Loyal captain backed by Brothers professionalism
BEING a former state touch football representative, Josh Leisemann developed a skilful passing game with a burst of speed.
However, he also credits two decades in the Brothers Ipswich rugby league system for helping him secure his latest captaincy opportunity.
Fresh from Brothers' season-opening 36-0 shutout of Fassifern, five-eight Leisemann remains a proud clubman, happy to lead alongside 2019 grand final-winning skipper Wes Conlon.
"It's my first time as captain this year. I'm pretty honoured,'' Leisemann, 27, said.
The Ipswich born and bred footballer shared why he has remained loyal for more than 20 years.
"It's just the family vibe, the culture and its professionalism,'' he said.
"I've been there for years and everyone there takes care of the old boys.''
He praised the volunteers and how everyone "kicks in and looks after each other''.
"The last thing is that winning attitude,'' he said.
The Brothers junior said former players and mentors like Chris Ash, Sam Krueger and current coach Jason Connors were influential in his development as a footballer.
"I've been lucky in the sense to learn the ropes from some pretty smart footballers,'' he said.
Leisemann played fullback alongside Ash, who is the current Jets Colts coach.
He also gained valuable knowledge from Krueger and Connors over the years.
He said being part of an elite Ipswich touch football family also assisted his rugby league progress.
"I played a fair bit of touch footy in my younger days,'' the former Sacred Heart primary school and Ipswich Grammar School student said.
"It definitely helps (with passing and setting up attack).''
As Brothers field another powerhouse combination this season, Leisemann said having former captain and fullback Conlon at halfback was a boost for the team.
"Wesie is a talented footballer. He can play anywhere," Leisemann said.
"We will make it work.''
Leisemann has been playing five-eight for a few years after starting at fullback.
His creative combination with Conlon could lay the platform for many Brothers tries this season.
That is especially the case with newcomers like fullback Josh McCarroll and speedy wingers Don Vilitama and Noah Elisaia ready to head for the tryline.
Vilitama scored a double against Fassifern last weekend.
"We've been blessed with some good wingers over the years,'' coach Connors said.
Coming off the bench, Brothers forward Jone Macilai made some devastating runs and scored a try with one shoe flying in the air.
"He's flat-out fast mate, he ran out of his shoes,'' Leisemann joked.
The captain said Brothers forwards, including Matty Bell, Lachlan Vellacott and Matty Bell, were outstanding against the Bombers.
"They all got stuck in and did the tough stuff,'' he said.
The head coach was happy with his team's overall first round effort at Harrisville last Saturday night.
"It could have been more. A couple of things didn't go our way,'' he said.
"I wasn't surprised at all (by the big win).''
Connors said Fassifern lacked the firepower across the park to hit back as his team settled into an attacking mode ignited by Leisemann and Conlon.
"He did well with our backline and that's what I wanted, what we worked for,'' Connors said of his new captain.
Being a former halfback, Connors was looking forward to seeing what Leisemann and Conlon delivered in tandem in coming games.
Brothers tackle the Ipswich Jets in Saturday night's 6pm game at the Wildey Street field.
The other round 2 games feature Fassifern hosting Norths at the same time on Saturday night and Swifts at home to Goodna on Sunday at 3pm.
Swifts and Goodna are coming off first round wins over the Jets and struggling West End Bulldogs respectively.
Having been around Ipswich rugby league since he was five, Leisemann is pleased to see Swifts looming as a formidable opponent this season.
He was also eager to see what Norths produce after a first-round bye.
Who turns out for new Jets side will keep everyone guessing.
The Brothers captain knows Goodna could also be an unknown.
But Leisemann's focus, as always, was on what Brothers can achieve.
"No disrespect. We're more worried about us,'' he said.
"I know if we can play good footy, we are going to be hard to beat.
"As long as we are on our game, that's the main thing.''