NATURAL LEADER: Inspirational former captain Keiron Lander is new head coach of the Ipswich Jets.
NATURAL LEADER: Inspirational former captain Keiron Lander is new head coach of the Ipswich Jets. Rob Williams

Jets reveal new coach, loyal assistant for the future

ONE of the Ipswich Jets most fearless players and inspirational captains has been appointed new coach for the 2020 Intrust Super Cup season.

Keiron Lander has received the top job after long-serving co-coaches Shane and Ben Walker recently stood down having devoted 11 years guiding Ipswich's state league team.

Lander led the Jets to their historic 2015 state league premiership and also captained the side that won the NRL State Championship just days later in Sydney.

The highly regarded footballer will be assisted by another passionate Jets coach Mark Bishop next season. Bishop has enjoyed success with the Ipswich club's Brisbane Rugby League side in the past.

Lander's appointment is a natural progression for the Jets. He has worked with the Walkers as an assistant coach and trainer in recent seasons, keen to learn and progress his coaching credentials.

"I was very fortunate to be coached by the them (the Walkers),'' Lander said.

"They are genuine about what they do and they build a lot of trust and confidence in their players and their ability to play the game.''


Queensland Cup Grand Final, Ipswich Jets v Townsville Blackhawks. Keiron Lander. Photo Inga Williams / The Queensland Times
Former Ipswich Jets captain Keiron Lander savours his team's 2015 state league triumph over the Townsville Blackhawks at Suncorp Stadium. Inga Williams

After retiring as a player at the end of his emotion-charged 2015 season, Lander had a short break before pursuing his coaching career. He worked on improving his coaching qualifications while gaining valuable knowledge from the Walker brothers.

"Just to coach in the Intrust Cup is a privilege and something the boys spoke pretty clearly about,'' Lander, 31, said.

He also coached the Queensland Murri under-16 team to victory over NSW this year.

Jets CEO Richard Hughes said Lander's elevation was an ideal fit for the club.

"With the departure of Ben and Shane Walker at the same time, we wanted to ensure we maintained the culture and high standards that they had built over the last 11 years,'' Hughes said.

"We didn't have to look far to get the perfect solution for that problem."

Hughes said Lander's first job was to recruit a team around him.

"The fact he has chosen Mark Bishop to support him, has us very excited for 2020,'' Hughes said.

"We couldn't be happier, to give one of our own the shot at the top job."

Lander made his Intrust Super Cup debut for the Clyesdales before joining the North Queensland Young Guns in 2007.

He came to the Jets in 2010, named captain a year later. He held that role until his retirement four years ago after the grand final triumph.

Apart from his work with Queensland representative sides, he was instrumental in setting up the Jets Assistance Group, a program that allows players to help their peers during hard times.

Building on fine Jets traditions, Lander also does terrific work for the Indigenous community throughout Queensland, delivering the Deadly Choices program. Ipswich Jets chairman Steve Johnson has watched Lander's career and also welcomed his appointment with open arms.

"We are who we are because of Keiron Lander so it was never a question of whether he is the best person to lead us forward it was simply a question for Keiron, did he have time in his busy life of selflessly helping others,'' Johnson said.

"The Ipswich Jets are about opportunity in our game and like Kevin Walters going on to coach Queensland, I am excited for Keiron's journey as a coach.

"If I could have picked one person to continue the Walker brother's legacy it would always be Keiron Lander and if I could pick one person to coach our great club with him, it would always be Mark Bishop."

The Ipswich Jets will shortly announce the rest of their coaching structure for 2020.

Additional information courtesy of the Ipswich Jets