Ipswich Jets coaches Ben and Shane Walker are among the favourites to make the move to the Gold Coast for season 2018. Ipswich First packs down with Jets CEO Jason Cubit for a set of six on why the Walkers should take on the Titans, and Jarryd Hayne. Photo by QRL Media
Tackle One: Man management
That’s probably their real strength – Ben and Shane don’t do big half time speeches – it’s more targeted and individual to the player. Outside of football they manage large businesses as well, Ben with iThink Property and Shane with First Grade Recruitment.
Their skills and experiences beyond the football field are pretty unique these days and that’s another element that they can bring to the Titans. They really focus on the individual and how they need to work with them to bring out their best.
Tackle Three: Uniting community:
There’s no doubt that the community aspect of what the Jets do could be transferred to the Gold Coast. That level of pride and engagement can’t be underestimated and I think the Gold Coast could do with a bit of that at the moment. Ben and Shane’s united approach would bring the Gold Coast community along for the ride.
Tackle Five: Attacking flair
Every roster in the NRL has incredible skills and attacking potential, they’re just not allowed to showcase it as much as they’d probably like to. Traditionally players are coached not to do the flick pass, not to take risks.
What we’re seeing more and more is four hit ups, maybe a spread and then a kick. It’s a shame because these players grew up throwing flick passes and playing in the backyard with their mates – they’re incredible athletes. Ben and Shane’s style would definitely suit the Titans, but it would also suit just about any team in the NRL.
Tackle Two: The Hayne Plane
We’ve all seen what Jarryd Hayne can do on the football field, it’s just a matter of harnessing that and getting it to happen week in, week out. Ben and Shane definitely have it in them to manage Jarryd Hayne.
They’ve got more than 300 NRL and English Super League games between them and they’ve only been retired for about 10 years so they understand what these modern day players go through on and off the field. Obviously they’d need to sit down with Jarryd and work out the best way to approach the situation together so they get results for the team and the players.
Tackle Four: The future in Ipswich
We always agreed that Ben and Shane would be our coaches until they got an offer from an NRL club. They’re off contract at the moment and as a club we want them to take that next step and we want them to be successful. At the same time, if it doesn’t pan out for whatever reason we’d love to sit down and have a chat about going around again next season.
Tackle Six: Unconventional risk takers
Ben and Shane look at ways of competing for the football. The game used to be full of those contests – whether it was old fashioned scrums or play the balls – but a lot of the contests have been removed from the game over the years.
What you see with things like the short kick offs, the short drop outs and the chip kicks is increased competition for the ball and also a willingness to trust your defence. I think other teams will start to look at these tactics and you’ve already seen it a bit this season (with the Bulldogs regularly trying short drop outs).
Photos of the Ipswich Jets in action, supplied by QRL Media.
- 179 first grade games, representing the Brisbane Broncos, London Broncos, Northern Eagles, Leeds Rhinos, Manly Sea Eagles and South Sydney Rabbitohs.
- Tied with Andrew Johns to lead the league in points scored in 2001, finishing with 17 tries, 102 goals and one field goal for 279 points.
- Became the first player in NRL history to score during golden point, kicking a penalty goal for Manly against Parramatta in 2003.
- 149 first grade games, representing the Brisbane Broncos and South Sydney Rabbitohs.
- Played off the bench alongside his brother in the 2001 World Club Challenge against St Helens.