Quality recruits have reigning champs confident

STANDING FIRM: Geoffery Broome, Caine Kaleopa, Willie Oloitoa, Shaun Daylight and Wade Liddell are new signings for Ipswich Brothers rugby league team for the 2014 season.
STANDING FIRM: Geoffery Broome, Caine Kaleopa, Willie Oloitoa, Shaun Daylight and Wade Liddell are new signings for Ipswich Brothers rugby league team for the 2014 season. Sarah Harvey

VETERAN halfback Jason Connors will captain a Brothers side bursting with enthusiasm after snaring several key recruits in the off-season.

Defending Ipswich Rugby League premiers Brothers take on Goodna in the grand final re-match at North Ipswich Reserve on Saturday with a new coaching team, a new captain and plenty of new faces.

Coach Tyron Day said the new signings include former Queensland Cup and Scotland fullback Wade Liddell and former Queensland Residents back Shaun Daylight.

The loss of inspirational hooker and captain Blake O'Loan to retirement with a neck injury will be felt, but Day said Connors was the ideal choice as a replacement.

"Jason would be the best player in the comp and he's a good talker and organiser," Day said.

"He's had Q Cup experience and he's been with the club for five seasons now. Everyone in the Ipswich comp knows what Blake O'Loan brought to the table.

"He was an outstanding player.

"But when he can't pick his own kids up at home because he can't lift his left arm up, it is time to give it away.

"He had no choice but to retire.

"He has to get some needles into his spine to loosen some discs up but if that doesn't work, he has to have an operation."

The signing of Liddell is set to be a major boost to the club and the young players in Day's squad, while Daylight has am outstanding league pedigree.

"Wade is good mates with Jason Connors and he's always wanted to have a run with Jason," Day said.

"I spoke to him at the start of the year and he said he wants to pass on some of the things he has learned.

"We've got a lot of young guys in the side so it is good to have someone like him there to pass on some of that knowledge.

"He's a quality footballer too.

"Shaun Daylight played for Redcliffe and Queensland Residents and he has a wealth of experience as well.

"His brother Dean Daylight is my assistant coach."

Day said he had a big job ahead of him after taking over from premiership-winning coach Mick Wilson. "Coaching Brothers A grade is a big responsibility when you look at past coaches like Heath McQueen and Bob Lindner."

"Everyone expects to win," Day said.

"I'm not going to sugar-coat anything. I'm here to win as well.

"People can say we've lost this player and that player but at the end of the day, you've got to put a good side on the paddock each week."

The Brethren enter Saturday's clash in solid defensive form after their 16-0 trial win over Toowoomba Valleys two weeks ago.

"In the trials we have played so far, our defence was good, but we've got a lot to work on," Day said.

"We have a lot of new players in different positions.

"Across the club we've probably lost 10-plus players.

"But I've got a squad where everyone wants to play footy on the weekend.

"They are all pushing for positions and we have plenty of depth."

Day, a former Brothers premiership-winning player himself, has a history of getting the best out of his troops after three years coaching the under-18s.

"In the first year I coached the second side in the 18s and we didn't win a game, but they improved heaps," Day said.

"The next year the 18s got to the grand final and lost to Norths.

"Last year we reached the grand final and beat Norths.

"Over that three-year period, there were six or seven players that didn't win a football game in the first year who went on to win a premiership last season.

"That is the good thing about Brothers.

"The players stick together."