Ipswich to snap top seven jinx
DEPLOYING the Jets "unique'' style of football is the way Ipswich plans to tame the Burleigh Bears at the North Ipswich Reserve tomorrow night.
The Bears have been one of the league's most formidable teams across the 14 rounds.
In second, trailing only the undefeated Sunshine Coast Falcons, the Bears have been bettered on just three occasions.
They adopt a simple yet timeless strategy.
Dominate the middle third, roll up the field and allow the likes of deceptive halfback Jamal Fogarty to wreak havoc.
Burleigh's pack is monstrous and the eighth-placed Jets will look to run them ragged as they aim to inflict defeat on a team above them on the ladder for the first time this season.
Ipswich utility Jayden Connors made it all the way to a grand final when playing colts for Burleigh in 2014 while linked to the Gold Coast Titans.
He still knows many of the Bears and is well aware of just how effective they can be.
Excited to be facing his former teammates, Connors said the Jets would need to play their own brand of rugby league to wear down the opposition, and keep a keen eye on Fogarty.
He said the Ipswich pack must also stand up and he called on the likes of skipper Nat Neale and experienced lock Ben Shea to lead the way.
"We need to play Jets football and move them around to tire them out,” he said.
After an inhospitable initiation in the 14-6 loss to the Townsville Blackhawks last week, rising half Jacob Teevan will strive to build on his solid debut performance.
Concurring with Connors, he said the Jets had their own style which had yielded success in the past and would also serve them well moving forward.
"Burleigh are in form,” he said.
"Similar to Townsville they are a big side with a big pack.
"While we don't mind a grind, I think we have to play our style to counteract what they are going to throw at us.
"We have got our identity mate and that's worked for us.
"It has been proven over years and years that it works for us, so rather than trying to adjust to the other team I think we have to play our own style.
"Stay unique and stick to what works for us.”
The promising playmaker relished the opportunity to face the Blackhawks and thrived in the furnace of the Intrust Super Cup.
Most encouraging was the way he threw himself into his defensive work with no regard for his own safety.
"They threw a fair bit of attack at me in the first half, so I had to put my body on the line,” he said.
"I thought if I didn't throw everything at them or if I missed one early, they would target me, so I better chuck the body on the line and make a statement early.
"You just have to expect it at the level, so I just did my job really.
"It was great to be at that level and get a taste of what is required and now I can build from there.
"It was an awesome experience. When you get to that level it is more professional and it made it feel more special.”
When injected into the match, Connors will patrol the ruck searching for an opening, be it a quick play-the-ball, a lazy defender to exploit or a bit of space into which the speedster can accelerate.
Teevan will again control the right-side attack.
He identified fitting into the Ipswich structure as an area where he could improve but expects combinations with the other members of the all-important spine and key forwards to gain fluency as he spends more time with the team.
"It is a different style of football that the Jets play,” he said.
"I've done bits and pieces at training, and in trial matches but to see it in practise in a proper game, it is something that takes a bit of time to get used to, and form combinations with the halves, hookers and forwards. And knowing where to be - knowing your exact role so you can do it to the best of your ability.”
Steeling himself for a brutal front row duel with Burleigh's leading metre eater and former Jet Luke Page, Ipswich captain Nat Neale echoed the thoughts of his on-ballers.
"They are strong and primed,” he said. "We need to match them in the middle and be very physical.”
Intrust Super Cup Rd 15: Tomorrow (6pm) - Ipswich Jets v Burleigh Bears at North Ipswich Reserve.
Curtainraiser (2.30pm): Brothers Ipswich women v Toowoomba Valleys.