The Ipswich Jets will field a team in the Harvey Norman Under-19 girls’ competition for the first time in 2022, but have an experienced coach to guide them on their way in former Jet Dean Daylight.
Daylight played 12 games for the Jets in 1998 and now finds himself providing wisdom and guidance to 30 young girls taking their first steps on their pathway to the QRLW and NRLW.
“Under-19 is a really hard age group… they have just finished school… Uni or work is their big challenge at the moment and they’re dealing with that, and then we are saying ‘come play league’,” Daylight said.
“It’s all about being welcoming, and we are getting the girls back now from holidays. We had a barbecue before Christmas and it was great that players that I played with, like John Luhrman and Paul Wilkinson, were there talking to the girls.”
The Jets will have a delay in kicking off their season, with a first round bye on February 26.
“I am really excited by this opportunity and can’t wait. Round 2 (March 5), we are off to face the Clydesdales in Toowoomba.”
As well as the inaugural season taking place for the club, Daylight was also excited about two big occasions for the girls.
“We are playing the Sunshine Coast Falcons at the Coast in Round 3, which is Round 1 for the NRL, and the girls are going to get to play before the Warriors and Dragons,” he said.
“Then, we are back home for our first game at home on March 19, the reserve will have all the grades playing on Old Boys Day, so we can represent Ipswich as the first women’s team in front of all those old Jets.
“I keep telling the girls, those two big chances are coming.”
Daylight has been keeping his eye on his young team, and has been impressed with the skills he has seen so far.
“We have two halves at the moment that I think will show some great football, Crystal White and Katelyn Anderson,” he said.
“I am excited by what they can provide our team.”
Despite being a new side, Daylight knows what sort of team he wants when 2022 ends.
“I want the team to compete, and be really proud that they’re Jets and that they’ve played their part, and then I want to see them progressing on in their development,” he said.
Daylight also knows the history and traditions of the Jets, has lived it, and now he’s making sure 30 young rugby league pioneers get the same education.