IPSWICH Jets stalwart Ian Lacey will coach the FOGS Cup side next year in a massive coup for the club.
Lacey has retired from playing football due to a neck injury but his experience will be invaluable in coaching the Jets’ up and coming talent.
The 28-year-old played 23 NRL games for the Broncos and 154 Queensland Cup games in an outstanding playing career.
Ipswich Jets CEO Wayne Wendt said it was vital to keep Lacey involved with the club.
“We are excited about Ian’s appointment and he will bring a whole new level of expertise to the role,” Wendt said.
“Our previous coach Todd Brown has had to move away for work reasons.
“Ian will be ably assisted by Mark Bishop so we will have continuity from last season where our FOGS side made the grand final.
“Ian has got big shoes to fill but he has been around for a long while as everybody knows and he has a huge passion for the Ipswich Jets.
“We are really happy to have him on board.”
Replacing Lacey on the field will not be easy but Ipswich co-coach Ben Walker said there were plenty of options with some promising talent on the rise.
“Lace is a loss but Dane Phillips has been there a year now and I know he will step up and assume Lace’s responsibilities,” Walker said.
“Dane had an interrupted season with injury but he finished off really well and was doing everything we asked of him.
“We have great confidence in him and we have a couple of good kids coming through in the halves and we are excited to see how they step up. Ollie Olds is a young halfback from Wales who was injured all of last season but he has had an operation on his ankle and is training hard and has a great work ethic.
“Chris Ash was with us last season in the FOGS and he is training really well.
“Landen Hayes is a young half from Ipswich Grammar who made the Australian Schoolboys Union team and we’ve signed Hayden Lipp from Toowoomba and he goes well too.”
The Jets’ Intrust Super Cup squad starts pre-season training on Monday and Walker said the players would be given a good workout.
“Pre-season is always tough, no matter who you have or who you don’t have,” Walker said.
“We feel like we have built really well for the last three years and we’ll look to build further on that.
“We have got a really good core of players that know their roles and it will just be a matter of making sure those guys are fit and in good condition … and that the new guys that come in are up to speed with how we like to play.
“We’ll be relying on the older guys that are there to bring them along.”