Jets banking on Lacey, Tasi to stay in top five
THE Ipswich Jets desperately need something to halt their slide down the Queensland Cup ladder.
Fortunately they may have found it in the return of vice-captain Ian Lacey and new recruit, former Sydney Roosters National Rugby League star Lama Tasi.
Tasi will make his debut for the club while Lacey is back after injury.
Goodna product Tasi was dual signed by the Jets and Brisbane Broncos after being released by the Roosters last week.
Halfback Lacey was sorely missed by the Jets last week as they fell to their third straight loss, which saw them slip from second to fifth on the ladder.
The Magpies sit one point behind the Jets so a loss would see the Ipswich team fall out of the top five.
The match doubles as the Ipswich Jets' Indigenous Appreciation Round, with free entry and indigenous dancers (see page 16 for more).
It is also the Queensland Cup's rivalry round, which is fitting given the rivalry that has developed between the two clubs, including the 2008 grand final, won by the Magpies.
Adding to the rivalry is former Jets players Marshall Chalk, Ramon Filipine and Zac Lemberg will turn out for the visitors.
Lacey has seen the video of last week's gloss to Mackay and believes it is only a small thing the Jets need to remedy.
Identifying it is one thing however, fixing it another.
"We've been doing the right things in attack when we're putting pressure on," Lacey said.
"And we're doing the right things at stages in defence. But one small lapse is proving costly.
"We're not defending our line like we were early in the season.
"It comes back to communication on the field and trust.
"But recently our enthusiasm hasn't matched the other team when it comes down to defending our line."
Lacey's return means the move of captain Keiron Lander back into the forwards.
With Lander and Tasi there the Jets' forward pack certainly has a meaner look about it.
"He's happy being back in there," Lacey said of Lander's return to the forwards.
"He belongs in the forwards.
"He loves being in the thick of it."
The return of Lacey and inclusion of Tasi means Michael Fisher drops back to FOGS Cup with the Jets naming a five man bench.
Of those either Liam Capewell or Troy O'Sullivan will miss out.
Lacey is looking forward to the impact Tasi will provide, believing it will outweigh his lack of familiarity with the way the Jets play.
"We've got a really good culture at the club and when a new player comes in we welcome them in," Lacey said.
"But it has taken us two or three years to get on track with the way ewe play and defend especially.
"He might be a little bit lacking in that regard, but so long as we've got players beside him leading the way, what he will bring in attack will more than make up for it."
The rivalry between the Jets and Magpies means there is a high degree of familiarity with each other.
So Lacey had no hesitation in nominating hooker Travis Waddell, lock and captain Phil Dennis and prop Mat Pitman as the men the Jets have to shut down.
Ipswich Jets v Souths Logan Magpies at North Ipswich Reserve today.
Queensland Cup: 2.30pm
FOGS Cup: 12.15pm
FOGS Colts: 10.30am