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Ipswich Jets strike up new NRL partnership

In an exciting development for sport in the region of Ipswich, the Sydney Roosters have signed a landmark long-term Pathway Partnership Agreement with the Savige Pest Control Ipswich Jets.

The Sydney Roosters will partner the Ipswich Jets to build the best pathway for Ipswich talent into the NRL and help our kids stay at home in Ipswich while still fulfilling their dreams of playing in the NRL.

Ipswich kids can play junior footy with their mates at school or clubs and then come into the Jets teams to get them ready for the NRL.

The agreement is a true integration with the NRL foundation club so that not just players can better themselves but coaches, support staff and executive staff.

Even sponsors will benefit with the connection to the NRL powerhouse.

“There have been many people working in the background, to ensure that we have an affiliation that creates excitement, aspiration, and true value to all,"
Ipswich Jets CEO Richard Hughes said.

"We have not only achieved that, but exceeded those expectations, and I would like to thank the Sydney Roosters for having the foresight in seeing the value in the club, the people, and the region.”

Ben Cross, the Ipswich Jets head of football, recognised the significance of this day.

“A relationship with the Roosters is a wonderful opportunity for the Ipswich Jets to partner with an organisation that is a leader in the world of rugby league," Cross said.

"This partnership will help promote and develop our pathways directly through the Jets and hopefully progressing to the Roosters and into the NRL.

"The Roosters' track record of success and professionalism will only help bolster and improve our program through talent identification and recruitment and coach mentoring program.”

Cross knows that this agreement will further attract senior players so that the Jets can continue to do Ipswich proud as its marquee sports team.

It also allows the Ipswich Jets to develop academies (elite and local), with the resources that the Sydney Roosters have on offer, and continue their commitment to schools in the region, with an upcoming appointment of a full-time development role, dual badged with both clubs.

All of this is built into one, well-considered Partnership Agreement.

“This is the result of over a year’s negotiations to get to what we see as the best possible outcome for the Ipswich community," Steven Johnson, chairman of the Savige Pest Control Ipswich Jets said.

"At the Ipswich Jets we have been successful with limited resources by being rich in heart and soul, fuelled by our passion to be a valuable contributing citizen of our great city; a club where the person is always before the player.

"In the discussions with the Sydney Roosters, it became apparent that the two clubs shared the same values from their chair Nick Politis - himself a son of Ipswich who championed the affiliation - to their playing group.

"The development work the Sydney Roosters are now doing is world class and Ipswich kids are now part of that. We are excited to have the Sydney Roosters as our partner and share their resources to do our own work and to learn from them to keep Ipswich rugby league’s heartland."

Sydney Roosters CEO, Joe Kelly, echoed all of the positive sentiment.

"Today is an extremely exciting day for the Sydney Roosters as we embark on a long-term pathways partnership with the Ipswich Jets," Kelly said.

"We see enormous potential for both organisations, and we are totally committed to supporting aspiring rugby league players from Ipswich to realise their full potential.

“We continue to have a great deal of success with our pathways partnership on the Central Coast under the leadership of our general manager football programs, Craig Walker, and we will bring these experiences to the table to ensure the best possible outcomes for young Ipswich rugby league players.

"I would like to thank Steve, Richard and the board and management of the Jets for the spirit in which we finalised terms together and I have every confidence that this relationship will go from strength to strength well into the future.”

Ben Cross.
Ben Cross.

In addition to this news, Cross has committed to the club for an additional three years, beyond the end of the 2023 season.

“It is very important for me and the club that I can demonstrate I am fully committed to what I'm trying to achieve at the Jets, and what better way to do that, than to secure my future through to at least the end of 2026,” Cross said.

“I want to see through a plan I have of bringing through our 16s, 18s and Colts within our Hostplus Cup side and strengthen the relationships within our club.

"I want to develop a club with a great culture and environment whereby players see the Jets as a first-choice club and a true pathway to the NRL, for those that are capable. I truly believe in everything this club is striving to achieve”.

Hughes added: “The impact that Ben has had on the club, in such a short time, is easy for all to see, not just a coach but a mentor of young people.

"For someone of Ben’s talent and profile, to want to commit his immediate future to us, should not be underestimated. All round, this is a fantastic day for the

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