Jets props join Wests Tigers
DREAMS can come true if you believe and work hard enough.
That's the message to come from the news Ipswich Jets props Billy McConnachie and Rod Griffin have signed deals to join the Wests Tigers in the NRL for the 2016 season.
The 28-year-old Griffin and 25-year-old McConnachie have been recognised for their outstanding season for the Ipswich Jets.
The pair took out the top two awards at the Jets presentation night on Friday.
Griffin claimed the Allan Langer Medal as the club's best and fairest and McConnachie earned the Players' Player Award.
The pair was at the forefront of the Jets' historic season, leading the way as the team claimed its maiden Queensland Cup title and followed it up with the State Challenge win over Newcastle.
McConnachie said the deal was only done yesterday.
While he was delighted to have secured his dream of a crack at the NRL, the fact he will do it with front row partner and mentor Griffin has made it extra special.
"That's another reason I wanted to go (to the Tigers)," said McConnachie, who was playing reserve grade for the Jets just last season.
"It feels like we'll get a really good opportunity there."
Tigers coach Jason Taylor welcomed the new signings as a valuable boost to his squad's front-row depth.
"We're always looking to strengthen our squad, and having these players on board for next season will really help us do that," Taylor said.
"I'm looking forward to working with both Rod and William (Billy), to help grow our team moving forward.
"(They) have plenty of potential to assist us next year and will challenge the rest of the squad for playing time, which is a really positive thing for this club."
Griffin and McConnachie will get the opportunity to train and play alongside Tigers' Kangaroo prop Aaron Woods.
He may be an arch enemy of the Queensland Maroons and their supporters, but McConnachie is relishing the prospect.
"I've got respect for anyone playing at that level," McConnachie said.
"I'll learn from anybody.
"I just want to keep working hard and get a spot there somewhere."
It is that attitude that got McConnachie where he is.
Three years ago he joined the Ipswich Jets as a relatively unknown prop from Mt Isa, where he had a reputation he was not necessarily proud of.
But since coming to Ipswich he has worked hard and proved himself the most fearsome forward in the Queensland Cup in 2016.
"It's that exciting," he said of the whirlwind past few weeks, which have culminated in an NRL contract.
"I've had so much good support from Ben and Shane (Jets coaches Ben and Shane Walker) and our captain Keiron Lander.
"The whole club has supported me ever since I've been here.
"I'm glad things have worked out."