A fantastic four of super signings will help power the Ipswich Jets premiership hopes in season 2018.
Favourite son Marmin Barba returns to North Ipswich Reserve after a year playing in the Mackay competition.
Barba set the Intrust Super Cup alight in 2015 before a horror ankle injury sidelined him for most of 2016.
The electrifying outside back will be joined in Ipswich by veteran prop and Queensland Residents representative Ben Shea, who spent last season with the Wynnum Manly Seagulls.
Premiership winning coaches Ben (above) and Shane Walker will once again pilot the Jets from the sideline, with the club set to continue its unconventional attacking style.
“We’ve got to win games, that’s the goal for every club and we’re in a good position to do it with the squad we’ve put together,” Ben said.
“Anything we get from Marmin will be a bonus. He’s coming back from a serious injury and a year away so we’re not expecting miracles.
“He looks like he’s got his speed back but he means so much more to us. He’s a very intelligent player and just a good dude to have around the club.
“Ben Shea will be great for us. He won two premierships during his time at Wynnum and he’s in great shape.
“He’s got a lot to prove as well, coming back from an injury of his own, and as a Residents rep he wants to show people he’s still got what it takes.”
A Sevens’ star from outside the square
The Jets have built a reputation for thinking outside the square and this off season the club’s front office took a page out of the players’ book with the signing of new recruits Sam Caslick and Silas Redd.
Caslick comes to town after playing 11 games for Australia in the World Rugby Sevens Series.
The older brother of World Rugby Women’s Sevens Player of the Year and Olympic gold medallist, Charlotte Caslick, is a versatile back who made his Australian debut at the 2016 Dubai Sevens.
“Sam is a bit of an unknown but obviously he’s got that Sevens experience and he plays the sort of attacking footy that we really like,” Walker said.
“You’ve got to take the opportunity when you can get a player like that who fits into your team structure.
“When guys come across from another code you generally find they’re fine in attack but need to find their feet in defence so that’s what we’re working on with Sam.”
Former Redskins rocket becomes a Jet
Redd took the longest road to Ipswich, making his NFL debut for the Washington Redskins in 2014.
Like Barba, he lost the majority of a season to major injury when he tore his ACL and MCL at the start of 2015.
Also like Barba, the former running back is an athletic freak with speed to burn.
“Silas is totally untapped in terms of his potential as a rugby league player. He’s really athletic and that comes naturally to him,” Walker said.
“We gave him a run in an exhibition game in Hawaii in October and he scored a try with one of his first touches.
“It’s a bit like the situation with Marmin, anything we get from Silas will be a bonus and we’re not putting any pressure on him. He’s got to develop and add to his game at his own pace.”
Ipswich Jets home game schedule
- 17 March, 12pm v Townsville Blackhawks
- 7 April, 3pm v Northern Pride
- 14 April, 3pm v Mackay Cutters
- 28 April, 3pm v Redcliffe Dolphins
- 19 May, 3pm v Norths Devils
- 2 June, 3pm v Burleigh Bears
- 16 June, 3pm v PNG Hunters
- 30 June, 3pm v Easts Tigers
- 4 August, 3pm v Sunshine Coast Falcons
- 11 August, 3pm v Central Queensland Capras
- 18 August, 3pm v Tweed Heads Seagulls