Wednesday 9 February 2011

Inspirational NT Thunder captain Jarred Ilett has stepped down from the role but will continue to play on in the inaugural NEAFL season.

Ilett was one of the standout players of the 2009 QAFL season in the Thunder’s formation year, but played hurt for much of last year.

When he and brother Cameron are in full flight, the Thunder are unstoppable and the duo will be keys to their hopes of improving on a debut finals effort last season.

“I’m really excited about playing with Thunder again this year,” Ilett said. “The club is heading in a great direction with our involvement in the new NEAFL league and that’s something that I really want to be a part of.
“My decision to step down as captain is to allow me to commit more time to doing my fitness training and playing my role for the team”.

Thunder coach Murray Davis said it was great to have Ilett on board again.

“He has only missed one game in two seasons with the club and has contributed in so many positive ways on and off the field,” Davis said.

“Jarred will still play a very important part in developing our young group and helping our new captain to continue leading the club in the direction that Jarred has been able to in the last two years.
“Jarred’s decision to step down as captain typifies the type of team orientated person and player he is as he approaches the 2011 season with his usual professionalism and mental toughness.”

The Thunder have also received a boost in experience with the return of two of their inaugural team players who skipped 2010.

The highly rated midfielder-forward Iggy Vallejo and consistent utility Karl Lohde committed before Christmas.

Their main loss is nab QAFL Rising Star Award winner Zephi Skinner, who was drafted by the Western Bulldogs.

The Thunder open their season against Aspley at TIO Stadium on Saturday 2 April.

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