A YEAR spent with the Ipswich Jets has Rob Worsley primed to take on the best the New Zealand defence forces have to offer today.
Worsley is part of the Australian Combined Armed Services (ACAS) team taking on their Kiwi opponents at the North Ipswich Reserve at midday.
But this time last year Worsley had taken a year’s leave from the Force to try his hand with the Jets.
It was a success in that he cracked the top grade for several games.
But it was even more of a success in that it has helped him to represent his country.
Before taking leave last year Worsley spent a year stationed at the Amberley RAAF base.
He has since been reassigned to Richmond, near Sydney, with Amberley represented by winger Josh Leas and backrower Jesse Jenkins.
“The Jets definitely made me a better footballer,” Worsley said, after the ACAS team had an opposed training run against the Ipswich Jets Reserve grade side on Thursday.
“The Walker brothers are incredible coaches.
“They know how to make players reach their potential.”
Worsley is determined to play a big role today.
He is inspired by both representing his country and the lure of playing the curtain raiser to State of Origin III when the ACAS team takes on the touring Great Britain services team at Suncorp Stadium in July.
They are opportunities that have been denied to many of Worsley’s predecessors.
Only recently have the armed services begun to organise regular international matches.
“It’s only in the last three years they’ve really started getting the guys together in camp for matches,” Worsley said.
“I’m looking to have a big one.”
The Australian side is full of fit and tough individuals, as you would expect from any defence force side.
But Worsley is adamant there is enough skill in the side to push any team outside the National Rugby League.
“It’s pretty competitive,” Worsley said.
“I think we’d be competitive in just about any comp outside the NRL.
“There’s a lot of naturally good footballers.”
Worsley expects the weather to play into the hands of the New Zealanders, who are likely to enjoy playing a direct brand of footy.
“Holding the ball will be the biggest thing for both teams,” Worsley said.
“They’ll probably play a lot of power football, straight through the middle.”
The Brisbane Broncos’ scheduled training session in Ipswich this morning has been cancelled due to wet weather.
The session will be rescheduled at a later date.