Jets prop sweating on results from neck scan
By MICHAEL HILLIER
SPRAWLED across the Carrara Stadium turf, young Jets prop Matt McPhee feared the worst for a few agonising minutes.
McPhee had been playing one of the games of his life until a tackle went wrong in the early stages of Saturday's Queensland Cup match against the Tweed Heads Seagulls.
The former Norths junior was carried off in a neck brace in a major setback for the injury-hit Jets, who have slipped out of the top five following their 20-10 loss to the Seagulls.
But in a welcome relief, McPhee's neck injury wasn't thought to be as serious as first feared.
He is an outside chance of taking part in Sunday's must-win clash against Wynnum at Kougari Oval.
"It's all right. It just gave me a shock, that's all," a shaken McPhee said.
"It looks like a bit of a pinched nerve.
"I've had them a couple of times but not as painful as this time."
McPhee has his fingers crossed that further tests will clear him of any damage.
"I get a scan tomorrow so they'll let me know from there," McPhee said yesterday.
"I hope I'm right."
After the costly loss to the Seagulls, the Jets would dearly love to have a fit and firing McPhee available for Sunday's match.
The Jets finished Saturday's game with only one fit player on the reserves bench after halfback Ricky Bird and classy utility Josh Costello left the field.
Bird limped from the field with a hamstring strain in the second half. Just minutes later, Costello (thumb) followed Bird from the field.
Costello had looked like the man who could spark the Jets to victory.
Tweed was clinging to a 14-10 lead midway through the second half as the Jets launched several attacking raids.
But the Jets squandered a host of promising chances, with silly mistakes early in the tackle count and poor options their undoing.
Costello's pinpoint accurate kick to Luke Walker's wing looked certain to result in a match-equalising try.
But Walker failed to catch the ball and Tweed escaped once again.
Costello had only moments earlier tried a similar kick, which had too much weight on it, when the better option would have been to put the ball through the hands.
The Jets had a huge overlap and almost certainly would have scored had the ball been spun wide.
Tweed didn't make any mistakes when it had the chance to seal victory in the final three minutes.
Matthew Pow strolled over under the posts to clinch a 10-point win.
It was a disappointing finish for the understrength Jets, who had led 10-4 at half-time.
That lead could have been stretched to 12 at the break had Joel Riethmuller's try not been called back for a forward pass.
Donald Malone was Ipswich's most dangerous player with two scintillating line-breaks and a first-half try.
The Jets are poised to welcome back Queensland Residents players Danny Coburn and Isaak Ah Mau for this Sunday's game.
The Kevin Walters-coached side clearly missed the pair's leadership and high work rate in the middle of the park.
Walters may consider giving Peter Poppi a chance at halfback this weekend if Bird and Costello fail to recover in time.