Former Jet a major threat for Ipswich
THE Ipswich Jets are on the road again this weekend as they battle to keep their Intrust Super Cup finals hopes alive.
The Jets tackle the Townsville Blackhawks at Winton for the state league Country Round.
The Jets and Townsville have played in Ipswich, Townsville, Charters Towers and Brisbane before their latest encounter.
The Jets and Blackhawks clashed in round two with the Blackhawks winning 39-26.
The overall record between the teams is 3-3.
Townsville are coming off a win over the Pride in Cairns while the Jets are in action after a loss to the Tigers last Sunday.
The Blackhawks are currently sitting in fifth place on 26 points.
The Blackhawks have 473 points this season with 343 scored against them.
The Jets are in seventh having scored 414 points and conceded 443.
My Blackhawks player to watch is former Ipswich Jet Carlin Anderson.
Every Jets' fan knows what Carlin can do.
He did during 60 games for the Jets, scoring 370 points. Now he does it for Townsville.
Carlin is the Intrust Super Cup's leading points scorer with 186 this season. He is third in the competition for most tries (17).
Tigers hold on
IPSWICH let the Tigers get away from them at 24-6 before the Jets came back in last weekend's match.
Nat Neale and Luke Capewell were outstanding but the Jets just ran out of time.
Neale was tremendous making metres and off-loading.
Capewell could have scored a double if he hadn't dropped the ball over the line. His second try running from the scrum showed he still has a dangerous running game.
Neale made 52 tackles and again topped the tackle count for the Jets and the Tigers. Capewell made 112 metres.
The Jets missed 50 tackles which is 20 above their season average of 30 missed tackles.
THE Jets are in seventh with the Magpies in sixth. The Magpies had a one point win over the Devils so the gap between the two is now four points.
The Magpies still have to play Tweed, Pride, Easts, Capras and Mackay.
The Jets tackle Townsville, Pride, Hunters, Mackay and Capras.
The Jets have three home games all against teams that have to travel here from North Queensland.
The Jets have to win all remaining games and hope Souths lose some games.
NAT Neale has two games to reach 100 for the Jets.
Ben and Shane Walker need five wins for 100 wins for Jets.
Nemani Valekapa requires four tries to achieve the 50 milestone for Jets.
Wes Conlon needs five points for 350 points for the Jets.
Conlon scored his 350th point in the Intrust Super Cup against Easts. Conlon has scored 23 tries, 128 goals and two field goals.
Conlon is the Jets' fifth highest points scorer on 345 points.
THE Jets have used 30 players this year with six footballers playing all 18 games.
They are Wes Conlon, Michael Purcell, Dane Phillips, Huskie Teutau, Tyson Lofipo and Luke Capewell.
A cold beer with . . .
In 2005 Grant Bell coached the North Queensland Young Guns to a premiership against the Bears who were appearing in their third grand final in a row. Bell had at his disposal future Cowboys like Matt Scott and Gavin Cooper. I said down with Bell and talked Jets v Young Guns.
Who was the Jet you knew you had to stop? Danny Coburn, without a doubt. He had the heart and brains. I had previously coached him in the QLD Residents and knew how tough he was and what a quality person he was. The Jets also had great halves with Brendon Lindsay and Ricky Bird and terrific finishers like Luke Walker and Steven West. They had danger players across the park.
How did you find a trip to the North Ipswich Reserve? Cold, always cold and it didn't matter who we had, who the Jets had or where either were on the table. It was always a hard game when you played the Jets. They were a different team in Ipswich. I remember in 2005 we beat you 40-14 in Townsville and then back in Ipswich later in the year it was a two point game. We had to fight all the way to win and why would you expect anything less from a team coached by Trevor Gillmeister. Ipswich is certainly a hard place to go and play football.
You had a young Gavin Cooper at the Young Guns, who would also play for the Jets in 2008 before returning back to North Queensland and gaining Origin selection -what are your memories of Cooper? It took a while for people to realise how good Cooper is both on and off the field. I think in Origin III this year he was outstanding and since Thurston's absence from the scene his leadership at the Cowboys has truly shown his value to a club and team. He had to grow on a few people in the early days. He came to North Queensland the first time perhaps a bit rough around the edges for some and people perhaps made a judgement call too early. By the time he returned you didn't have to look hard to find the qualities. Many then realised he has a great football brain and he is so important to what Thurston does on the field. He played so many positions for us that 2005 season - centre, front row and second row. Whatever you asked of him he did and was a very valuable team member.
What do you think of the style the Jets play now in the ISC? I like it. I like that they are prepared to try different things and challenge opposition players and structures. Some of their attack reminds me a bit of the Raiders in the early 90's. They had some structured play and a few trick shots in them but the players were able to express their skills and there was some tremendous ball movement. Ben and Shane are very clever and brave enough as coaches to think outside the box it makes footy interesting. The key to being unorthodox is to have the players with the trust and ability to carry it out on game day.
Bolton, Scott, Cooper and Lillyman, you weren't lacking a strong forward pack? We were very fortunate to have a mix of experience and some great emerging talent. They filled a variety of roles for us, bench and starting in both Young Guns and a little First Grade. The ISC always remains a great place to groom future NRL players. Whatever we needed from these boys they did. They were all just starting out and they have all played plenty of NRL now and Origin.