WHEN Kurtis Lingwoodock runs out in the second-row for Wynnum-Manly in the Queensland Cup grand final clash with Tweed Heads tomorrow, he will get plenty of support from his home town of Ipswich. It was under former Jets coaches Glenn Lazarus and Kevin Walters that Lingwoodock was elevated to the Queensland Cup as a 17-year-old back in 2008. His performances against men brought him to the attention of the Broncos and Lingwoodock was soon snapped up.
A serious knee injury curtailed his career but now he is back in form for Broncos feeder club Wynnum-Manly with the chance to win a premiership that was denied him in 2008 when Souths-Logan beat Ipswich at North Ipswich Reserve in the decider. Ipswich Jets chairman Steve Johnson said Lazarus was crucial to Lingwoodock’s development. “We got him from the Titans 18s when he wasn’t fit and wasn’t playing good footy for them,” Johnson recalled. He came back here to us and played colts and Lazo saw something in him and started working with the kid.
“We blooded him in the Queensland Cup against Souths-Logan against what was basically an all-Raiders pack and he was outstanding. “Kurtis got better as the year went on and he always listened to what Lazo had to say. The Broncos took him the next year. He was earmarked to make his NRL debut last year but did his ACL.” Johnson said Lingwoodock was always well ahead of his years in the way he played the game. “He was this kid who was physically tough and uncompromising and a bit of an old fashioned footballer,” Johnson said. “Glenn (Lazarus) always thought there was something in the kid that other people didn’t. There was this feeling that he was a bit lazy when he came back from the Titans and when he was in the colts, it was still expected that he’d do more than he did.
“But Glenn worked with him and brought that mental toughness to his game that he needed. There hasn’t been a more focused footballer than Glenn Lazarus and he instilled that in Kurtis. By the time he made his Cup debut, he was ready. “There aren’t many 17-year-old second-rowers at 94 kilos who can debut against an all-Raiders pack and be the dominant force on the field. There were doubts whether he was up to it but Lazo and Kevvie believed in him and it was one of the great debuts. “He was brutal with his defence, didn’t miss a tackle and made yards. He did everything perfectly. “Then later that year he was our player of the match in the grand final.”
Johnson said Lingwoodock had taken his play to another level at Wynnum-Manly under coach Paul Green. “I noticed that Paul Green had him running a bit wider last week when he scored a nice try. Paul has added a dimension to his game. That will help him be a bit more versatile. Johnson said the Jets were proud of what Lingwoodock had achieved. “Kurtis is a polite young kid and very respectful,” Johnson said. “He is a young dad and it was always a pleasure to have him at the Jets. We were sad to see him go but glad he got an opportunity at the Broncos.
“He still lives locally and is seen around Ipswich quite a lot. It is just that he plays with Wynnum.”