Former Norths and current Queensland State of Origin great Cooper Cronk.
Former Norths and current Queensland State of Origin great Cooper Cronk. DAVE HUNT

Jets go on hunting mission

THE Ipswich Jets are off to PNG this week for round 22 and a game against the top of the table Hunters.

The Jets and Hunters have clashed eight times. The Hunters lead the victory count five to three.

Ipswich's three wins have come at North Ipswich and Wynnum; not yet at the Hunters' home.

The Jets have lost three times in PNG.

In 2014, the Hunters won 40-28.

In 2015, the Hunters got up 40-22.

In 2016, it was Hunters home 18-16.

The Hunters' have lost twice at home this year, which will give the Jets confidence that it is not the unbeatable fortress.

The Hunters are coming off a loss to the Dolphins and a draw in Mackay so their form line isn't great but they're still top of the table for a good reason.

The Jets have secured two wins in a row over the Blackhawks and Pride.

The Jets have the Hunters covered by eight points in attack but the Hunters have a 175 point advantage in defence.

My Hunter to watch is Ase Boas.

Boas is the Hunters' leading points scorer and the Intrust Super Cup third highest with 166.

He is the Hunters' captain and go-to man for attack and kicking.

Ase kicked six goals and scored a try when the Jets and Hunters played earlier this season.

Amazing debut

THE Jets recovered from the Pride scoring first last weekend and dominated the next 40 minutes of football.

The Jets' first half was a thing of beauty.

Jayden Connors scored two tries in the first half on debut. He could have nearly had three if he hadn't spilled the ball just short of the line.

Nat Neale was exceptional. His run and quick play the ball got the Jets' first try after some smart Luke Capewell thinking.

Pride's tries in the second half were due to loose balls and they ran away.

Although they did get close to the Jets, Nemani Valekapa ended the game with a try after setting up two in the first half.

Connors is Jet number 584 with Denzel King number 583.

Key reflections

JET 379 Anthony Seibold played 26 games for four tries in 2002. He's now on the Queensland coaching staff and Rabbitohs staff.

"I remember Norths having Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk and Cam Smith,'' he said. "I can remember throughout the year Coops playing a couple of different positions on the couple of occasions we played them. I recall Coops making a line break with a show and go through our middle and he fended me off. He may have played full back that day as I think Billy was centre. They had a very young team, very enthusiastic and I remember they were very sharp in attack.

"Norths led by a big margin and we won the game at the very end thanks to a big fightback led by a couple of tries from Brian 'Brigger' McCarthy."

Cooper's stat

 

THE grand final qualifier that Cooper Cronk remembers is Jets v Norths in Ipswich.

Ipswich 29 (F. Anderson 2, B. McCarthy 2, M. Chalk tries; R. Cressbrook 3, R. Bird goals; R. Cressbrook field goal) def Norths 26 (S. Tadulala 2, J. Webster, D. Slade, T. McKeough tries; C. Smith 3 goals).

A cold beer with . . .

IF you were playing Norths between 2001 and 2005, the name Cronk would have appeared on your radar. For 61 games, 37 tries, two goals and 152 points Cooper Cronk was Norths' go-to man. I pulled up a bar stool and sat down with Cronk to talk over Jets v Norths.

Who was the toughest Jets opponent? Anthony Seibold. He was an assistant coach at Melbourne for a few years. He's currently an assistant coach at South Sydney and for the Maroons. I've got a good relationship with him. Also I remember Reggie Cressbrook had a day out against us one year.

Bishop Park was a tough old joint. How did you go at the North Ipswich Reserve? A few wins and a few losses. Bit of a mixed bag. I remember losing a grand final qualifier in 2002 to the Jets at Ipswich Reserve. We had one foot in the grand final but were run down in the second half by Anthony Seibold and the Jets. Funnily enough I remember playing a pre-season game for the Melbourne Storm a few years later at the Ipswich Reserve.

What do you think of the football the Jets play now in the ISC? I've heard the stories and seen some of the trick plays. Like any team when it works it's scintillating and exciting.

What are your memories of playing the Jets? My main memory is the grand final qualifier in 2002. Myself, Cameron Smith and Billy Slater were all a part of the Norths' team that day. We got off to a great start and had a decent lead but in the end fell short of playing in the grand final that year.

What's your fondest Norths' memory? There were a lot of great memories but I'm probably more grateful about the opportunity I was provided, the rugby league lessons I was taught, the players and coaches that helped me out along the way and I suppose it's where it all started for myself, Cameron and Billy.



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