Ipswich Jets trainer Keiron Lander works with the players before last Saturday's season-opening win over Northern Pride at the North Ipswich Reserve.
Ipswich Jets trainer Keiron Lander works with the players before last Saturday's season-opening win over Northern Pride at the North Ipswich Reserve. Rob Williams

Why Lander believes Jets can win another title

RUGBY LEAGUE: Four years after retiring in a blaze of grand final and state championship glory, Keiron Lander is content being able to continue serving the Jets.

After a short break following his retirement at the end of the emotion-charged 2015 season, Lander completed his sports trainer qualification and was back in no time.

Having worked on those level one qualifications during a back operation, he wanted to reunite with Jets co-coaches Ben and Shane Walker.

"Straight after I retired, I spent a bit of time as an assistant to Ben and Shane and just helping out,'' he said.

"I wanted to take a backward step from the obligations of the captain and as one of the leaders within the club and just play a different role.

"Part of that was just being a sports trainer first, which I really enjoy.

"Just running the water and the messages and staying fit and staying in touch with the place.''

Now 31, he looks in good enough physical condition to still be out there barging into rival defensive lines and setting up tries.

"Looks can be deceiving,'' Lander said, showing his sense of humour.

He's had enough of those bumps and bruises and regular visits to Ipswich Jets doctor Roy Saunders.

Having recently coached the Queensland Murri under-16 side to victory over NSW, Lander still has several strings in his proverbial bow.

It was his first outing as head coach following previous stints as an assistant and his five years as Ipswich Jets captain.

As for the Jets' past two pleasing performances after two first-up defeats, Lander expects his beloved Ipswich side to continue improving.

He even dared to suggest that the Jets were capable of challenging for another state league title.

"I think our recovery started after week two against Burleigh and its progressed to a win,'' the highly regarded sportsman said.

"We improved round one into round two.

"We all say we could have won the game against Easts. We got the ball over the line with a minute 30 to go.

"Then last week (against Northern Pride) we demonstrated some really good football and some areas that continue to improve.

"The one important thing as players is we've got the ability and we've got the team to win a grand final but at some point this season we have to be selfish in our sacrifice.

"Get that right and I guarantee we'll be there at the big dance at the end of the year.''

As he plays his role achieving that goal, Lander wants to stick with the Ipswich club as long as he's needed.

"I've always tried to support the game whether as a player or some sort of administration,'' he said. "I'll be assistant coach as long as Ben and Shane are there.

"I love the place. I love the people, their support staff.

"We've got a new CEO Richard (Hughes) who's come in and really tried to get himself into what the club's about and try to add value to it.

"It's really a good point of how do we grow not only Ipswich rugby league but Ipswich sports in general with the netball and TRL.''

Lander praised the Jets workforce and welfare staff for their valuable contribution to sport.