After starting his Intrust Super Cup career with Wynnum Manly Seagulls, where he netted two premiership titles, few would have expected to see Ben Shea wearing the red and white of the Redcliffe Dolphins, given the great rivalry between the two clubs.
However, after a two-year stopover with the Ipswich Jets, the hardworking forward has found himself a new home on the peninsula and is enjoying the new surroundings.
“From an outsider looking in, I guess I was at Wynnum for a fair while, so I never really considered playing for Redcliffe,” Shea said.
“But as you get a bit older, things have changed and from an outsider looking in, it looked like a professional club so thought, ‘why not give it a crack, see what happens?'
“I guess it is a little bit weird, I think I was at Wynnum for about eight years and a couple years at Ipswich probably helped me.
"I have couple of Wynnum premiership tattoos, so it is a bit weird if the boys see me in the shower with them or what not, and then you chuck the Redcliffe colours on, but it’s all good, I am enjoying it.
“(I was chasing) different opportunities. I had a great time at Ipswich and enjoyed my time out there and everyone out there, but I just thought as far as a personal challenge, to come out here and try and crack this strong team might bring out the best in me.”
Shea is one of three former Jets who signed with the Dolphins this season, with Marmin Barba and Billy McConnachie also making the move and it was an obvious question to ask, about how the approach to football between the two clubs differed.
“I would say that Moggy (coach Adam Mogg) is a little bit more structured, but Moggy has his own thing and he is all for everyone, individual players, to bring in their own thing too,” Shea, who is studying a health science degree in exercise and nutrition, said.
“So, he has bounced a few things off me, Marmin and Billy, who have come over and have a bit of a different Ipswich look, and (we are) kinda incorporating in that into your traditional style of play, but (the Dolphins are) definitely all for bringing something different.”
While Shea and Barba have continued to share football ties at their new club, there’s a friendly rivalry brewing at his work, where the pair remain colleagues with a former Jets team mate.
“I am working at Central Scaffolding, Marmin Barba actually works there with me and Josh Cleeland from Ipswich, and they are actually a sponsor of Ipswich,” Shea said.
“So, me and Marmin have jumped ship this year, so there is a little bit of tension at work I guess.”
On the football field, the challenge for Shea to press his case for Round 1 selection with the Dolphins is a valid one, with the club possessing one of the more imposing forward packs in the competition.
“I would like to put my best foot forward and get into the team, there’s a really strong squad,” Shea said of his goals for the season.
“We have been doing opposed (sessions) against each other and we have teams of one to 13 going against each other and you look at that and are thinking every guy from one to 13 can probably play Cup on any given day, so (I am) just trying to crack that and get a good routine going.
“(I would be happy to play) anywhere really, anywhere in the forwards as long as I can get there.
“If it is in the starting pack, I have been doing a little bit in the back row, so if that kind of comes about and Moggy thinks that the best position for me, I will be happy to go there, but if it’s from the bench and I have to do a bit of an impact role or anything like that, I am happy to.
“But I will probably put my hand up first for that back row spot, but anywhere, and whatever is going to benefit the team, I would be keen.
“I loved playing at Ipswich and I loved playing with guys like Nat Neale and Tyson Lofipo and that was awesome, but always when you looked through the program, you looked at guys like Jordan Grant, Nathan Watts, Jamil Hopoate to play against.
“So, for me, coming over and trying to play with them, I thought that would bring the best out of me as well.
“But you have got some younger guys there like Braden Dee and Wattsy, Jordan, Jarrett Boland has come up, he had a really good trial, scored a couple of tries.
“There’s plenty of depth and I know come Round 1, there’s plenty of guys that will miss out that probably deserve to be there and should be there and probably are Intrust Super Cup players, but just won’t be there; whether or not one of those is me, we will see what happens.”
Match: Dolphins v Falcons
Round 1 -
Venue: Dolphin Stadium, Brisbane