Jets flying after third on the trot
ROOM for improvement was the call from Shane Walker following Saturday's 42-28 defeat of the CQ Capras.
"We were happy to get the win, but not overly happy with our performance,” a measured Walker said today.
"We let a couple of tries in late that weren't ideal. Certain areas of our play could have been better, but sometimes that's just the way the game goes.”
But the Jets coach was ultimately positive for the performance his charges put on at North Ipswich Reserve, considering all that might have gone wrong.
"The games where you're expected to win, and they've got nothing to lose - and it's a TV game - there's plenty that can go wrong,” Walker said.
"They're a good side, well-coached and with a lot of dangerous players in the team.”
The 14-point win produced the Jets' first string of three-consecutive wins this season, and has the Ipswich side primed for a run at the top six which a month ago appeared unlikely.
Recalling a slow start which cost them against the same opponent earlier this year, the Jets were keen to get the ball rolling early and did so through Sam Caslick.
Filling in for Isimeeli Hafoka, Caslick turned a rare start into first points after just three minutes.
Soon after, Jayden Connors found himself on the end of an impressive display of team football - capped by "an ankle breaking step” on Capras fullback Zeik Foster to double the advantage.
"It's up there with one of the better tries we've scored this year,” Walker said.
With seven individual try-scorers - including a rare foray across the line for Rowan Winterfield with eight minutes to play - Walker believes the Jets are building ominously for a tilt at the finals.
But he saw this coming long before others did.
"We're certainly hitting our straps,” he said.
"But if you go back further, we really had Easts on toast there (in round 16). The same with the Blackhawks, when we led 14-2.
"And the Pride game, we led 18-4 and just had an ordinary six minutes.
"We've been in good form for a long time now, we're just now putting the (wins) in the column.”
Winterfield's first try of the season was reward for effort, and his coach could not have been happier.
"He scored a magnificent try, carrying four guys over the line,” Walker said.
"Because he's not a natural try-scorer, he's been working on when he gets to the line really twisting hard to find a bit of space.
"He did it (on Saturday) and did it with Dave Taylor hanging off him.”
In a further boost for the Jets, winger Cameron Moran made his debut off the bench and "did a good job” in the eyes of his coach.
Intrust Super Cup Round 22: Ipswich Jets 42 (S. Caslick, J. Connors, C. Ash, M. Purcell, N. Neale, R. Winterfield tries; M. Barba 7 goals) def. CQ Capras 28 (M. Morseau 2, C. Broadhurst, B. Goodman, N. Bassani tries; C. Broadhurst 4 goals) at North Ipswich Reserve
Reinforcements on the way
WITH some key players on the cusp of a return from injury, Jets coach Shane Walker is rubbing his hands together at the thought of the depth at his disposal.
Hooker Kierran Moseley (broken leg) is expected to come into consideration for this weekend's match against Tweed Heads, having returned to structured training last week.
Isimeeli Hafoka missed the win over the Capras through family commitments, but will be set to reclaim his place in the centres.
But perhaps the biggest story is Sebastian Pandia, who according to Walker is close to a miraculous return from an ACL injury he suffered less than a month ago.
Walker said Pandia had been "doing one-legged sideways bounds at training most able-bodied people couldn't do”, and on doctor's advice may return to the field by finals.
ACL injury traditionally have a 9-12 month turnaround.