Jets mates keen to secure victory
JARROD McInally can recall playing junior footy for Brothers against Sam Martin's Norths in about under-8s.
"He was a good player," the Jets winger said.
"A good tackler."
Martin, now McInally's Ipswich Jets back-row teammate, doesn't remember the winger.
McInally was a second rower then, while Martin was a fullback.
The two later became great mates at St Edmund's College, where they played in the 1st XV together.
Martin at outside centre had the job of putting winger McInally into space.
So it is fitting that the two 24-year-olds reach their Queensland Cup 50-game milestone together against Mackay at the North Ipswich Reserve this evening.
The Cutters sit one point behind the third placed Jets, who have lost their past two matches.
Martin and McInally, or Marto and Macca, as their friends and teammates refer to them, were on track to celebrate the milestone together sooner, but injury delayed McInally's start to the season.
"It's getting better every week," McInally said of his injured ankle.
"It's only my fourth game back.
"I've been going alright.
"I'm back on the left wing where I'm enjoying it more."
It is where McInally has spent most of his time in the top grade but that's not the only reason he likes it on the left.
"It means Duck's (Donald Malone) my centre," McInally said.
"I've been there for two years outside Duck.
"It feels a bit more comfortable."
It also means plenty of try scoring opportunities, with the mercurial Malone the creator of more than any other centre in the competition.
Malone is out from tonight's game, but Martin's return after a three week suspension is some compensation.
McInally's injury meant Martin was set to reach his 50 game milestone first, until he was suspended for a couple of high tackles last time the Jets played Mackay.
It ensured the two will share the 50-game spotlight tonight and they are delighted.
"He's just a great bloke," McInally said of Martin.
"He's easy to get along with and good to have a beer with.
"He's always working hard at training and never gives up.
"He's all heart and plays with his heart on his sleeve."
It is that attitude McInally thinks the Jets have been missing in their recent losses to the Northern Pride and Tweed Heads.
Martin's three weeks on the sidelines have enabled him to overcome a rib injury and he is near bursting to play again.
"It's been really hard actually," he said of watching from the sidelines.
"I wanted to jump the fence and take the field against Tweed."
When he made his debut in 2010, 50 games was not on his radar.
"I just thought it was good to play Q Cup," he said.
"It's a bonus to play 50 games and be regarded as a part of the team.
"I hope I get to 100 and keep playing good footy."
If he can do it with McInally it would be even better.
"It's good sharing it with a close mate of mine," Martin said.
The Jets main game against Mackay starts at 5pm.
- Height: 192cm
- Weight: 90kg
- Best advice: "If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always got."
- Height: 180cm
- Weight: 98kg
- Best advice: "Don't let emotions take over your game. Learn to control them."