The USQ Ipswich Jets are bracing for another Sapphire Series duel with rivals Cougars on Sunday. Picture: Ipswich Jets Media
The USQ Ipswich Jets are bracing for another Sapphire Series duel with rivals Cougars on Sunday. Picture: Ipswich Jets Media

‘Champion’ Jets plan doubleheader efficiency to stay on top

BEING exactly where they want to be, the USQ Jets welcome a massive doubleheader Sapphire Series challenge this weekend.

After weeks of consolidating second spot, the Jets moved ahead of rivals Cougars in the number one position after last weekend's win over Tigers.

Developing her side's champion mindset, head coach Tracey Jeanes-Fraser is pleased to see her skilful team rewarded with top spot.

However, that could all change at the Queensland State Netball Centre on Saturday and Sunday.

In their only doubleheader before the semi-finals, the Jets face the Wildcats on Saturday at 2pm before another showdown with the Cougars on Sunday (3pm).

The Cougars lost their first game of the season last weekend to slip four points behind the Jets.

Both competition heavyweight contenders have seven wins and one loss to be well ahead of third-placed Thunder with four wins and four defeats.

USQ Ipswich Jets head coach Tracey Jeanes-Fraser. Picture: Ipswich Jets Media
USQ Ipswich Jets head coach Tracey Jeanes-Fraser. Picture: Ipswich Jets Media

For highly-regarded coach Jeanes-Fraser, this weekend is all about adjusting to the extra pressure and showing why the Jets deserve to be the top side this season.

"The benefit that we've got this year is the fact that we are finishing the back end of the season much stronger than we did last year,'' she said.

"We are physically fitter but mentally tougher and the girls are coping with any changes I make. They're adjusting to anything that's happened to us, which has left us in good stead.''

With finals looming, this weekend's heavy schedule is also a timely finetune workout.

"It's now about stepping up, ironing out any glitches and twigging the things that we do well,'' Jeanes-Fraser said.

"The Wildcats game (on Saturday) is one that we want to try and work with to set up a top-of-the-table clash (on Sunday).

"To be a champion-minded team, we have to be prepared to go with a double header.

"We want to play with a very, very efficient and direct (approach).''

She said retaining top spot would provide extra confidence heading into the semi-finals a week later.

"We spoke really heavily about that last night at training actually, which was good,'' the head coach said.

Jeanes-Fraser was monitoring mid-court recruit Monique French with an ankle injury suffered at training last night.

The Jets Rubies captain has impressed moving up into the Sapphire Series when Firebirds talent Tippah Dwan was unavailable.

"Monique's fitted in really well into our group,'' Jeanes-Fraser said.

"She works with Steph (O'Brien) and Brookie (Brooke Hams).

"She had a great game against the Bull Sharks two weeks ago. She came on and just settled everybody down.''



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