Ipswich Jet Nemani Valekapa breaks free during the NRL State Championship Grand Final against Newcastle in 2015. Picture: Adam Head
Ipswich Jet Nemani Valekapa breaks free during the NRL State Championship Grand Final against Newcastle in 2015. Picture: Adam Head

Check out shining efforts in Jets ‘quaran-team’


FACED with isolation and students being at home, I have decided to build my Ipswich Jets quaran-team.

I asked some Jets what they could bring to the table if we ended up locked down together.

Jacob Teevan was sure his contribution would shine in the kitchen.

“The boys call me T-Bone so if you were in quarantine with me you’d be getting your daily dose of iron,’’ Teevan said.

Jets centre Nemani Valekapa would be our workplace health and safety officer.

“I could supply the team with disposal tissues and antibacterial wipes and masks,’’ Valekapa said.

Jets halves coach Dane Phillips will be getting the VCR out.

“I would bring around the old footy games and we could watch them,’’ Phillips said.

Strength and conditioning coach Jonathan Dore was sticking to what he knows best.

“I’d keep you exercising and moving. Miracles could happen Nunny and I could even make you stronger,’’ Dore said.

Assistant coach Mark Bishop was sure we could amuse ourselves.

“All good things happen with a BBQ, food and conversation,’’ Bisho said.

Dean the reliable

WALKING into the Jets shed before kick-off and seeing head trainer Dean Arbuthnot is like being lost at the shops and seeing your mum, or digging out your favourite pair of slippers at the end of April. It just feels right.

Always there strapping and making sure everyone is ready to go, Arbuthnot does his thing with without any fuss or fanfare.

Arbuthnot is dealing with no football the best he can at the moment.

“I miss the football I know that. I just miss my mates and seeing the boys every week,” Arbuthnot said.

Arbuthnot has been plying his craft at the Jets since 2011 and head trainer since 2013.

Even with the end to Intrust Super Cup for 2020, Arbuthnot has been thinking of ways to help.

“We organised for the players to come in and get some gym gear on the weekend. They nearly all turned up because they are committed and want to stay fit,’’ he said.

“We got there early and marked out markers the two metres apart and each player was allowed in to grab some gear and take it home.

“Last I saw Nat Neale he was driving off with a truck tyre and sledge hammer in the back of his ute.

“The Jets are my family and when they do things like give out gym equipment I feel pretty happy to be part of it.

“I know I could never work for any other club.

“We will come back from this and it’s because of the people we have here.”

Load the Atari

I MAY have been showing my age and un-coolness when I spoke to Shar Walden about playing PS4 Rugby League against Tweed’s Luke Jurd.

The Jets and Tweed were supposed to do battle last weekend. Instead on Monday night, Walden took on Jurd in Play Station playing the Jets v Tweed on the screen instead of the field.

“I don’t play too much,’’ Walden said. “I have played before while Jurd had never played.

“It was a lot of fun. They are running the whole season and live streaming the game with Pete Psaltis commentating like it’s the TV game.

“I completed the shut out 30-0 and a new Jets will be up next time we play.”

It’s a bit hard to get replaced after winning 30-0.

“I know,’’ Walden said. “Tyson Lofipo dumped me in it he was supposed to play but then said Shar will do it.”

Remember that game?

THE year is 1988 and I was in grade four going to watch the Jets with stars in my eyes. I loved watching Ray Ovens the Jets half.

I was pretty sure I would be just like him. Sadly I had no ability guile or half craft like he often played with for the Jets.

The Jets finished 1988 on 23 points and third place.

I sat down to watch the Jets v Magpies preliminary final from 1988 at Lang Park. Souths were coming off a loss to Valleys, who had gone ahead to the grand final, and the Jets had beaten Easts by a point - 11-10 the week before.

The game starts as a penalty-athon with the referee getting the Jets away to a start with four penalty goals and up 8-0 half way through the first half.

The last penalty was a high shot on Andrew Walters caught around the head in front of the posts.

One of the Jets best attacking raids was early in the second half. Steve Parcell goes left to Ross Williams who gets a nice overhead pass to Errol Hunter he cuts back inside and offloads to no one.

The pass is retrieved by big Ben Olsen who settles it and finds Parcell again who makes a run and a big step to be held up over the line.

I asked Ben Olsen what he remembered about the game. He reflected on the Jets little half.

“Watching this game just makes me miss my mate Ray Ovens,’’ Olsen said sadly.

The Jets score their first try and it’s a classic finals try.

The Jets are on the right hand side but with a deep backline out to the left.

Olsen offloads, Craig Sparks picks it up and keeps it coming to the left, he finds Ross Williams down the right and he’s away.

“Everything came together this game, after a hard game the week before against the Tigers,’’ he said.

Williams recalled as we watched him charge up field.

A very young Steve Renouf gets to Williams but he throws in for Robertson, to Payne. Now the Jets are going back across the right hand side.

Walters offloads again to Tony Waddups and he goes the distance over for the try.

Tommy Raudonikis jumps up in the stands and yells and punches the air. Sitting next to Tommy is Jets leader Glen Haggath.

“I contracted hepatitis on Queensland’s middle of the year tour to New Zealand. I sat on the bench in the grand final so only missed that one week,’’ Haggath said.

Jets lead 14-6 with the kick to come and Alan Thomas is pretty sure Ipswich is headed to the grand final. He keeps saying it over the top of Andrew Slack commentating with him.

The Jets ice the grand final appearance against Valleys with a try up the middle.

Walters goes through the middle and finds Brett Kaatz who scores. The Jets are definitely headed to the grand final now at 20-6.

I love the player profile after the try is scored. Kaatz is a 23-year-old bricklayer who is single and loves to play cards.

The penalties ended up 12 all - 24 penalties for a final seems a lot. But the one that counts is Ipswich two tries and Magpies one.

Jets hit man Darren Wolens reflected on a terrific time in his life.

“Great memories. It was like we were bulletproof, young and invincible,” Wolens said.

“We had the whole town behind us.”

Jets live another week against Valleys in the grand final.

Cooper’s stat

THE 1988 grand final left the Jets on the wrong side of the score 17-14.

It was three tries all but the Diehards managed three goals to one.

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