New dad crowned Jets best player
WITH a new baby to attend to, Ipswich Jets captain Nat Neale can enjoy a different break from footy before the 2020 Intrust Super Cup pre-season starts next month.
Nat and partner Kristy are celebrating the birth of their son Hudson, who was born on September 9.
As family time will be a focus after another state league season, Neale can also ponder his latest Jets honour.
The powerhouse forward received his fifth Allan Langer Medal at Friday night's annual Ipswich Jets presentation night at North Ipswich Reserve Corporate Centre.
Ever humble about receiving another award, Neale thought consistent contributor Kierran Moseley would win the club's top honour, as best and fairest player during the 2019 season.
"He (Moseley) is just a good player and the boys like playing with him,'' Neale, 31, said.
Moseley was awarded the Walters' Family Medal on the night.
New Zealand-born Neale was happy to see teammates Ben White (Most Valuable Player), Rogan Dean (Best back), Ben Shea (Best forward) and Blake Lenehan (Rookie of the Year) recognised.
During a mixed season for the Ipswich side, last year's Petero Civoniceva Medal winner (as best and fairest in the Intrust Super Cup) continued his fine leadership role. The Jets just missed out on securing a spot in the top eight.
"It was close,'' Neale said. "We could have been in finals' contention if we had just won a few of the close ones.
"We'll be better for it next year.''
Neale expected "80 or 90 percent'' of this year's Jets squad to be part of next year's campaign.
After first signing with the Jets in 2011, Neale played three years with new coach and former captain Keiron Lander before a season in the NRL with the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
Since returning to the Jets, Neale has seen Lander develop his coaching career working with Walker brothers Ben and Shane in the Intrust Super Cup. He's up to 150 games for the Jets.
Neale was delighted to see Lander given the opportunity to take the Jets forward, assisted by another loyal clubman Mark Bishop.
"We've spoken a couple of times. It's exciting,'' Neale said, keen to link with Lander again.
"He seems really motivated to get stuff rolling for next year.''
The Jets pre-season starts at the end of next month.
Neale was also pleased to see the massive contribution of Ben and Shane Walker recognised on Friday night, having shared the highs and lows with the ever-dependable Ipswich mentors.
"I loved it,'' he said. "They are my favourite coaches out of my whole career.''
Retiring loyal clubman Josh Seage was honoured for his community service, along with Danny Coburn Club Person of the Year Jacob Teevan.
"It was a really good night,'' Neale said. "Just getting together one last time before pre-season starts.''
Stalwarts Roy Saunders and Dot Landy were the latest Jets Hall of Fame inductees.
The best performing Jets Colts players were also recognised.
"Hopefully some of those boys that won awards will stick around and play for us next year,'' Neale said.
2019 Ipswich Jets award winners
Intrust Super Cup: Allan Langer Medal (Best and Fairest Player of the Year) - Nathaniel Neale.
Walters' Family Medal Players' Player: Kierran Moseley. Coaches Most Valuable Player: Ben White. Best back: Rogan Dean. Best forward: Ben Shea. Rookie of the Year: Blake Lenehan.
Colts: Players' Player - Tyler Coburn. Coaches Most Valuable Player: Wilson Malaseilia. Best back: Josh McCarroll. Best forward: Sione Foueti. Jaydon Adams Memorial Foundation Rookie of the Year: Josh Henderson.
Jets Hall of Fame: Roy Saunders, Dot Landy.
Danny Coburn Club Person of the Year: Jacob Teevan.
Kieron Lander Community Award: Josh Seage.