Walker Brothers show faith

Ipswich Jets coaches Shane and Ben Walker bring a relaxed attitude to guiding the Queensland Cup wooden spooners in 2011.
Ipswich Jets coaches Shane and Ben Walker bring a relaxed attitude to guiding the Queensland Cup wooden spooners in 2011. David Neilsen

JUDGING from how relaxed they are, you would never guess Ben and Shane Walker have just agreed to coach the Queensland Cup wooden-spooners.

The Walker brothers lean back in every seat they sit down in and are rarely removed from a smile.

But in what would be a surprise move for many, their first action was to recall the majority of this year’s squad.

Yes, that’s right.

The duo is confident the team which finished last this year can have a successful season next year ... they are simply looking to add depth in key positions.

“Our priority is to turn the club around,” Ben Walker said.

“We have the talent here to have a successful season, just need more consistency from the players and get more out of them.

“We wanted to show the players we believed they could do the job by resigning them.

“The way the boys play their footy will be changing. The cornerstone of the team will be defence.”

The Walker brothers were given the reins after the controversial exit of Glenn Lazarus, who failed to win player and, ultimately, board room support.

The Jets have re-signed Paul Stephenson, Smith Samau, Ramon Filipine, Jacob Ling, Tyson Lofipo, Brendon Marshall, Ian Lacey and Luke Walker among others.

They are also still negotiating with some players.

Club culture will also be restored with the Walker boys to implement more interaction between the three grades of Queensland Cup, FOGS Cup and Colts.

The brothers will also implement a leadership group to give the player more ownership of the team. There have already been several key signings for the Jets’ 2011 season.

Jets CEO Brad Wolens’ wallet has become significantly lighter in the past month after he signed former Jets prop Matt McPhee, former Jets five-eighth Brendon Lindsay and former Jets winger Scott Ireland.

Wolens has also lured former New Zealand Warriors junior Nathaniel Neal, a prop, from across the ditch.

But Wolens would not reveal three of the biggest names on his recruitment sheet.

“We haven’t quite got them across the line yet, but if we do get these three players, our team will be tough to beat,” he said.

The Jets will also likely secure the services of South Sydney Rabbitohs five-eighth Luke Capewell who has just signed with the Gold Coast Titans.

The Walkers not only coach together, but also run a property development business.

Surprisingly, they do not get sick of each other.

“We’re brothers, we grew up together, there’s no aggro towards each other or anything like that,” Ben said.

“There is what you would call robust discussion though when it comes to the team.”

2011 recruits

Recruits for the Ipswich Jets 2011 season so far:

Nathaniel Neale (prop): Former New Zealand Warriors junior who has been plucked from their feeder club the Auckland Vulcans.

Brendon Lindsay (five-eighth): Former Ipswich Jet veteran who has been playing for the Sheffield Eagles in England for the past four seasons.

Matty McPhee (prop): Former Ipswich Jet who had a mixed time at Easts Tigers during the past year.

Scott Ireland (winger): Another returning Jet who went to Easts Tigers but spent most of his time in FOGS Cup.

Khan Ah Wang: A Sunshine Coast Eagles Queensland Cup player.

Joe Seeto: A talented player from the Sunshine Coast grade competition.

Lorenzo Maafu: Former Jets player returning from drug suspension.

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