After receiving The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup Player of the Year award at the Brad Fittler Medal, Newtown Jets centre Kayal Iro shared the driving force behind the Minor Premiers’ success in 2022.
Ahead of Newtown’s Grand Final qualifier against the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs on Saturday afternoon, aside from all the numbers and attacking flair Iro’s side has produced this year, he pointed to the unbreakable connection among the playing group that has led the Jets to this point in the season.
With an opportunity to head to the big dance and win consecutive NSW Cups after two seasons which ended prematurely due to COVID-19.
“The boys just have a great bond,” Iro said.
“We all get along together well.
“That just brings us into the game to play well together and just build off that really.
“I think that’s what got us further in the season.”
Kayal Iro on winning NSW Cup Player of The Year
Despite losing some momentum after a tough loss to Penrith in the Major Semi-final, the newly crowned Player of the Year is confident the Jets can return to winning ways with a few big names back on deck this weekend.
“I think we had a few mishaps on the weekend and we were missing a few boys, so hopefully we get our full-strength squad back and we can get back (to the Grand Final) and take it out,” he explained.
Two of those names returning for Newtown in their must-win clash are the huge inclusions of Braydon Trindall at halfback to partner Luke Metcalf, and creative dummy-half Jayden Berrell in the No.9 role.
Add the likes of Iro to the Newtown backline and the x-factor of Kade Dykes rounding out the spine at fullback, and the Jets have the potential to cause all sorts of headaches for the Bulldogs’ defence.
And speaking of sons of guns, Iro left the highest praise to father and former Super League star Kevin, for his influence on Kayal getting him to where he is today – including an NRL debut only weeks ago.
“They’ve (Kevin and uncle Tony) had a massive, massive influence, especially my dad,” Iro said.
“He was always training me.
“As a young kid he didn’t really push me to play footy, but I always wanted to follow in his footsteps so I think that’s led me to here now.”