Let Qld and NSW champs play Nines: Jets

They have revolutionised the 13-man-a-side game.

Now national rugby league club champions Ipswich Jets want to do the same for the “boring” NRL Auckland Nines.

NRL coach-in-waiting and Jets co-mentor Ben Walker says off-the-cuff Ipswich would show how Nines football should really be played if they were given a crack at the season-opening tournament.

He has proposed the Queensland and NSW club champions earn Nines entry as early as next year.

Ipswich won the Queensland Cup then downed NSW Cup champs Newcastle Knights 26-12 to claim the NRL State Championship final last year thanks to their “attack at all costs” game plan.

“I don’t think they play Nines well at all, it could be played a lot better than it is,” Walker told AAP.

“I actually think it is a bit boring the way they play it to be honest.

“I think they are playing boring NRL football with nine players rather than 13.

“Our brand of footy is exciting and would suit the Nines concept – certainly different to the way it is played at the moment.”

The Jets’ unusual style caught the NRL’s imagination last year.

Walker and his brother, fellow former Bronco Shane, share Jets coaching duties and were linked to the then vacant Knights job last year before Nathan Brown was appointed.

Now the Jets want to turn heads at the Nines.

Ben Walker hoped NRL power brokers would consider injecting the Queensland and NSW Cup premiers into the 2017 tournament.

“The Jets would add something completely different to the competition,” he said.

“But of course we would have to win a grand final to get there (next year) if they make that decision.

“But we would fly over tonight if they wanted us to play.”

Walker said this weekend’s Auckland Nines would at least show glimpses of what to expect.

Ex-Jets Carlin Anderson (Brisbane), Rod Griffin (Wests Tigers), Liam Capewell and Josh Cleeland (Sharks) and Matt Parcell (Manly) will all strut their stuff in Auckland.

“You will probably see with those fellas they will probably play a bit of our footy, they won’t be bogged down with any structure – they will be free flowing,” Walker said.

The Walker brothers’ unorthodox style helped Ipswich score an astonishing 126 tries in 23 games before downing Townsville 32-20 in the Queensland Cup final and then Newcastle in the national club decider.

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