Queensland captain Ali Brigginshaw enjoys meeting young players during one of her many fan days.
Queensland captain Ali Brigginshaw enjoys meeting young players during one of her many fan days. Jason McCawley

Ipswich connection confident for Origin showdown


THE representative round will kick off on Friday night at North Sydney Oval with the women's Origin encounter.

Queensland will be coached by Jason Hetherington and captained by Ali Brigginshaw, both Ipswich products.

Hetherington shared some thoughts on Queensland's quest to turn around last year's loss to NSW.

"Camp has been great, very positive," Hetherington said.

"The girls have brought in to everything we have done this year.

"Our spine will be very good for us. Our halves are very experienced and when they combine I think that will be a strength."

Queensland captain Brigginshaw was confident of taking her place in the side after an injury scare during a training mishap. She will be given until the match to overcome her minor setback.

"We are better prepared this year, we all know each other better and understand our jobs and what the coaches want us to do,'' Brigginshaw said.

"It's all about the first five sets. We need to be smart and really work hard on controlling the ball and the speed of the game."

When asked who Queensland will be watching in the game, the captain was certain about the impact that the girl outside her will have on the game.

"Jennie-Sue Hoepper will be one to watch returning to the game. She will definitely have an impact in attack and defence,'' Brigginshaw said.

Last year Blues centre Isabelle Kelly scored two tries and made 126 metres of ground.

"Stephanie Mooka is the one who has been tasked to stop Kelly,'' Brigginshaw said.

"She is a tall and a strong defender alongside Meg on the right side.''


KEY LOSS: Ipswich Jets playmaker Josh Cleeland is likely to be out for 5-6 weeks.
KEY LOSS: Ipswich Jets playmaker Josh Cleeland is likely to be out for 5-6 weeks. Rob Williams

Cleeland surgery

JET number six Josh Cleeland was operated on last Wednesday for his meniscus injury that he suffered against Wynnum.

Cleeland will be sidelined for about six weeks after coming off after 60 minutes against Wynnum.

"The first day after the operation on Wednesday it was really sore but it has slowly felt better every day," Cleeland said. "I got a little movement back as the week went on.

"I should be walking and running in about four weeks.

"It's pretty boring. I can't drive so my wife is driving me around."

Jets positives

THE Ipswich Jets did not crash and burn in Townsville. They were just left wounded and having to return to the aircraft carrier to fight again.

Although the trip north failed to yield a winning result, there were positives to come out of the game.

The Jets only missed 22 tackles, which is the fewest in a game this season.

Kierran Moseley made a Jets' high 41 tackles, with 91% effectiveness, as well as scoring an excellent try from dummy half two minutes into the game.

Moseley has made the second most line breaks in the Intrust Super Cup with 11.

The Jets hooker reflected on what went right and wrong in Townsville.

"It was strange game it was a bit wet and dewy and I felt like my passes weren't as crisp that contributed to our attack being a bit clunky," Moseley said.

"I felt like we did a lot right and just didn't get the win.

"Losing Marmin (Barba) was hard. It meant we had Jayden Connors defending out of position and the wing is a hard spot to adapt to defending.

"The week off is a great time for us. We have a few injured guys."

Jets co-coach Shane Walker was confident that plenty of good things could be taken away from the loss.

"Townsville defended very well, but we won everywhere but the scoreboard if we were a batsman we were hitting them well and we just got out,'' Walker said.

The Jets had 54% of the ball, had the ball for four more minutes, and had 53 more runs for 437 metres of ground.

"Richard Pandia was very good for us, Kierran Moseley and Nat Neale also did an outstanding job."

The Jets will enjoy the representative round bye before playing the Bears at home.

Teevan's return

IPSWICH has a rich history of second generation Jets, like Caslick, Lacey, Zillman, Parcell and now Teevan.

Jacob Teevan was once the Jets ball boy.

His dad Craig played for the Jets in 1999 and was CEO from 2000-2005.

Jacob shared what it was like to make his debut with the Jets against Townsville last Saturday night.

"The Jets are where I first fell in love with football,'' he said.

"Dad was working and I would be ball boy and play for Norths.''

His first Intrust Super Cup experience was everything he expected.

"It was very fast out there and the contact was big, but it was just exciting. Since I found out on Thursday I have just been so excited,'' Teevan said.

On Saturday, a delighted dad Craig could not make it to Townsville. But he cannot wait for the Bears to come to town in two weeks to hopefully see Jacob play.

"That would be so good to see him play at the Jets home ground. We have so many great family memories there," Craig said.

"I hadn't thought of the second generation part until you said I was Jet number 326 and Jacob will be number 600. It made me incredibly proud.

"Jacob has backed himself. He could have stayed at Easts but he wanted to come to Ipswich. He loves their style of play and wanted to play for the Jets.

"Ben and Shane Walker said wait and your turn will come and it has, he's done very well."

Sam a new Rooster

SOME great Queenslanders have played for the Roosters - Trevor Gillmeister, Matt Sing, Chris Flannery, Mick Crocker, Chris Walker, John Lang, Kerry Boustead and of course Arthur Beetson.

Could we add another Walker to that list?

The decision has been made and Jets Mal Meninga half Sam Walker is off to Roosters in 2020.

"I like watching the current Roosters side,'' Walker said.

"I don't really have a favourite. I think they will win it again this year.''

Not Hugh McGahan?

"Who? I leaned to the Roosters the whole time. It was just so impressive so thorough and professional."

I asked Sam was there similarities between the way Trent Robinson views football and dad Ben Walker.

"Yeah I could definitely see and hear similarities,'' he said.

I queried Walker if they threw the Ipswich connection of Luke Keary and Nick Politis at you.

"I had breakfast with Luke Keary and and I met Nick Politis.

"Luke spoke about Ipswich but I only spoke to Nick Politis briefly.

"I have to go and visit them before November so I we will sort out then if I play for the Bears in the ISC and living arrangements.

"At this stage just excited."

Cooper's stat

THE Ipswich Jets have made 3360 tackles this season, compared to 3215 by the opposition in 2019.

That Intrust Super Cup record is 145 fewer tackles at an average of 10 a game.

A cold beer with . . .

DAN Stains came from Toowoomba and stopped at Brothers on the way. Leaving for the Sharks and Tigers, he played Origin in 1989 and 1990 becoming FOG 59. I put on my headgear, shoulder pads and Queensland number 10 jumper and headed to the bar to talk.

In the Jets' first ever game in the big time in 1986 Woolies pre-season game, Brothers won 32-14. Did you play? I remember them being fiery. Tommy and Struddy were at each other. Tommy was sacked at Brothers, went to Ipswich, and took plenty of anger with him. I am sure Tommy marked the date at the start of the year that he would play Brothers.

Any Ipswich players stand out for you? Brett Kaatz was a player that was very good for Ipswich. Pat Shepherdson was a great player and of course followed Tommy to Ipswich.

It's July 8, 1980. Where were you for the first Origin game? I was there, a local Toowoomba legend and just a beautiful man Gordon Teys took a few of us down to Brisbane for the game. We sat in the South East corner and loved it.

Nine years later, you play your first Origin. What did it mean to you to have Arthur Beetson as coach? Just a fantastic week to have my hero Arthur Beetson as coach. It was just tremendous. I remember two things. Arthur handed me a note before my first game in the sheds at Lang Park that just reiterated that he had faith in me. He was a generous man. How could you not go out and do your best for Arthur. The second memory was I was sitting in my room and Arthur rang and said come up to my room all excited. I have gone up there and Arthur and the Blues coach Jack Gibson are playing cards together days before the game.

You coached a Queensland under-17 side with Johnathan Thurston in 2000, Under 19, 2002 with Cam Smith. I enjoyed that time. It was special to coach great kids but Cam Smith and Johnathan Thurston stand out. Smith is probably going to be regarded as the best player of all time but I played a part in denying him a Queensland jumper. We would have a probables and possibles game to get it down to 17 players for Origin. The rule was that if the four selectors were locked two-all that the coach would break the deadlock. The two positions they could not solve were six and nine. I picked Thurston but not Smith. Does not say much for my talent identification does it?

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