Ipswich side's secret weapon for pivotal Pride clash
SHANE Walker is not a superstitious man by nature.
But with the Jets' finals hopes on the line, he was willing to take any advantage possible ahead of today's clash with Northern Pride in Cooktown.
So naturally, the Ipswich side brought a jockey with them for the trip to Far North Queensland.
"We had a good mate of ours Allan Robinson, the jockey, come away with us on the Mackay trip,” Walker said.
"He's a real character, and the boys enjoyed having him around for comedic relief. He might also be in on this trip.”
Of course, the Jets went on to win 54-0 in Mackay that round.
Robinson is convinced he was the catalyst.
"Well that's it. He said he's the key to our success, 'Jockey Robinson',” Walker laughed.
Captain Nat Neale admitted he was quickly tiring of the back-to-back-to-back away trips north, but Walker was of the complete opposite opinion.
"Not at all, I enjoy the trips away,” he said.
"I love getting around the boys, having a good laugh, and playing some good footy.
"I've never been to Cooktown.”
Pride coach Ty Williams spoke during the week of his side's preparations toward nullifying Michael Purcell's influence in today's contest.
But Walker is well aware the Cairns outfit have their own litany of threats which must be accounted for, starting with star halfback Jake Clifford.
"He's certainly a threat that we'll have to do a good job on,” Walker said.
"We did last time we played them. We did a wonderful job, and we'll have to do the same again.
"They've also got some good outside backs there, with Javid Bowen and the like.”
Neale went into Queensland Residents camp with Clifford, who was named 18th man for the one-off representative fixture.
"He's a good kid. He seemed pretty quiet around us at Residents,” Neale said.
"I think once he matures a bit more, he'll be a very good player. He's a big threat that's for sure.”
Sebastian Pandia will be a key out against the Pride after injuring his knee last weekend in the defeat to Townsville.
Intrust Super Cup Round 19: Today (4pm) - Ipswich Jets v Northern Pride at John Street Oval, Cooktown