Jets co-captain Stephanie O'Brien
Jets co-captain Stephanie O'Brien

How Ipswich teacher sets leading values at Jets

BREMER State High School HPE teacher Stephanie O'Brien was thrilled to earn a co-captaincy role when the Jets netball side was formed.

She's fulfilled similar leadership roles over the past three years, including with the Northern Territory Storm in the Australian Netball League earlier this year.

But having moved from Warwick to work in Ipswich, the Jets provided a natural fit for the accomplished netballer.

"I've been quite loyal to this region so I decided to stay on and hopefully it will be a really good year,'' O'Brien said.

"On the court, I like to lead by example. Hopefully I can go out there and do my job for the team.''

After helping her team secure its third win from four games in the inaugural Sapphire Series, O'Brien was confident this year's Jets combination were on track to make the top four for the finals.

"We are improving every week and that's a really good sign,'' she said after the Jets beat the Bull Sharks 54-43 at Carrara on Saturday.

"I guess we think we are finals' contenders for sure.

"We are only going to get stronger as a team as well.''

The win consolidated a top two spot for the Jets, with a showdown against their closest rivals QUT Wildcats looming in their next game on Sunday.

That match is back at the Queensland State Netball Centre where the Jets earlier had wins over the Tigers and Northern Rays, only suffering one loss to leaders Cougars.

Centre/wing attack O'Brien has spent most of the first four games on the court.

"It's just about backing up and trying to be consistent the whole season,'' she said.

She was a goal attack when younger before moving into the mid-court when she wasn't tall enough.

Among current teammates she's played with previously at club side Lions or in the Australian Netball League include Brooke Hams and Lucinda Benjamin.

"We're quite a united team,'' she said. "We don't have a team with big names but we really work hard and we go out there and work together.''

O'Brien said having head coach Tracey Jeanes-Fraser overseeing the Jets team was another bonus. Jeanes-Fraser was the Queensland Fusion coach in the previous Australian Netball League.

One of the most pleasing aspects of the latest win was terrific commitment early. The Jets built an 11-goal advantage.

"In three of the four games, we've had a really good start but I think that's definitely our best start of the game,'' she said.

"It's just getting that feel and we went out there and played to the game plan and really stuck to what we needed to do.''

Even after little lapses in the second and third quarter, the Jets responded to complete the job.

The Jets Rubies side also made it three from four after beating the Bull Sharks 56-37 in the earlier game at Carrara on Saturday.

"They are really going well. They've improved so much,'' O'Brien said.

"We are all a big squad and it's really nice to see girls going up and down.''

Ashlen Garrett and Charlie Bell returned to the Rubies squad in the latest game after gaining valuable experience with the Sapphire side the previous week.

State of play

Sapphire Series Rd 4: Jets def Bulls Sharks 54-43.

Next game: Sunday (3.10pm) v QUT Wildcats.

Ruby South Series Rd 4: Jets def Bull Sharks 56-37.

Next game: Sunday (1.30pm) v QUT Wildcats.

Both games at Queensland State Netball Centre.

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