich Jets as they strode from the field after their round one clash with the Townsville Blackhawks.
While the Jets lost their first match under Keiron Lander 16-10, they led for much of the contest, only to be sunk by a string of penalty goals.
Rather than be discouraged by the result, there were plenty of positives for the Jets to take forward.
Most importantly, a feeling of post-Walker uncertainty had been usurped by an unshakeable faith in Lander's philosophies and teachings.
"Even though we lost we weren't disappointed," five-eigth Josh Cleeland said.
"We were just so excited about what's next."
With the new regime heralding a change in direction, there was a risk standards would slip but Cleeland said Lander and assistant Mark Bishop worked hard to create an auspicious culture and ensure players knew their roles within the team's broader structure and style.
He said the playing group had embraced a fresh way of thinking without losing its former identity.
"I felt very comfortable with the boys and the way they were playing," Cleeland said.
"Everyone was turning up.
"We have a different coach. The Walkers left a legacy and they brought in Keiron, and he and Bisho did an amazing job. "
Hopeful of seeing some footy at any level this year, Cleeland will continue to train to stay fit and mentally ready whenever called upon.