The manager of an Intrust Super Cup team is like the drummer in the band. He keeps the beat and sets the tone.
While Darren Lingard might not be Ringo Starr he definitely keeps the beat and does it with a high level of passion for his role at the Luxury Paint Ipswich Jets.
The 2014 season is Darren’s eighth year at the Ipswich Jets where he started by managing the Colts side. Darren has slowly worked through the grades to become Intrust Super Cup manager in 2010.
In that time he’s won the respect of ‘rivals’ like the Northern Pride’s manager Rob White and Redcliffe’s Jon Sloan who said that Darren was always friendly, helpful and well organised. Managers wear the organised tag like a badge of honour; that is their trade.
Doing the little things that make players’ lives easier at training and game day and that is where Darren excels. The recognition of fellow managers gives a quiet sense of achievement that you can only get when someone who knows your role hands it out.
To understand a manager’s role you need to be at training and games before anyone else, you’ll find Darren greeting players and staff and making sure everything is starting to run smoothly for the upcoming game. On game day he’ll be walking around making sure the dressing room is organised, jumpers are hung where the players like to sit and everything is ready so that coaches can coach and players can play.
Come full time and a Jets’ win and Darren will be centre stage with an Esky lid in hand ready to keep the beat and lead the Ipswich Jets’ team song always on hand to make sure that any milestones reached that week are bellowed loudly at the end of the song.
Darren’s attention to detail sees him acknowledge player’s debut, try records or game playing records. The little things that make a club side hum along and make players know they’re valued. The less glamorous side of the job then takes over; cleaning sheds, collecting filthy jumpers and shorts. Darren does it all while most people file out.
Ipswich Jets’ Chairman Steven Johnson was provided with some perspective on Darren’s role when he took on the job for the United States Tomahawks in the 2013 World Cup, Steven came home claiming he would kiss Darren next time he saw him. Former Ipswich Jets’ FOGS Cup coach Danny Moore, said: “Darren’s strength was his anticipation of what you need and allowing the coach to get on with his job and a true team man.”
As another Intrust Super Cup season is about to start for the Luxury Paint Ipswich Jets, Darren will be quietly going about his work, hoping to be keeping the beat on grand final day and a Jets’ premiership win.
thank you to the QRL team and Micheal Nunn for this article.